We’re hanging out with the talented Steph again, this time to hear about her life on the other side of the literary desk.
So you recently became a Reading Intern for World Weaver Press. What made you want to take part in that process, as a writer seeking rep and publication?
My number one motivation was the prospect of reading something out of my inbox that would make me go “Yes…YES YES YES!” Discovering exciting stories, and being part of the journey that would bring those stories to publication, has always been a very exciting prospect for me. A great book is contagious, whether or not it is my own work.
Since I’ve been in the query trenches myself, I can definitely relate to being nameless in an inbox and I believe it to be one of my strengths. I should also confess that I’ve always expected reading slush would teach me a lot about what works and what doesn’t, but also about subjectivity. Any writer has heard just how subjective the business of publishing is and I believe, within reason, they knows what that means, but believe me when I say reading tons of queries and submissions will put that notion in perspective that much more.
It takes but a couple of minutes browsing websites such as QueryTracker or Absolute Write to find threads where authors wonder what happens behind the scenes, on the publishers’ side, or who blatantly express their frustration and impatience about the whole publishing process. I’m of the mind that unless you’ve been in someone’s shoes, you can hypothesize all day long as to what’s happening – but you may be completely wrong. So part of it was also curiosity and the knowledge that as a writer, I would be able to say truthfully I know a little bit about what happens on both sides of the track.
And as a writer who’s received offers of pub from other small presses, what made WWP so attractive that you wanted to actually work for them!
First, there is the name “World Weaver”. Really, how awesome is that?! I liked the fact that they were a young press, and dare I say, not jaded. I’ve encountered some small presses who seem to live by a “the more the merrier” motto, where anything and everything is being published, stamped with Windows Paint covers and thrown in the world to hopefully sell. Being accessible although selective is something I admire in WWP. They’re about great stories filled with emotions, plot twists and amazing characters but also about developing a partnership with authors.
A welcome breath of honesty, that answer. For writers looking to indie publish, credibility is key. Now that you’re a mistress of the slush, what do you see too much and what do you want more of?
I’m only the humble reader after all and I feel I should put a disclaimer up front saying the following statements are mine only, not WWP’s.
I know you’re asking in terms of subs and I’ll get to that in a minute, but let me say out right I see more unprofessionalism than I had expected to. With so many blogs/website/social media outlets, there is no reason an author should be misinformed as to what is expected in terms of query and professionalism. Authors need to realize that regardless of the person on the other end of the email (from a CP to a big 5 publisher), being courteous and professional is the best first impression to convey.
I can’t say that I see too much of one genre because I love them all! Instead, I’ll say I see too many flat characters. A story can have intricate prose, a great concept, a crafted pace…etc. but if I don’t care about the character, then why should I care about what happens to him/her? Why should I care your character is going on a journey to discover the biggest chocolate pyramid on Earth? (This was obviously made up but in the unlikely event that this relates to someone’s story, it is purely coincidental).
Now in terms of what I want to see. I am a very eclectic reader but I would be lying if I didn’t say my forte was science-fiction – so yes, I’ll say it – I want to see more SF, ALL SF, but in particular character-driven SF!! (Although make sure it follows the guidelines of the WWP website! –> CLICK TO SEE! <–)
Psst. One sec.
Did you notice there’s a link there?
Just checking. Carry on.
I’ll also mention that WWP has an annual ghost story anthology, Specter Spectacular II: 13 Deathly tales, which is open for submissions until June 15. Mediums, grim reapers, psychopomps…etc. Send it all!
We love us some fairy tale retellings and urban fantasy. Check the WWP sub page for the extensive list.
Would you ever consider crossing the desk permanently? As in giving up your own works of fiction to champion the works of others?
You’re a tough interviewer, my dear. Never say never, right? It’s all about fulfillment. If reading other people’s stories and carrying “la crosse et la banniere” (the cross and the banner) for them fulfills me completely then so be it, but as of now, I’m not there yet. Maybe I haven’t found the diamond in the rough just yet, so send me some diamonds.
That question was harder for me, I promise. I have a vested interest in you continuing to produce awesome sci-fi! (NIRVANA. NOW.) Ahem.
I hope you guys’ve enjoyed my first Frinterview! I, for one, might be hooked. I’m prepping to accost another friend with questions and song requests as we speak! Excelsior!