Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Editor Interview

Current Read: Compromised by Kate Noble

Today is a momentous one here at Armchair Heroines! I am pleased to welcome Helen Andrew, an editor for The Wild Rose Press. Helen is our first editor interviewee! Welcome, Helen...and on to the interview:

Tell us about your job as an editor. What are your responsiblities? What does your day look like?

I am responsible for evaluating the queries that my senior editor sends to me, requesting a partial if the query looks good, then evaluating the partial. If the partial is good and fits the requirements of our line (Cactus Rose, which is western historical), then I request the full. At that point, I sometimes send the manuscript to a reader to get an opinion before I read it myself. Whether I do this depends on my work load at the time. If I like the story, I accept it, and then I begin edits. Anywhere from 2-3 rounds of line edits is normal.

For those of you unfamiliar with the "getting published" process, here is what happens (typically): an author sends a query letter to an agent or an editor. The letter tells a little about the author and her story and asks the editor or agent if he or she might be interested in reading more. If the editor or agent is interested, he or she will request a partial (usually the first 30 pages). Then if the agent or editor likes the partial, he or she will request the full manuscript. If the editor or agent still likes the project, then the process continues...and that's yet another story! Sounds a bit daunting, doesn't it? Certainly adds to the respect I have for authors - it's a jungle out there!

So, Helen, what is your least favorite part of being an editor?

Sending rejections. At The Wild Rose Press, no one gets a canned rejection letter. I really like that philosophy. Every writer gets a personalized letter which includes positive comments and suggestions for improvement. But it's still rejection, and I don't like doing it.

A personal rejection letter is easier to stomach than a canned one...not that I would know! :0) Ha-ha-ha! What is the best part of being an editor?

Helping authors realize their dream of being published.

Tell us a little about The Wild Rose Press.

The Wild Rose Press just celebrated its second birthday in May. They've grown so much in two years, and I'm proud to be associated with them. The owners are two fantastic women who are the reason that the company has become so successful. The Wild Rose Press publishes only romance, but in every genre imaginable, from young adult and inspirational to erotic.

Happy birthday Wild Rose Press! I can't believe it's only been two years...you guys are huge and still just toddlers! ;0)

There are many different "lines" at The Wild Rose Press. Can you explain that and talk more about the individual lines?

Sure. The lines all have "rose" names, but they are basically just genres and sub-genres of romance. For example, I do most of my work for Cactus Rose, which is western historical romance. We also have Yellow Rose, which is contemporary western. It's probably easier if I just list the lines.

American Rose -- American historical, before 1900
Cactus Rose -- western historical
English Tea Rose -- non-American historical
Vintage Rose -- historical after 1900
Sweetheart Rose -- sweet contemporary (like the old Harlequins)
Champagne Rose -- contemporary
Yellow Rose -- western contemporary
Faery Rose -- light paranormal (fairies, ghosts, etc.)
Black Rose -- dark paranormal (vampires, werewolves, etc.)
White Rose -- inspirational
Climbing Rose -- young adult
Crimson Rose -- Romantic Suspense
Scarlet Rose -- Erotic

I hope I didn't leave any out!

Not only does TWRP press accept all genres of romance, they also accept various lengths, from 1750 words to 100,000.

Any special projects that you are working on right now?

I'm glad you asked! Yes, we're very excited about two projects right now in Cactus Rose. The first one is a Native American series called "Earth Songs" which we launched in June. We are looking for well-written, historically accurate stories which feature a Native American hero, heroine, or both. Stories can feature any location and tribe, but must take place between 1870 and 1890. Stories should be under 40,000 words. If any of you authors out there have ever toyed with the idea of a Native American romance, now is the time to write it. If you already have one written, send your query to queryus@thewildrosepress.com. We'd love to take a look!

Our other special project is an anthology called "Lawmen and Outlaws." We are looking for four novellas, two featuring lawmen and two featuring outlaws, in the 20,000 to 25,000 word range. We have offered this opportunity to our already published authors.

What are you seeing alot of as you read manuscripts?

In Cactus, we see a lot of mail order bride stories. Writing-wise, some things I see a lot are head-hopping (my biggest pet peeve!), poor sentence structure, and lack of sensory detail. Sensory detail is very important in romance writing. The reader wants to see, hear, smell, feel, and taste everything the character does. The best advice I can give a new writer is to take the time to self-educate about the romance genre. There are some wonderful resources available. Also, proof your manuscript thoroughly. You wouldn't believe how many writers submit with typos and misspellings.

Good info for you readers aspiring to be writers! What would you like to see more of?

Native American stories, which is why we launched Earth Songs. I'd also like to see some pioneering and frontier type stories, set west of the Mississippi. Think Laura Ingalls Wilder, only romance. And of course cowboys. We always love hot cowboys! And we will never turn our back on a well-written, compelling story, even if we have a hundred other mail order bride stories.

And, of course, a random question for you: What are you listening to right now?

Actually, nothing. I rarely listen to music when I work. Boring, I know!

Your house must be quiet! I need music to drown out the barking dog, squealing children, hollering husband, spinning washing machine...

Helen, thank you so much for being here today! It was interesting to learn more about the business side of the romance novels.

All of you Armchair Heroines out there...be sure to check out The Wild Rose Press! As you can see from above, there is something for everyone!

Join us tomorrow for an interview with Wild Rose Press author, Paty Jager!


Carolynn said...

The advice to add plenty of sensory detail is especially useful to me, since I forget sometimes that the reader can't "see" what's in my head. LOL

Great interview...really enjoyed it! :)

Tiffany James said...


I do the same thing! Because I am so intimately familiar with my story and characters, I forget that my reader doesn't have access to the same information.

Glad you enjoyed the interview!


Shirley Kiger Connolly said...

The process an editor must go through before acceptance or rejection is, indeed daunting, as you say. I enjoyed this article very much, remembering the first novel I saw go through revisions, and thinking I was the only one who had to rewrite two and three times. I even wondered at times if my editor was going to change her mind about the story! But I learned that is a process, and everyone goes through it. I think it is so great this interview which brings that attention to other aspiring authors so they can know ahead of time what to expect.

I do have a question. If an editor has ultimately refused a manuscript after reading the partial and the full, and written to the author all the ways in which she/he should improve it, is it totally unappropriate for that author to send the same (revised) manuscript to the same editor later? Or is that a no, no?

I have heard that question many times, and I really don't know the answer.

Thanks and Blessings

Judith Leger said...

Great interview, Helen! I absolutely love western historical. There's not many out there right now and it's great that The Wild Rose Press has a line that offers some great books.

Wishing you the best!

Judith Leger

Linda LaRoque said...

Hi Helen,
I'm a Cactus Rose author and enjoyed getting to know you. I love all things western. Good luck with submissions on the new projects.

I have a print copy of Perfectly Good Nanny sitting here in to read stack.


Helen said...

Thanks to all of you for stopping by. I'm glad you found the information helpful.

Shirley, to answer your question about resubmitting, if there's a solid rule about this, I'm not aware of it, but I'm a fairly new editor. My advice is to ask the editor you're working with if he/she minds if you resubmit. Sometimes a publisher will have a rule about this, also. If that's the case, the editor will let you know when you ask. Always ask. The worst the editor can say is no.

Linda, you'll love Perfectly Good Nanny!

Renee Knowles said...

Hi Helen! Of course, as an author for TWRP, I adore them. Thanks for sharing more about the process with us.