Editor Sue Grimshaw - Behind the Scenes
This month we have Random House editor, Sue Grimshaw sitting down to share her views on the publishing world. In addition to answering questions, Sue has graciously included a number of web links that are helpful to readers in finding the subjects she mentions.
Thank you so much Sue for agreeing to our interview and answering the questions in detail.
Sue, please share with our readers a little about yourself and how you took an editor position on your career path?
Thanks for having me here today Lizzie. Most of my career has been in retail as a buyer for two chain stores - Kmart then more recently Borders Group. I was romance buyer at Borders for many years & was fortunate enough for a big six publisher to take an interest in me. Now, I’m beginning my third year of employment with Random House working for their Ballantine Bantam Dell, Loveswept & Flirt imprints – great fun!
What is a typical day at the office for you?
Busy! Usually in the mornings I work on various social media sites – we’ve our Romance At Random website ; SueGrimshaw on Twitter; Romance At Random on Facebook, and I dabble a bit with Pinterest, Tumblr, Google+ and more! There’s a lot to keep up with in the web world. Around 10 AM I’m into my day with WebEx meetings; agent calls; author calls; edits; acquisitions; cover review; copy review; you name it, I’m doing it – if it is something associated with publishing I’m probably involved in some way shape or form & I wouldn’t want it any other way. Typically in the evenings I’m curled up on the couch next to my hubby & while he’s watching sports on TV I’m reading one of our books. *sigh* that’s romance!
Have you created a slush pile for the unrequested manuscripts that come across your desk? How frequently do you pull from it—or do you?
I’ve a very large submission pile that I review weekly. I prioritize each and every file, and even if I’ve not made a final decision on whether it is something we want for our line I know what I have pending and what my timeline is for each manuscript in most cases. With the new digital announcement last fall all of our submissions are done electronically - anyone can submit appropriate titles for our Loveswept, Flirt, Hydra & Alibi lines. I’ve already acquired two authors from this process & I can’t wait for readers to enjoy their wonderful stories.
Do you offer contracts to non-agent represented clients or do you suggest they acquire representation? How many unrepresented authors do you make an offer to per year?
It is really up to the author whether they’d like an agent or not. We will offer either way – agented or not. Usually when we make an offer to an author that is not represented they obtain an agent anyway – that’s actually happened a few times. Now with the eSubmission process as mentioned above I’m sure we’ll see more non-agented authors.
With the number of authors, some with traditional publishing houses, going to Indy Publishing do you see changes coming in the relationships between authors, agents and editors?
I think there are going to be changes we cannot even yet fathom. In my own brief experience I’ve developed some great relationships with agents and authors so I anticipate that to continue. Previously self published Toni Aleo is a new author for us --- her Assassin’s series will release this May: Taking Shots, Trying to Score & Empty Net (5/13/2013)
I adore working with Toni and her agent as we’ve created a great vision for how to grow Toni’s brand. The way I work with my acquisitions is that we’re all in this together to build author brands promoting to our readers so they can enjoy some of the best hero’s and heroines in romance!
Your previous position was in a now bankrupt brick and mortar bookstore chain. Given the upheavals in the publishing world, what do you see in the future for the current booksellers such as Barnes and Noble and Books-a-Million?
I think there will always be a place in the world for bookstores. I do think it will be survival of the fittest – the companies that pay attention to their business and are flexible enough to change with the evolving market will survive.
What is the typical length of time in a book contract with a large publisher?
Typically we need a minimum of five months from editing to production. Honestly, you wouldn’t want it any tighter than that in my opinion as you would short change your pre-sell period, time that is much needed to make the consumer aware of your book. Also, the chain stores need a few months to get all of the files uploaded and to get the kinks out.
Have you noticed a difference in sales between print and digital books? Are digital book sales gaining on print books in the large publishing houses?
Digital books are gaining ground; eBooks have definitely become reader’s preference.
Crystal ball time—W hat do you see happening in the publishing industry over the next year? 5 years?
Oh my – well, more and more publishers will be embracing the digital world, the few that haven’t will be on board within the year. I think enhanced eBooks will be more available. Places like BookScout will become more the norm. I think browser reading will be more the norm too; readers will understand that there are other options rather than using an eReader. I think within five years we’ll have a larger assortment of gadgets that have the capability to open up a browser page to access all of our books.
Oh darn . . . .my crystal ball is out of batteries *Grin*
Thanks for having me – Happy Romance!! SueG
Columnist Lizzie T. Leaf: Award winning author, Lizzie T. Leaf enjoys writing Paranormal/Fantasy with a twist of humor and heat. Her Magical Love series is available in print and eBook at Passion in Print and other sellers. Beyond Magic, the first book in the series won the 2012 AOE Best Paranormal/Fantasy/Sci-Fi. The DEAD series is available through Musa Publishing where she also has two Christmas novellas, the Contemporary Fantasy, Forget the Mistletoe and Making Christmas, the LRC Best Historical winner and the 2012 Aspen Gold Best Novella winner.