This is not a podcast, but an informative interview, and some fun.
Today we have an interview with the woman behind the blog “LDS Publisher,” one of the premier blogs covering the LDS publishing market niche. Her blog caters primarily to any and all writers, but also contains a vast list of books published for the LDS market or written by LDS authors, so there is a treasure trove of information for readers as well. For instance, on her sidebar there is a category button with a wealth of information broken down into topics. Use this (especially the Writer Tips Tuesday) and you will learn such treasures as Why You Can’t Name a White Girl LaQuisha, Tips For Left Brained People Only, and my favorite, Super Glue, Epoxy and Duct Tape– an answer to the always evident question of how do I find time to write. Have we piqued your interest yet? Listen, er, read on…
We’re so happy to have LDS Publisher with us!
Writing Snippets: Welcome to Writing Snippets, LDSP!
WS: I know that you know that we are a podcasting website, and you came up with some lame excuse that you can’t do a podcast. Admit it, you think your voice would bring your thousands of fans right to your doorstep, don’t you.
Of course I do! I have a voice that’s every bit as unique as I am. Plus, it would put to rest once and for all that burning question in the minds of all my readers, “Is LDS Publisher really a woman or is she [dum-dum-dum] a MAN?”
WS: We are making a concession here, so your famous sarcasm is expected in return. What say you?
WS: There has been speculation in the blog world that you are really a man. Can you confirm or deny this?
I will reply, as I always do. LOOK AT MY PHOTO! I mean, really, do I look like a man? Note the perfectly coiffed hair, the slender neck, the pearls… And seriously, would a “real” man be caught dead using a lavender laptop?
WS: I love your OMH (oh my heck). Yes, I realize that was not a question, you just rock that way. I would ask if you are really LDS or not, but that pretty much summed it up.
I also have been known to take green Jell-o to my ward parties.
WS: How fun is it having a superhero alter ego as opposed to the real you?
Are you implying that the “real me” is not fun? I’ll have you know that the real me hosts rockin’ parties where I dance on table tops and lead out in the Bunny Hop!
WS: What are two things different about the real you than your alter ego?
1. I never wear my lavender-framed glasses in public.
2. I also never wear pearls.
WS: Do any of the author’s you have worked with know the real you, and can you give their phone numbers and addresses so that we can stalk them, bribe them with cookies, and enormous sales of their books just to find out who you are?
A few people know my real identity. I ran the idea past a couple of author and publisher friends to see if there would be any interest in the blog. The authors politely said, “Yes, that might be nice.” The publishers said, “Heck, yes! And here’s a list of pet peeves we want you to tell authors about…”
A few more people have found out over the years because they’ve either tricked me or I commented on their blogs, forgetting who I was logged in as. (Beats head against wall.)
But no, I will never divulge who knows me. If I told, the paparazzi would immediately encamp on their front lawns and chase them in their cars. That would just be mean. (Hmmm, maybe I’ll sick them on Anonymous…)
WS: All right, it is clear you are as tight lidded as a 40 year old can of apricot jam. Here are the real questions:
WS: First, based on your long list of jobs in the writing and publishing industry, you are clearly have a deep love for writing. What inspires your love and dedication to the written word?
I was born that way. Seriously. My earliest memories are of reading books with my parents. I loved making up stories as a child—and I don’t mean those little lies that everyone tells to get themselves out of trouble. I would make up long, detailed, involved stories. My siblings hated it because I would tie them to a tree and force them to listen for hours.
WS: Do you still do writing outside of your blog? If so, how do you balance your time between the blog and your other projects?
Yes. I do a lot of writing—and editing. I write at several blogs, one as my mild-mannered public self (no, I’m not telling who I am or where I blog), and I’m a contributor at several other blogs—some which have little or nothing to do with writing and publishing. I also do a lot of writing, editing and rewriting in my day job.
When I started the blog (it will be five years next month), I worked for a publisher who allowed me to write it during my work hours. Then I went into semi-retirement and could write at my leisure. Now, I’m back working full-time in the industry and it’s tough because I don’t get to do the blog as part of my day job.
I usually write all my posts on weekends and then set them to auto-post on the appropriate days. But sometimes, I just can’t find the time, and the blog has suffered. My goal is to gradually get back to a daily post on LDS Publisher—but if you add in LDS Fiction and the LDS Author Events, there’s something new at the LDS Publisher group of blogs every week day.
WS: How have your loved ones coped with your writing addiction over the years?
Love me, love my writing addiction. I made it very clear to my husband before we got married. My children don’t know any differently. They think all mothers go into a room and shut the door for hours on end. And they could all use the microwave by the age of 3.
WS: What are your favorite genres?
Ah, you’re trying to trick me into divulging personal information… For me, genre is less important than the quality of writing. I can appreciate a well-written story in any genre. That said, perhaps I do tend to read the fantasy and YA titles a little sooner than the others.
WS: We see that you’ve written quite a bit of non-fiction over the course of your career. Is your writing process different when you are working on non-fiction vs. fiction?
Yes. When writing non-fiction I work from a very structured outline. When writing fiction, I usually know the beginning and the end points. Then start with a very clear character in mind and set him or her loose to figure out their path between those two points.
WS: How does writing blog posts differ from writing non-fiction articles for print publications?
It depends on the topic. A non-fiction article needs to have documented sources and be well-researched. If you’re writing an information blog, the same applies. But if you’re writing an opinion post, it’s whatever floats your boat.
WS: You are already a published author and a publisher. What goals are you working toward now? Where do you go after you have achieved “the dream”?
I’ve always thought Queen of the World would be nice. 🙂
Seriously, I love what I do—most of the time. My goals are to continue in the industry, finding new authors with good stories and matching them up with readers who will enjoy them.
WS: Based on your experience in manuscript acquisition and as an editor, what are the top things that make an author easy or difficult to work with?
I can always tell if an author has researched how to submit their manuscript. There are some basic rules—tons of books and websites that tell you how to follow these basics. When I get a submission that is so off the wall (14 point Chancery type) or so poorly done (grammar, spelling, etc.), I know the author hasn’t done their homework. If they can’t be bothered to learn the craft, why should I spend my time and energy on them?
Also, authors who have no clue how the industry works are tough to deal with. They need to do the research and learn the industry lingo, about contracts and royalties, and what’s standard practice and turnaround. It’s not my job to teach them.
WS: What are the top things a writer should do, and should NOT do, when submitting a manuscript?
I’m putting on my “publisher/business” hat here—where I’m forced to be somewhat hard-hearted to survive…
Setting aside the mechanics of writing a good story and focusing on the submission process/interaction with potential publisher, :
DO #1: DO YOUR HOMEWORK. I can’t stress this enough. With all the resources out there (books, websites, workshops, conferences), there is no excuse for an author to be uninformed on the submission process and industry basics. If authors do even some minimal research (read one book on submitting, read a few blog posts on the process), they should be able to figure it out.
DON’T #1: DON’T CONSTANTLY DEMAND MY TIME AND ATTENTION. Be patient. If you’re too demanding and eat up my time for silly little questions that you can Google on your own, I’m going to duck your calls and ignore your emails. I just don’t have time to constantly check in with and reassure authors. (This does not apply to questions sent to LDS Publisher. My blog is the place where silly questions are welcome!)
DON’T #2: DON’T BE RUDE ON THE INTERNET. I know how to use Google. If you’re combative and mean on the Internet, I know you’ll be even worse in person.
Other publishers may have different items on their lists, but pretty much, if you do even a minimal amount of research, you’ll be able to create an adequate query and submission.
WS: You’ve been running your blog for more than five years now. What have been the most rewarding parts of running this blog? What have you enjoyed the most about the experience?
I like that I can take off the business part of the publisher hat, where I have to be so conscious of numbers and marketing and probabilities, etc. I genuinely like to help people and wish I had the time and resources to take every manuscript I see and polish it up to publication standards. But I just can’t. So in my day job, I have to be tough.
On the blog, I get to help writers who are new to the process navigate through the hurdles and pitfalls. I know that submitting your manuscript to an agent or publisher is like entering your baby in a beauty contest. It’s stressful and sometimes heartbreaking—and I admire those writers who are brave enough to take the risk.
WS: What has been the biggest frustration about running your blog?
Sometimes people are rude. I have a pretty thick skin so usually it doesn’t bother me, but occasionally, it stings a bit.
Also, sometimes I run a short story contest with the best of intentions and then my world gets jostled up and I look like a slacker. (Sorry, B of M story writers…)
WS: What do you hope your readers get out of your blog?
I hope they’ll learn enough about the process and the industry that 1) they don’t inadvertently make a mistake that gets them rejected straight out of the gate, 2) they understand enough to make intelligent decisions (ex: traditional vs self-publishing), and 3) they don’t get taken advantage of by less than ethical editors, publishers, and other scammers. (This is less likely in the LDS market but all over the place on the Internet.)
WS: Do you have a favorite blog post you have written?
No, I love all my children equally. But I’m most proud of the ones that get readers to de-lurk and leave comments. Funny thing though, I never know which ones those are going to be. Sometimes it surprises me.
WS: Anything exciting coming up on your blog we should know about? (aside from the great posts by author Jeffery R. Savage)
I’ve had a few ideas. Maybe a book club a la Oprah, where I pick the book and lots of us read it, then discuss it. There was also the “Send Me Money” challenge, but I decided against that one. Any suggestions?
WS: Do you have any final advice for beginning writers (besides ‘never-give-up’, or duct tape yourself to the chair) :)?
Keep writing! Oh, wait. That’s sort the same thing as never give up, isn’t it? Trite, but still true.
I absolutely believe that any writer with a story idea, if given enough time and training, can create a quality story worthy of publication. It takes more work for some than for others, but it can be done. So yeh, I’m sticking with that one—Keep writing!
WS: Well, LDSP our podcast time has run out, but we really appreciate all your great, fun and informative answers. It is nice to get a little bit more behind the scenes with a brilliant and witty mind that keeps us entertained and learning at the same time- can there be enough cheese in that sentence? No, really, thank you so much for sacrificing your all ready tight schedule to teach the ignorant- or maybe unaware- soul.
Thank you. It was lots of fun. 🙂