Wednesday, February 26, 2014
What is it like to be an Acquisitions Editor?
by Susan M. Baganz w/Prism Book Group
My plans for last weekend tanked. I won’t go into details except to say I missed out on warmer weather in North Carolina and was stuck in the chill of the never-ending Wisconsin winter. I missed out on meeting other authors that I might be able to encourage and maybe even publish at some point. I love going to conferences and meeting authors.
My week had been spent finishing the major first round edits on a manuscript. The tedious part was flagging all the duplicate words. It didn’t take long to find that her favorite verb was—was. I almost felt bad sending it back to her as she has her work cut out for her. Her manuscript resembled a rainbow of color. I also flagged problems that she needs to fix. I tried to make it as easy as possible.
I also had to send a rejection this week. I don’t like those but try to be encouraging and constructive. Can I put it on my resume that I do those well? What a dubious honor to be sure. One writer responded with effusive thanks and called me an angel. Now that I should put on my resume, right?
In the midst of my hard work and disappointment, an opportunity arose. One of the authors I contracted, released her book in January. It is doing well. It was a spur of the moment thing to attend her book signing. She was worried no one would show up. Huh. The place was packed. Copies of her book were everywhere. Her husband even came up to thank me for making it all possible.
My heart welled with contentment. It was her first book and took her five years to write. Anything I threw at her with the editing she did and even thanked me for. I couldn’t count the number of emails we had back and forth through the editing process and settling on the perfect title. All the hard work to get that polished gem in people’s hands was forgotten. I was validated and affirmed in my choice to publish her book as people raved about the story.
If I have to say what my favorite part of my job is, it wouldn’t be the conferences. It would be the pleasure of seeing an author’s dream come true. It is an intangible and elusive thing, but there’s something sweet in being a part of that journey, even if it is behind the scenes.
When asked how Susan Baganz got into the field of acquisitions editor, she said, "A friend thought I'd be good at this type of work and it seems she was right."
What is Susan looking for at Prism?: "I look for great romance novels or novellas."