Joining us today is Executive Editor for Carina Press, Angela James. I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Angela when she did an informative presentation for the Southern Magic Chapter of RWA in Birmingham, Alabama. Angela managed to graciously dispel all of my misconceptions about a digital first press and ultimately left me wondering which of my stories might be a fit for Carina Press.
Angela, what’s the biggest life change for you since joining Carina Press?
Oh, this is a hard question. It would probably have to be increased travel, and especially increased travel out of country, since my team and my desk are at the Harlequin offices in Toronto. The other thing is that I spend a LOT more time on the phone, working for Harlequin. But I consider any changes that have come about as a result of joining Carina to be positive ones. I don’t have a single complaint!
Angela, you blog regularly at two different sites right now: Your personal blog, www.nicemommy-evileditor.com and Carina Press blog, www.carinapress.com/blog Until recently, it was three with the wonderful craft blog Whipped Out. Obviously you’ve had to draw the line somewhere on the issue of only having so many hours in a day. How do you still manage to produce content on two sites while overseeing Carina and having a family? Any organizational hints you can give us?
Well, I don’t always do everything well, if we’re being honest. As you said, I oversee my blog and Carina
As for organizational hints, you’re right, there are so many hours in the day, but if I’m being honest, I don’t work just an 8-hour work day. My husband would be the first to point this out. And I don’t turn off my brain very well on weekends, either. But I still have to be organized—and motivated—during the main hours of my work day and stay focused. I work from home, so this is even more challenging, but over the years I’ve learned to make lists, understand my deadlines, triage my priorities and be completely aware of what needs to be done—and then work to get it done. Daily, and weekly, I have tasks that I set for myself that need to be accomplished before I can be “done”. And there is always something waiting behind. The trick is to know that this is what I’m being paid to do, this is my business, and it’s got to be a priority!
I saw an author recently very positively reference having had the “Angela James Treatment” on one of my loops. Care to explain just what that might be?
What is the biggest misconception you have to battle about a digital first press?
That digital-first books are all poor quality, that all digital-first presses take anything that’s submitted and that they’re only being published by a digital-first press because a traditional press rejected them. I can’t even tell you the number of people who tell me how surprised they are by the quality of the stories they’ve discovered they can get from some digital-presses.
Let me say that I like the straightforward guidelines on Carina’s submission page. (http://carinapress.com/blog/submission-guidelines/ )When I read it, I have no confusion about exactly what you want. That’s refreshing because some sites fail to consolidate the details and leave you feeling like you’re on a website treasure hunt. Once you get the submission, what’s the process at Carina and what seems to be the average timeline on submitted materials?
I’m going to put what can be a bit of a lengthy process into abbreviated steps.
- Submission comes in
- I check that submission is complete and forward to a freelance editor
- Editor reads it and gives an initial report (on anything from one page to 3 chapters)
- If editor wants to continue reading past initial report, editor then reads full.
- Editor recommends either acquisition/rejection/revise & resubmit
- If rejection is recommended, I send rejection letter to author. If revisions are requested, editor sends letter to author
- If acquisition is recommended, I present editor’s report to acquisitions team at our weekly meeting.
- At least one team member will read it and report back their recommendation within one to two weeks. If team member has questions about it, a second team member reads it.
- Manuscript is either recommended for acquisition, rejection or revise & resubmit.
As you can see, our process has checks & balances, for quality control, so it does take usually take us a minimum of 4-6 weeks in the process, once the submission has been assigned. Since I assign them to editors in order they come into the inbox, for the most part, that can tack on another 4-6 weeks, so response time is around 12-16 weeks.
Is there any one most common mistake you see with submissions?
Submitting a manuscript that’s not ready to be submitted because the author doesn’t take the time to polish it—including time to let it “sit” and come back to it with fresh eyes.
Okay, just for fun:
Who/What’s on your eBook shelf to be read?
I just got done reading a lot of really good books, so I’ve been re-reading some old favorites the past few days. But once I jump back in to reading new books again, I have Cold Magic by Kate Elliot, Lying Eyes by Amy Atwell (a Carina Press book), Wolfsbane by Patricia Briggs and Bayou Moon by Ilona Andrews.
If you were a character in a book, what genre would Angela James most likely find herself in and why?
Hopefully I’d be in a fabulous western space opera, with someone like the amazing Captain Tightpants (err…I mean my husband—just in case he’s reading this and thinks I mean Nathan Fillion..I would NEVER…) and we’d be traveling among the stars, dragging each galaxy to the digital dark side, one reader at a time.
Will you share one of your wonderful recipes with us?
I would love to. Since the holidays are coming up, and nothing goes with romance better than chocolate, I’m going to share my Cracker “Candy” recipe. You can find the entire recipe on my blog, complete with pictures, my chatter about the recipe and comments from people who have made this, but trust me when I say you’ll be amazed at how easy it is, and how surprisingly good. http://nicemommy-evileditor.com/blog/2009/12/09/easy-christmas-cookie-cracker-candy/
2 sticks of salted butter -do NOT use margarine
1/4 cup sugar
1 bag of milk (or semi or dark) chocolate morsels
Sliced almonds or any other nuts (optional)
Line cookie sheet with foil (sides too). Lay saltines side by side in one layer, sides touching. Melt butter, add sugar and boil 3 minutes. Drizzle over crackers, (keep crackers together). Bake 5 minutes @ 400°. Remove from oven and sprinkle chocolate over baked crackers. They will start to melt – spread over crackers. Sprinkle top with nuts. Refrigerate until cold, even overnight. Break into pieces.
If you’d like to see a list of recipes on my blog, you can find them all here: http://nicemommy-evileditor.com/recipes/
Angela, thanks for being with us today. I’m posting links below for those who want to follow both you and Carina Press more closely.
For Carina Press: