Monday, February 18, 2013

The Company You Keep by Shannon Baker

yep, I stole this from Inkspot...  it is Shannon Baker's post from last Wednesday.  But I couldn't not share it because I am so proud of the Inkers. 


The Company You Keep

What a great week to be a Midnight Ink writer. Actually, it’s way more than just a week but there has been an avalanche of good news crashing down recently.
Left Coast Crime conference, a gathering to celebrate mysteries that takes place in a different western city each year, announced finalists in their contest. What fun to see Midnight Ink writers on that illustrious list. Darrell James and Beth Groundwater are nominees in The Rocky category, which is a book set in the geographic area covered by Left Coast Crime. Jess Lourey is nominated for an award in the humorous category, The Lefty. And Catriona McPherson has a book in the Bruce Alexander Memorial Mystery, for historical novels.

Can you say, “Wow!”
And then it gets better.
Kathleen Ernst recently won the LOVEY in the historical category at Love Is Murder in Chicago.
And drum roll, please…
Gin Malliet and (twice now) Catriona McPherson are up for Agatha Awards given by Malice Domestic.
Alan Orloff had an Agatha nomination in 2010.
And last year, Darrell James won a Left Coast Crime award, The Eureka, for a first novel.
Now it’s going to get dicey because I’m going to forget a whole ton of other good news. But let me mention that Vicki Doudera got a great review from the world’s snarkiest review site. I know Alice Loweecey and Lois Winston have posted some terrific reviews, as well.
I’m tickled for all the recipients. I imagine their glow and it makes me plum happy for them. I’ve met most of the writers I just mentioned and to a person, they are warm, funny, smart, generous and all around amazing specimens. I can only imagine the others are equally superior humans.
But, as Ayn Rand was ever-so-fond of saying, “There is no altruism.”
While I’m truly happy for these M’Inkers, I’m downright giddy for me.
My father always told me, “You’re known by the company you keep.” Yes, he was a wise man, but I don’t think he made that up.
I would be surprised if I ever win a prestigious award and Kirkus may always hate me. But someone, somewhere, at one time,(Terri) thought I wrote a book good enough to be included on the roster with these stellar writers.
That thought swells my chest more than the Miraculous Uplift bra I got from Victoria’s Secret.
By the time of my next Ink Spot post, my first book in the Nora Abbott Mystery series will have launched. Readers may love it or hate it. But for right now, for this brief moment, I get to revel in the success of my publisher and the fine writers they’ve accumulated and believe I am one of them. 
I am just so darned proud of Midnight Ink and all these folks. (And sorta proud of me, too.)

Friday, February 8, 2013

Daily Life

Someone asked about the daily life as an editor...  hmmm...

To start this week, I had 31 items on my "To-Do" list.  Some things on that list were quick and easy, such as I needed to email Kathleen Ernst with information she needs so we can put photos of particular antiques in her next book, Heritage of Darkness.  But I also needed to read four full manuscripts, each one taking at least half a day.  My biggest item on the list was to acquire two manuscripts for the Winter 2014 season - and that I can't quantify.  Does anyone want to guess how many items are crossed off my To-Do list?  10.

10 out of 31.  Yikes.

Ok, to the nuts and bolts of what I do daily.  First I check my email and respond to anything that has exploded overnight.  Second, I get a cup of tea.  Then all heck breaks loose.  :)

There are any number of meetings I may have to attend -

  • a one-on-one meeting with my boss, the Publisher
  • the weekly acquisitons meeting where the acquiring editors present the books we want to publish.  Most weeks I have nothing, other weeks I might have three or four books.
  • vision meeting - once we have decided to go forward on a book, there is small group meeting where we discuss content and what changes we may want the author to make.
  • production planning - the physical nuts and bolts meeting - how many pages, any artwork/photos, etc.
  • launch meeting - the BIG meeting.  here we decide on the title, cover direction, series name, etc.
  • cover meeting - after the designer has put together mock up covers, a small group chooses what cover we like best, make suggestions for changes and then the designer finds an artist to produce/illustrate the final cover.

Besides scheduled meetings, at any time the cover designer might pop over for a quick question on the cover direction, or ask my opinion on an element or an illustrator.

I see every routing that happens for a book.  Cover design, back cover copy, galley copy, and catalog copy.  I have to read and sign off on all of them.  It isn't unusual for any of those routings to route 3-4 times.

I was just interrupted, so I have forgotten what I was going to say next!  Hmmm... I no longer have to create and negotiate contracts, I do negotiate the offer.  That can be as simple as a day or over a week.  Right now I have two offers and I am waiting to hear back from the agents.  When those agents accept the offers, then I send our contracts person all the info she needs.

Since today is Friday, it is generally a meeting free day.  We only schedule meetings on Fridays if the meeting is time sensitive and we can't work it in earlier in the week.  So today I will spend the day trying to find another book for my Winter 2014 catalog.  Everything else on the list will have to wait.  Which means I will start Monday with a list of at least 21 To-Do items.  :(

And the reality of my day is that I have no idea what shape my day will take.  The process of walking a book through production is long and requires a lot of steps along the way.  I will save the nuts and bolts for another post, but a village of people work on every book.  We work collaboratively with each other and with the author to produce the best book possible.

I didn't include writing a blog post on my To-Do list, so sadly, I don't get to cross that off.  So I better get back to reading submissions.  And maybe I can cross that off my list next week.