Friday, Part II
Arriving at the Junker residence is sort of the point at which everything slid into ultra-casual, ultra-cool, ultra-laid-back mode. Oh, good grief, I forgot; Karen said Friday morning that she and Anna Genoese and Melinda whose last name I don’t know, who had gone out someplace Thursday night, had a great time, and that Friday Anna’d told her what fun she’d had, and said, “Is there anything I can do for you?” and Karen said, “Publish Catie’s books!” O.O Ahem, right, that was a total aside. :)
To the best of my memory, after we got back to Karen’s we pretty much sat down for Russell Davis and Anna Genoese’s Q&A session on what they as editors wanted. It was enlightening and very interesting — among other things was Russell’s sudden and entertaining rant on, “If you’re going to send me a time-travel romance, GIVE ME A REASON THAT THE TIME TRAVEL WORKS!!!” Which made me thing, “Hey, I could write a time travel romance like that…!” *giggle* That whole bit of the conversation sparked/was sparked by the question of what /did/ make time-travel work, and examples of where it didn’t. Someone said the Terminator movies, and Anna said, “No, no, don’t go there, I *love* the Terminator movies,” although she wasn’t making excuses for their time travel bits. :)
Man. I wish I hadn’t been so darned sleepy Friday night, as this would’ve been better if I’d written it then, ’cause I’d have more remembery! Oh well.
What I do remember is we broke for dinner, Russell went elsewhere (either to get different food or to do editor appointments, I’m not sure which), and after dinner Anna returned to holding court. I introduced myself to her — “Hi, I’m Catie Murphy, I wrote HEART OF STONE,” and she grinned and shook my head and said, “I know who you are.”
Be still my beating heart. Those were wonderful words to hear. :)
Oh! During the Q&A, someone asked how much cover art runs as a matter of course, and Russell answered (somewhere between $3 and $15K), and then he mentioned that there were other, primarily digital, artists whom he’d also worked with, and he mentioned Ursula Vernon by name! I broke into spontaneous applause. :) Woo Ursula! Woo! Hee hee hee!
Someone asked Anna (after dinner) what the process of her selecting a book for her line was. She said — well, a lot of things. First, although this wasn’t necessarily to the same question, she did say that Tor was beginning its paranormal romance line with small steps: assuming all goes according to plan, they’ll launch in Oct. 2004 and put out 4 books a year, so at the end of 2006 they’ll have put 9 books (because of how they’re counting the ‘year’) out. So competition is very tight, and consequently she’s having to turn down books she really loves (ego-boo moment: she gestured to me as she said this; it was really a very flattering section of the con, for me) in order to take Names in the writing field, or people who can get Laurell K. Hamilton cover quotes–in other words, people whom, from a marketing perspective, they’re pretty darned sure are going to sell. She said they’re hoping that they’ll be able to expand the line in the 3rd year, and she said there are books she’s seen that she really, really wishes she could take, but since they’re looking at three years out for publication, it’s just too much time to be making promises or even offers.
Right. Having got all that aside, this is how she selects a book: she gets the synopsis & first 3 chapters (S&3) and reads the first three chapters. If she likes them, she reads the synopsis to see if the writer can get all the way through a story, and then requests the manuscript. When she gets the ms, she then reads a little more of it before handing it off to a First Reader (I can’t help hearing that with caps) whose job it is to read the whole ms and tell her if it’s worth spending her time reading. I was Johnny-on-the-spot for this whole part of her talk, as she was saying things like, “If I really love the first three chapters *gestures to Catie*,” and, “So I gave her manuscript to the First Reader, who said there were some flaws but really loved it and told me I had to read it,” and … jeez. I must be cool. O.O
Anyway. So the First Reader passes the ms back to Anna, and Anna reads it (“Twice,” she said, nodding to me, at which point I said, “Are you *sure* you don’t want to reconsider?” because, well!), and then she has to decide whether or not to go forward with it and bring it to the Higher Ups to whom she must justify her purchasing decision. In the case of HEART OF STONE, it had some flaws (an assessment I in fact agree with), and because at that point of the process they’re pretty much looking for any excuse to reject a ms, HoS got turned down.
Now, ok, look. On one hand, yah, it’s got flaws, but they’re not flaws that can’t be fixed. On the other hand, hearing I was jockeying for one of *9* slots by the end of 2006, and that the first 6 had already been filled, well. Not feeling so bad about the rejection. And on the third hand, acceptance and no publication til 2006 or 2007 would be kind of suckful, too, and so overall, feeling pretty philosophical and even edging towards upbeat about the whole thing.
Ok, this bit has gotten v. long, so I’m going to post it and work more on Friday, Part III. And, y’know, maybe do some other what’s-been-happening-this-week updates. :)