What is your background?
I spent twenty-five years in the computer information communication profession, as technical writer, editor and manager. I started editing part time for Ellora’s Cave over six years ago because it was an interesting variation from my day job in a computer department. I moved to Ohio as managing editor five and a half years ago, have been Publisher for more than three years.
Is there any type of story you're hoping to find but not seeing in your submissions?
Erotic urban fantasy romance (not just urban fantasy with sex scenes – true erotic romance within the urban fantasy genre)
How often do you ask for manuscripts from contests?
How often do you select manuscripts from the "slush pile"?
Myself, I rarely have time to look at the slush pile. But our EC/CP editors do go through the approximately 90 unsolicited submissions we receive each month.
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?
The first paragraph better hook me, or I’m immediately disinclined toward this story. A couple of pages at most will tell me if it’s an immediate reject. If it looks good, I’ll continue for several chapters. The first page is enough to tell me if this writer can’t spell, doesn’t know grammar or sentence structure, has poor writing style.
If you had to chose between a magnificent plot or a magnificent voice, which would you select?
I want both, readers want both. However, it is easier for an editor to work with a writer to “fix” plot problems (as long as the basic plot premise is strong). Voice is unique and if it doesn’t work, there’s not a whole lot an editor can do except reject.
What are some errors that new authors make?
Poor quality submissions – didn’t bother to have it thorough proofed, haven’t used crit partners or beta readers. Waste the editor’s time and immediately turn the editor off by poor submission cover letter. Talk ONLY about the story, nothing about you.
If you had to give an aspiring author one piece of advice, what would it be?
Read, research, read, research, read, research… (Okay, so I snuck in two.)
What question do you wish someone would ask? And what's the answer?
Question: What do I consider the most important qualities of an author? Answer: Professionalism and ethical behavior.
Have you ever become star-struck when meeting an author? If so, who?
The Linda Howard Award of Excellence is taking entries now. Click here.