May 14th, 2019
Hi everyone, and thank you for listening to the launch episodes of the We Make Books Podcast - A podcast about writing, publishing, and everything in between!
We Make Books is hosted by Rekka Jay and Kaelyn Considine; Rekka is a published author and Kaelyn is an editor and together they are going to take you through what goes into getting a book out of your head, on to paper, in to the hands of a publisher, and finally on to book store shelves.
In this final episode of the launch, Rekka and Kaelyn switch tracks and get real about how an author might worry what a publisher will do to their book after they get the rights.
We Make Books is a podcast for writer and publishers, by writers and publishers and we want to hear from our listeners! Hit us up on our social media, linked below, and send us your questions, comments, concerns, and any theories you may have about the new Continental streaming series, based on John Wick.
Thank you for taking the time to listen to this introduction, the first batch of new episodes drops on May 14th, so be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss it.
A transcription of this episode can be found below.
We hope you enjoy We Make Books!
=== Transcript ===
Rekka: 00:01 [laughing] Hey everyone, welcome back to We Make Books–
Kaelyn: 00:04 [laughter]
Rekka: 00:04 –a podcast about writing and publishing and everything in between. I'm Rekka, I write science fiction as RJ Theodore.
Kaelyn: 00:12 And I'm Kaelyn, I publish science fiction and fantasy at Parvus press.
Rekka: 00:17 And in today's episode, we are taking a different tone from the last two episodes of this launch.
Kaelyn: 00:24 We get heavy here, guys. This one's, you know–
Rekka: 00:26 I was couched, I was, I was definitely like, you know, "tell me about how you feel about your publisher."
Kaelyn: 00:33 She's having some flashbacks, you know, and there was
Rekka: 00:35 A bit of shaking.
Kaelyn: 00:36 And how did that make you feel?
Rekka: 00:38 There was a little bit of that.
Kaelyn: 00:40 Yeah. But you know, so after the first couple of episodes where we really just kind of threw a lot at you with "this, then this, then this" kind of format, um, we wanted to take a step back and do something that was going to be a little more in line with what we're going to be doing down the line. So we were talking, we were trying to come up with what we thought would be a good third episode of this batch for the initial launch and uh Rekka, you know, said, "Well publishers can be scary."
Rekka: 01:12 Well, and, that was kind of the whole concept of the podcast. So I was like, all right, so how do we talk about this? Like what do we want to ask the publishers?
Kaelyn: 01:23 And at the same time from the publishers, what do we want to know about the writers and what they're thinking about this? So we kind of came to this agreement of let's talk about relationships between publishers, editors, writers, and what's scary, what each side wishes the other one knew about them or–
Rekka: 01:41 like how did you approach the relationship? What was your expectation?
Kaelyn: 01:44 Yeah, the things that when, especially writers, because they're new at this, whereas editors have done this multiple times previously, going into it going, "What do I do now?" And you know, that is the theme for this podcast, but we thought this would be kind of a good, good jumping off point for the rest of it. So, I mean we're going to have lots of different episodes about different topics coming down the line, which we're really excited about. Um, you know, we'll plug it in at the end of the episode, but you know, please do feel free to interact with us. You are encouraged to do so.
Rekka: 02:12 Yeah. And I think this one will let you know that there's really not anything we aren't willing to tackle.
Kaelyn: 02:18 Yes, we are... I mean, there is like, I joke in the episode, there is the publishing guild's cabal is probably sending an assassin after me as we speak.
Rekka: 02:29 Yeah. Yeah. And if we don't have them, you know, sending an Uber out with their assassin every episode that we record, then we're not doing it right.
Kaelyn: 02:38 We're not doing a good job. Yeah. Spilling all the deep dark secrets.
Rekka: 02:41 The deepest and darkest.
Kaelyn: 02:42 You know, so, um, anyway, so that's, you know, the episode, like I said, it's a little, you know, there's a little more emotion driven and uh, some of the other ones and what we're going to be doing in the future.
Rekka: 02:52 But do me a favor and try not to analyze me.
Kaelyn: 02:56 [laughter] Yeah, Rekka really laid at all, laid it all out there.
Rekka: 02:58 I mean, these are all things I've about before, but not in this context and not so directly related to like this relationship.
Kaelyn: 03:07 Yeah. So anyway, I think it's great. I think it'll, uh, kind of, I think a lot of it will resonate, a lot of people will identify with this. So, uh
Rekka: 03:15 Here it comes.
Kaelyn: 03:15 Yeah. Here it comes. Hope you enjoy.
Piano: 03:17 [music]
Maybe ghosts?: 03:38 [muffled speech and laughter]
Kaelyn: 03:38 The one in control of the button.
Rekka: 03:39 I do like control, speaking of which–
Kaelyn: 03:45 We're recording now aren't we?
Rekka: 03:45 We are recording, and speaking of control that is an excellent segue.
Kaelyn: 03:46 It is an excellent segue. Yeah. That wasn't even intentional.
Rekka: 03:49 Mm-hmm. Good job.
Kaelyn: 03:50 So, uh, you know, as we said in the introduction, what we're talking about here today, it's a little bit of a hard left from the previous two.
Rekka: 03:57 Yeah. The previous two were sort of like the top down view. It was safe. It was, um, a little dr– I don't wanna say dry, but you know, it was–
Kaelyn: 04:06 I think we're entertaining enough.
Rekka: 04:07 more on the functional side,
Kaelyn: 04:11 Yeah. But today we're talking about relationships with editors and taking care of your book; entrusting your book.
Rekka: 04:20 Who's going to take care of your book. If not you?
Kaelyn: 04:24 This is, you know, big hangup that a lot of authors have. And it's scary and it's–
Rekka: 04:29 Even authors I think, who have dreams of getting a publishing deal.
Kaelyn: 04:34 Yeah. And then it's in front of you and it's like, "Oh my God, wait–"
Rekka: 04:37 "Is this the right choice?"
Kaelyn: 04:38 "This person I just met has so many opinions!"
Rekka: 04:41 And it's a partnership. It's, um, it's a marriage of the efforts of the author and this team and there's– [thoughtful exhalation] I don't know if it's media representation showing that they are at odds or if it's just the loud experiences of people who've had less than stellar, you know, interactions.
Kaelyn: 05:05 I'd imagine it's some combination of the two. You know, it's, I think, you know, saying like this depiction of being at odds with your editor is like very detrimental.
Rekka: 05:16 Yes.
Kaelyn: 05:17 You should not be at odds with your editor. But it is, regardless, you could be thrilled to death and it is scary because you don't, you've spent so much time on this, this is your blood, sweat and tears and now someone else is going to come in and you are contractually mandated to pay attention to and take their opinions about your work. And that's terrifying. Yeah.
Rekka: 05:44 And, and there's more to it than– I mean, we're talking partially about editing, but we're also just talking about the publisher. Yeah. As an entity that is now going to gather your book under their wing and you have to be okay with that.
Kaelyn: 06:00 Yeah, no, that's–
Rekka: 06:01 You really have to be okay with that. And if you aren't okay with that, when you're facing down the contract, maybe consider – What did we say was going to be repeating theme? Take a step back, and now, audience, take a shot.
Kaelyn: 06:20 [laughing] That should be in the name of this podcast. "Take a step back."
Rekka: 06:24 Nope. I already have the domain name. Um, the um, the feelings that you have are valid.
Kaelyn: 06:34 Yes.
Rekka: 06:34 Emotions are always valid.
Kaelyn: 06:35 Yes.
Rekka: 06:35 We're not saying you, your fear is wrong, but it might be founded in an absence of understanding of what's going to happen, which is again, the entire point of this podcast as a whole is to make that absence of knowledge.
Kaelyn: 06:53 Yeah.
Rekka: 06:54 The pool a little bit shallower.
Kaelyn: 06:56 Pull the veil back. Make this a little less scary.
Rekka: 06:58 Yeah.
Kaelyn: 06:59 So I'm obviously coming from the publishing side. Rekka is coming from the writing side. So we have, you know, different perspectives on this. Um, one of the things we were talking about before we got started here is: does anyone care about your book as much as you do?
Rekka: 07:18 No.
Kaelyn: 07:19 The answer is no.
Rekka: 07:20 No, no one does, no one ever could.
Kaelyn: 07:24 It's not possible. But your editor is probably a close second.
Rekka: 07:28 And we brought up the discussion like, maybe a parent?
Kaelyn: 07:32 A spouse?
Rekka: 07:33 The argument would be, yeah, they care about you as a person, and they care about your experience.
Kaelyn: 07:40 Your success.
Rekka: 07:41 And your success, and that you're happy.
Kaelyn: 07:43 Yes. But your book as a product,
Rekka: 07:47 Yeah, and what it's about and the world building that went into it and whether people like your character as much as you do like tha– that's probably not forefront of their mind.
Kaelyn: 07:59 No, it's, I mean, as we said, you know, in our previous two episodes, this is a deeply personal thing.
Rekka: 08:06 And aside from the readers and fans that you will hopefully eventually get to meet and get to see them express their experience with your book, there isn't going to be that sort of passionate caring about your book on this end of the process, except with a publisher who's monetarily, emotionally and you know.
Kaelyn: 08:35 Spiritually. [laughter]
Rekka: 08:39 Spiritually invested, by the powers invested in...
Kaelyn: 08:42 Well I mean your pu-, your publisher – really it's your, it's your editor. Your publisher is the one responsible for getting the book out the door and making sure everyone makes money off of it. Um, know obviously they've got an interest in, you know, making sure it's successful, not just for monetary reasons but because publishers want books to be successful, because they want to publish successful books. Um, like at Parvus for instance, we've been really working hard to cultivate and maintain a good reputation because we genuinely care about our books and our authors and that's so important to us. And that's not just us. That's a lot of publishing houses that you want to put a great book out there and you want to hear people talking about it and you want everyone to be excited about it. So, everyone involved in the process wants, [laughter] they want what's best for the book. [laughter] We only want what's best for the book. You? Eh. The book, however.
Rekka: 09:50 Well, and there is a line drawn.
Kaelyn: 09:53 There is, but um, you know, so I'm on, I'm on the publishing end of things, but Rekka you're on the writing end of things. So you actually have some unique perspective and experience in how you came to a traditional publishing situation.
Rekka: 10:08 Yeah, especially the traditional part of that, um. I think it's, it's not going to be secret for long if it's still a secret, but my plan was to self publish Flotsam–
Kaelyn: 10:18 I just assumed everyone knew that at this point.
Rekka: 10:22 I think anyone who knows anything about me, has listened to my other podcasts, or followed me for any amount of time, probably understands that I–and here's going back to the segue that led into the episode–I like to have control of everything. And for me, um, the best way to have control over the content of my book, the presentation of my book, the marketing of my book, the longterm success of my book... was going to be, if I was in complete control of my book. I wanted to accept the responsibility for every step of the process so that I could be proud of it.
Kaelyn: 11:04 Of course, yeah.
Rekka: 11:04 And that it would be the vision that I have from the get go.
Kaelyn: 11:07 And I think that's important is authors really wanting to hold onto their vision. Because I'm uh, you know, we actually discussed this very briefly in the previous episode of like, cover art and that is the true embodiment of an author's vision for the book.
Rekka: 11:21 And funny you should mention that because–you and your segues today! We need a gong.
Kaelyn: 11:27 I've really, I'm nailing it.
Rekka: 11:28 Um, I brought–I mean we're skipping ahead to the part where I decided to go ahead and submit this, but I commissioned...
Kaelyn: 11:36 Well no, because this is, this is one of the hangups that you had.
Rekka: 11:39 Um, I commissioned a cover artist, um, and I didn't just go to, I mean like I don't want to disparage anyone on Fiverr. I'm sure there are very talented people on Fiverr, but I went, um, to the person whose vision matched what I felt the inside of my book–
Kaelyn: 11:56 And you did research.
Rekka: 11:57 and I did a lot of research and I thought I wanted a different artist.
Kaelyn: 12:01 Yeah. So going back to, you know, some of the hang ups you had, some of the worries, one of them was that you already commissioned this beautiful piece of art from Julie Dillon for your cover.
Rekka: 12:11 Yes. So obviously this wasn't a hangup that prevented me from submitting to Parvus. This was a hang up, like once I had submitted, I was like, "[nervous inhale] they're not gonna want to use this. Like I just spent all this money, invested it, in a gorgeous piece of artwork, but I'm not going to be allowed to use this."
Kaelyn: 12:27 So now it's like, that's another thing. Is this worth it?
Rekka: 12:30 Is it like, yeah, like this cover is perfect for my book. Luckily Parvus agreed. But that was–
Kaelyn: 12:36 Well, I mean, have you seen it? What do you think someone's going to be like, "No, that's no good."
Rekka: 12:42 "That's no good at all." Um, uh, I actually have gotten a comment from, from somebody who was like, "I didn't really get it at first, but then I read it and I'm like, Oh yeah, no, that's totally perfect." And anyone who had read any draft of Flotsam, when they saw the cover art was like, "Oh, that is so good."
Kaelyn: 12:59 It's perfect. Really. It really is.
Rekka: 13:01 It captures it, all the, the strangeness of it, the the, the whimsy of it too, and all that. All right, so [laughter]. I'm trying to stay on track here.
Kaelyn: 13:09 No it's just like, because it's so, it's so beautiful and eye-catching that like you just want rant about it for a while.
Rekka: 13:15 I just wanna talk about it forever. Yeah. I haven't gotten to talk about it like it's a new cover in a long time.
Kaelyn: 13:18 It's true. Yeah.
Rekka: 13:20 So I, um, I had other hang-ups about going with a traditional publisher and a lot of them came out of this track that I was on to,
Both: 13:29 To self publish.
Rekka: 13:30 Because, once I decided that, I had podcasts that I could listen to about self publishing, and there was definitely a bias of um, you know, "a traditional publisher does not care about your book as much as you do," which as we started off the episode like, is not quite fair on anyone's part to say.
Kaelyn: 13:51 No, it's, I mean I would, you know, granted–
Rekka: 13:54 The interest is different.
Kaelyn: 13:55 –yeah. Granted I'm coming from the other side of things here, but, um, there I, I lose sleep over books. So, um, to say no one cares about it is, I mean, to me false.
Rekka: 14:09 Right.
Kaelyn: 14:09 Um, but I think there is this fear – and it's an understandable fear – that, "Okay, my dreams have come true. My book has gotten accepted for publication. Oh God, they're going to make me change all of it."
Rekka: 14:25 And not only that, but, "I am a single, small author with no experience. And here comes a team of people who know what they're doing and they have the authority–"
Kaelyn: 14:35 Oh it's so intimidating. Yeah.
Rekka: 14:35 There's, there's definite position of authority that can be abused, if it were desired to be abused.
Kaelyn: 14:42 It's very intimidating. And you know, again, this is part of the reason we want to do this is maybe, you know, you find yourself in this position when you go in with a little bit of knowledge and you know, a little bit goes a long way.
Rekka: 14:51 And just knowing what's coming up and not feeling like, "Well, how do I know that what they're telling me is the process is supposed to be the process?"
Kaelyn: 15:04 Well because Kaelyn and Rekka said so.
Rekka: 15:04 And what we say goes! (Speaking of position from authority).
Kaelyn: 15:10 Yeah. So there's definitely like a fear over the creative side of what's gonna happen. And it's understandable. It's scary. Um. Something that you have spent so much time on and now this person, who you have maybe had a couple conversations about, who you probably never met in person is going to go, "and this and this and change this and move this here." Now, hopefully you never actually have a conversation like that, cause that's awful.
Rekka: 15:36 That was detached and cold and not like–if someone's going to request that you change something in your manuscript, you want some like, explanation of how it's going to improve it.
Kaelyn: 15:49 Well, so... And again, the qualifier: everyone works differently. Every editor's process is a little different. But so I'm going to take it kind of over to my side of things now. I very much believe in a collaborative process in writing. Um. I think most editors and publishers do, because if everyone's miserable then you're not going to make a good book. Um. If there, I am very, you know, have open conversations, talk about your concerns. I'll talk about mine. Let's come to an understanding. Um. There's a, there's a movie, Once Upon a Time in Mexico. [chuckle] Have you seen that?
Rekka: 16:32 Yes
Kaelyn: 16:32 Okay. You remember Johnny Depp's character's like the CIA agent everywhere he goes, he likes, he sits down and orders the same thing.
Rekka: 16:38 Yeah.
Kaelyn: 16:39 In the beginning, he's meeting the informant and he gives him the information and asks him, "Uh, you know, you only asked for $10,000. You knew we would pay a lot more for it." And the guy's like "Yeah, I'm not a greedy man. $10,000 is reasonable. It's a civilized number. It's a number we can both live with. You're not going to kill me over $10,000." And I always kind of look at this as we need to get to a civilized number. [laughter] Um, that's what I always, sometimes I say number, but like "we need to get to a civilized answer here."
Rekka: 17:13 Somewhere in the middle.
Kaelyn: 17:13 "Where we can both walk away feeling good about this." But that's the thing you, your editor is not your opposition. Your editor is your partner in this process. They are the ones who, they are going to spend so much time on your book, thinking about it, mulling it over, isolating areas that could use some work, maybe punch them up a little bit, tighten it. I personally, my favorite part of this whole process is getting on the phone with my authors and talking about their book and talking about the world it's set in. And like, I always ask, are there any parts that you think are, weak? You know, I like to know what their, their mentality going into it is. Um, but that part is so much fun. And for my end, if there's a part of a book or a manuscript that I'm like, "Look, this is not working," and the author is really resisting and it's very important to them, my next question is, "Okay, why is this part's so important?" And it's fascinating because a lot of the times there's a reason and it's like, "Well why didn't you tell me that?" You know, like, "Oh this is important for a later book, or this is setting something up down the line, or there's this character arc that you know," and it's like, "Okay, well, tell me that because then we can work on that. We can flesh these things out." Being up front with your editor is really important, I think.
Rekka: 18:39 Mmm-hmm, and not shutting down emotionally or verbally.
Kaelyn: 18:42 Yeah. Like, I mean, don't take criticism badly. Cause here's the thing: they would not have bought your book if it was a bad book.
Rekka: 18:50 Right.
Kaelyn: 18:50 People don't buy bad books, they buy good books, great, books turn them into awesome books. And I mean, so you have, you know, you went through quite a process with Flotsam, a little back and forth with, you know, to self publish or traditional publish. So what was it like when you were working with an editor then?
Rekka: 19:09 Well, as I said, I hired a contracted editor, um, before I made any sort of such decision. I mean the book wasn't ready yet. I knew it wasn't ready. I did not know why. So most of the heavy lifting with my editor – who turned out to be my editor at Parvus once I signed, [laughter] that's a long, convoluted story. So let's just pretend that I was working on the book with him the entire time in, in the capacity that was the Parvus Press capacity cause it, it blended, really see, you know, like I didn't have to be introduced to my Parvus editor before he worked for Parvus.
Kaelyn: 19:46 Yeah, you were in a little bit of a different spot there.
Rekka: 19:48 I'm like, I am an outlier as far as this goes. Um, so I knew the book wasn't great – or I'm like, I knew the book was great. I knew the concept was great. I knew there was something there that I had to get out in the world. And working on the drafts over four years, I just kept shoving in stuff to fill what I felt was missing.
Kaelyn: 20:13 Okay.
Rekka: 20:14 And I would add stuff and never take anything else out. I would change stuff but make it, I would shoe horn it in around the other things that were already there.
Kaelyn: 20:24 Ah! Classic author move. [laughter]
Rekka: 20:26 And so what my editor said after we met for the first time, um, through Skype, I said, "Well, I've been working on this for 12 years." And he said, "I know, it's all in here. I can tell." And so like that freed me up to realize like, okay, every word was still precious to me.
Kaelyn: 20:44 Of course.
Rekka: 20:44 But that started to help me see that like, every draft was not supposed to be an additive process. [laughter] Sometimes removing stuff is important.
Kaelyn: 20:57 Yeah... yeah... Culling is important.
Rekka: 20:59 So, um, so working with an editor, one, like sort of helped me let go of all these years of work that I'd been putting into this story because I realized, "Oh, so what you're saying is it doesn't all fit in one book." [laughter]
Kaelyn: 21:18 Yeah. And you actually bring up a very good point here, which is, um, I think one of the hardest things for authors to hear right off the bat, when they start working with an editor, is the editor unsheathing the metaphorical machete. Where it's like, "okay, we're going to take care of all of this extraneous stuff." And, "No, no, it's not extraneous, it's important!" And understanding that here's the thing, it's not, and it doesn't mean you're a bad writer.
Rekka: 21:47 It just doesn't belong in the draft, because it is important. It's important pre-work, but not all of that belongs in the final story.
Kaelyn: 21:55 I should say it's not important to the final story. The work you did is important. But that's the big difference is, I'm interested in the work you did to this point in just terms of your process. But for the final product of the book, it doesn't–
Rekka: 22:12 it doesn't mean the book better. The book is not richer because you have layers and layers and layers.
Kaelyn: 22:18 Yeah. So, and I think that's a hard thing for especially first time authors working with an editor to, to in.
Rekka: 22:24 And prior to that I'd been working completely alone on it. You know, I had people who'd read it, some friends who, bless their souls, read it three or four times and various versions. And then I got to the point where I was like, "Everyone I know who's willing to read this has already read it and they know all the other versions and I need fresh perspective on this." And then I had this epiphany, you know, event where I realized like, "I need to move forward on this. And I've been putting a lot of my time into this because I have time for free. Time doesn't cost me any money to invest in the story and rewrite it and rewrite it and rewrite it. I need to stop treating this like I will eventually get there if I just work harder.
Kaelyn: 23:12 Yeah. And you know, we're getting, we're getting very heavy with this conversation. It's, you know, it because, but it does deserve some, um, some gravitas because
Rekka: 23:22 It's a big decision.
Kaelyn: 23:23 It's a big decision. Um, I know from, you know, when I meet an, introduced myself to a new author and I'm in a little bit of a unique position because I'm also the acquisitions editor. So chances are even, you know, you've probably already had a conversation with me probably more than one. Um, and I know how nerve wracking it is. And part of my job, what I see my job as an editor is, I need to put you at ease and reassure you so that you can write the best possible version of the book I can get out of you. And trust me, I will get it out of you. You're going to hate me by the end, but I will get it out of you. [laughter]
Rekka: 24:05 But it's, it's the effort that you're going to draw out of the author.
Kaelyn: 24:10 Yes.
Rekka: 24:10 It's not going to be hated because you're going to change all the fundamental things that make this book the author's own book.
Kaelyn: 24:16 Yeah. When I say, you're going to hate me by the end of it. I mean, because I know what you're capable of. And –
Rekka: 24:23 You're not going to settle for anything less.
Kaelyn: 24:24 – I am not going to let you get away with anything. So, and I mean it's, you should want an editor that does that.
Rekka: 24:32 You should want an editor that is compelled to draw every last drop–
Kaelyn: 24:37 –But here's the thing, I'm doing it because I care about your book a lot. So do I care about as much as you? I can't imagine I do because no one else cares about it as much as you, but I care about it a lot. Um, so you know, having an open and frank relationship with your editor is important. And this was one of the things we were kind of batting around when we were trying to do, figure out what to do with this episode and that was relationships with your editor. Um, it's tricky.
Rekka: 25:10 Yeah.
Kaelyn: 25:11 Because it is a professional relationship, right? But at the same time, it's–
Rekka: 25:18 Fraught with emotion!
Kaelyn: 25:20 –and it's a very vulnerable relationship. Um, I always say, you know, like if you wake up at 1:30 in the morning and you're like, "Oh my God, this idea!" Text me, email me, I want to hear about it. Um, but you know, maybe don't call me. That's, we're not, we're not quite there yet. Um, but it's, it's a tricky relationship to navigate because this is a person that – I won't say they're in a position of authority over you because that's not the case at all. But they are in a position –
Rekka: 25:53 They're serving two parties here.
Kaelyn: 25:55 –Yeah, there's you, and then there's also their publishing house. So it is, it is a difficult relationship to navigate, but at the same time, then, you're going to have absurd conversations with this person. [laughter] And here's the thing, I love them, but like, I definitely get some people that are like, I'm like, "Okay, well this part's not really clear. Can you explain what's going on?" It's like, "Oh, well this person's from here so they can do water magic." "Okay, great. Um, what about this guy?" "Oh, he's from here. So that's that tree magic." It's like, guys, you don't sound stupid to me. And I know that like everyone else that you talk to about this–
Rekka: 26:33 This is the concept we're selling!
Kaelyn: 26:35 Yes! It's like, "I want to hear about this stuff. Tell me about, you know, your armored rabbits charging into battle! Like, I want to know about this." No matter. I mean, did you ever feel like, you know, like, "Oh well, and then–"
Rekka: 26:51 I am always an outlier. I have never felt apologetic for – Like, I wrote Flotsam. [laughter] Like have you read Flotsam?
Kaelyn: 26:58 A couple of times. Yeah. [laughter]
Rekka: 26:59 Yeah. How am I supposed to feel bashful about that book?
Kaelyn: 27:04 It's true. It's definitely true.
Rekka: 27:06 Um, there's not a lot in there I can even pretend is normal.
Kaelyn: 27:10 Especially if you're shy. You're not shy.
Rekka: 27:14 I have been shy in my life. I think I'm done.
Kaelyn: 27:16 I don't believe that for a second but let's keep going. You know, and that part can be intimidating and there's a lot of little things that you know, factor into your relationship. Um. But I think it's good and important to have at least a friendly relationship with your editor.
Rekka: 27:35 Mm-hmm.
Kaelyn: 27:36 Because it's different from– I mean, I think you'd agree it's different from a lot of other regular jobs. Oh yeah. Like making a widget. This isn't going into the office and you know, going, "Steve, you were supposed to get me this by tomorrow. Why isn't it done?" Like it's, you know, it's like, "Okay, so you're stuck on this thing. Let me help you with it."
Rekka: 27:59 Mm-hmm.
Kaelyn: 27:59 And that's great. That's my favorite part. Yeah. So, yeah. Um. It is a little hard, you know, balancing the personal professional.
Rekka: 28:07 Mm-hmm. and you'd have to sort of decide where you're going to put your boundaries before you run into them or over them or through them.
Kaelyn: 28:13 But with social media now it's so much, you know...
Rekka: 28:16 Boundaries fall away all the time.
Kaelyn: 28:18 Yeah, pretty quickly and like, you know, interacting with the people in your writing community, and by extension, your publisher is great. You know, it's, it's a lot of fun and it's a good way to kind of like, you know, have a funny exchange that builds some awareness.
Rekka: 28:32 Yeah. But in in the same sense of like opening boundaries, like if there's a boundary that someone sets, you just respect it. Absolutely. And um, yeah, like my current editor at Parvus doesn't want text messages. Okay. Like that's not going to help him work better on my book, you know?
Kaelyn: 28:50 [laughter]
Rekka: 28:50 So while Kailyn may accept text messages from authors in her stable
Kaelyn: 28:56 Kaelyn encourages text messages. I, I'm fine with all forms of communication, just, you know, communicate with me.
Rekka: 29:01 Yeah. I always prefer to have it in writing. So like if someone calls me up and has the conversation and I have no written record of it, 20 minutes later I'm like, "Oh, what did we say we were going to do? I have no record of it."
Kaelyn: 29:15 I just blacked out for that entire thing. Did I just agree to do a podcast?!
Rekka: 29:17 How does that happen?
Kaelyn: 29:19 Yeah. So boundaries and communication standards are important to establish.
Rekka: 29:23 And working together in the way that works best for everybody.
Kaelyn: 29:25 Yes. And again, this is, you know, the every editor works different. Um. I, I like to get a sense of how an author works well because if I'm doing something and it's just completely going over their head, that's not helping anyone.
Rekka: 29:42 Right.
Kaelyn: 29:42 And I, I can be more flexible. I'm pretty good about that kind of stuff. So like, yeah, you can tell me "Here's how I work best and it's reasonable." No problem.
Rekka: 29:53 Right.
Kaelyn: 29:55 So. Um. Editors are not that scary. I'm not supposed to say that. I'm sure you know the secret cabal of publishing is sending an assassin for me as we speak, so it was nice doing these episodes for everyone, but I think we think that, well, writers kind of have this impression that editors are going to go, "No, nope. Cross this out. Get rid of this. What the heck is this?" If your book needed that much work–
Rekka: 30:28 Or that much vehemence.
Kaelyn: 30:31 Vehemence, yeah. No, they wouldn't have bought it. They buy books, we buy books because we're interested in them and we liked them. And even if it's a little rough, we can sand it down and polish it and make it like amazing.
Rekka: 30:45 Mm-hmm.
Kaelyn: 30:45 You know, we take it to that, like, I am going to get the best book possible out of you because I know you're capable of doing it. That is the core of this. We would not buy a book that we thought like, "Eh, I dunno. I guess it's, it's fine."
Rekka: 30:59 Yeah.
Kaelyn: 31:01 You know, going back to look again why we started this podcast, I really, it's, it's a little bit interesting for me when I go to conventions because you know, a lot of times I'm there by myself mostly, or with a very small party like, you know, I know people, I have friends there and stuff, but like I introduced myself and "Oh, are you a writer?" "Oh No. I work in publishing, I'm an acquisitions editor." And it is like amazing. Like people sit up a little bit
Rekka: 31:26 It's like a wall or something that comes up.
Kaelyn: 31:28 No, it's just kind of like, "Oh!" And I understand, you know, it's like you're not.
Rekka: 31:35 You're a cryptid, you're a mythological figure.
Kaelyn: 31:37 Yeah. It's like "A wild acquisitions editor has appeared!"
Rekka: 31:40 What did I say in the last five minutes that they might've overheard?
Kaelyn: 31:44 Did I summon them? How did they appear here? But it is very funny where I will like, you know, it'd be talking to a group of people and introduce myself and then there is a massive shift in the conversation. Like I can just sense it where it's like, "Oh, we're not surrounded entirely by our own kind." But that's what I kind of want to dispel a little bit. We are also lovers of stories and the craft of writing and spend a lot of time thinking about and working on creative processes and um, you know, addressing the best ways to write and tell stories because we love stories,' were just on the other end of the stories.
Rekka: 32:30 But you are a big part of making them happen.
Kaelyn: 32:33 We Make Books.
Rekka: 32:33 Yes. We Make Books.
Kaelyn: 32:36 We all make books.
Rekka: 32:37 Yes. Together.
Kaelyn: 32:38 Together as team. But, it's true. And that's part of the reason we really wanted to do this.
Rekka: 32:46 And something else that you bring to it. And I mean, I know this, this episode is primarily focused on relationships, uh, with the publisher and the author. But there is the benefit, and a reason that you might choose to seek a publisher for your book, is that they have relationships with lots of people.
Kaelyn: 33:03 We do.
Rekka: 33:03 And those people are probably not accessible to you on your own without a lot of just elbow-rubbing at conventions and stuff. Like eventually you might meet all those people on your own, but the, the publisher has this, um, it's not an army because they, they're mutuals and their peers and stuff, but like they have, they have a reach that you don't necessarily have and they want to leverage that to help you.
Kaelyn: 33:31 We have people that we work with outside of what you would normally encounter because that's just our day-to-day. Like, I mean, do you know a guy who does lay out?
Rekka: 33:44 [indistinguishable noise]
Kaelyn: 33:44 Well, I mean, well you [laughter] You the hypothetical author that I'm running into.
Rekka: 33:49 Oh sorry, yes, not Rekka. The other one.
Kaelyn: 33:49 I mean, do you know a guy who does layout? Do you know? I mean, you can go online and find a copy editor, but I know one that does a good job and that we trust.
Rekka: 34:01 And if I, if I want to put a cover on a space opera and then a cover on a steampunk book and then a cover on a high fantasy book, like do I have a Rolodex with names and numbers of people who do different genre books particularly well? Or–
Kaelyn: 34:16 I mean, part of it, it is, you know, the resources and the information that we collected as sort of like an archive.
Rekka: 34:22 Everything you learn can be use for the next author.
Kaelyn: 34:24 Oh yeah, no, trust me, it's, it's definitely a compounding knowledge situation. Um. So that's, you know, that's another thing that's important in the relationship is what you're getting out of the publisher and you're getting our experience, our resources, our knowledge, our creative teams, and people that we can introduce you to and help you, have them help you with things. And that is really the core of not just your editor but with your publisher. They are there to help you. Their job is to help you get a book published. When I say that, I don't mean like, "oh, maybe" like, no, they're going to publish your book. When I say help you, I mean get you to that step.
Rekka: 35:05 Yes. And they're not reluctantly sharing all this.
Kaelyn: 35:09 No. We're excited about it. You know, like, oh, okay, well you need...
Rekka: 35:12 You get the contract and you're like, "Yes! We can. We're going to do this. This is going to be amazing!"
Kaelyn: 35:16 Yeah. And we're already planning and you know, thinking about what we're going to do for you and you know, we try to keep authors in the loop about these things. It's important that you know what's going on with your book and your work and everything. So it's, it is a relationship. It's a symbiotic relationship and it's important to have a good one. You should have more than one point of contact beyond your editor probably, but that is going to be your primary point of contact. Um, and you know, your author should be – "your author," *my* author, *your editor* is hopefully someone that you have a good working relationship and a good rapport with, and they understand what you're trying to do because that's how you're going to get a good book.
Rekka: 36:00 And you're comfortable enough to ask the clarifying questions. If you're not sure what's going on and you don't just nod and say, "Uh huh, uh huh."
Kaelyn: 36:06 Yeah, and I mean, you know, and this is a touchy subject, I really shouldn't be bringing this up, but I'm going to. If you're having problems with your relationship with your editor – and I am going to qualify all of this by saying, be VERY careful about what you consider to be "insurmountable problems" because "they don't like this scene" is not one.
Rekka: 36:34 Right.
Kaelyn: 36:35 I'm talking about real problems, like you're not getting responses back from them. Like there's a deadline approaching and you haven't heard anything. You can't get in touch with them. Be very careful about what you consider to be irreconcilable differences.
Rekka: 36:54 We're talking like publishing war crimes.
Kaelyn: 36:56 Yeah, pretty much. We're talking about like anything that is potentially a violation of the contract is kind of the thing. But if that happens, you do need to consider, "okay, what do I do here?" And if you have an agent, the first thing you do is go to your agent. If you don't have an agent, then you got to take steps beyond that. You're not. If you just end up in a bad relationship with your publisher – or your editor, excuse me – you're not in a completely helpless position, but again, this is like we're talking again like use, "does this viol– potentially violate the contract" or "is this putting me in a position where I'm going to end up violating the contract?" That should be like –
Rekka: 37:41 The number one concern because that's the piece of paper you signed.
Kaelyn: 37:44 Because if you go to the publisher and you're like, "Well they're making the change this sentence, and I like that sentence the way it is." That's not a good thing to do.
Rekka: 37:56 "Are we seriously having this conversation?"
Kaelyn: 37:58 Yeah, and this is like I said, this is not, you know, it was a little hesitant to bring this up because I don't want to put ideas in anyone's head about this, but I do want to put out there that, you know, like you could be in a position where that happens.
Rekka: 38:12 Yeah.
Kaelyn: 38:12 I'm not saying that never happens because of course it does.
Rekka: 38:15 But it's not the default.
Kaelyn: 38:18 No, no. I don't think it is. Do you? I mean...
Rekka: 38:21 Nothing I've seen. Everyone I know loves their editor.
Kaelyn: 38:27 Good. We're very lovable. As I say, like a robot: "We are very lovable creatures."
Rekka: 38:34 "Be Convinced." [laughter]
Kaelyn: 38:36 Um, yeah, so I won't say there's never a situation in which you are going to have a major problem with an editor. They, they happen, they are rare, few, and far between because people that don't care about these books...
Rekka: 38:51 Don't last long.
Kaelyn: 38:52 Don't – stop working on them, because I mean, can you imagine if you didn't like this?
Rekka: 38:59 it's a lot of work for something you don't like.
Kaelyn: 39:01 Yeah. It would be torture. [laughter] So it's just something you know to keep in mind that the person you're working with. We wouldn't be doing this if they did an enjoy it.
Rekka: 39:13 and chances are the suggestion, even if you don't agree with a proposed solution, the suggestion is valid and the problem area they're identifying is, is something that you need to take another look at anyway.
Kaelyn: 39:27 Yeah. I mean, I always use an example of, um, there was a book, there was a manuscript I was reading and I read it and I came back with a note that I was like, look, this is a huge problem. Um, it was a sensitivity issue and it was like, this is like, "You gotta fix this." And I got back from the author, "Well that's not what is happening in that scene." And my response to that was, "Okay, good. Second, I read it and I didn't know that."
Rekka: 39:56 Yeah. So we need to address what you're communicating in that scene.
Kaelyn: 40:00 "First. Great. I'm really glad to hear that."
Rekka: 40:04 "You cannot understand how relieved I am."
Kaelyn: 40:06 Yes. "Second, let's make sure that no one else ever possibly thinks that because I read it a few times and I'm going, uhhhhhhh," so yeah. Um, yeah, as we said like, if an editor comes back to you with something, even if it's not, um, you know exactly what you're thinking needs to be changed, but they're bringing it up, is valid.
Rekka: 40:31 But I can't tell you how many times I get comments from an editor and I go, "THAT's what was wrong with it! Oh my god! That is what I needed, someone to tell me."
Kaelyn: 40:45 It's an outside fresh set of eyes.
Rekka: 40:47 But it's, it, and trained eyes.
Kaelyn: 40:49 Yes.
Rekka: 40:49 And that is so key and so important and it's not just a trumped up proofreader, you know? And it's not just somebody who's pushing whatever the trends are on the market that the publishers trying to follow.
Kaelyn: 41:04 They don't have an agenda.
Rekka: 41:05 Their agenda is to make your book as good as possible.
Kaelyn: 41:09 Sometimes there's a thing you just can't quite put your finger on, you're like –
Rekka: 41:13 ALL the time there's a thing you can't just put your finger on.
Kaelyn: 41:15 – I know there's something here and –
Rekka: 41:16 It's like, "I love this scene but I know I'm doing it wrong or I know it could be stronger." Or like, "I just read through my book and like there's this part that's like, all these things are important but it's not coming together." And your editor sees that. And probably without even knowing that it's torturing you, can say like, "Hey, just so I know, I noticed in this scene like [plot] and like what if you bring that thing that happens later and you combine those scenes," and then all of a sudden the book is more clear, it's more succinct, things are connecting and like, you know, rockets are going off and lightning is striking.
Kaelyn: 41:54 Yeah. It's a nice feeling when it's nice feeling.
Rekka: 41:57 [whispers] so nice!
Kaelyn: 41:57 It's a nice feeling on the editor side when things come together and like you get a draft back and you're like, "Yes! Nailed it! Kick ass author, this book's gonna rock!
Rekka: 42:06 Play The A-Team theme right here.
Kaelyn: 42:08 Get up, do a little dance. And I'm like, this is the thing that I get just as excited about this when I get a draft back and I'm like, okay, I want to see what they did this thing. And I'm just like [whispers] "Nailed it! Awesome!" [laughter]
Rekka: 42:18 I have comments in my, um, and one of my recent drafts, as all caps. "YESSS!!!!!!!!!" With multiple Ss and many many exclamations points.
Kaelyn: 42:29 [laughter] I have sent stuff back to authors that was like, "You kicked this punk ass paragraph's ass back to–" just incoherent.
Rekka: 42:38 So happy.
Kaelyn: 42:39 "Nailed this! Totally nailed it. Go get a beer, do celebration dance! You earned it!"
Rekka: 42:45 So don't ever let anyone tell you that the publisher's editor does not care about your book.
Kaelyn: 42:49 Oh God, I get, I get so worked up about this stuff. I think I scare people sometimes. [laughter]
Rekka: 42:54 Trust me, you cannot yell loud enough for your author.
Kaelyn: 42:58 [laughter] "You kicked this paragraph's ass showed it who's boss. It's over there in the corner crying about how good it is right now."
Rekka: 43:05 "It just can't take how awesome it is."
Kaelyn: 43:07 Yeah.
Rekka: 43:07 All right, well, we are about out of time...
Kaelyn: 43:08 We are?
Rekka: 43:12 I think we like... Like, we covered a lot. And I looked at the time and I was surprised to see that we were already at the target length and we were going for, I was thinking like, "oh, what else are we going to talk about?" I'm like, no, but I think that is.
Kaelyn: 43:22 Yeah, I mean, so this was a little bit, we wanted to do a little bit more of a free form...
Rekka: 43:28 Touchy feely.
Kaelyn: 43:29 We still love everyone even though we just kind of like did a litany of...
Rekka: 43:34 Well yeah. And, and so this is a pacing issue. [laughter]
Kaelyn: 43:40 The whole point is, at the end of this, both parties –
Rekka: 43:44 –want a book they'll love–
Kaelyn: 43:44 –love this book and are excited about it and would not be working on it if they weren't. So trust your editors, writers, and editors, trust your writers.
Rekka: 43:55 Yes.
Kaelyn: 43:56 And love each other and you know, write good books together.
Rekka: 44:00 And set healthy boundaries.
Kaelyn: 44:01 And set healthy boundaries. Um, so yeah, that's a, that's the episode. Um, This is the end of our, you know, initial batch of rel–
Rekka: 44:10 Launch.
Kaelyn: 44:10 Yeah, Launch, that's the word, right?
Rekka: 44:11 Yeah you'd think the editor would know the term "launch."
Kaelyn: 44:14 Okay, I–you get. You get one of those every episode.
Rekka: 44:17 [cackles] I enjoyed that one.
Kaelyn: 44:17 You get to throw– you get to throw "God, you're an editor" once. I will give you one an episode. Um, so yeah, this is the end of our launch episodes. Um, we hope you enjoyed them. We really enjoyed doing them. Um, but there's going to be more like this to come. This one was like a said a little more free form then we're going to be doing. But we both were kind of like, "oh that was, that was a lot of listing things."
Rekka: 44:44 We put a lot into planning these out so that we could make sure that we addressed everything. And obviously those first two episodes about, um, before acquisition and after acquisition, there was a lot that we wanted to make sure that we covered and didn't forget anything. So we had to really plan those episodes out before we got started.
Kaelyn: 45:02 So there will be, you know, coming somewhere a little more balanced between those. This one was a little, like, "What's a good way to round this out? Okay. Let's talk about writers and editors and publishers."
Rekka: 45:15 Well, it was more of a like, "Okay," you said to me, "Rekka, what did you want to ask?"
Kaelyn: 45:24 [laughter]
Rekka: 45:24 And my question was, "What are your intentions toward my book?"
Kaelyn: 45:28 [laughter]
Rekka: 45:29 But with all the gravitas and um, and like threat and–
Kaelyn: 45:33 Of a father with a shotgun in Oklahoma.
Rekka: 45:33 – Ominous portent. So we wanted to make sure that like, yeah, we are going to address the things that you're asking about. We're going to address the things that you're worried about, that you're unsure about. So this is the, this episode represents the promise that we intend to fulfill. That you're going to find out these things that you don't feel like you can ask.
Kaelyn: 46:00 Yeah. And you know, no question is off limits.
Rekka: 46:04 Yeah. Um, we might, we might be tip-toeing around the way we answer it because you know, we are trying to maintain a level of professionality and we know that maybe you want us to go on a screaming, cursing rant about something.
Kaelyn: 46:16 I mean I will occasionally if it's a –
Rekka: 46:17 We are capable of it.
Kaelyn: 46:18 Really good paragraph.
Rekka: 46:21 Yes. Thank you. And um, but like, do ask us, don't be afraid to ask us. Like we said, you can direct message WMBcast on Twitter if you want to be anonymous. Like we are happy to, to hold your anonymity and um, you know, there's Patreon, you can ask there if you just want it slightly more private, on a comment.
Kaelyn: 46:44 You can email us.
Rekka: 46:44 Or you can email us firstname.lastname@example.org and that's the most super anonymous way to get in touch with us and a long form question, if you're really not even sure how you want to phrase it.
Kaelyn: 46:59 So we really want to hear from everyone.
Rekka: 47:01 We absolutely welcome your questions, your comments, your anecdotes.
Kaelyn: 47:05 Concerns.
Rekka: 47:05 Um, and if you could, if you're just reacting on like a thank you so much level, we would love a review and a rating on iTunes.
Kaelyn: 47:13 Go do it on iTunes
Rekka: 47:14 Please make sure you're subscribed so that you get our future episodes and um, follow us on Twitter. You can find WMBcast on Twitter and Instagram. You can find our individual profiles and you can just interact with us. Let us know what, what nerves we're hitting here and um, what else is on your mind.
Kaelyn: 47:34 Yeah, I know we keep saying this, but we really envision this as: we want to be, want to have any engaging conversation with the people that listen to this.
Rekka: 47:42 Absolutely.
Kaelyn: 47:44 You know, so hopefully, we're gonna have some listeners who want to know some things and want to interact with us.
Rekka: 47:49 And in the future, if you leave a rating or review or a question, we will probably read it out loud on the air.
Kaelyn: 47:54 Yeah, we'll shout it out on here.
Rekka: 47:56 Obviously this is launch day, so we don't have any of those yet, but we will get to a point where we do.
Kaelyn: 48:00 No, but you know, I mean hit us on the socials and the keep in touch. We really, really want to hear from you.
Rekka: 48:05 And we hope that you know, this is a super valuable resource that you come back to again and again.
Kaelyn: 48:11 Yeah, and I promise after this we'll stop ram– every episode we're going to cut down the rambling at the end a little bit.
Rekka: 48:17 Maybe a touch.
Kaelyn: 48:18 Maybe a touch, eventually.
Rekka: 48:21 Someday.
Kaelyn: 48:21 Yeah. It's a wave beating against a rock.
Rekka: 48:24 Wear us down.
Kaelyn: 48:24 Yes.
Rekka: 48:25 Eventually we will run right up against the start of the game of Thrones episode that we're recording up until. Then, it would just be like, okay, we're done. Put down some questions.
Kaelyn: 48:32 Okay. All right. Thanks everyone so much for listening and
Rekka: 48:37 we'll talk to you in two weeks.
Kaelyn: 48:38 Yeah. Two weeks.
Piano: 48:39 [music]