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Ye Olde Editor’s Hat

An editor's dream: a Jewel of a manuscript in the submission pile.

An editor’s dream: a jewel of a manuscript among the submissions.

Hello! It’s the “other” me, Janet Clementz, chatting with you today. As an editor, my job is to make an author’s already fabulously written manuscript shine like a gemstone. My goal is to give readers the payoff they’re looking for, to fulfill their expectation of a great reading experience. That’s it, in a nutshell, but there’s a whole lot more that comprises my editor life. For now, let’s concentrate on where it all starts: the submissions that find their way into my Inbox.

The word is out. I’m receiving submissions quite regularly now. My auto-reply to first time queries says to allow at least two weeks for a personal response. So far, I’ve beaten that every time with a short “I’ve got it, thank you!” type of response within a day or two of receipt. Yes, I know what it feels like to be on the other end of the waiting game.

When I read a submission, I’m mining for buried treasure. I’m looking for that gem of a manuscript I can’t quit reading, the story that captures my heart, and with characters who become living-breathing people in my head.

I’m thrilled to have recently acquired novel-length manuscripts, from two very talented authors, and I’m looking forward to when their books will be released sometime next year. When I find a manuscript I can’t walk away from, it’s like finding a diamond. Hence, the loose jewels picture, above-left.

I want to acquire great stories, so I’m not looking for errors and mistakes–unless there are so many that it’s obvious the author isn’t taking my time as seriously as his/her own. Sadly, I’ve received a few of those. What breaks my heart is having to send a rejection letter to an author whose manuscript I desperately wanted to love. A great story just isn’t good enough. I don’t have time to re-write their sentences so the words on the page make sense and mean what the author intended. That’s not editing, it’s re-writing. These are the manuscripts that are not yet ready for submission to an industry professional.

I work on just one project at a time, but have other editing responsibilities too, so every day brings something new. My current Romance wish list includes Historical (any era, any location, up through 1960’s), American Westerns, Time Travel, light Paranormal, and Suspense. Give me powerful stories packed with emotion, and with characters who, regardless of genre or era, leap off the page and into my senses. In other words, BRING IT!

Check out the Soul Mate Publishing website at THIS address. Then, click the Editors tab and scroll down to my name to read my editor’s bio, or click Janet Clementz.

Send a query letter with the first three chapters (up to 50 pages) to me at Janet@SoulMatePublishing.com.

Questions, comments? Feel free to contact me directly. I’d love to chat with you!

RWA14 – J’s recap

Melanie Pikor, highlighting the Converse, Texas, road sign.

Melanie Pikor and the Converse, Texas, exit sign!

J Logo 75Melanie – WHC, and Converse, Texas:
I arrived in San Antonio a couple days early, thanks to hitching a ride with an online critique partner who just happened to be working in the Houston area the week before the RWA14 conference. You gotta know I jumped at the chance for three hours of one-on-one with the awesome Melanie Pikor. Shortest trip ever, thanks to sharing writing, promotion, and publishing ideas—not to mention a bit of Lalala reminiscing. When we passed a road sign noting “Woman Hollering Creek”, the giggles never stopped. Melanie could have written ten different books based on that phrase, alone. And THEN she saw the exit sign for Converse, Texas. Yup, stopped and took pictures, but this is Texas and if you’ve pulled off the side of the road, I guarantee, a nice fellow will stop to lend aid. Cool Dude pulled in beside us, off in the fairly flat ditch, and made sure we were okay. Sweet guy! Ask Melanie about that sign, or WHC, next time you see her!

Kicking off "Flat Jan" week at RWA14: that's the Marriott Riverwalk Hotel sign you see between the two Jan's. It sure looks small from the 28th floor. :)

Kicking off “Flat Jan” week at RWA14: that’s the Marriott Riverwalk Hotel sign you see between the two Jan’s. It sure looks small from the 28th floor. 🙂

Flat Jan:
My very good friend, Janet Nash, was unable to attend the conference this year. She’d registered, like most of us, back in January. Temporarily sidelined by a surgical procedure a week before the conference, she had to cancel. Undaunted, she made her own version of Flat Stanley for a couple of her friends. I know of at least three Flat Jan signs floating around RWA14, and it’s amazing how many times Flat Jan turned up. Jan, herself, might have missed this year’s conference, but Flat Jan sure had a good time! Fingers crossed that next year she’ll be there in person. Love you, Jan!

Enjoying the huge suite: Arlene Hittle, Melanie Pikor, Mary Behre, and Ashlyn Macnamara.

Enjoying the huge suite: Arlene Hittle, Melanie Pikor, Mary Behre, and Ashlyn Macnamara.

The Upgrade:
We arrived in San Antonio when the Fertilizer Convention was in full swing at our hotel. Talk about “raining men!” Well, long story short, within three days, I’d checked into four different rooms. Nothing bad, just a logistics thing. To summarize, I’m tipping my hat to Marriott Rivercenter Hotel Manager, Toby, for making our stay the best, ever. We ended up in an oversized king-sized suite. Seriously, the suite was huge. My roommies and I , Mary Behre and Wendy La Capra, really appreciated the extra space. Perfect H.E.A.!

Sylvia Garza, Patty Murnin, and me.

Sylvia Garza, Patty Murnin, and me.

The Book Signing Event:
It was an honor and a huge thrill to be signing my debut novel, THE 25th HOUR, published by Soul Mate Publishing at RWA14’s “Readers for Life” Literacy Autographing on Wednesday, July 23rd. A few members of my husband’s family were able to attend, and they wandered the rows of tables, awed at the grand assembly of published authors. They’ve always supported my writing, and are notably proud of my achievements, but they said that seeing the massive crowd, in person, really put my writing life into perspective. And, getting to meet a few of my fans—in person—was one of the highlights of the conference. Thank you, everyone, for your continued support!

Me and good friend, Kathryn Jane. She brought me silk Lilacs all the way from Canada! (Can't get them this far south.)

Me, and good friend, Kathryn Jane. She brought me silk Lilacs all the way from Canada! (Needed for book signings, and I can’t get them this far south.) So thoughtful!

Lilacs!
This is Kathryn Jane, my super-sweet friend who lives up in Canada. Check out her books, her BLOG, and FB page. She’s one of my go-to gals for all things horse related. Trust me, she knows horses. Well, a while back, I’d mentioned on FB that I couldn’t find any Lilac silk flowers anywhere in Houston. Since they don’t grow this far south, apparently the retail trade believes we don’t need to have the sillk version, either. Well, I’m from South Dakota where Lilacs thrive. I love them so much, they’re in my story and they’re on the cover of my book. How could I have a book signing without a few Lilac sprigs to decorate my table? Argh! The ever-so-lovely Kathryn Jane said she’d bring me some when she came down for RWA14. She never forgot, and they arrived in pristine condition. I’m blown away by her thoughtfulness. She’s true-blue. Bless her!

SMP authors, me and Rebecca Heflin. She said she wore the wrong boot. LOL!

SMP authors, me and Rebecca Heflin. She said she wore the wrong boot. LOL!

$hopping: handbags, boots, and books!
What’s a road trip without a little shopping excursion, planned or spur-of-the-moment? If you know me at all, you know I’m the last to hit the mall. And, everywhere we went, there were books galore. Love that! Well, San Antonio knew what they were doing when the built a mall that was actually connected to our hotel. You betcha, I trekked through it several times…and dropped a few $$$ in my wake. Did I mention, books? Brought over 25 of them home. Yea! The first time I went to the mall was to walk with my roommate, Wendy La Capra. Walked out of the mall with a nifty new handbag. Another great find was my blinged-out boots. Won’t be wearing these anywhere near a horse or corrals, but they’ve got book signing events written all over them. I’m thrilled with my purchases, and such great deals! Totally worth driving in from Houston more often. [[waggle$ eyebrow$]]

Soul Mate Publishing table at RWA14 Trade Show

Soul Mate Publishing table at RWA14 Trade Show

The Trade Show:
RWA sponsored a vendor trade show, first time ever, and Soul Mate Publishing was there. A huge crowd spilled into the room when they opened the doors, and we stayed busy all afternoon. We had SWAG, free books, and a video for all to enjoy. Four SMP editors were on hand to visit with attendees, answer questions, and take pitches: publisher and senior editor, Debby Gilbert; and editors, Char Chaffin, Cheryl Yeko, and me, Janet Clementz. (Yeah, that’s my real name.) There was plenty of space to mix and mingle, and tasty refreshments in the center of the room made for an enjoyable afternoon. Truthfully, we were so busy, I didn’t get a chance to check out the other vendors. Good job, RWA!

Friends of Jan Nash: Beppie Harrison (holding Flat Jan), me, and Ruth Kenjura.

Friends of Jan Nash: Beppie Harrison (holding Flat Jan), me, and Ruth Kenjura.

 

Wish I was there!

Wish I was there!

NWHRWA:
Long time chapter member, Ruth Kenjura, is known for having her annual “Wine, Cheese, and Chocolate Party” during one evening of the conference. You never know who’s going to show up, and it’s always great fun. The first time I attended, I lost my voice due to laughing so much. I do my best to make it every year, but sometimes I just can’t, and this year it happened again. <sigh> Here’s a little of what I missed. Next year, I vow to be there!

Back row, L-R: Kristal Hollis, Lynn Cahoon, Mary Behre, Amanda Sumner, Melanie Pikor, Valerie Bowman, Jaye Garland, Jodi Vaughn, Alison Atwater, and Maura Troy. Sitting, L-R: Virginia Lee Boylan, Wendy LaCapra (behind VLB), Arlene Hittle, Ashlyn Macnamara, Beppie Harrison, Kathleen Bittner Roth, and KC Klein (behind KBR).

The Lalalas 7-26-14, standing L-R: Kristal Hollis, Lynn Cahoon, Mary Behre, Amanda Sumner, Melanie Pikor, Valerie Bowman, Jaye Garland, Jodi Vaughn, Alison Atwater, and Maura Troy. Sitting L-R: Virginia Lee Boylan, Wendy LaCapra (behind VLB), Arlene Hittle, Ashlyn Macnamara, Beppie Harrison, Kathleen Bittner Roth, and KC Klein (behind KBR).

L-R: Amanda Sumner, Mary Behre, Virginia Lee Boylan, Lynn Cahoon, Barbara Bettis, Arlene Hittle, Kristal Hollis, KC Klein, Jaye Garland, Maura Troy, Kathleen Bittner Roth, Beppie Harrison, Dina Danna, Wendy LaCapra, Marian Pearson Stevens, and Jodi Vaughn.

The Lalalas, 7-24-14, L-R: Amanda Sumner, Mary Behre, Virginia Lee Boylan, Lynn Cahoon, Barbara Bettis, Arlene Hittle, Kristal Hollis, KC Klein, Jaye Garland, Maura Troy, Kathleen Bittner Roth, Beppie Harrison, Dina Danna, Wendy LaCapra, Marian Pearson Stevens, and Jodi Vaughn.

Bill Board and Recipes for J's Release, and LaLaLa Mojito!

Billboard and Recipes for J’s Release, and LaLaLa Mojito!

Johnny Kimball, creator of my special mixed drink,  J's Release, in honor of publishing my first novel.

Johnny Kimball, creator of my special mixed drink, J’s Release, in honor of publishing my first novel.

The Lalalas: I’m thrilled to be among this powerhouse online critique group. Our members live all across the country and throughout the world. Since we rarely get to see each other in-person, except for our national conferences, this year we made a special point to gather on a couple different dates and times. Due to our individual schedules, you know, like editor/agent meetings and such, it was impossible to get everyone who was in attendance into one photograph. And, check out the drink menu. That’s my special drink, “J’s Release” featured on the billboard, and was created just for me by Johnny Kimball, a bartender in Nashville, in honor of publishing my first book. Click on the two pictures to expand the photos and see all the members. Between the two, we’ve captured most of the members who attended RWA14.

With this much networking, awesome workshops, and conference fun, you know we’re all looking forward to RWA15. Look out NYC, here we come!

Wills & Estates: PLAN for it, baby!

 

J Logo 75

Writing Historical Romance is like digging up Jewels from our past and polishing the rough edges till the glitter and brilliance shines through.

Writing Historical Romance is like digging up Jewels from our past and polishing the rough edges till the glitter and brilliance shines through.

What happens to your literary works, published or still in draft form, when you die? If you’re an artist, of any medium, you need to protect your work beyond your own days here on this beautiful earth. You owe it to your loved ones to set this up now, before you think you need to, and no, it’s not inviting death to your door. Creating a will and setting up survivor’s rights to your real and intellectual property is the same thing as carrying an umbrella–just in case there might be rain, you (your literary works) will be protected.

If you’re still not convinced, click the link below. Neil Gaiman says it best, and he’s made it terrifically simple by providing a Do-It-Yourself form. Fill it out using Option 1 or Option 2, and BAM! You’re done. Thanks for playing!

http://journal.neilgaiman.com/2006/10/important-and-pass-it-on.html

Yes, I’ve Googled you!

Jewels to Share!

Jewels from the Editor

Janet here, and wearing my editor’s hat for a moment . . . 🙂

The publishing industry is changing–by the day–so don’t think you’re the only one who can’t keep up. No one can. Gaining the eye of a coveted editor is tough enough, but you’ve already lost the war if you’ve never stepped foot on the battlefield. What I mean by that is, everyone must ‘up their game plan’. No longer is it the responsibility of the publisher, only, to handle promotion. Those days are long gone. Even the Big 5 authors know they must be active on social networks and do the bulk of their own promotion.

When I fall in love with a submission, to the point that I would love to dig in and help the author turn their story into the best it can be, do I care whether or not that author has established an online presence? You bet I do! I’ve Googled every single potential author that’s landed in my Inbox. So far, I’ve been able to find some form of an online presence for all but one author.

Did that author’s lack of an online presence keep me from working with her? Nope, but her book was incredibly riveting. I knew, before we’d complete the revision process, she would have time to get things rolling–and she’s done it. Bless her heart!

Taking on a new project is a big decision. If I’m on the fence, the lack of an online presence just might be the deciding factor. Don’t let that be you. Make me love your book–and you–enough that I can’t afford not to offer that contract.

Happy writing,

Janet@SoulMatePublishing.com