Thursday, September 29, 2011

Thursday with an Editor - Stacy Boyd

Please welcome Editor Stacy Boyd to the blog today.

Senior editor of Harlequin Desire, watching publishing respond to digital media, living HEA in NYC with a five year old, missing my family in Georgia, wanting time to be lazy.

1. Would you tell us what your typical day looks like?

My typical day is filled with email! I’m usually answering requests from marketing about book covers or copy; from authors about submissions, contracted materials and scheduling; from production about the status of edits; from art about cover information and proofs; from upper management about my strategy for the line and our authors’ career trajectories; and from many others about special projects, conferences, social media, etc. In the midst of all of this, there are many, many meetings. I love how busy my days are, and the diversity of my responsibilities. The best part, of course, is that I get paid to read romance novels. J

2. What’s your favorite thing to read for pleasure?

I read a lot of non-fiction and YA when I’m outside the office, and I especially love magazines. Right now, Bloomberg Businessweek is my favorite.

3. What’s the best perk of your job? Any pitfalls?

The best perk is being able to read really great stories from my favorite authors before they’re available elsewhere. Oh, and free books. The biggest pitfall is that I never have time to read everything I’d like to read.

4. How many authors do you edit yourself? On average, about how many new authors do you take on each year? 

I have an author base of about twenty, a number that fluctuates, and I take on about one new author each year. The entire Desire editorial team, however, usually takes on 3-5 new authors a year.

5. Do you enjoy going to writers’ conferences? Which ones will you be attending in the near future?

I love writers’ conferences! It’s so fun to gather with people who love books as much as I do. I’m attending the New Jersey Romance Writers of America conference on October 22nd, and I’ll be at the Liberty States Fiction Writers conference in the spring of 2012.

6. What’s the best advice you can give aspiring writers planning to pitch to you at a conference?

Think about your story as you would think about a published book. What’s the one thing about your story that would hook you, if you were reading back cover copy? Pick what intrigues you the most, and open with that.

7. Is there a set number of books you expect your authors to pen a year?

For series romance, prolific authors have an advantage. They can more easily build their audience by appearing on the shelves more often. I usually ask new authors to do at least two books a year. Some of our top-selling authors do 3-5 books a year, or more.

8. How would one of your authors describe your editing style?

My authors are always very polite, so they may be thinking one thing and saying another. J Hopefully, they find my editing style to be supportive of their voice and helpful in making their narrative intentions clear to readers.

9. What’s the most common question you’re asked by aspiring writers? And the answer?

The most common question is “What are you looking for?” In broad terms, I’m looking for a good story. More specifically, I’m looking for sexy, short contemporary romance with a lot of drama, an alpha hero with a heart of gold and an unexpected take on plot or characters.

10. What was the last movie you loved?

I’ve been glomming on long-form TV—watching several episodes back-to-back. Longer than movies, but just as engrossing! My recent favorites have been Game of Thrones and True Blood.


Shirley said...

I love Harlequin Desires. They're quick, fun reads that take me away from everyday life.

Thanks for sharing, Stacy. I plan to be one of those new authors very soon. Please look out for me!!

Stacy Boyd said...

I will definitely look out for you. Thanks for the positive feedback!

Tina said...

Enjoyed this Wynter and Stacy.
Desire is my favorite line! Love, love, love and buy all six titles monthly. I'm also loving True Blood. *whispers: I have an unhealthy crush on Eric* Have you read the Sookie Stackhous novels, as well?
Thanks, again!
-- from another Desire author hopeful

Sri Pammi said...

I love Desires too, especially for the breadth of stories in a given month, so I can read angst or drama or fun filled romance.
I do have one question, Stacy. I've heard that external conflict can feature more in Desires than other lines. Is this true and if so, to what extent?

Also, would you recommend an aspiring author to plan a series of books ( like two brothers and a sister etc) when they start querying you, or is it preferable for us to only stick to one?

Thank you so much for your time,


Sri Pammi said...

Ohhh... me too, Tina, Love true Blood and I love Eric tooo..:-)

Love Games of Thrones tooo... can't wait for Joffrey to get his comeuppance.

Stacy Boyd said...

I haven't read the novels, though I hear I should. I'm watching all the first season episodes, from Netflix, so I just met Eric, but he seems very crush-worthy. :-)

Stacy Boyd said...

Sri Pammi,
So glad to hear you're finding the variety you like in the line.

External conflict doesn't feature more strongly in Desire than in other lines (such as Romantic Suspense, which has lots of external stuff going on). But external conflict does work really well to heighten the drama of the romance. The story feels juicier when the characters have other conflicts and concerns besides their internal, romantic ones.

I don't have a preference for connected books or stand-alones from new writers. Readers love families and connected stories, but stand-alones help keep variety in the line.

sri said...

Thanks so much for taking the time to answer my questions, Stacy.

Can't wait to send my partial in.....:-)


Catherine Bybee said...

It's always wonderful to see editor interviews on blogs. Thanks for taking the time to answer questions many authors would ask.

Cate Lord said...

I really enjoy your Thursday with An Editor blog, Wynter! Stacy, great interview! Thanks for sharing the "inside scoop" on your very busy job and your insights on Harlequin Desire.

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