Here at Carina, we’re always looking for new authors to sign, publish and build. But we recognize that putting your manuscript out on submission can be an intimidating process. How do you make your manuscript stand out, from the query letter to the last page? We’re here to demystify the submissions process by giving you some insight into what a Carina Press editor looks for when she opens up a submission for review.
Today’s post comes from Alissa Davis. She’s been freelancing for Carina Press since 2010 and is always looking to acquire awesome new romance, especially paranormal, m/m, erotic, historical and contemporary romance.
You’ve directed your submission to a specific editor, but it’s possible your story may be passed to a second editor for evaluation. Wondering why? Here are some of the reasons another editor might end up reading your manuscript, and why that’s a good thing for you.
The original editor doesn’t acquire in that genre or subgenre, or isn’t currently acquiring in it.
Maybe you’ve heard several authors saying great things about an editor, so you directed your submission to her attention. Unfortunately, the editor in question prefers not to read cozy mysteries and that’s what you’re submitting. At Carina Press, Editorial Director Angela James keeps a record of each editor’s general preferences for submissions. This way, an editor who prefers not to read romantic suspense doesn’t receive it in her submissions inbox.
The submission contains a trope or element the editor would prefer not to read.
There are certain things some of us would prefer not to see in the submissions inbox. For instance, I don’t mind mentions of an adult character’s traumatic backstory, but I can’t stand to see violence against children playing out in detail on the page. If I’m looking through a synopsis or reading a manuscript and I see references to that sort of violence, I’ll make note of it in my report and let Angela know I’d recommend having another editor take a look. We want to ensure each submission gets a fair shot.
The editor sees potential in the submission but it isn’t right for her.
This one happens fairly often. An editor receives a submission in a genre or subgenre she enjoys, and when she takes a look she recognizes the story has potential. Unfortunately, it isn’t quite ringing her bells. Maybe the hero is shy and submissive and the editor is on the hunt for alphas right now because she’s just acquired three beta heroes in a row. Or maybe she loves the characters but there’s something about the voice that isn’t working for her. When this happens, the editor makes note of the submission’s potential and Angela is able to use that feedback when she’s assigning it to another editor. Some of my favorite Carina Press acquisitions have come to me after another editor has passed them back to Angela for a second look.
Editor swaps can also happen after acquisition, when an author and editor have been working together and there’s a need for change.
There’s a scheduling issue or personnel issue.
Life happens. Personal schedules or publication schedules change, and sometimes it’s necessary to pass a book to someone else for editing in order to meet important deadlines. A few years ago my husband got a new job in another state. He had to be there within the next few days and I had to stay behind and move us…in less than three weeks. I made a panicked phone call to my mother, begging her to come stay and watch my baby while I packed, and then I looked at my work calendar. Big problem! I had a book that needed to be edited and an entire house to pack. I emailed Angela and we agreed the book should go to another editor. It was a tough decision. I loved the book and had developed a great relationship with the author when we’d worked together on her previous book. I wanted to edit this one and I didn’t like to spring a last-minute editor swap on the author, but there was no way I could manage the edit and the move. Angela found another editor who was a good fit for both the author and the story. That editor took great care of my author and I managed to stay sane during the move.
It’s inconvenient, but these things happen. Sometimes editors leave the industry or accept a position at another publishing house, leaving behind a whole list of authors who need to be assigned to a new editor. When situations like this arise, Angela tries to place each author with the editor who’s going to be the best fit in terms of editing style, enthusiasm for the author’s books, and availability.
The author decides to switch gears.
There are times when an author might decide to go in a very different direction with a new book or series. That’s fine, but the editor who can’t stop raving about your historical romances might not feel the same excitement about the new paranormal BDSM series you’re dying to write, and she may decide your new series deserves an editor who’s more enthusiastic about it.
The author and editor aren’t a good fit.
Not every pairing is a match made in heaven, and sometimes the author or editor lets the editorial director know the relationship isn’t working the way that it should. Revisions can be hard work but they shouldn’t be making anyone miserable!
When this happens, Angela talks to the author and editor to figure out what isn’t working and then she finds an editor who’s a better fit. She knows all of her editors well, and the new author/editor pairing is usually much more successful.
There’s a special opportunity that includes working with another editor.
Sometimes authors are invited to contribute to anthologies. For example, Carina published some Editor’s Choice anthologies and Angela invited one of my authors to write a prequel novella for a series the author and I had been working on together. All of the stories in the anthology were being edited by another Carina Press editor, which meant the author would be working with someone new. In the end she had a great learning experience with the other editor, the series got some additional exposure, and then the author and I reunited for the next book in the series.
No matter the reason behind switching to another editor, we’re always trying to do what’s in the best interest of the author and her books. After all, every book deserves an editor who loves it.
Thank you for reading—we hope these tips have you excited to submit your manuscript to Carina Press! Here are some quick references to help you through the submissions process:
Looking for more information on our submissions process? We’ll have more posts coming in this series, and in the meantime, you can read about our acquisitions process here, and find out more about what an editor does here.
Ready to submit? Click here to start your publishing journey with Carina Press!