I am privileged and honored to introduce today’s Honorary Chick–Corinne DeMaagd. She happens to be one of my favorite people in the world as well as a freaking fantastic editor. I’m not the only one who has publicly stated how much her ninja editing skills have honed my writing craft. As editor for Lyrical Press/Kensington, we have worked together on four projects, and each time I’ve learned something new to add to my repertoire of “do’s and don’ts.” However, she’s not simply my editor, but also my friend (and even my counselor a time or two). I can’t say enough about this amazing lady. Without further ado, here’s a seriously kickass chick–Corinne DeMaagd…
Tell us a little about yourself and why/how you took the path of editor.
Academically, I have a BA in Creative Writing from Western Michigan University. Oh, it’s a hot spot for creatives all right. Ha! Not really, I just went where a friend did. I sucked back then. I should have reached higher. I made up for it with a MPHIL (UK equivalent of an MFA) in Publishing Studies from the University of Stirling in Scotland. Between then and now I held down loads of different jobs in the publishing industry from DTP to editing to project management. Then I started having kids and stepped out of the office. I was doing some freelance editing in Australia (where I lived) and the author I was working with challenged me to write a book, too. I met her challenge and got my story published with Lyrical, a small press at the time. While in the author loop, I noticed they were looking for editors, so I took their editing test and voila! I was on board. My learning curve in those first years was higher than high but I had, and still have, some awesome supportive colleagues. Now, I have a great roster of authors. They are my joy. Honestly. Between them and the indie authors I work with, I am more than busy.
What are the top three mistakes authors make in writing and submitting their work?
- Follow the submission guidelines. Or if a direct sub call, whatever the editor requests. Often, in Submittable, we get subs without a synopsis, or manuscripts under or over the acceptable word count. Cover letters and manuscripts missing author information. If you follow the directions, this immediately shows you are professional and courteous. If you can’t take the time to read, understand, and follow our submission guidelines, than there is a good chance you’re not an author we want to work with.
- So that’s the first step above. That will get you in and an editor reading your work. The next stopper is poor craft and construction. Take classes, work with writing groups and critique partners, and practice! Don’t send in your first draft. Work hard, clean it up, be proud of what you send us!
- If one editor declines, don’t try to send to another editor of the same press/publisher. That’s sneaky and dodgy. Yes, editors all have different preferences, and we may even shift a book over to another editor if we think it might suit them better, but if not, take the rejection with dignity and move ahead. Something is a better fit for you out there.
Now for some fun! Rapid Fire Questions:
Favorite Things: My boys, my books, my very big glass of wine. Springtime in Michigan. Hallelujah!
Pet Peeves: People who are late. I’m a working mother with two boys, chaos everywhere, and I can still make things on time.
Addictions: Many. I have that type of personality. Which is a bugger, really.
Kick Ass Superpower: Uhh… I wouldn’t say commas. LOL I’m always asking Miss Penny for advice. Commas are fickle creatures. Perhaps my superpower is I can edit in insane conditions. I work from home so no screaming, fighting, tantrums, cartoons, telly noise, snack demands, kids crawling on lap, nappie changes, dog barking, vomiting or otherwise can distract me from your words.
Your best book boyfriend: Argh, this one is way too hard. I’ve read too many good books and have found way too many sexy heroes, many of them in the books of my authors.
- For the night: Jack Reacher (but not after the Tom Cruise portrayal. I was absolutely in lust with the man until the movie came out)
- For a dirty weekend: Gilbert from Anne of Green Gables? LMAO. Hey, he might have it in him.
- To have and to hold: Mr. Darcy, of course.