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OCTOBER 2012

Keri-Leigh Grady,
Associate Editor for Entangled Publishing

 

Keri-Leigh Grady WG:      Welcome, and thanks for stepping into my spotlight this month. To start off, please tell us a bit about yourself.

KLG:      I'm an associate editor at Entangled Publishing, and I'm the managing editor of the Flirt and Ever After lines. I've been with Entangled since April 2011, and it was my first editing gig. I have an MFA from Seton Hill University, where I focused on romance, horror, and urban fantasy.

WG:      Can you tell us why you decided to pursue a career as an editor and what steps you took to get you where you are today?

KLG:      I actually stumbled into this job. I wanted to teach college composition or creative writing classes, but since my husband is in the Navy (and we move every two years), I couldn't found much I could do online. When Liz Pelletier invited me to apply as an editor, I jumped at the chance. Work from home for a company that even then sounded like an exciting and innovative place to be? Yes, please!

WG:      What genres/lines do you currently acquire?

KLG:      I can acquire for all the lines: Entangled, Entangled Select, Entangled Teen, Indulgence, Brazen, Bliss, Dead Sexy, Flirt, and Ever After.

WG:      When was the last time you acquired the work of an author from the slush pile?

KLG:      I'm writing up an acquisitions request today for a story in my slush pile. :D Some of my authors are agented, but most are not and came to me via slush.

WG:      Are you actively seeking out new authors, and if so, what would it take to catch your eye?

KLG:      I'm always looking for new authors. I can give you the usual answer of voice and story and characters, etc., and it would be true. But I'm also going to say I want to see something different. I know, you've heard that one, too. But here's the thing: any kind of different is fine as long as the story is still a romance or has strong romantic elements. The romance must progress at a believable and even pace, and the conflicts must be present. At the same time, authors need to know the particulars of the line they're targeting. If they use those guidelines as a roadmap, are certain the foundational romance is present, amp up the conflict, and then go nuts with the different, I will lick the screen. Not really. Too messy. But I will be pleased.

WG:      Do you think contest credits help an author further their career? Have you ever acquired a manuscript that you discovered via a writing contest?

KLG:      I think contests are great for the feedback authors get from anonymous judges, especially if they can extrapolate that feedback and apply it beyond the first three chapters. ;) I tend to focus on the writing in the sample pages more than I do contest credits, though I do note wins.

I haven't been invited to judge, so I haven't acquired from a contest...yet.

WG:      When asked what they look for in a new author, most editors and agents will mention a fresh and/or strong voice. How do you personally define voice?

KLG:      Voice is All The Things. Style, word choice, cadence, atmosphere, etc. I like to think of it this way: if a voice actor picks up this manuscript to narrate the audiobook, what cues will s/he use to determine the delivery? Those cues are the voice.

WG:      Have you ever considered penning a novel yourself?

KLG:      Before I started editing, I was a writer.

WG:      How would you describe your editorial style?

KLG:      Diabolical.

WG:      What is your involvement with the author's creative process? With his/her career planning?

KLG:      I frequently brainstorm with authors. As for career planning, I can really only help them with an Entangled career, but we definitely discuss how best to build a backlist.

WG:      What do you see as the main strength you personally bring to the table as an editor?

KLG:      My authors often say I'm good with the big picture and at keeping them on task, but for all I know, they could mean I'm an evil overlord with a whip and no conscience. In, fact, I'm pretty sure that's exactly what they mean.

WG:      Are some/all of your submissions read by someone else in house before they reach you? If so, what sort of feedback and/or screening do you expect that reader to provide?

KLG:      Sometimes I get a referral from another editor who thought the story had potential but wasn't their cuppa. Until I find an intern, I'm on my own reading submissions.

WG:      Realistically, what is the normal timeframe for your response to queries? Partials? Fulls?

KLG:      At the moment, it could be anywhere from one day to three months, but I'm paring that down and hope to be able to respond within a month. Someday soon. Cross your fingers.

WG:      Given that you feel an individual author's manuscript is marketable, how important is it that you personally like the work in order for you to pursue acquiring it?

KLG:      I have to read each story I acquire a minimum of five times, but most often, I'll read it more like seven or forty gazillion. I have to love the story - and I mean lurrrrve the story - to acquire it.

WG:      What input do you personally have on the cover art selected for the manuscripts you acquire? What level of involvement do you feel the author should have in this process?

KLG:      I have very little input. The author has a thorough cover art form to complete, and though I think it's important the author be able to have a cover s/he is comfortable showing off to the world, the marketing and art departments know what sells a book. I'll go to bat for an author who has valid concerns about cover art, but I'll also remind her/him that the cover is nothing more than a marketing tool.

WG:      Do you feel that writers' conferences provide significant value to you in the way of personal contact with your authors, other authors (either published or unpublished), and/or other industry professionals? Do you receive any value from other offerings such as the presentations, pitch appointments, and/or networking opportunities?

KLG:      Conferences are great. I have met some amazing industry contacts as well as smart, professional authors. I also think presentations have a lot of value-I can get an inside look at how others approach the craft, and I think that helps me when I'm working with an author whose perspective differs vastly from mine.

WG:      Do you visit the websites and blogs of authors you work with or of authors you are considering acquiring? If so, is there something in particular you look for that potentially impacts your view of the author and their work?

KLG:      Absolutely. Always. I look for engagement with the reading community and professionalism. I don't recommend an author's book for acquisition until I've evaluated her/his online presence.

WG:      Do you approach submissions by agented authors differently from those without agents? Does your familiarity with/opinion of the agent impact this?

KLG:      Yes.

WG:      What piece of advice or 'pearl of wisdom' would you like to offer authors who are considering submitting a work to you--or to any editor for that matter?

KLG:      Give your query/cover letter as much love as you've given the opening of your novel. Give chapter four through the end as much love as you've given the opening of your novel.

WG:      What sort of misconceptions/ unrealistic expectations have you encountered from authors about what an editor's role is that you would like to correct?

KLG:      None so far.

WG:      How important do you think self-promotion is to a writer's career? If so, is there a particular area of promotion that you feel is most effective?

KLG:      Yes, it's important. Entangled works hard to ensure every book gets the promotion it needs, but the author must get involved in this process. Social media is flooded with authors, so the most important thing an author can do is establish a community and interact regularly. It's what social media was created to do - provide a venue to connect and form tribes. It's insane to ignore the fact that social media sites are created with community in mind, the modes of interaction at these sites are built to encourage community, and other users want to connect. Nobody likes to hop on Twitter only to find a tweetstream cluttered with promotional tweets that don't generate conversation or community. Boo! Shake it up and focus on connecting rather than selling.

WG:      I love to collect quotes, all kinds of quotes - inspirational, quirky, motivational, profound, etc. Do you have a personal favorite you'd like to share?

KLG:      A fave from the poem An Old Astronomer to His Pupil by Sarah Williams:
"Though my soul may set in darkness, it will rise in perfect light;
I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night."

WG:      What do you do to relax and have fun?

KLG:      Ha haaa! You're so funny. I don't have time to do anything besides work, so I find ways to torture my authors. It keeps me relaxed and stress-free.

WG:      Other than your client's work, what do you enjoy reading?

KLG:      I love meaty, well-written horror novels like Joe Hill's Horns and Heart-Shaped Box. I read romance on the side in just about any sub-genre. And I like thrillers, science fiction, contemporary fantasy, urban fantasy, mainstream fiction, literary, and non-fiction with fascinating stories like Susan Casey's The Wave and Lindsay Moran's Blowing My Cover: My Life as a CIA Spy.

WG:      What are your favorite movies and/or TV shows? Why?

KLG:      Anything by Joss Whedon. I'll even forgive him for Dollhouse and season 5 of Angel. I love skeery reality/investigative shows on SyFy. Love, love, love Kevin Smith and Judd Apatow comedies, and I honestly think Zack and Miri Make a Porno is one of the sweetest friends-to-lovers romantic comedies ever made. Oh, and there is no movie funnier than Bridesmaids.

WG:      Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on your life? In what way?

KLG:      I can't say there's one. I typically read a book once and give it away, but there are a few I've read more than once, so I consider them significant. Sheri S. Tepper's The Gate to Women's Country, Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice (though I'll admit the last few times are all Colin Firth's fault), Susan Elizabeth Phillips's Ain't She Sweet, Dean Koontz's Watchers, Anita Diamant's The Red Tent, and Stephen King's The Green Mile.

WG:      Before we close, is there anything else you'd like to mention about yourself or the publisher?

KLG:      I'll take a second to brag. :D As of this week, four of our books have hit the New York Times bestseller list, and one other has hit the USA Today list. Not bad considering our launch was last summer!

WG:      Is there a website you can point us to where folks can go to learn more about you and/or your publishing house?

KLG:      Absolutely. http://www.entangledpublishing.com and our blog http://entangledinromance.com.

WG:      And finally, thanks again for taking some time to 'stop by' this month!

KLG:      Thanks so much for the opportunity!

 

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