Always fumbling for a blog post, I turned to facebook to ask what you all wanted to hear me babble about. So here goes...
How was our cover process different for Kellye Garrett versus our other covers? Well, I didn't think it was too different from our normal process. In the normal process, I talk with the author beforehand and I ask for what they envision. If it matches mine, then I am super happy. But sometimes I have something else in mind and sometimes I have absolutely nothing - those are the more stressful covers, lol. In Kellye's case, she had been compiling an instagram page with photos of the woman she based her character description on, as well as artists she liked. That helped us put together a cover design. But when the designer put together the cover, I hated it. It just wasn't looking right. So we met again. By we I mean me, sales, and the art department. We bounced a lot of ideas around and finally came up with the design we have now. We tried to contract one of those artists, but it fell through. Thankfully we got one that ended up being perfect.
(In a not normal process, I sometimes don't get that convo with the author beforehand.)
What is the appropriate number of beers/wine/chocolate/etc to bribe an editor with?
Well, that really can't be measured properly. For the appropriate answer, I have to say none. Bribing an editor is not good. For the real life answer, if you are at conference with an editor or agent, it's perfectly acceptable to buy an agent or editor a drink. Don't be a stalker and don't be a weirdo. Don't do the hard sell. Just be a normal person having a normal conversation pretending your writing career isn't hanging in the balance. ;)
What are the different ways authors have destroyed cell phones to maintain a plot?
Huh... I don't know. I think what I see more often are dead zones where phones don't work. Or a dead battery.
How to calm a stressed author?
Geez, part of my job is psychiatrist, I swear to god. I have to calm authors, I have to coddle agents, I have to finesse dealing with other departments... how to do all of those things? Frankly, in my mind, author relationships are above everything else. You are good to me and treat me with respect and I will do the same to you. And the best way to calm a stressed author is to stop all the other things bouncing around in my brain and give the author my full attention. Because basically we all want to be heard, right? On the flip side of that, if then author treats me poorly and starts making demands on my time or telling me what to do, well, I will probably not give the author my full intention. Not entirely proud of that - but hey, it's real life and we do what we do.
Second most important is coworker relationships because how am I going to get sales to sell a ton of my books if I don't get them to fall in love with my books. And to do that, I need the right covers and the right copy and the right tone. Sometime to get that I have to beg, borrow, and steal.
Sorry to say, agents fall last on my list. Mostly because they are always hounding me about getting back to them on submissions. Hey, it's their job. I don't have any issue with that. But it's just me at MI on the acquisitions side and my workload really is the job of three people. No lie.
Finally, what do words and stories mean in Trumpian times?
They mean everything. Absolutely everything. One thing I like about crime fiction is that the majority of the time, the bad guy is caught or justice has been served. We aren't seeing that in our lives right now. Fiction also reflects our times - our joy and our fears. It's a way of one person, the author, connecting and resonating with thousands of people. That is freaking cool! And finally, (just for this segment because frankly we could talk for days and days on the importance of literature,) some days we just want to escape reality. We want a place where all is right, the good guy wins, someone falls in love, and the cats and dogs are adorable and don't poop on the living room floor. Who doesn't want that?
There you go. I didn't answer all the questions tonight - I'm starting a list and maybe answer some more next week. Take care everyone. Be safe and be persistent!!