Maintaining the attitude of a descriptivist rather than a prescriptivist when editing, particularly for fiction and memoir, is crucial to preserving an author’s voice.
What tone to use when writing a letter to an author or making queries on their manuscript is often one of the most crucial yet most challenging parts of an editor’s job. There are many factors to consider: Where are you at in the editing process? Are you speaking to the author directly, or are you addressing a senior editor? Is this the author’s first novel, or are they more experienced? With so many factors to juggle and so many tiny nuances, it’s no surprise that this is the area that trips up most novice (and sometimes more senior) editors.
Book marketing is a great way to get to know a book. It not only allows one to be involved with a manuscript through the entire publishing process, but it gives those responsible for marketing books the chance to tell a story about the story. Sometimes these stories work really well, and other times ideas fall flat—that’s marketing. Nevertheless, coming up with a solid marketing plan, or even a functional concept that works well for a book, typically comes from the text itself. But even before those ideas roll out, the marketing process has started; it begins as soon as a manuscript arrives at the press.
Last year, a friend of mine was preparing a manuscript to be pitched to publishers and agents. He asked me to read his manuscript beforehand because he believed my editorial experience would provide him with insight regarding the plausibility of his book getting accepted by a publisher or an agent (it doesn’t). I told him the story was enjoyable but in need of structural work. After revising the manuscript twice, he approached me for tips on how to write his query letter, knowing that I’ve been involved with Ooligan. So to help new authors like my friend, I’ve compiled a list of five reminders that are helpful when writing the dreaded query letter.
The first time I evaluated a manuscript for acquisitions here at Ooligan, it was a mixed experience. I thought that the story could, given some work, become really good, but it wasn’t there yet. The second time was similar—some parts were hugely compelling, while others didn’t keep my interest. They made me feel curiosity, some […]
It’s been beautiful here in Portland these past couple weeks, which has been the perfect backdrop to our work on the CALYX anthology. The anthology has been seeing a lot of development this term. For instance, we are now well into drafting author bios, creating a list of author contacts and affiliations, and finalizing the […]