Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Editopia: Meredith Rich with Bloomsbury Spark
Editopia is back! Today, we're thrilled to welcome editor Meredith Rich, the digital editor for YA and NA at Bloomsbury Spark.
Previously Meredith has also been a historical reinactor, a regular actor, a barista, a children's bookseller, a math editor, and a playwright. Many years and careers later she finally figured out that she loves storytelling, and that helping other people tell their own stories is even better. Her best days are spent with a good book and iced coffee in the park, preferably with someone else's dog to pet. You can find her on twitter at @MeredithJHRich
Bloomsbury Spark is a one-of-a-kind, global, digital imprint from Bloomsbury Publishing dedicated to publishing a wide array of exciting fiction eBooks to teen, YA and new adult readers. Their outstanding list features multiple genres: romance, contemporary, dystopian, paranormal, sci-fi, mystery, thriller, and more. Bloomsbury Spark is open to non-agented submissions, so if you have a manuscript between 25 and 60k words long, then please check out their submissions guidelines here:
Hi Meredith! Thanks for being here. Okay, to start if off: most authors are surprised to find out that editors’ days aren’t spent kicking back at their desks with mugs of tea and piles of manuscripts and that, in fact, most work reading happens outside of work. Describe what your “typical” day actually is.
Hmm…my ideal day is something like this:
8:30-9:30: Answer all of the email as fast as I can, trying to get on top of my inbox. Often my favorite part of my day. I love email. Is that weird?
9:30-11: Either meetings or catching up on paperwork, metadata, marketing things.
11-1: Whatever needs doing. Sometimes this could be writing design memos for the cover, talking to freelancers, routing invoices, meeting with our Spark team, writing acquisition proposals, or chatting with authors and agents. I also really love spreadsheets so I try to slot some time to update all of them. There are many and they are all also color-coded. Of course.
1-3: By this point I can try to settle in for editing for an hour or two. Sometimes I am writing longer edit letters, looking at arc, structure and characters, and with some I really look more at line edits from the beginning. I am very lucky that my authors are flexible and willing to take whatever feedback necessary! I am also lucky in that they forgive me for my overuse of "awkward" in line notes.
3-4: Usually in the afternoon I try to look through some submissions and move things along. They can really pile up and I try to at least decide which ones I am interested in reading and then move them to my kindle to read later.
4-??? I head back to editing. We have two titles a month slated for Spark so I often edit at home and read submissions on the weekends.
Of course most days my actual schedule looks like this:
8:30-???: Meetings, emails, spreadsheets, meetings, emails, coffee, emails.
Ha! Yes. Those ideal days never quite happen, even with the best, color-coded intents, right? Without implicating anyone, can you tell us one of or some of the weirder submissions you’ve received?
One of the weirdest ones I have ever gotten involved a main character that had a really hard time with…certain bodily functions. I can’t even describe the query without it getting gross, but suffice it to say, it was quite easy to “flush” that one. (Sorry, couldn’t help myself. :)
*Snort* I really love the varied answers we get to that question. Switching gears a little, is there a particular book that sparked your love of reading or a book that you re-read time and again?
I don’t quite remember what age I was when I discovered Tamora Pierce, but I think it was probably around third or fourth grade. Reading her Song of the Lioness series was like discovering a whole new world that combined some of my favorite things. (Girls disguised as men, knights, magic, etc.)
I remember one particular family vacation to Germany where I only brought those four books with me, and I think I read the whole series through ten times by the end of the two weeks. One of my mom’s favorite photos of me features a very awkward Meredith on a train, ignoring the passing castles out the window, and completely engrossed in what Alanna does next.
How could anyone mind "awkward" when you also describe yourself that way?! That's adorable. Okay, so, I love to swim but have a total fear of drowning and I find it really hard to read books where that is a plot point. What about you? Anything you hate to read about? On the other hand, are there subjects you’re drawn to?
I am a super scaredy-cat as far as blood is concerned so I can’t read horror, as much as I might like to! I am ok with thrillers and mysteries, and I can handle violence in books as well if it is well placed and purposeful, but I can’t watch it on TV! For example I read and loved the Game of Thrones books, but I absolutely cannot watch the show. Just can’t.
As far as what I am drawn to without fail, I was a theater major in college and a historical reinactor right afterwards, so I love books with a historical twist or anything set in theater! I also love living vicariously through books set in small towns, mostly because I have lived in major cities my whole life. Also girls disguised as boys in fantasy always grabs my heart thanks to the aforementioned Tortall obsession, compounded by the fact that Twelfth Night is my favorite Shakespearean play.
is it bad that when girls disguised as boys come up, you think Shakespeare and I think Amanda Bynes movie? Hmm. Okay, ever since stumbling upon a tumblr feed that rounded up page shots of all the books that have a variation of the line “S/he released a breath s/he didn’t know s/he’d been holding” I spot it left and right in stories and now it makes me giggle! Also, I know about three people in my real life who have deep green eyes and yet every book seems populated with them! What about you? Any writer’s tics or cliché pet peeves that jump out at you?
I really can’t stand reading about girls who don’t realize how beautiful they are. I like a certain self-awareness in my narrators, and I find confidence likeable! Of course sometimes it could be essential to the plot, (if the character has an eating disorder, etc.), but the trope of spectacularly gorgeous heroines with hair like a waterfall and eyes like emeralds not knowing they are that gorgeous? I don’t buy it.
Amen to that!! Finally, here’s your chance to plug a few books on your list you’re excited about…
Ooh! Now choosing my from my list is like picking a favorite child…or dog. (I imagine picking a favorite dog would be harder. They all have puppy eyes!)
But, if I have to, these are the ones that I am working on at the moment that I fall for over and over again.
MY SOON TO BE SEX LIFE by Judith Tewes
This YA contemp is so full of snark and heartwarming family drama, all with a girl who is just trying to take control of her own sexuality. I can’t get enough.
INKED by Eric Smith
Set in a society where tattoos are magical, fate altering, and mandatory, this YA fantasy takes you to the heart of corrupt government, and surprises me every time I read it. I am also pretty sure I will wind up with a tattoo by the time the release date rolls around.
THE EDGE OF YOU by Theresa DaLayne
This swoony New Adult romance is set under the midnight sun in Alaska. In the eternal words of Liz Lemon… I want to go to there.
ANY WAY YOU SLICE IT by Kristine Carlson Asselin
I love books about sporty girls, (perhaps to compensate for the fact that the only varsity sport I ever played was the dance team?), and this one hits the spot for me. It’s MYSTIC PIZZA meets THE CUTTING EDGE folks with a small town feel that evokes Stars Hollow. Get in line.
These all sound great, although I confess a soft spot for Any Way You Slice It because I'm friends with Kris and was part of the epic brainstorm session that went into titling that one. Can't wait for it! Thanks again for being here, Meredith!!
Four truths and a lie: My MG debut AT YOUR SERVICE (Simon & Schuster/Aladdin) publishes Summer '14. I spent a gap year traveling the world solo (favorite spot: Nepal). I'm repped by the fantabulous Holly Root at The Waxman Leavell Literary Agency. I met my husband on the highway. I went into labor on Stevie Nick's tour bus. Okay fine, the truth is that there isn't a lie.
14th -- Jennifer Galasso
16th -- Chris Bedell
22nd -- Rosanne Rivers
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