Today we are continuing our month of interviews with Editors from other publishing houses and I would like to introduce to our readers and writers, the talented Editor In Charge at Lyrical Press, Ms. Piper Denna.
Thank you Piper for taking time out of your busy schedule and joining us today on Naughty Nights Press and answering these questions, I know our readers will be interested in reading about what your job entails.
NNP: How long have you been an editor for?
PD: I’ve been editing for 3 years for Lyrical Press (although I do take credit for loads of background experience with the very busy critique groups I’ve been in).
NNP: Could you please describe your job as editor?
PD: As a content editor at Lyrical Press, I’m part editor/part talent management, acting as liaison between authors and the house, as well as providing advice on promotion, and maintaining a fairly close relationship with them. While I may not be any one author’s best friend, I can honestly say I know a heck of a lot about what’s going on their personal lives at any given time. And I like to think they all feel no matter what I ask them to do with their book during edits, I’m only trying to make their book the best it can be. Having a friendly relationship helps with that, I believe. As for the work end of things, I review their submissions, recommend contract (or not, which I can honestly say gives me more pain than receiving a rejection on one of my own books), provide them with documents to fill out for the company, correctly format the file and remove latent coding, then perform content edits, as well as resolve line edit issues, help write the blurb, build the galley file, complete corrections to the galley file, and present the final book file to the publisher for ebook production. Then the author and I take one last look at the book to make sure everything is perfect. Once the book releases, I try to support my author in getting the word out, sharing great reviews, etc.… and wait for their next wonderful manuscript to appear in my Inbox.
NNP: Do you do a fully comprehensive edit, line by line edit, and a plot and continuity edit, or only one of these?
PD: I do all of the above, and generally all at once. I’ll go through the book anywhere from 3-5 rounds—and this is before we send the book on to our line editing department.
NNP: Are you completely honest and blunt with an Author if there are problems with the manuscript?
PD: I have to be—my name is going on that copyright page! Imagine how I’d feel if I didn’t express concerns with saggy conflict, for example, or a character’s speech, (or whatever!) and then the author got dinged for it in a review. Not good.
NNP: Are there any other jobs that you do above and beyond editing? For instance do you help the Author pick a title for their book; help the Author when they are having problems with their story line etc.
PD: I’ve helped with a few different titles I’ve edited. A couple of times the author had no idea for a title. Others have been titles which just didn’t work with their genre. Sometimes I offer suggestions—or simply help them pick from a list of “maybes” they’ve come up with. (I have Title Disability. That’s one of the hardest things for me to do with my own books.) For story line issues, such as motivation, if an idea comes to mind, I’ll definitely suggest it. But if I can’t come up with anything, I’ll simply point out the problem and ask the author to brainstorm with her critique partners/beta readers.
NNP: How do you keep abreast of what is currently trending genre wise?
PD: Workshops, message boards such as Absolute Write, industry publications, Twitter (probably the best source, in my opinion), and cold subs. Also, let us not forget the Holy Grail of Publishing—the royalty statement. It’s irrefutable evidence of what’s selling.
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?
PD: I definitely need to know the genre. What’s mainstream, what’s been “done” too many times so it’s cliché, what will offend/excite/appeal to readers. I mainly edit genres I love to read, so it’s easy to tell a great book from a stinker. (No stinker authors on my roster! They all rock.)
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?
PD: I’ve done it with critique partners, but I wouldn’t try to “steal” an author from another publisher. If I judged an awesome unpublished contest entry, I’d try to send a message along via the coordinator… provided it was allowed. Our Irish novella collection helped me find new authors who write in my genre, and let them get a taste of our company, as well as my editing style. I’ve landed some really wonderful authors this way. If authors are considering a different house, participating in a collection or anthology is a nice means without a huge commitment.
Posted by Ms. Penny Peterssen
Personal Executive Assistant, Director of Marketing and Research
Naughty Nights Press (NNP) Team