Notes coming soon!
Rekka: 00:00:07 Welcome to the hybrid author, a podcast where we gather the raw material to Frankenstein into a writing career you can bring to life. I’m Rekka, writing science fiction is RJ Theodore. Each week, I’ll share information on the different aspects of writing, editing, publishing, and marketing to inspire you to finally pull that lever. This is the hybrid author podcast.
Rekka: 00:00:30 Hey, everybody Rekka’s back here. I’ve got a good one today.
Rekka: 00:00:34 This interview is with Kailyn Considine of Parvus Press. Yes, I am recycling my connections at Parvus Press again. But this is really exciting because Kaelyn is the acquiring editor at Parvus, which means that when somebody sends a submission in, Kaelyn is the first person that it comes into contact with. So query letters, manuscripts, um, inquiries, stuff like that. So I reached out–and some of you already know this because you responded–and collected some questions from the crowd, as it were, to ask Kaelyn while we spoke today. And I got so many great questions and unfortunately we did not get to all of them. So we focused a lot on query letters today. I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I know a lot of folks who still don’t know exactly what needs to go into the query letter or how to make the perfect query letter and um, how critical is the query letter.
Rekka: 00:01:34 So Kaelyn and I get into that quite a bit and then we also talk about, um, more of the, uh, day to day or her practice as she goes through the submissions. And um, there really was so much at the end that we did have to just kind of cut it off because she had to go into the Parvus business meeting right after we recorded. So that’s also kind of exciting too. Um, yes, I am going to continue to bring Parvus People on because I really enjoy, uh, working with Parvus, and all their people are so easy and fun to talk to. So, um, one thing I will point out Kaelyn regretted after the fact that she didn’t get to mention that, um, if you go to the Parvus website and you look at the About Us page and the information about everything, they really are interested in putting the authors first.
Rekka: 00:02:26 So you’re going to see through this interview or you’re going to hear rather that Kaelyn is very passionate about making sure that the artist is treated like a human being as part of this process. And that at no point do Parvus, anyone at Parvus, forget that there was somebody put a lot of work into this book. So, um, that also means that this is not exactly going to be the process that you would find anywhere else. So that’s the caveat that Kaelyn wishes, um, that we put at the beginning of the episode because, uh, we do mention it partway through, but it’s already pretty deep into that conversation. And she said she wished she’d just said it at the top. That this is not going to be the answer that you’d get from the acquiring editor at Tor or a Simon and Schuster, um, the big five, or even some of the other small presses out there.
Kaelyn: 00:03:20 Um, one thing that Parvus did, Collin told me when we spoke early in the process of getting plots and published and negotiating that contract in our introductory phone calls was that Parvus is so small that they wanted to be able to say, um, “Yes, that’s the way that publishing has always done it and no, we’re not going to do it that way.” So in some respects, the process that Kaelyn describes is not always going to be the same as you find anywhere else. But Kaelyn is really good about being careful with her advice and not setting up too many expectations. And I feel like she did a great job saying, “but this isn’t true for everybody.” So just as a favor to Kaelyn, I just wanted to drop that in the intro. So please enjoy, as much as I did, this interview with Kaelyn Considine from Parvus Press. An acquiring editor, the gatekeeper as if you will, um, between your book and publication (maybe). So, and then also please do follow @parvuspress on Twitter and subscribe to their newsletter, uh, so you know when their next open call for submissions is, because I think when you hear this interview, you’re going to want to keep an ear to the ground for that one. All right. Enjoy this interview. I will talk to you all next week and I’m going to be recapping my attempt at #MarNoWriMo and it’s a doozy. So I will talk to you all next week. Enjoy this interview and have a great week of writing, everybody. Take care.
Rekka: 00:04:56 All right. Today I have a treat for you, lovely listeners, because I know that I talked to a lot of writers and I have talked to a few folks who are providing services and, and putting you in touch with other professionals. But um, here we are like we’re at, this is the horizon your eyes are locked on. This is why you’re here. Um, getting your book published. Uh, one way or another. Of course, we’ve got some folks–this is the Hybrid Author Podcast.–some folks aren’t, aren’t going to be so worried about this, but I think you’re still going to be really curious, um, to the content of this interview.
Rekka: 00:05:34 So Kaelyn, hello. I’ve already introduced you before we came into the interview portion, but, um, why don’t you introduce yourself to our listeners and let them know who you are and, um, and how you got my number.
Kaelyn: 00:05:50 Hello, lovely listeners. My name is Kaitlin Considine and I am the acquisitions editor for Parvus Press. As for how I got Rekka’s number, um, well we published one of her books and we’ve got at least a couple more to go. So, uh, finding her phone number really wasn’t that hard actually. She, she found mine as it were.
Kaelyn: 00:06:11 That’s true. Yeah. Okay. So for this one, you know, I, I don’t know what people don’t know. So I reached out to, uh, to listeners on Twitter. I reached out to them through Facebook and, um, asked around for a couple more and I wanted to just sort of do a Q and A with you using other people’s questions because I think it’s a good way to guide the conversation, but it also makes sure we touch on the things that people are really curious about.
Kaelyn: 00:06:42 Yeah, sure.
Rekka: 00:06:43 So, um, the first question I got was, what does an acquisitions editor do?
Kaelyn: 00:06:48 Oh boy. I don’t know if they can figure it out and let me know, please. Oh, no, I’m kidding. Um, so that’s, that’s a little bit of a multilayered question. I mean, on the, just from the name alone, obviously we acquire things, books and otherwise. Um, at Parvus, you know, we’re independent, we’re relatively small, so myself as the acquisitions editor, I, uh, whenever we have an open submissions period or whenever we receive, um, agented submissions, I take a look at them and decide if it’s something that we think we want to buy and uh, publish. Um, I am the first person to get ahold of something and read it. Um, we’re a small but very close knit group of Parvus. So you know, if I will a float, you know, things that I like, things that I found interesting and enjoyed and think would, um, other readers would enjoy, before the other groups and uh, you know, kind of put something in front of them.
Kaelyn: 00:07:53 I talk a little about the book, talk about what I like about it, its strengths, um, anything that I think we’d have to do some work on and then it goes from there. Um, now at Parvus, um, I also edit books. So I might acquire your book and then also be your editor. Uh, depending on, you know, where all of this comes in comes through and what time I have available. Um, at larger publishing houses, an acquisitions editor is mostly responsible for just acquiring and developing content. They’ll do the same thing I do, which is go before the group and say, I have this book. I really like it. I think we can sell it. I think readers will like it, but they will also say, here’s how I think we can sell this. They’re going to evaluate, um, what the, the best market is, how to market the book and they’re also going to then spend a lot of time negotiating the contract.
Rekka: 00:09:07 so at the very least, you, you are the gatekeeper that everyone keeps griping about.
Kaelyn: 00:09:15 At the very least. I am the person who is going to be the first one to read what you send.
Rekka: 00:09:19 And do you have, um, the bonus at Parvus of also being somebody who gets to see a book all the way through to the end?
Kaelyn: 00:09:28 Yes. Um, especially if I am your editor, um, you know, well, you know, for instance, like you’re, um, you’ve been with Parvus for going on a couple of years now. I think you’ve been working with us and you and I have not ever really worked on a book together. Right. So, or done any work on your book. So it really depends. Um, again, I get the, I’m lucky enough to be able to do the acquisition stuff and then also get to edit books.
Rekka: 00:09:53 Yes. So do you, um, now this is not one of the Twitter questions. This is just going off from that question because it made me wonder, are there books where you say, “I want to be the editor on this one,” or is it more a matter of scheduling?
Kaelyn: 00:10:08 Some of it is scheduling and some of it is “I want this.”
Rekka: 00:10:13 Yeah, that’s good. Yeah. We want the editor to want our book and not just like want to sell the book, but also like, want to be part of it.
Kaelyn: 00:10:21 Some of it is, um, and that’s actually a good point because one of the other things I’m keeping an eye out for when I’m reading these things is, “do I think we have an editor that can work on this that will fit well?” Um, and if I think that editor is me, ah, well that’s just how it goes, guys.
Rekka: 00:10:38 Um, so how quickly, this is another question actually, let’s, um, let’s reorder these. So [pause] one question very, very broad, very, very, um, it’s, it’s THE question.
Kaelyn: 00:11:04 Oh Boy.
Rekka: 00:11:04 How does a writer get past the slush pile? Let’s start by defining your slush pile. Cause I know Parvus is small, so as you said, you’re the one who sees it first.
Kaelyn: 00:11:14 Yes
Rekka: 00:11:14 So you don’t have a room full of interns reading through your slush pile.
Kaelyn: 00:11:18 I don’t, I am. Um, you know, we do sometimes, depending on the project or you know, what’s going on, we sometimes have other people taking a first pass at things, but, um, for instance, we just finished an open submissions call in, um, uh, the last month. And I really like that we do these because a lot of places, you know, it’s hard to get your foot in the door without an agent. And getting an agent is very difficult, and it’s becoming increasingly more difficult seems, so I really liked that we have an open call, anyone can submit to us, you know, we get several hundred submissions. Um, so I don’t really think of it as the slush pile. I think of it as pending submissions, things that I have to review and go through. As for, so I guess, I mean, do you want to start with like the major do’s and don’ts?
Kaelyn: 00:12:21 I mean. Let’s talk about how a book baby is made.
Kaelyn: 00:12:23 Okay. Well, when an author and a computer love each other very much [laughter], um, so I’ll focus mostly on Parvus because that’s obviously what I’m most familiar with. We have an open call, we ask for a query letter and your entire manuscript. So right off the bat, the first and most important thing you need to do is read our submissions guidelines
Rekka: 00:12:53 And you know what, you think that’s obvious.
Kaelyn: 00:12:56 Yes, you really do. And the thing is like ours I think are very accessible and you know, and if you have any questions, you can email me and I will, I will respond to you. I will give you direction. Um, but please read the submission guidelines because they say things like, “please only send us completed manuscripts.” So if you email me or submit and say, “here’s the first five chapters,” I’m just going to go, “okay, well not, not to go on with this.”
Kaelyn: 00:13:29 And that’s just because you like to have a line where you can say, “oh, you fell out and you’re off. It’s out of bounds and, and go.”
Kaelyn: 00:13:36 well also, what’s making me wonder—I mean there is that there’s this person’s not following instructions— but also that I’m going, what was the book finished? Um, you know, we’re a small publisher. We tend to flip these very quickly. So if we’re going to be interested in your book, it needs to be done so we can get to work on it and get it published. Um, so please read the submissions guidelines. If you have questions, you know, not just me, most places, email them and just say, “hey, I don’t, you know, I’m sorry to bother you. I don’t want to mess this up.” No one’s going to bite your head off. Right for that. Um, so once you’ve submitted, obviously the first thing I’m going to look at is your query letter and Rekka, you have been on the receiving end of query letter rants—diatribes, if you will—
Rekka: 00:14:27 I’ve heard a couple.
Kaelyn: 00:14:27 diatribes about query letters and how important they are to have a well crafted one.
Rekka: 00:14:33 So what does a query letter show you about the author? Because obviously it’s not just because you’re ticking a box that says ‘query letter’ and you’re ticking the box that says ‘full manuscript’ and you’re ticking a box that says like ‘not in an executable file.’ You know, like, the things that—
Kaelyn: 00:14:48 You’d be amazed at how often the executable file issues come up. Um, okay, well I mean let’s then talk a little about query letters.
Kaelyn: 00:15:01 So, I think one of the things I’m seeing a lot, not, not always but is um, I think sometimes people who are getting ready to prepare things for submissions and know they need a query letter are maybe not understanding what the purpose of their query letter is. Um, this all goes way back to when you used to have to mail things to literary agents and you couldn’t just keep mailing manuscripts. So you would send a query letter saying, are you interested in this? This is your, you’re querying. You were asking a question, “”are you interested in this?” And that’s a little bit misleading because what you’re really telling them is, “here’s why you should be interested in this. Did I get your attention?” And that’s what you—
Rekka: 00:15:46 Without the explicit question of that. But maybe?
Kaelyn: 00:15:51 I haven’t gotten one of those yet, but who knows? But that should be your point. You want to get my attention. You want to tell me a little bit about yourself? Not too much. Um, you know, if your query letter is mostly about you, that’s not helping me understand your book. Um, you, but you most, you want to be focusing on your book. Now we do, you know, it’s genre it’s science fiction and fantasy. So tell me what your book falls into. Definitely tell me how long it is. Um, you know, I don’t need an exact word count. “It’s about this” is, is sufficient. Um, I always laugh when I get the ones that are about, it’s about 106,572 words.
Rekka: 00:16:35 About that last “2”
Kaelyn: 00:16:35 About that! Um, tell me, so tell me how long it is and give me a synop— Like do not give me a synopsis. Give me a little about the story. Hit the main plot. Tell me about the main characters. Tell me the world it’s set in, give me some background on that. And don’t tell me the whole story because you want to hook me and get me to read more because I want to find out what happens next. And that is, that’s kind of what you’re trying to do. You want to get me to read your book and a good query letter is the way to get me to do that. And then also what I find with the query letters that comes up a lot is let’s say your book maybe has a little bit of a slow start, but from your query letter, I know what’s happening. So one of the things I can say is, “I know this book starts out a little slow, but I’m really interested to see what happens in this story.” And so that’s not, you know, the death kill of the book.
Rekka: 00:17:42 Right. That they haven’t completely hooked you.
Kaelyn: 00:17:47 Yes.
Rekka: 00:17:47 If the query letter hooked you, how far do you think you get into the, the manuscript before you say, “ah, never mind. This isn’t the book they were describing. “
Kaelyn: 00:17:54 Ah, there is no answer to that. There really—
Rekka: 00:17:56 You’re just going to stop at some point.
Kaelyn: 00:17:58 Yeah. You gotta you gotta read it. Um, you know, I, I know Colin has come on your show before, um, Colin, who’s the publisher of Parvus Press, um, has come on your show before. And I use what I call the Colin Method, which is: your first sentence is buying me your first paragraph, the first paragraph buys me your first page, your first page is buying me your first chapter, and so on. Um, so along those lines, please, please spell check. The first page of your manuscript.
Rekka: 00:18:25 Yeah, I think Colin’s made that pretty clear in past episodes.
Kaelyn: 00:18:29 Please, if nothing else, just the first page… The query letter for that, for that matter as well. Um, and look, we all lean on the keyboard or fat-finger something from time to time if I can, you know, but things with a lot of spelling errors, um, that, that’s just not a good indicator.
Kaelyn: 00:18:49 Well, what— it does indicate something. It indicates there’s going to be a lot of work to do later to clean up the manuscript.
Kaelyn: 00:18:55 Well, it also indicates the attention to detail that you’re putting into this and how much time you’re paying attention to it. And you know, if we were to buy your book, is this gonna be a problem that you’re not, you know, uh, paying as close attention as we would like you to.
Rekka: 00:19:16 So if you’re writing your manuscript in a word processor and you have spellcheck turned off because you find it distracting, turn it on one time. At least.
Kaelyn: 00:19:25 Deal with the little red squiggly lines. Just make sure, hey, look, I mean it’s, I, I always say, and this is, you know, something an editor should not admit: I’m a horrible speller. I’m just not. Um, I, I’m not a good speller. So, I mean, I always have spell check on, run spellcheck, and that I’m one of those people that’s looking at it going, wait is that even right?
Rekka: 00:19:51 Word doesn’t look right anymore.
Kaelyn: 00:19:52 Exactly. Like I’ve tried to spell this so many different ways. I don’t think it’s English anymore now. Um, so yes, please spell check, sanity check your query letter, get someone else to read it and you know, point like, hey, you put the same sentence in here twice and… You look at something so many times that you stop noticing things and you’d be amazed how often that can happen. Um,
Rekka: 00:20:19 because your brain is telling you that what you expected is there, is there in front of you, right?
Kaelyn: 00:20:23 Oh yeah. And you normalize it. It stops, it stops looking wrong.
Rekka: 00:20:29 Sure.
Kaelyn: 00:20:29 So, um, yes, please spell check your first page and please, please spellcheck your query letters.
Kaelyn: 00:20:35 yeah. Speaking of spelling things in query letters, um, I know this is a sensitive subject for you, whose name is spelled, uh, not traditionally maybe, or in its own way. Either way, even even if you’re querying Bob, make sure to spell Bob’s name right.
Kaelyn: 00:20:54 Yes. I always say I think my parents wanted me to have some sort of like an identity crisis in elementary school where I was just going to be called “Kaitlin” forever. Um, so yes, that was actually what I was going to get to your next was make sure you have the correct information in your query letter. If you’re addressing it to someone specific like me, the acquisitions editor, I don’t, I don’t take too much offense if someone spells my name wrong, I spell my name wrong sometimes. Um, but again, it’s an attention to detail thing. It’s a, you know, this person is paying attention, they’re checking their work, they’re enthusiastic and excited about what they’re sending us. Um, make sure you put the correct name of the publisher on the letter. You would be amazed, the number I get that are addressed to other publishing houses. And you know, I know you write a query letter, it’s really good, you’re not going to rewrite it every time you send the manuscript out, but just, just make sure you change that.
Kaelyn: 00:21:58 Yeah. If you, if your standard-form query letter—um, some argue against ever send him the same query letter twice—but if your standard form query letter is, is including the name of the publisher, uh, not just the editor in the, in the greeting, but has the name of the publisher and it somewhere or um, or anywhere in it has a specific detail about that publisher such as like, I really enjoyed this book that you put out last year. It’s like make sure any personalization is updated when you send it out again.
Kaelyn: 00:22:35 along those lines, by the way, a little personalization is not, is not bad. Um, you know, just say like, I get a lot that I really like hearing. Like, Hey, I read your website, I checked out, you know, you’re About You section. I really just like the way you guys seem to operate and that made me want to submit to you. And that’s always nice to hear. Um, you know, you know, I think some people get a little nervous thinking like, “Oh God, they think I’m stalking them.”
Rekka: 00:23:04 The About page is not stalking. Maybe Facebook posts from three years ago might be a little bit stalking.
Kaelyn: 00:23:10 Yeah. If you’re getting, if I’m getting uh query letters that are like, I noticed that you also drink this particular brand of black tea. I also enjoy that. That’s, maybe don’t do that. Um, but yeah, there’s nothing, uh, nothing wrong with, you know, putting a little note in there about what might have drawn you to that particular editor or publisher.
Rekka: 00:23:34 Something relevant.
Kaelyn: 00:23:35 Yeah. Something relevant. Um, so, you know, also relevant information, like I said, tell me a little bit about yourself. Um, you know, if any background you have in publishing, any work you’ve done before, that kind of stuff. It’s not necessary and you know, look, if it’s your first time doing this, that’s, you know, don’t feel like you need to punch yourself up unnecessarily. Well, because that’s the other thing. I, I will check this stuff, especially if this is getting to the point that—
Rekka: 00:24:06 Right. So fabrication is not something that you want to put in your query letter, put that in your novel.
Kaelyn: 00:24:11 It is not, it’s not. Um, and you know, we all exaggerate from time to time a little bit and um, you know, I’m okay with like a little, you know, gilding of the lily but um, don’t, don’t fabricate in your, in your query letter cause…
Rekka: 00:24:30 There was an episode of the Simpsons where Marge is applying for a job at the nuclear power plant and someone helps her, right? Her resume. And um, when she goes in for her interview, Smithers says something to her in a language she doesn’t understand and he apologizes and said her Swahili is probably much better than his because… I think it was Lisa who helped. But anyway, I’m sure that scene is on Youtube, I’ll link to it in the show notes. But that’s not something you want to be doing right now. You’re going to be starting a relationship where there’s going to have to be… From my perspective, you need a lot of trust in this relationship. Start it off on a good foot.
Kaelyn: 00:25:11 Yes, you absolutely need a lot of trust in this. And, um, I don’t want to scare anyone by, you know, by saying this, but like we need to be able to trust the writer. You know, we need to know that whoever we’re working with, it’s going to be a good working relationship. Um, so if I, if you put like an, “I won this award and I published this” and then I’d go online and I can’t find any of it, um, that’s not great.
Rekka: 00:25:42 Yeah. So leave your past lives and reincarnated selves out of it.
Kaelyn: 00:25:48 Yes. So look, straight, there is absolutely nothing wrong with saying “I’m new at this. This is my first try.” Because there’s a lot, like everyone wrote their first book at some point. Nobody, nobody was born with a writing credit as far as I know.
Kaelyn: 00:26:05 who could be the first I’d be interested in. All right, so you mentioned, um, past writing credits, uh, awards, things like that. How much does that influence? This is a question from a listener. So this works as a good segue. How much does that influence your process or your consideration from both opening the query letter? So you’ve got this information at the bottom of the query letter and last paragraph about the author. Does it make you sit up if you weren’t already sitting up for that query letter?
Kaelyn: 00:26:40 Yes and no. Um, at the end of the day, the most important thing is, is this a good book? So if you, if this is the first time you’ve ever sat down and put pen to paper so to speak, but you have written a great book, then I don’t care if you’ve never published, never won anything. Um, there are definitely, you know, if I see something that it’s like, “Oh wow, that’s interesting.” But at the end of the day, the most important thing is the book. Writing a good book is at the end of the day, the most important. I will take a good book from someone that has never written anything or had anything published before versus someone with a bunch of awards whose book I’m not very enthusiastic about.
Rekka: 00:27:56 Okay. So, so in this query process, you mentioned that the first sentence of the first page of the manuscript, will buy you the paragraph and so on… You do read every manuscript and start that way, or do you have to buy your first sentence with the query letter? Do you ever stop with the query letter?
Kaelyn: 00:28:17 No, I read, I read everything. I opened the manuscript because yeah, I know that writing a query letter can be difficult, especially, you know, if you’re kind of dipping your toe into the water for the first time. And um, you know, there have been times that I’ve gotten no query letter. Um, which again, please send a query letter. I, you know, I understand they’re difficult and they’re scary to write. Because, how do you summarize, you know, 100,000 words in 300 and my answer to that would be take a deep breath, take some time and at least try to do it. Um, but no, I look at, me personally, I look at every manuscript regardless because I’ve gotten query letters that I think were not reflective of the book.
Rekka: 00:29:05 Okay.
Kaelyn: 00:29:06 Um, and some that it’s like this is a great query letter and then you read the book and the book does not live up to it.
Kaelyn: 00:29:14 That the author is better at query letters than they are at books.
Kaelyn: 00:29:18 Yeah. [laughter] Um, so I personally do look at everything because you end up with some diamonds in the rough. Sometimes. Um, query letters are hard. I understand that. So but please, even though they’re hard, has one. I have never gotten a query letter that was so bad that I said, well, I’m just not reading the manuscript.
Rekka: 00:29:46 Okay. Okay. Even the ones that get creepy about your black tea?
Kaelyn: 00:29:50 that was just the one time, and I think that was you.
Rekka: 00:29:53 [[laughter]] okay.
Kaelyn: 00:29:58 I kid, I kid.
Rekka: 00:30:00 Yeah. I was like, no, I would never tell you that I like black tea because that’s I’m honest
Kaelyn: 00:30:03 that’s a good point. Yeah.
Rekka: 00:30:05 This relationship is based on trust.
Kaelyn: 00:30:05 That’s true. That’s very true. Um, no, it’s… I’ve never gotten a query letter that made me say, “okay, I’m not going to read this.” As long as you write one. I think that’s what’s most important is at least just try.
Rekka: 00:30:24 So people have compared the query letter to the trailer for the movie where you’re not, you’re not recounting the plot of the movie, but you are sort of hinting at it, you, you’re hitting at the stakes. Um, hopefully you’re not starting this “in a world with or in a world where” um, but how, how clever do you feel that an author should be in their query letter? Like, is a straightforward query letter going to be more helpful than one where somebody decides to write it in second person or, Or is that sort of intriguing and you’re always curious to see how people write their queries?
Kaelyn: 00:31:09 It’s really funny because, um, I, you know, put together some notes before we were going to be talking. And, um, one of the things, and you know, this is an audio medium, so you can’t see me holding up the notebook [[paper sounds]], but at the top of it it says “this isn’t the time to be cute.”
Rekka: 00:31:25 Okay.
Kaelyn: 00:31:27 Now that said, the tone of your query letter should kind of emanate the tone of your book.
Rekka: 00:31:32 Okay.
Kaelyn: 00:31:32 Um, you know, if it just kind of helps with the flow and it helps, you know.
Rekka: 00:31:39 Set an expectation
Kaelyn: 00:31:40 Yeah. And relate the two so that, um, that’s good. But this is not the time to try to be really funny and write, um, you know, in a strange style. I’ve, I’ve had some query letters that were funny, but I’m not going for funny here. I want you to tell me about what I’m about to spend time looking at and reading and evaluating. Professional is the best default.
Rekka: 00:32:13 Okay.
Kaelyn: 00:32:13 When in doubt, just be professional. Oh, and one other along the professional lines, I see everyone’s email addresses. Please make sure you have a professional email address.
Rekka: 00:32:30 Oh, not the one that occurred to you when you were 15 in high school.
New Speaker: 00:32:33 Exactly. Not, yeah, not your AOL address from when you were 12. And you were like “snot-monster-27,” you know, or whatever,
Kaelyn: 00:32:40 unless the book is about 27 snot monsters,
Kaelyn: 00:32:43 the book is about 27 snot monsters, and then by all means, please please use that email address. Um, yeah, but just, you know, it makes sure there’s nothing, um, uh, nothing that’s going to make me go, “Oh hmm. Okay.” [laughter]
Kaelyn: 00:33:03 I can think of some email addresses I’ve seen, but they’re not appropriate for the air.
Kaelyn: 00:33:07 Exactly. That was uh, that was kind of where I was going with that. Um, yeah. So anyway, the default is always be professional. You can be friendly and professional. You can be lighthearted and professional. You can, you know, I mean, a lot of times you’re, you know, especially in the, the genres we publish, you’re telling me about, you know, fantastical things like, so tell me about them. And again, default always be professional because, you know, this isn’t just me, but this is, you know, anyone that you’re sending a query letter to, you don’t know how it’s going to come off to that person. Right. Um, something that you think is a very funny joke might be offensive to them and that’s not a good starting point.
Rekka: 00:33:51 Nope. Nope. Definitely not. And there’s also, um, like you said, tone, it doesn’t come as a, it doesn’t come across as well as you think it does in text only.
Kaelyn: 00:34:02 It doesn’t. Um, it’s the queer, keeping the query letter in line with the tone of your book I think is good. And by that I mean if you’re writing a gritty, dark-scifi-kind-of-akin-to-alien, you know, setting and your query letter is this is a magic adventure of friendship and hope. And it’s like, and I read it and it, no, it’s not. Um, so when I say keep the tones kind of on the same page, you know, what makes sure that the words you’re using in your query letter match what I should be feeling and thinking and getting from what I’m reading in your book. Okay. So that’s, um, you know, that’s, that’s a little more nuance. But like I said, if you’re having a hard time with it just default to professional, there is nothing wrong with that.
Rekka: 00:34:57 Basic is not going to immediately bore you into not reading.
Kaelyn: 00:35:01 No, of course not. And I’d rather read, uh, you know, more straightforward professional email that or query letter, excuse me, that it gives me information and tells me what I need to know rather than one that is trying really hard to be funny and I’ve left with no pertinent information.
Rekka: 00:35:21 Okay. So now you are reading every manuscript at least to the first sentence.
Kaelyn: 00:35:30 At least for the first sentence. Yeah.
Rekka: 00:35:32 At least to the first sentence.
Kaelyn: 00:35:33 usually, usually beyond that.
Rekka: 00:35:36 This is not from what we writers here typical of the industry.
Kaelyn: 00:35:41 Well, my guess is that would depend. Um, it really is gonna depend on what your, who you’re submitting to, you know, if you’re trying to query a literary agent. And I will keep this very high level because I am not a literary agent so I don’t want to speak too much to uh, their methods and systems. The query letters are especially important for agents because, and again, this is going back to when you didn’t want to be mailing manuscripts, so you’d send a query letter and then if you got a letter back then you’d mail the manuscript, then they said, I want to see this. Now because you know, email and the dreaded Internet, um, it’s much easier to send these things along. So, but agents—I mean if you think I get a ton of stuff for open submission—when literary agents are open for queries, they are bombarded. So for them, even if you send the manuscript, they might look at the query letter and right off the bat just say no. Um, now for us, when we have an open submissions call, um, I, you know, I do at least open everything that I get. Um, which again, going back to, because sometimes people are just not necessarily great at selling their story.
Rekka: 00:37:05 Right?
Kaelyn: 00:37:06 It’s hard. It’s, I mean, well, you know, well your own experience with that, how, how much, uh, you know, how did you do selling Flotsam?
Rekka: 00:37:15 Um, well I did well because I had…
Rekka: 00:37:18 Well, we bought it.
New Speaker: 00:37:18 So I did well, thank you. But, um, I, I’m a little bit of an outlier because I already had worked with an editor on this, you know, because I, I thought I was going to self publish it as you know, so I had really polished this manuscript to the best of my ability and um, and then when I was done with the manuscript, my editor, who I, you know, it was, it’s John Adamus.
Kaelyn: 00:37:48 Yeah.
Rekka: 00:37:49 You know, John. John has been on the show. Everybody knows John.
Kaelyn: 00:37:51 Yep. This isn’t a secret.
Rekka: 00:37:53 So, John suggested that even if I was planning to self publish, as an exercise, I should write a query letter because it would help me write marketing copy for it. So I
Kaelyn: 00:38:02 Sage advice
Rekka: 00:38:03 Yeah, so I went through a process with him because he loves writing query letters to write a query letter for Flotsam. So that query letter, when I got his approval, I sent to Parvus.
Kaelyn: 00:38:16 Yeah. Okay. All right.
Rekka: 00:38:18 So yeah, so that’s not typical process. A lot of the, a lot more of this is “I’m on my own. I am, you know, writing this query letter based on articles I found on the Internet and advice I found on Twitter. And I really hope that this is perfect and I’m sending it off to an agent.” And of course, you know, I went through the open submissions period, um, period that you had when I went, when I submitted to Parvus. So I didn’t go through an agent, I didn’t submit to agents, I wasn’t at the time I still thought I was going to self publish it. So I was very noncommittal about my interest in having Parvus pick up this book.
Kaelyn: 00:38:55 Okay.
Rekka: 00:38:56 So not typical.
Kaelyn: 00:38:57 Okay. So well actually though going off two things you just said, um, the first was you know, writers saying “I feel so alone in this,” you don’t have to be because there are entire swatches of the Internet that are just people discussing these kinds of things and taking turns reading each other’s work. And you know, I’m not going to point you in any directions, but it is, it’s something to keep in mind that there are people out there that are doing this same thing. And you know, if this is something that is very important to you, when you really, really wanna nail go out there and find them or you know, you can hire people to help you with this if you feel like you’re just really struggling and really need the help. Um, but the other thing I just, you know, as a little side note about Parvs that I want to point out is we absolutely do and have picked up most of our books through open submissions. Um, that’s, you know, so you’re not sending things into a void. [laughter] I mean, did you feel like that when you had submitted that?
Rekka: 00:40:01 No, because, um, I knew that it was an open submissions period. I was under the impression. Okay. So like I said, I thought this was just an exercise and so I submitted my submission. I thought it was going to John Adamus because he had talked to me about going through slush piles.
Kaelyn: 00:40:21 Yeah.
Rekka: 00:40:22 Um, he would occasionally rant on Twitter about things that he saw in query letters that maybe don’t do it in letter.
Kaelyn: 00:40:28 I try not to do that. It’s, yeah.
Rekka: 00:40:30 So, um, so it, I was under the impression that John would read it and there was a promise like turnaround date. So I was like, all right, so I’ll just set my watch it, forget it. And I submitted it and um, I did not feel as though it went off to avoid. I thought it was going directly to John and I thought that John was going to complete my valuable lesson and reject me. I just thought that would be something that John would kind of, like
Kaelyn: 00:40:59 some kind of sage maniac. Like, “Yes. Now you have learned the true meaning of publication.
Rekka: 00:41:05 Like life’s tough, here’s what it feels like.
Kaelyn: 00:41:08 Less tough. Get a helmet.
Rekka: 00:41:09 That’s so, um, so I was very surprised when I got an email back from Colin saying, “Hi, I’m not John, but you know, we did receive your, you know, your, your submission and we’ll get back to you by this date. And if you haven’t heard from us by x, feel free to write back.”
Kaelyn: 00:41:27 Okay
Rekka: 00:41:28 Yes, he didn’t say 90 days. He said by April 1st so just as aside, I didn’t have to do any calendar math in my head.
Kaelyn: 00:41:36 Yeah, let’s talk about real quick aside about calendar math. Um, we try to turn things around in 90 days
Kaelyn: 00:41:44 It’s longer than you think it is.
Kaelyn: 00:41:46 If you’re going to, um, to follow up with us in 90 days, which you know, you are welcomed and encouraged to do, so please get a calendar out and actually count 90 days. I know you and I had talked about this once before, but um, I’m sitting on hundreds of submissions. If I’m a little behind, you know, I try not to be, I try to, you know, say like this up to this date of submissions by this time. And if you’re looking for a followup though, that’s completely fine, just please make sure that this is this is Parvus, this is everyone. Please make sure that it is actually that amount of time. Um, because, you know, as we talked about, it doesn’t make me immediately go, okay REJECT, but it is kind of the like, uh, okay. All right. Um, well this person is not paying attention.
Rekka: 00:42:43 and because they’re not paying attention, they’re causing you to have to reply to an email that you shouldn’t have had to receive yet.
Kaelyn: 00:42:50 Well, it’s an uncomfortable, comfortable reply too, because, I don’t, I in no way delight in writing someone back and going, actually it’s only been this many days. Um, again, submissions guidelines, pay very close attention to that because the response time will be in the submissions guidelines.
Rekka: 00:43:12 Yes.
Kaelyn: 00:43:13 Um, yeah. So anyway, back to the original question. I don’t know how atypical it is that I at least open everything. Um, I’d like to think it’s not that unusual, but there are a lot of people out there that submit to publishers and agents and various things that put the written word to paper. So I don’t know how unusual it is to be honest with you. I can only speak from my own personal experience there. Um,
Rekka: 00:43:50 do you think there’s a number of submissions you would have to receive before you personally would be incapable of getting your work done if you opened every single one of them the way you do now? Because there’s a round time, you know, like yes you’re just reading one sentence to see if you’re interested in sentence two. But you have to open the file. You have to go into your file, you know, you have to download the file and go into your downloads folder. You have to open it. Microsoft word has to load its slow self and then you know, then you’re looking at the file, then you’re reading, then you’re making a decision or you know, or it’s involuntary, whichever the situation is and close the file again and move on to the next one. That’s, that’s not an instant like skimming with your eyes.
Kaelyn: 00:44:31 No. I mean, even just if I opened the file and then immediately close it, you know, without looking at a single thing, it’s, that’s a couple of minutes. Um, it’s, I mean, for me to get to the point that I couldn’t do it, I really don’t know. I think my, I think what I try to do instead is either adjust, like our open calls or how long our response time is. Um, because you never know. And I like to, you know, somebody, no matter what you send me, no matter if I like it or don’t like it, I am always trying to keep in mind that somebody has put a lot of time and effort, blood, sweat and tears into this. So, and they were kind enough to submit it to us. So I, the least I can do is at least take a look at it. Um, what it would take for me to get to the point that I can’t do that? I really don’t know. I can’t say
Kaelyn: 00:45:33 sure. But I think it’s, it’s as important as, you know, that hypothetical answer to hear you say, “I would adjust my open call to make sure I could read everyone I got” rather than just start saying, “all right, well based on your query I will decide not to open your file” or “based on the formatting of your email or your email address, I won’t even open the email.” You know?
Kaelyn: 00:45:58 Yeah. Um, I’ve never had an email address that made me say, “okay, I’m not reading this.” A couple of that raised an eyebrow. And, um, now I will say that like, I am someone that tends to default to laughter at these kinds of things. But, you know, so not…
Rekka: 00:46:15 Not everyone
Kaelyn: 00:46:16 Not everyone is. So just, you know, I, I might chuckle at it and go like, okay, well that’s clearly from when they were in middle school, which is hilarious that they still have that email address.
Rekka: 00:46:26 You know, it’s not, you know, there’s free email accounts out there if you don’t already have a domain name that you can’t make a professional writer email just as a reply to, you never have to use this email for anything but submission,
Kaelyn: 00:46:37 Just created g-mail burner account, just
Rekka: 00:46:40 and then what you can do is force yourself not to look at it every day, you know, and reload it on your phone. Like this is the email you sit down at the end of the week and you open just to see if anyone’s replied.
Kaelyn: 00:46:51 Yes, yes. Um, so yeah, I, I really like getting to be able to read things. There is nothing like, you know, getting something and going like,”Oh, I think we’ve got one here there.” That’s such a great feeling. I love it. So I really like doing all of that. So I would try to adjust my schedule, adjust how we work and respond rather than say, “well we just have to start, you know, not looking at these.” And you know, the other part of this is is that yes I am, I’m the first person you got to get through. But the other people at Parvus also read these things. So it’s not completely just me. Um, you know, we, everyone has access to the submissions manager, anyone who would like to is welcome to go in there and start, you know, taking a look at things. So, um, but it is primarily me at the end of the day.
Kaelyn: 00:47:46 It’s your responsibility, but if anybody else finds themselves somehow with a day where they’ve got nothing to do, cause that happens in the 21st century…
Kaelyn: 00:47:54 Sometimes, you know, maybe you open it and you just want to, uh, see, you know, how we’re doing, see what’s in there and a particular title catches your eye.
Rekka: 00:48:02 Sure.
Kaelyn: 00:48:03 So you’re just like, “hey, let’s take a quick look at this. I mean, I try to do
Rekka: 00:48:06 And on accident you spend the entire evening reading a manuscript (one hopes)
Kaelyn: 00:48:10 Rekka that’s happened to me.
Rekka: 00:48:11 Yeah.
Kaelyn: 00:48:12 That’s how we got Necropolis.
Rekka: 00:48:14 Okay, cool.
Kaelyn: 00:48:14 Um, that’s
Rekka: 00:48:19 NECROPOLIS PD
Kaelyn: 00:48:19 NECROPOLIS PD coming out April 2nd. Nathan Sumsin. It’s an outstanding book. And I mean that was a book that I actually stopped reading other submissions.
Rekka: 00:48:30 Oops!
Kaelyn: 00:48:30 Like, you know, normally I read it, I get as far into it where I say like, “okay, you know what, I think this maybe has potential,” put it aside and then keep going and, but sometimes, you know, a book gets you and
Rekka: 00:48:42 I know this feeling.
Kaelyn: 00:48:43 Yeah! So, um, I hope to always be able to do that is the answer.
Rekka: 00:48:52 That’s awesome. I’m sure that will give people a lot of hope. I really think it will.
Kaelyn: 00:48:56 I hope so.
Rekka: 00:48:57 Um, you know, you have the myths out there about the submissions process that people are, you know, trying to fill a quota of rejections rather than, oh, it’s about time.
Kaelyn: 00:49:07 Yeah. But that’s not, is that, is that a thing? Is that like an urban legend
Rekka: 00:49:12 Well, I don’t know if it’s an urban legend, but I have heard, um, I think John has said on the podcast in the past, in the nineties he worked as a slush reader. He’s expected to reject more than he accepted.
Kaelyn: 00:49:24 Well, I mean, of course they’re going to reject more than you accept. You just, it’s Law.
Rekka: 00:49:29 Okay. What did we phrased it was, it was more like where the, where there’s a speed trap. The end of the month, they need to work harder. Um, so on that note, um, when you decide to reject or accept this, what happens next?
Kaelyn: 00:49:50 Well, I mean, if it gets rejected, you get an email from me. Um, you know, and just a quick side note in a while we’re going on the giving people hope, [laughter] which I thought the whole point was before it’s supposed to give writers hope…
Rekka: 00:50:07 right?
Kaelyn: 00:50:08 Yeah. Um, sometimes if you get a rejection letter, it’s not because your book was bad. It is genuinely sometimes that we just can’t get this in our catalog right now. Um, it might be that we have, you know, we just did a book that was very similar to it. It’s just not going to fit with like what we’re trying to do and what we’re trying to sell right now, or we don’t have, um, have the right way to get it in front of readers. It’s not, I think a lot of times when I talk to writers and they say, “Oh, I got this rejection and I get so disheartened with my writing.” And of course rejections are incredibly disheartening. Um, but it doesn’t necessarily mean your book was bad sometimes is we just can’t sell this right now. Um, those books, you know, um, sometimes publishers might come back to you in the future and say, “Hey, do you have, you know, did anyone, are you still shopping this around?” Um, I’m not sure I’d call that a rare occurrence. It’s probably not that common, but, um, so, you know, the rejection letter is that’s, that’s it. Um, but this is then where we kind of move more into the regular, traditional acquisitions process where, you know, we’re going to sit down and talk about the books we have that we’re considering and
Rekka: 00:51:34 Parvus as a team
Kaelyn: 00:51:36 Parvus as a team. This is, you know, any, anyone who publishes books, you’re going to sit down and have a discussion about, well, I have this and I think it would be good for this audience and I think we could market it specifically to this group of people, or it would dovetail nicely on something that, you know, we had come out a couple of years ago that was received very well. Um, you know, in our case we’re still, you know, we’re newish. Naw, nah would’d you consider us newish?
Rekka: 00:52:03 You’re almost old now. Sorry
Kaelyn: 00:52:06 I guess we almost are. Yeah. The time has just flown. Um, okay. We’ve got five books out now and we’re working through our own, our own stuff and catalog and trying to figure out, you know, what we should do, what we should buy. So yeah, after that we decide to consider a move forward with your book. There’s going to be a few conversations. Um, especially, you know, if you don’t have an agent there’s going to be, um, but eventually what will happen is you’ll get a contract and then you’ve sold your book. And I’m simplifying a process a lot,
Rekka: 00:52:44 A little bit!
Kaelyn: 00:52:45 but there, you know, there’ll be phone calls and emails and you know, you’ll talk to probably like me an acquisitions editor who will call you and want to talk about, uh, the book. And then you start talking about editorial stuff, once the book has been purchased. And you should have a conversation with that before someone purchases your book because there’s no editor that’s just going to go, “yeah, it’s great. It’s great. We’re done.”
Rekka: 00:53:16 “Print it!”
Kaelyn: 00:53:16 Yeah! “What? We didn’t already print this? Another thousand copies.” They’re gonna make you do work on your book. So you’ll have a—
Rekka: 00:53:27 what, what is the reasoning behind the work? I mean some of it’s going to be like this is structurally has a hole right here, but are there any other kinds of edits that you make for the marketing side of things? Like if this book leaned a little bit harder toward this genre or if this book um, picked up on this trend right now. I mean what kinds of,
Kaelyn: 00:53:48 There’re editors that will absolutely do that. It’s, see I, I can’t speak in definitives here. I can’t say always this, never this. Well the first round of editing what’s going to happen is, before the book’s even thought there were going to have a conversation about like, well this is what we want out of the book is… Will you do that? Because you do get authors and you get people that will refuse to make changes and that’s, you know, that’s not going to work.
Rekka: 00:54:26 Right
Kaelyn: 00:54:26 You’ll have a conversation with somebody about that. It might be me, it might be somebody that might be your editor and kind of figure out these are the major things we want to address here. And something, the ones that I find happen most frequently are things that… Very rarely when we get a book has it recently been completed, it’s usually been around for awhile and you know, this goes back to like the typos in your query letter, you get so used to seeing things that you don’t realize that
Rekka: 00:55:03 You changed character’s name halfway through the book.
Kaelyn: 00:55:05 Well, to a reader that um, you know, this might not be making sense to them. Um, one of the biggest things I see with authors and I love it because it’s a really easy fix and generally very well-received is you know this stuff in your head because you wrote this. I need you to communicate
Rekka: 00:55:26 Telling an author, “Could you get deeper into the world-building—”
Kaelyn: 00:55:29 Exactly. Yeah.
Rekka: 00:55:30 Is kind of like asking them if they want to go on a pony ride. I mean, like, nobody’s gonna say no.
Kaelyn: 00:55:35 So a lot of times when I wrote authors back or you know, have a conversation with them and I’m like, um, so I need a little more information here. Most of the time the response I get is, “oh, okay, great. I just didn’t want to bog everyone down with a lot of, you know, exposition.” It’s like that. I mean, don’t write pages of, you know, explaining how things work. But, um, I think, and you know, that’s like I would say, you know this in your head, you need to make sure the reader knows it and
Rekka: 00:56:04 if that’s hard to do when you, you’re on your third revision.
Kaelyn: 00:56:06 Exactly.
Rekka: 00:56:07 And already you already knew it to begin with.
Kaelyn: 00:56:11 Yes, exactly. And it’s funny because sometimes I’ll get back like, yeah, I had stuff about that. And then I just felt like it was really slowing the story down or it was really killing the scene and it’s like, okay, well that’s something we can work on is how to kind of organically finesse this into, into the book
Kaelyn: 00:56:29 starting to get into the editorial process. Yes. So some, some folks did ask, um, you know, what about your editorial process? Like how do you tackle a novel? What do you focus on first or do you have certain tools or approaches that you use when you are working on the editorial post contract-side of a novel?
Kaelyn: 00:56:50 Okay. So I’m gonna put a disclaimer here that I should have probably put at the start of this whole episode. I think I did, but I’ll come out and say it.
Rekka: 00:56:58 I can repeat it in the intro. I have recorded that.
Kaelyn: 00:57:00 Okay. Whatever I say is not, this is not always how things go.
Rekka: 00:57:06 This is not the recipe for getting your book approved. This is not,
Kaelyn: 00:57:09 this isn’t even
Rekka: 00:57:10 a guaranteed experience even with Parvis. Yeah.
Kaelyn: 00:57:13 Because if you work with me versus if you work with Ryan, it’s going to be very different. Um, right. Part of that is because going into my process is at harvest. We believe in a very collaborative process. Um, I want you to wake up at one 30 in the morning and go, “oh my God, this thing, I just thought of!” and email me. Right? And I want you to call me when you’re stuck on something and having a problem. Um, so your books, we’ve purchased your book, I’m your editor. The first thing we’re going to do is, and you’ve already had a conversation with me at this point, so you know what the expectations are. So then we’re going to get into a little bit more detail. I’m going to read your manuscript. I’m going to come up with some notes. Um, but the other thing I’m going to talk to you about is themes and things that are important in the book. And, at the end of this story, what do you want the reader to walk away with? Um, it can be either some sort of a message or lesson. It can be a feeling; how do you want them to feel at the end of this book? What’s the tone you’re trying to convey here? Because as I’m working through this, I want to understand what it is that you want the reader to leave this book with
Rekka: 00:58:31 —and it’ll help make decisions about—
Kaelyn: 00:58:32 Exactly
Rekka: 00:58:33 —how to edit things that feel like they don’t have that sort of backbone of a theme.
Kaelyn: 00:58:37 Exactly. But also it helps us get on the same page. Um, it helps me understand, make sure I understand everything about the book, um, but also make sure that what you’re trying to communicate is coming through. It’s coming through appropriately and it’s coming through in a way that the readers can process. Um, so you know, you’re going to get developmental edits and this is going to be the, “hey, tell me a little bit more about this” or “hang on. This part doesn’t line up correctly with this other thing you said” or, um, you know, any, any number of things along along those lines. Um, we’ll have a few conversations. Probably I will send you uh notes to read.
Rekka: 00:59:30 This is a separate document that talks about the book at a high level?
Kaelyn: 00:59:35 This is a separate and, well, I should pause here because one of the other things that me personally, I always ask readers or, readers, writers, is how do you work best?
Rekka: 00:59:46 Okay.
Kaelyn: 00:59:47 Um, what’s the best way to get feedback from you? Like I always send a separate document with notes. Um, there’ve been times I said, okay, here’s this thing that we need to adjust. And then I’ve gone into the manuscript and flagged parts where it’s like, okay, see this is what I’m talking about.
Rekka: 01:00:04 Okay, great.
Kaelyn: 01:00:06 I, like I said, we like to work on a collaborative basis. So I like to be able to talk to the author and figure out the best way for us to work together. Because if I’m sending you pages of notes and then you’re having trouble applying them to the certain parts of the manuscript, that’s not good for anyone
Rekka: 01:00:25 right
Kaelyn: 01:00:26 Now, again, this is me, you know, so they’re like, you know, if you have an editor somewhere else that they’re just like, “well, that’s how I work. You got to figure it out.” Yeah, that’s, yeah, that can definitely be the other thing that happens. The developmental edits is going to be the first and the most time consuming part of things, which is just getting the book to where everything lines up correctly. The characters are properly, you know, fleshed out and expressed, um, your ideas and the story flow well. Um, and I can’t tell you like, oh, well it only takes this long or it will take this long because who knows? You have some experience with that.
Rekka: 01:01:09 A little bit!
Kaelyn: 01:01:11 Little bit, yeah. Um, you know, there’s, there’s a couple of books we have that we made people do major rewrites of. Um, and it’s not easy. Um, I think everyone thinks that, “oh, once I get the book accepted, then it’s all downhill from here.” That is not the case.
Rekka: 01:01:31 Yep.
Kaelyn: 01:01:33 I always tell people that I’m working with, “you wrote a great book. We would not have taken it if you didn’t write a great book. I am getting a fantastic book out of you. If it kills both of us.”
Rekka: 01:01:49 It might!
Kaelyn: 01:01:51 It might. You are gonna hate me by the end of this. No, I don’t think any of them hate me. Maybe one.
Rekka: 01:01:57 But I mean at this point you are, I mean, not just Parvus is, is financially invested in this book, but you are also,
Kaelyn: 01:02:05 I am super interested in this book. Yes. Yeah. You know, I, I talked to my friends and family about this book. They begged me, please stop talking to us about this book. We can’t even read it yet. Um, I, I am not going to let you get away with anything. You’re not going, you know, there is an author that I need rewrite the same three paragraphs. I think I got about 10 drafts of the same three paragraphs and I’m showing them to people and going like, “okay, read this. What do you, what do you think is being communicated here?” Because it was, it’s an important part of the book, so I’m not going to let you get away with
Rekka: 01:02:52 glossing it over or miscommunicating it.
Kaelyn: 01:02:54 Yes, and that’s, you know, I mean, I’m not tooting my own horn here, but like you should block that out of your editor.
Rekka: 01:03:02 Right. There’s not going to give up on you and “go, I guess it’s fine. Whenever we’ve done it 10 times. this is fine”
Kaelyn: 01:03:07 “Yeah, I guess this is fine.” No, I’m not looking for fine. I’m not even, you wrote something great or it’s not even going to be great. It’s going to be amazing because I 100% believe in, you know, our authors’ ability to write amazing books and you know, no one comes into this perfect. No one writes a perfect book and everything’s just fine.
Rekka: 01:03:34 yeah, an amazing book doesn’t really happen in a vacuum like that.
Kaelyn: 01:03:37 No, it doesn’t. Um, that’s why editor exist, if it were, if people could just, you know, sit down and turn out perfect, amazing books, then you wouldn’t need me. Well, for this part anyway, it still need me to
Rekka: 01:03:55 Acquire it
Kaelyn: 01:03:55 Yeah, to acquire the perfect, amazing book.
Rekka: 01:03:57 Um, job security is important.
Kaelyn: 01:04:00 Yeah, no, I think, I think, uh, as long as there are people with, uh, the ability to write, they will send it to me, which is great. I love it. It’s very, it’s, it’s exciting. You know, I, it’s every time we open for submissions, I’m like, okay, gotta get gotta get pumped for this. And then as soon as I start digging into it, you know, you get, you get back into the swing of things. It’s like going back to the gym after you haven’t been for awhile.
Rekka: 01:04:30 Awesome. Yeah. That’s awesome. Okay, so we are starting to run a little bit long.
Kaelyn: 01:04:34 Yeah. I realized I didn’t ask you for a timeline.
Rekka: 01:04:38 Nope that’s fine, it’s usually between like 45 minutes and an hour.
Kaelyn: 01:04:42 Ooh!
Rekka: 01:04:43 You know, if we’re still going, then we’re still going. But, um, I think I have so many questions still that like we might have to have you back on again someday.
Kaelyn: 01:04:53 Oh, God, no not that! Yes of course
Rekka: 01:04:54 And, um, so I’m just going to ask one more question that we got from Melissa because it’s a nice way to cap off, um, an episode.
Kaelyn: 01:05:00 Okay.
Rekka: 01:05:02 So you sort of, we’ve sort of talked about it already, but like what’s, what keeps you going doing this? Because it’s a lot of work and it’s hard and like you said, you either are more rough than there are diamonds, but what, what keeps you going?
Kaelyn: 01:05:15 Finding the diamonds.
Rekka: 01:05:16 Yeah. Is that like a high, is that like an endorphin rush?
Kaelyn: 01:05:19 It’s such a high, it’s like when you find something and you’re just like, “Ooh, oh, this one. Okay. Yeah, I think this might be something.” And then you keep reading and you’re like, “okay, they still got me and then keep going. It’s like “I’m still here.” Um, and that, what keeps me going is that, you know, we, I, I love being able to put things out into the world that people want to read. Um, I love also then finding people that poured their heart and soul into something and are just as excited to work on it as I am. Um, I, I really get to see a lot of interesting things that people send us. Um, you know, even if we don’t buy them, even if it ends up not being the right fit for us, I get to read a lot of interesting stories.
Kaelyn: 01:06:13 Um, I know this is a longer answer than you were probably looking for, but it’s a very interesting to see the things people imagine and come up with. And I like, I love that. I love reading something where I’m just like, wow, how did they get this idea? And even if we don’t take the book, that’s still cool to see. Um, but you know, I’ll turn it ,like on the flip side of it, acquisitions is not my only job. Um, you know, so I get to work with authors and work on great books and the finding of those great books is just one facet of it.
Rekka: 01:06:53 Yeah. Awesome. And then, and then you know, that you or someone else at Parvus are going to be the champion for that book.
Kaelyn: 01:06:59 I am. I am very protective of our authors. Um, it’s, I’m, I, I don’t know, um, you know, the grizzly, the grizzly bear of, of that. Um, but because, you know, it’s, it’s a collaborative process, so I’m just as invested in the book as the author is and getting to, you know, go out there and tell people about it and say, “oh my God, and it’s coming out and it’s great. You should read it” is so much fun.
New Speaker: 01:07:29 Awesome.
Kaelyn: 01:07:29 Yeah. Awesome. All right, so on that note,
Rekka: 01:07:31 On that note, people want to know when is the next open submissions from Parvus? Do you have that scheduled?
Kaelyn: 01:07:38 No, we don’t. Um, it’s really, it’s really gonna depend, uh, coming up. Um, generally, you know, we do one in the beginning of the year one towards the end of the year. Um, but yeah, you never know.
Rekka: 01:07:55 So follow @Parvuspress on Twitter or @kindofKaelyn on Twitter. Yes. Uh, there will be announcements when they are looking for books.
Kaelyn: 01:08:02 There will definitely be announcements. We stand on the hilltops and, and scream it and, uh, we, you know, I will read it. So that’s, you know, if nothing else, someone is going to look at it that someone is me.
Rekka: 01:08:15 Awesome. Okay. I didn’t warn you. So fair enough. If you don’t, do you have a bad joke for us?
Kaelyn: 01:08:21 Oh God. Um, okay. Um, uh, string walks into a bar and sits down and says, can I get a drink? And the bartender is like, uh, “I’m sorry, we don’t serve strings here.” And the string’s like, “fine.” He walked back outside and he like, you know, it was all upset. It gets himself all tangled up and s messes up his hair. You know his, his end. Yeah. He walks back into the bar and sits back down and says, “well, can I have a drink now?” And the bartender says, “are you still a string?” And he says, “no, I’m a frayed knot.”
Rekka: 01:08:55 Nice. The listeners don’t know, but at the end of every Parvus newsletter there is a, there is a bad, there’s a bad joke. Yes. There, there’s a why did you even take the time to put this joke in here? Joke.
Kaelyn: 01:09:08 Somebody read it and chuckled. Yup. It was usually one person. It was probably just me.
Kaelyn: 01:09:16 Nice. All right, so go join that Parvus mailing list.
Kaelyn: 01:09:20 Join the Parvus mailing list! You can uh, we send things out. We, you know, you can do advance, you know, maybe you get an advanced copy of something. You get some insider information about what’s going on and you get a bad joke.
Rekka: 01:09:32 You definitely get a bad joke.
Kaelyn: 01:09:32 I mean, if nothing else, it’s worth it just for that. Colin’s jokes are epically bad. So, um, yeah, so check us out. We’re Nice.
Rekka: 01:09:43 All those links will be in the show notes. Kaelyn, thank you so much for coming on
Kaelyn: 01:09:46 Thanks so much for having me.
Rekka: 01:09:48 And I’m really excited. I think you, you gave, like I said, I’ve said it already multiple times this episode, but I think you gave a lot of people hope for it, that the process is not the black hole. It is not, um, someone laughing cruelly as they go through the submissions process.
Kaelyn: 01:10:02 I never laugh cruelly. I uh, I may laugh in a silly way, but never cruelly.
Rekka: 01:10:09 All right, so we have a ton more questions and we’ll have to bring you back.
Kaelyn: 01:10:13 Yeah, definitely. I’d love that.
Rekka: 01:10:15 Awesome. All right. Thanks so much Kaelyn, take care
Kaelyn: 01:10:17 Thanks, Rekka.
Rekka: 01:10:21 Thank you for joining us for today’s episode. As always, it would really help us out so much if you could subscribe, rate or view this podcast on iTunes, even if that’s not where you get your podcast subscriptions delivered to you. If you’d like to leave a comment about today’s content, you can do so at hybridauthorpodcast.com or tweet @hybridauthor on Twitter.
Rekka: 01:10:42 This episode is made possible by our patrons and friends. You can join in the fun at patrion.com/hybridauthorpodcast. Thanks as always to Chris Duckett for audio production on today’s episode.
Rekka: 01:10:54 We’ll be back next week and remember: pitchforks, flames, whatever. Don’t let anything stop you.
Other resources mentioned in today’s recording:
- Marge Gets a Job (Simpsons Episode)
Get in Touch with Kaelyn Considine and Parvus Press:
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