Not my normal day to post, but I thought some of you might be interested. I’m getting ready to host a Journey of #FaithsJourney Social Media Contest. I’ll be posting the rules of the contest on my Facebook author page. Find it by searching and following @AuthorHeatherGreer so you don’t miss information about the contest!
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.
Each Monday, I introduce you to one character from the books I’ve read and reviewed. I interview these characters via their authors. But this week, it’s your turn. I’m going to pose a single question, and I want you to answer it. Only, don’t answer it as you. I want you to get into the mind of your favorite character from a Christian Fiction book that you’ve read. Answer the question in the way you believe that character would answer.
Leave your character’s answer in the comments section. (Authors: No choosing your own character. You know your characters. Today, you’re answering as any other reader would.) Also let us know what book the character is from and the author’s name. With everyone participating, we can all come away introduced to some new books to add to our To Be Read lists.
Come up with your own answer before you read anyone else’s replies. This will help you keep thinking like your character instead of thinking like yourself or anyone else. I’ll be participating too. You can find my character’s answer in the comments section.
Main Character Monday Question:
What is the single event you would change in your life, if you could?
In Cover to Cover – Part One, I posed a question. Which of the five covers shown is your favorite? (If you haven’t shared yet, stop reading. Go to Part One. Decide which cover is your favorite. Post it in the comments!) When I interviewed Diane Turpin about designing book covers, I bravely asked which covers were her favorite. I say “bravely” because Diane designed my cover. What if my cover wasn’t one of her favorites? Well, it wasn’t. But that’s okay. None of my favorite covers made her list. Why? Because we’re two different people.
When I saw the cover for The Copper Box, by Suzanne Bratcher, I was instantly drawn to it. The colors appeal to me, and the look on the woman’s face is intense, foreshadowing drama. I was intrigued by it. I wanted to read the story to find out what made this woman look like that.
Diane chose to highlight two other covers. Her connections to them go beyond the images on front to the process she went through to get them to the finished product. She focused on a personal connection to the process of the covers’ creation. Her criteria for choosing a favorite is different than mine, but it’s no less worthy than my own sight based appeal.
Isn’t it amazing that we serve a God who not only understands our different personalities and preferences but also purposefully created them in us? That alone is a great gift, but it goes further than that. While salvation is one size fits all, with each person who comes to Him having to come by way accepting Jesus’ death and resurrection as the payment for their debt of sin, our relationships with God are each very personal.
All scripture is meant for each one of us. God promises that scripture is good for correction, teaching, and encouragement for all believers, not just ones with a certain personality. But even in this shared method of communication between us and God, He has not ignored our differences.
I relate to the verses that speak of Jesus going off alone for time with God. I’m drawn to them, because I’m a person who understands the need for silence. Imagining the kind of public life Jesus led wears me out. I can’t imagine how exhausting it had to be for Jesus to actually live that way!
My husband likes alone time sometimes, but he is really much more of a people person. He loves to be around people, and anyone he’s ever met is his friend. For him, the stories of Jesus teaching the crowds and attending dinner parties are probably more appealing. He can find himself in those stories.
Some people are drawn to praise filled verses. Prophecy entices others. I love the books that read like a story. Other people, though I couldn’t begin to guess who, may like to read the lists of laws or genealogies. Just because every word in scripture is meant for every one of us, doesn’t mean we aren’t attracted to one thing more than another. And isn’t it great that our God has provided for us from cover to cover in His word.
By the Book: What is your favorite book of the Bible? Why is it your favorite? Share your answers and a favorite verse in the comments below.
Usually you find a book review/devotion or a writer’s life/devotion on By the Book each Wednesday and Saturday. For the Cover to Cover series, we’re going a deeper into the process that takes an author’s manuscript and turns it into the book you purchase. Of course, we aren’t going to neglect the spiritual either. So, you’ll come away with a greater appreciation for the publishing world and some spiritual encouragement too.
Today we welcome Diane Turpin.
Diane Turpin is the cover designer for Mantle Rock Publishing and her own company, Diane Turpin Designs. Since 2014, she has created book covers in the genres of historical romance, contemporary romance, suspense and most recently, fantasy. She is the wife of a professional Boy Scout and mom of a musical daughter. In her spare time, she sharpens her crafty skills with watercolor painting and sewing.
- What prompted you to get involved in designing book covers?
My mother. Doesn’t it always start with your mother? Mom formed Mantle Rock Publishing and had published a couple of books before asking me to design covers for her. I was very active in the digital scrapbook world and had all the skills needed to create covers. I had used Photoshop extensively with digital scrapbooking and also at a previous job in a printing shop.
- How do you decide the best way to portray a book in its cover design?
Actually, it comes mostly from questions I ask the author. I want the author to have a cover they are proud of, so I ask them what book covers they are most attracted to. I match those responses to what genre they have written in and start from there.
- What do you feel a well-designed cover does for a book? How important is the cover to the book?
A well-designed cover says, “This book is worth your time investment to read it.” It should look intriguing enough to make the reader want to read it without telling the whole story. It sets up the framework for the reader to know what they are reading, whether it’s location, mood, era, romance, mystery, and so on. I think, next to a well-written book, it’s the most important thing…wink!
- Writers get writer’s block. Do you get cover designer’s block? How do you get over it?
YES! Especially when it’s the first cover I’ve done for an author. It’s hard for me to judge you from a questionnaire and a few emails. So, I worry that the direction I’m headed may not suit your style. After all, I want the cover to portray your writing, not necessarily my design style. Sometimes I get stumped. What do I do to get over it…usually, I do watercolor painting. It helps me get my creative juices flowing in a different direction to get the spark I need to finish up a cover.
- Authors have compared writing to childbirth and the finished product to their children. Do you feel that kind of connection to the books you’ve designed for?
Sure, but it’s more like kids I’m adopting out. LOL. I do have covers that I’m prouder of than others, mostly first covers or covers where I really stepped it up a notch.
- Is there one cover that stands out to you as a favorite?
Irish Encounter by Hope Dougherty is one that stands out because I worried about it so much. I don’t remember if she wanted her main character featured or not, but I couldn’t find anything that resembled her character in clothing that was appropriate – she’s a middle-aged lady traveling in Ireland. I stepped out and went with my gut and the cover turned out great. It was one of my first covers, and I’m still proud of it.
Not What He Ordered by Laurean Brooks for a totally different reason. I met Laurean in person before I did her cover. In fact, we were at two retreats together, so I knew how funny and silly she was. We had so much fun creating her cover just because of our friendship. I also went out and photographed a historic train depot or two to add to her cover. After I got the depot on the cover, I realized I had to remove all the electrical conduit and light fixtures from the building. I had thought about the light fixtures when I took the picture, but the conduit was painted to match the siding and didn’t really jump out at me until I started working with the picture in Photoshop. All that hard work really endeared that cover to me.
When people ask, what my favorite cover is, it’s usually the last one I created. And just like your kids, I love them all.
- Is there anything else you’d like to share with us about your designing process?
I work primarily from stock photographs. I enjoy hunting for the perfect images to combine into a cover. Some covers, like the cover of Faith’s Journey, only take a couple of images to portray the right mood. Other covers, like Aimee by Pam Harris or Keeper of the Flame by Mary Kay Tuberty, take multiple photos in layers to get the perfect final image. My goal is for it to look so natural that you have a hard time picking out the individual photos that created the image. A Light At Bailey’s Harbor by Bethany Baker has clothing from one model, face from a second model and hair from a third. Not to mention that I created the sign for the title. It truly is more than just finding the right photo and adding some text. It’s setting a mood or evoking a feeling that gets you ready to read the story.
Special thanks to Diane Turpin for taking time out of her busy schedule to give us insight into the process of designing book covers. You can find out more about Diane at dianeturpindesigns.com.
By the Book: I love what Diane said, “It’s setting a mood or evoking a feeling that gets you ready to read the story.” Comment below on some of your favorite cover designs. While you’re at it, I’ve included some of my favorite Diane Turpin designs and pictures of the two she mentioned. Which of these are your favorites?