Thursday, December 28, 2006

From the Desk of the Editor... First Edition

I feel very fortunate to sit, as it were, on both sides of the desk: I'm an author, and I'm an editor/Executive Assistant for my publisher, Sheila Holloway. Unique Enterprises is the parent company of Moonlit Romance and By Grace Publishing. Both houses publish quality romance novels.

So, what's the purpose of this post?

Good question.

I thought perhaps my unique perspective might be helpful to both aspiring authors and published authors looking at e-publishers for their works. I'm hoping this "column" will be well-received enough to warrant making it a weekly post, with differing discussions, but still with the "from the desk of the editor" heading. So here goes. The inaugural edition of "From the Desk of the Editor..."

Submitting to an E-Publisher

1. Familiarize yourself with the types of novels the publisher releases. Read a good selection available from the publisher, different authors and the available sub-genres. If you don't see any books of poetry offered, then chances are excellent the publisher doesn't release poetry. Ditto non-fiction. If the publisher has reader loops, join them! If the publisher has a blog, read it! Both By Grace and Moonlit Romance have reader loops. Moonlit Romance has a blog, and come Jan. 2nd, this blog will be the Unique Enterprises blog. You can see both the MR and the UE blogs by clicking on the initials.

2. Read the submission guidelines. No, those aren't there to take up space on the publisher's website. Make sure you follow the guidelines to a "T". For example, many may not be aware of this, but the submission email for both By Grace and Moonlit is the same addy. That's why in the guidelines it says to put in your subject line the title AND the company. I've sent several emails off to querying authors that say, "Gee, lovely concept... but um, to whom are you querying?"

3. Your query letter is an introduction to not only the novel you're querying, but to yourself as well. The fastest way to lose an editor is to send an unprofessional query that's rife with misspellings, punctuation errors, and ramblings about the novel.

What I want to see in your query letter: your name; the title of the novel/novella/short story you're querying, word count; a BRIEF summary about the title---I don't want to read the synopsis in your query--- your synopsis should be attached, not included in the query letter---; a little bit about you, but I don't really need to know that you were the editor for your high school newspaper--- I'm more interested in your writing as it applies to the romance genre. I should be able to tell from your query letter that you realize you're submitting to a publisher of romantic fiction.

4. Patience, Grasshopper. Once you've submitted, relax. Like you, the editors reading the submissions have lives that include families, "day jobs", editing already contracted novels for release, writing their own novels. Don't start emailing the publisher requesting information about the status of your submission any sooner than one-to-two months after you've submitted.

5. Editor comments on your submission. I can't speak for all editors, just myself on this particular topic. In general, I try to comment on things that stood out in the submission--- things that I really liked, strengths I saw or things I saw that needed work. If I've sent you back a partial critique, then you've managed to get my attention. Requests for revisions isn't a rejection. Do the suggested revisions and send it back for re-evaluation.


Do you have questions you'd always wanted to ask an editor? Post them in the comment section to this post, and I'll answer them in my next "From the Desk of the Editor" post next week.

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