Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Trios: Devil’s Gold, by Julie Korzenco—The Editor’s View

Julie Korzenko, author of Devil's Gold, has been kind enough to round up a trio of articles about her book. Last week, Julie described how she found a home for her book; this week Emily Steele, Julie's editor at Medallion Press, discusses the editorial process; and next week we'll learn how Medallion Press markets its books. But first, a note from Julie.

As a first-time author, waiting for my line edits was excruciating. I had no clue what to expect and imagined all sorts of nightmarish situations from rewritten plot lines to insertions of killer pandas instead of wolves. Much to my delight, edits were a piece of cake. There was one item, however, that threw me into a bit of a tailspin. My environmental watchdog organization ZEBRA needed a new meaning to its acronym. Originally it was Zoological Ecological Biological Research Agency. I was a bit “ogical” happy which didn’t sit well with my editor. I had no problem changing it and now prefer the new organization name of Zoological Environmental Bio Research Agency. Shortly after submitting my edits, I woke up in the middle of the night in a panic. ZEBRA had to be changed not only in the manuscript but also on the jacket flap (which had already been created and approved and finalized by the art department) and all websites and online bookstores where my “blurb” was posted. Medallion immediately corrected it everywhere, but it was a momentary challenge to figure out exactly where we had the name posted. I still chuckle when I read the reviews written from my ARC’s as they all refer to my “ogical” ZEBRA.

Within every publishing house is a wicked, horrible editor just waiting for the next aspiring author to send a manuscript into her evil lair so she may dash his hopes and dreams to the ground . . .

Oh, wait.


That’s not actually true.

The truth is that editors are always seeking the next great text, and one of our greatest rewards at Medallion is discovering fresh talent. Reading every manuscript we receive is one step we intentionally take to fulfill our mission to publish well-written products.

Julie Korzenko’s story is a great example of the necessary effort involved in becoming a published author. As an editor at Medallion, I bear witness to the fact that every step Julie took toward publishing Devil's Gold brought her memorable character Dr. Cassidy Lowell to the point at which she was ready to engage her audience through print.

At Medallion, our editors strive to discover and produce works written with passion and an apparent dedication to excellence. Currently, we receive approximately thirty-five manuscripts per week, and we read every one. We don’t want to miss a single opportunity to discover a solid manuscript with a unique twist.

When a manuscript captures our attention, we analyse whether it is well prepared and how much editing the manuscript will require. We check grammatical and structural concerns to see whether we have time within our production schedule to adequately edit and produce the manuscript.

Next, we work with the marketing team to determine whether a market exists for the title. We do this by checking whether comparable titles are selling. This task is initially the author’s and ultimately the publisher’s. If research indicates that a book will produce the sales we need, then we begin working with the author to set the publishing process in motion. If you are passionate about creating and sharing unique stories, keep working hard. Research your market by reading comparable titles and discovering how and why they’re selling. Write with passion. Edit your manuscript well to present your hard work in the brightest possible light. Do these things well, and yours may very well be the next great novel on our readers’ shelves!

My thanks to Julie, for organising this mini-series of blog posts, and to Emily Steele of Medallion Press for her contribution: I'm hoping she might be able to drop by to answer any questions, so do speak up if there's anything you'd like to know about Devil's Gold or Medallion Press.

Meanwhile, Julie has kindly offered to give away a free copy of Devil’s Gold. To be in the running, all you have to do is email her at “jkorzenko at gmail dot com” and answer this simple question: what is P3? You’ve got until 12 May to get your emails in: after that date, Julie will select the lucky winner at random from all entrants who answer correctly.


Jane Smith said...

Apologies for the comment-spam which appeared here just now: I've deleted it, and have switched on the comment moderation feature in an attempt to stop it happening again.

Nikki said...

This is very helpful and it is very interesting to see behind the scene stuff.

Emily said...

Emily Steele here. Happy to do my best to answer any questions anyone might have!

Nicola Morgan said...

Emmily - so much of interest there! You said: "When a manuscript captures our attention, we analyse whether it is well prepared and how much editing the manuscript will require. We check grammatical and structural concerns to see whether we have time within our production schedule to adequately edit and produce the manuscript" That's such an important thing for aspiring writers to remember - too often they think that rejection of an MS is an emotional rejection of thier writing, but there's so mjuch more to it. Good luck with Julie's book (which I am attempting to win ...)

Nicola Morgan said...

Emily - if you want to get your editor's pen out on that comment of mine, you'll have a field day!! Sorry - I am in a huge rush and need to write 1000 words before lunch otherwise I die.

Sally Zigmond said...

It's so good to hear things from all sides of the publishing equation. The relationship between editor and author is so important as both need to aim for the same goal. I wish more editors like Emily stepped forward to remind us why novels like Julie's appeal to them--the writing and the passion!

Anonymous said...

As a reader I recognise instantly that a book appeals to me: maybe the title, the cover, the first page or two, or the blurb, so it's good to hear that editors have that same gut reaction. Very interesting article, thank you.


Emily said...

Nikki, Nicola, Sally, and Gerald, thank you for reading and commenting! I'm so glad the information was helpful.

Best wishes with winning a copy of Julie Korzenko's _Devil's Gold_. I know you will enjoy it!