Continuing with our month long interviews with Editors from other publishing houses, I would like to introduce Rachel Kramer Bussel. I had the distinct pleasure of having Rachel as an editor for an anthology I participated in, that was published through Cleis Press.
Rachel on behalf of Naughty Nights Press, I would like to thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer these questions.
NNP:How long have you been an editor for?
RKB:I've been editing anthologies since 2004, and have edited 39 anthologies, mostly erotic fiction, with 3 editions of the nonfiction series Best Sex Writing.
NNP:Could you please describe your job as editor?
RKB:I come up with an idea for an anthology and then I post a public call for submissions, and authors have a few months to send in their work. I pick the stories I like best and that work the best together and include them in a given anthology, and also include authors in online book promotions and keep them posted about book reviews. For the most part my work involves seeking out and reading through submissions and then putting them together in an order that best suits a given theme. One of the biggest problems I see in submissions is authors not fully following my guidelines, which are detailed and specific.
NNP:Do you do a fully comprehensive edit, line by line edit, and a plot and continuity edit, or only one of these?
RKB:When I'm editing an anthology, I tend to pick stories that are mostly intact, because I'm on a time deadline and also because I'd rather accept a fully formed manuscript usually than ask an author to revise on spec. However, there have been times when I've asked for plot edits and gotten back a much improved story. Mostly it depends on the timing; I don't usually have time for those requests. Other than those types of plot edits, I make small grammar edits and all my books are thoroughly copyedited professionally by my publisher, Cleis Press. If there are substantive questions, I will turn them back to the author to respond to. Sometimes I get two or three (or more) excellent stories but they are too similar to each other in theme for me to include in a book, and I may in that case ask an author if they have anything else they could submit, because they have demonstrated that the quality of their writing is there, they just happened to overlap in topic with another author.
NNP:How do you keep abreast of what is currently trending genre wise?
RKB:I read trade publications like RT Book Reviews and numerous blogs, pay attention to sites like Erotica Readers & Writers Association (erotica-readers.com) and browse Amazon extensively along with bookstores to see what's out and what's new. I read erotic writers' blogs to see what they are working on as well.
NNP:Do you find it easier if you have basic knowledge of the genre you are editing or do you feel it doesn't matter?
RKB:Since I've been writing and editing erotica for a long time now, I do have a feel for the genre and tend to know what works, but individually and as part of a whole. I do think it helps to be aware of what's going on in your genre, though there is somewhat of a danger of feeling like you've already read every possible plot.
NNP:Have you or would you, ever approach an Author due to the quality of their work, and ask them to submit to your publisher?
RKB:Yes, I have sought out authors whose stories I've read in other anthologies and asked them to submit a story, and have approached authors I've worked with in the past about contributing to a specific book. I am always on the lookout for new authors and while most of them come to me via my calls for submissions, I do seek them out. Having your work published in anthologies is an excellent way to get a publisher's attention regarding either longer works or editing your own anthology; that is how I got started and assures that you know what the process is like and that you have an awareness of how to write, which I think is essential for any editor.
Rachel Kramer Bussel, http://www.rachelkramerbussel.com
Posted By: Ms. Penny Peterssen
Personal Executive Assistant & Director of Marketing and Research
The Naughty Nights Press (NNP) Team