After writers write their stories, their job continues. Now, come the re-writes, the first phase of editing the story. Yet even after they’ve gone through each word with a fine toothed comb picking out all the best ones and cutting out the ones that bore, the editing process has only just begun. The story has merely been prepared for the next step of the publishing process. So, after researching the best publishers and agents, preparing a professional sounding query letter, and writing an attention grabbing synopsis of the story, the complete manuscript is (hopefully) requested and the next big editorial hurdle approaches. Yes, your story has made it to the desk of the Acquisitions Editor.
But what does an Acquisitions Editor do? Kathy Cretsinger, Acquisitions Editor for Mantle Rock Publishing, took time from her busy schedule to answer a few questions that give insight into her part of the editing process.
What is your job as an acquisitions editor?
Proposals come to me first. It is my job to read them and decide if they will fit our publishing company. I look at the market analysis, check Amazon it make sure it is a new book (not previously published), check out everything I can find out about the author and their writing.
Everyone has favorite genres and styles of writing they prefer to read. Do you find it hard to get beyond your natural inclinations as a reader when presented with a book outside your chosen genre/style?
At this moment, I love Romantic Suspense, but I love all writing. I’ll read just about anything, even the backs of cans and jars. We have an idea of how many of each book we publish each year. I have no problem reading any proposal if it is well written.
What is the hardest part of your job as an acquisitions editor? The most rewarding?
The hardest part of an acquisitions editor is rejecting a book. I should be getting used to it now, but if I can see a good story which needs some work, I’ll probably take it. The most reward? Seeing a book completed, ready to put on Amazon.com. I love to see a finished product with good content and a good cover.
What is one of the biggest mistakes you’ve seen from potential authors in their submissions?
The biggest mistake from most authors is not having their manuscript edited before I see it. I’m not the best in grammar and spelling, but I know if I see a red squiggly line under a word it is misspelled. I know I need to change it. Another big mistake is not learning the craft. Head hopping is a big error I see with first-time authors.
What is one piece of advice you would give to aspiring authors?
Learn the craft. Read all kinds of books. Read books on writing in addition to fiction. Read the submissions page of each publishing house and agent. All are different.
Kathy’s desk is the first of many stops for a manuscript published by Mantle Rock Publishing. The story will change through the process that lies ahead, and the author might too! But here, with the acquisitions editor, is where the book is accepted or rejected. It is where an author first finds out their work was chosen.
There is a lot of emotion that comes with finding out your manuscript has been chosen for publication. It says someone believed in your story and ability enough to take a chance on your work. It can be exciting and scary at the same time to know in a few short months you will be a published author. It is a privilege and a responsibility. And knowing that the acquisitions editor sees something of worth in what you’ve written is encouraging to the author who put so much time and energy into the manuscript.
Being chosen creates powerful emotions in all of life, not just publishing. Deep down, everyone wants to belong. They want to feel like what they have to offer is worth something, that they are worth something to those around them. Even those who have known what it is to be accepted on a regular basis, still struggle at times. Some feel they have to keep performing in all the right ways to keep the acceptance they crave. Some feel they can’t ever reach a level of belonging. So, they act out in rebellion to prove they don’t need it even though it goes against their desire for unconditional love. The world is full of broken people who haven’t ever felt that feeling of being important to someone else.
It’s sad because each person has access to the greatest source of unconditional love ever. John 3:16 tells us that God loved the world so much He gave His Son to die on the cross for our sins. Romans chapter five assures us that Jesus’ sacrifice came while we were enemies of God because of sin. How much more unconditional can you get than someone dying in your place even though you’re their enemy and want nothing to do with them? God’s love for us isn’t based on performance. Scripture tells us God loves us because God is love.
And it goes beyond being loved. We are chosen. 1 Peter 2:9 says we are a chosen generation. When we accept God’s gift of forgiveness and enter into relationship with Him, scripture tells us God adopts us into His family. Children who are adopted are children who are chosen. God chose us to go out and make a difference in the world for Him. God wants us. We are chosen.
By the Book: God wants each of us. As believers, we know the freedom that can come when we truly believe that we are chosen by God. But we don’t need to hoard that love and acceptance. There is enough for everyone. What difference could we make in the world if we started showing others God’s love in practical ways each day? Consider how your actions today could help someone else feel what it’s like to belong. In doing so, they may come to understand God’s love and realize they are chosen too.