1). What is your background? Latoya Smith started her editorial career as an administrative assistant to the New York Times bestselling author, Teri Woods at Teri Woods Publishing, one of the nation's largest independent publishers. It was there that she discovered her passion for book publishing. Latoya worked at TWP seasonally while pursuing her Bachelor’s Degree at Temple University. She graduated Cum Laude from Temple in August of 2005. She then got a full-time position at Kensington Publishing where she was an editorial assistant for Senior Editor Karen Thomas in March of 2006. In October 2006, Latoya moved over to Grand Central Publishing, formerly known as Warner Books, an imprint at Hachette Book Group, where she continued working under Karen Thomas, who is now an executive editor.
Latoya is currently acquiring romance (mainly paranormal and romantic suspense), general fiction, erotica, and women's fiction.
2). Is there any type of story you're hoping to find but not seeing in your submissions? A really strong dark paranormal brotherhood series. It doesn’t matter what creatures.
3). How often do you ask for manuscripts from contests?" Normally every time. I usually request the #1 and #2 entries.
4). How often do you select manuscripts from the "slush pile?" I’ve read them, but I have yet to find one worthy of publishing.
5). While reading a manuscript, how long does it usually take before you know whether or not you want to request the full or reject? Why? First few pages. I am the kind of person that likes to get into the story from page 1. Definitely not one to wait until it gets better. My motto is if you can’t catch my attention in the opening for free, why would someone pay to read?
6). If you had to chose between a magnificent plot or a magnificent voice, which would you select? Voice. You can always rework the plot.
7). What are some errors that new authors make? Romance is very difficult because a lot of times you have to combine two genres; a very new and different plot and cast of characters, while keeping in mind the traditional elements of a good romance. Many times new authors have one down, but not the other.
8). If you had to give an aspiring author one piece of advice, what would it be? Make sure you are 100% happy with your work before submitting because a lot of times you only get one chance. It’s great to join critique groups as well to get great critical analysis (not family and friends) before submitting to an editor/agent.
9). What question do you wish someone would ask? And what's the answer? How many times should you query an editor after submission? Give editors 4-6 weeks for review. For un-agented, at least 4-6 months. Unfortunately, we must look at agented submissions first which delays the reads for unagented materials.
10). Have you ever become star-struck when meeting an author? If so, who? Pam Grier.
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