Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Coming out of the Cave: Editors on the Prowl

by Nick Conrad

We don’t bite. Nor do we live in dark caves, only emerging at night to feed on the souls of our innocent supplicants. We never demand virgin sacrifices or firstborns. And sometimes—sometimes—we actually go home and do things that don’t involve editing at all. Like socialize. And eat.

Okay, so a fair amount of eating goes on when we’re at our desks, too. But most of us prefer standard fare over the blood of the living. Oh, and we like caffeinated beverages. Lots and lots of those.

We are the editorial department of Ellora’s Cave Publishing, Inc. We’re regular folks who have come from various parts of the US—and the world. The driving force that unifies us is our passion for the written word and our commitment to providing a product that reflects that. It’s a drive we share with you, the author, and we strive to cultivate your talents and let that passion reflect in your work.

So that’s why we’re here. We understand that sometimes the best way to get an answer is to go straight to the source. What do fiction editors look for in submissions? How do we decide if a story is “hot” enough to qualify as an erotic romance? Why in heaven’s name are we so anal-retentive about things like commas* and word choice and realism, for crying out loud? Isn’t it supposed to be fantasy? What’s wrong with a few creative liberties? (Answer: Nothing—in moderation and in good taste.)

We also want to put faces** behind those names you see just before the title page. Editors, like authors, are readers first, and what we do goes well beyond turning out a product. We’re with a book every step of the way from its submission to its release, and we take as much pride in our work as you do in yours.

Our goal for this blog is to engage you, the authors and aspiring authors (and readers). We will offer you a glimpse into our side of things, some helpful advice, and some exciting and interactive activities. (Psst—that just might include a few critical reads!) There’ll be occasional fun and games and humor—we’re not completely stuffy. Above all, we’re here to make contact with the outside world, to venture out of our cubes and help shed some light on the mystery of what goes on behind the scenes at ECPI and publishers in general—aside from the overconsumption of caffeinated beverages, anyway.

We hope you’ll join us!

*By the way, rumor-mongers, we at ECPI are not anti-comma. We do try to cut out overuse of them because large amounts of punctuation can make books in digital format harder to read. But we do use commas.
**For the literalists in the group, you’re not really going to see our faces. I’m very shy about my three heads, Mackenzie’s hair never holds still for the camera because snakes are hard to train, Meghan lost her soul the last time someone took her picture, Raelene always ruins the shot by shapeshifting at the last second, and Mary—well, it’s hard to be photographed when one doesn’t have a reflection.


Mari said...

What a great idea! Good luck with the blog and dispelling the rumors (like no commas). I heard one that some pubs (like EC) don't allow the word "said". Shocked me!

Ciana / Syneca said...

This is fabulous and I look forward to visiting often. Good luck with the blog. Am sorry to head that I won't get to see the three heads. Was keen on that idea.

Beautiful blog all you wonderful ECPI editors. You rock!

Unknown said...

Hey Nick! Great blog. Except, from now on, every time I submit a ms to you I'll be picturing it being read by a man with three heads, so thanks for that visual.

Hey, look! Commas!

Congrats on the new blog!

Tawny Taylor said...

Fabulous idea! Can't wait to read future posts. Congratulations on the new blog and good luck!

R.G. ALEXANDER said...

The blog looks fantastic! I think this is a really great idea and I look forward to coming back often. :)

Red Garnier said...

Great idea, I love the blog! And I LOVE the bloody book on top - no pun intended. ;) I look forward to reading your posts.

LA Day said...

This was a wonderful idea. I'll check in often. Congrats and best of luck with the blog.

Hot Ash Romance Novels said...

I love the excuses for no pics. LOL. Happy blogging everyone!


Elaine Lowe said...

Thanks for this! I know all of you guys are busy as hell,especially given all those hobbies like bloodsucking and moaning and chain-rattling, but this is a wonderful resource for us authors.
Actually, I'm pretty sure there must be a few lovers of whiskers on kittens and raindrops on roses, but it's ok, we won't tell. Don't want to ruin your image.
But truly, I'm really looking forward to participating and learning from this!

Sally Painter said...

What a great idea! I can't wait to read more about the inner workings of editors. It's almost like an adventure - the final unknown...going where no writers have gone before. Thank you all for doing this!

This comment has been removed by the author.
Heather said...

MacKenzie has snakes for hair? Oye, I knew I was scared of her for a reason!

Actually, she's great...snakes and all. ;)

I, too, think the blog is a great idea and look forward to reading the posts.


I am exceedingly fond of my EC/CP editor. She once offered to come clean my catboxes and that endeared her to me forever. Of course, she never came and they are still in dire needing of cleaning but that's a story for another day.

I have learned a lot from my editor and I'd like to think she's learned a few things from me. (Who knew a roll of toilet paper could be used at the supper table for napkins? Or what a tiger line is? Or a Bloody Maria as opposed to a Bloody Mary???)

Thank you to the editors. You make our humble work shine and I, for one, am exceedingly grateful.

Anonymous said...

Good post, Nick! Good luck to all of you with this venture. I think it will be very valuable to writers to know what editors are thinking about. BTW, if you don't like having your picture taken, do what I do: cover everything up. amazing how much better I look when I'm totally covered up. Just the thing to hide those pesky horns!

Rhonda Helms said...

This is such a great idea!! I'm glad you guys are doing this.

BTW--I enjoyed meeting you at the NEORWA writer's conference back in November 2006. I hope to see you at the next one!! (I was the crazy girl taking pictures of everyone). :D

Judith Rochelle said...

This is an absolutely terrific idea. And so much information. very, very cool. But I'd lkove to see the three heads and the snakes. Anyway, congrats to all you wonderful people at ECPI.

Judith Rochelle/Desiree Holt

Ann said...

Three heads = six eyes. The better to spot commas with. I knew it was a conspiracy!

Hey, this is wonderful! I can't wait to see what ya'll are gonna gab about next. Love Syn's graphic too.

Rock on, kids!

Unknown said...

"I was working on the proof of one of my poems all the morning, and took out a comma. In the afternoon I put it back again."
~Oscar Wilde

See! Even Oscar Wilde had troubles with commas and if they belonged!Thank God for editors! Great idea!

It was great meeting you at NJRW, Nick. Even if we both seemed to be always heading in opposite directions.

Psst... he really does have three heads. *g*

K. Z. Snow said...

Now I feel slighted, Charlotte. Neither of the two editors I've had thus far has offered to clean a single damned thing in my house.

Living across vast expanses of ocean is no excuse.

I'm taking this to my union steward.

Cindy Spencer Pape said...

Nick, does this mean I can cancel my standing order for human sacrifices to be shipped to the office? Whew! Great blog!

ECPI Editors said...

We actually ARE going to post our, umm, images. Once we overcome the "technical difficulties" involved, considering the subject matter. Plus, we don't really want to scare anyone away. We told Mackenzie she has *got* to get those snaked under control, and Nick has to stop wearing the elf hat on his middle head.


B.L. Foxxe's Blog said...

Interesting to say the least. I'll definitely keep an eye on this blog with half a dozen others as well.

Natasha Moore said...

Great blog. I've already added it to my favorites :)

Cara Carnes said...

What a wonderful idea! Thank you so much.

Lani Aames said...

Congrats on the new blog! Looking forward to more information from the editors. :)

I have a wonderful editor at EC and wouldn't trade her for the world!

Unknown said...

What a great and wonderful idea! I'm so excited as a reader and aspiring author to be able to read comments and concerns from editors at EC. I can't wait to read future posts.

Kris Starr said...

Ooo! Ooo! But I want to see Nick's elf hat!

Don't tell me I'm the only one...?!?

Great idea, O Wondrous ECPI Editors! I'll be back regularly to see what you've all got to say! :)

Gail said...

Really great blog. Such a good idea.

BookEnds, A Literary Agency said...

Welcome to the world of blogging! I'll make sure to get your link up on the BookEnds blog as well.

Doing great so far.