Sue was the romance book buyer for Borders and Waldenbooks stores for more than a decade. As of April this year, Sue is Ballantine Bantam Dell’s Category Specialist & Editor At Large. At BBD, Sue is working primarily with the digital end of the business thus learning how to ride the waves of the changes that are ongoing of late in the romance industry. Sue is actively acquiring for BBD’s Loveswept digital imprint relaunched in Fall this year.
What does your job entail?
As Category Specialist & Editor At Large for Ballantine Bantam Dell (Loveswept), I report directly to Gina Wachtel, VP Publishing Director/Associate Publisher. I’m very involved with the social media aspect of Romance At Random.com website; Facebook; Twitter; Tumblr; Google Buzz & Plus communities implementing posts; in general, facilitating daily communications. As Editor At Large, I acquire, edit, & implement new titles for primarily, the Loveswept digital line. As you can imagine, I do lots of reading . . . much of what I read are submissions from agents, authors, and even from un-published authors– it is great fun & I could not have wished for a better organization to work for. I also attend many conferences through-out the country, taking pitches & facilitating workshops usually discussing the industry and its trends, as well as, what readers are looking for. I guess I’ve become an author liaison of sorts, unbeknownst to me <G>
I enjoy meeting unpublished authors & hearing about their books . . .then finding that diamond in the rough that you know readers will love & adore. BECAUSE OF YOU, by Jessica Scott, is our debut for Loveswept (11/2011) & I believe this is a story readers will enjoy – the emotional level is high with a hero to die for; our heroine is strong, confident & caring --- & above all, their romance is sizzling!
2. How many authors do you edit and how do you choose them?
Depending on the manuscript, I’m reading two to three unpublished authors a week. I’m working about 4-5 mos out, meaning that if I received a MS today it would take me that long to get back to the author/agent with a response. I think I’m like most editors & I choose manuscripts based on whether I think they can be a good book or not, but above all, whether I think the reader will enjoy the story. Having had a bookseller background, I believe it has given me an insight into what readers enjoy. As I read the manuscripts, I tend to use this knowledge as a benchmark, which is just another tool to help me decide whether or not the story is something we would publish. On top of all that, Gina is a romance maven – she has an eagle’s eye for what works, so by the time we’ve acquired & edited a story it is golden <G> I work very closely with Junessa & Angela, two of BBD’s savvy editors, who help me with lines edits and the other details of publishing.
3. What are the perks of your job? The pitfalls?
Finding that ‘diamond in the rough’ – finding that debut author & being able to help deliver her story to romance readers everywhere. The feeling you get from making that happen is the biggest perk for me J
Pitfalls . . . probably not being able to read everything, or being able to respond with a detailed critique to help authors with their books.
4. What’s your favorite type of submission? Is there a specific genre you love (more than others) to edit? I used to have a favorite sub-genre, but now, I’m more about characters . . . their development & journey. I find I’m reading more contemporary than ever before, but I believe that is because there is more out there. Similar in opinion to that of many romance readers, it is really all about the characters. I guess that is why I’ve loved Nora Roberts & her stories for all these years. Nora nails characters.
5. What do you like to read for pleasure (assuming you have any time left over in your busy schedule)? LOL – lately, my work is my reading pleasure – I love to read new submissions! However, at some point I’m sure I’ll have to back away & read other things although they still will be in the romance genre. One of my favorite authors (besides Nora) is Catherine Anderson, I am so looking forward to her next release. Mary Balogh is another author who never disappoints & I’m behind on her latest books. And some day I’d like to get back to reading Nelson DeMille – sarcasm through-out which is always laugh out loud great fun.
6. Have you ever written and published any fiction? If not, do you secretly aspire to be a writer?
God no. I’m not a storyteller – the best authors are storytellers at heart.
7. Are you planning to attend any conferences in the near future?
Yes, I’m heading out to Silicon Valley – CA, RWA chapter meeting this Fall & then have several conferences planned for 2012 including: RWA; RT & Romcon.
8. What’s the best advice you can give aspiring writers?
It sounds cliché, but really, write the best book ever! The book of your heart --- because if you feel what you’re writing the reader will feel it too.