Want to find out how a fiction editor and an award-winning writer thinks?
I know I do. Last week Cheryl Yeko, an acquiring editor at Soul Mate Publishing, was my guest at The Otherworld Diner. Her comments were so interesting I asked if we could continue our conversation on MiaCeleste(dot)com. She graciously agreed.
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- What are some of your favorite movies?
Speed with Keanu Reeves, Dirty Dancing and Ghost with Patrick Swayze
- Do you have a favorite quote?
Of course…from Dirty Dancing: “I’m scared of everything. I’m scared of what I saw, I’m scared of what I did, of who I am, and most of all I’m scared of walking out of this room and never feeling the rest of my whole life the way I feel when I’m with you.” -Baby
- If a writer makes changes to their manuscript due to feedback should they resend the query or only if material was requested?
Only if I ask for a fix and resubmit.
- Is it important to you for a writer to be active on line? Could a twitter account or blog presence by a writer tip the scales in getting a request or offer? And do you require writers you sign to start one?
Yes, yes, and sorta… The author is our partner in this writing journey, and they need to be onboard with us in every way. That includes marketing their novels. More and more, I’m looking at an author’s web presence, and it definitely has an impact on my decision. If I’m considering a brand new author, the impact is slight, but if I’m considering an author who’s already published, the impact is great. I have rejected manuscripts because I’ve found no marketing at all by the author, which makes me doubt their longevity in the business. Soul Mate Publishing is looking for authors who are seriously interested in a writing career.
- Does meeting an author face-to-face at a conference make a difference in your response time, the submission process, or the rejection process (i.e. Form letter vs a few sentences of advice)?
Yes. If I’ve met the person, I’m more inclined to pull it to the top of my slush pile. I think that is just human nature. But, only if the story grabs me will I offer a contract. I have many times rejected manuscripts submitted via conference meetings.
- Besides the writing, the story and the talent, what are the most important elements you look for in an author, i.e. contest wins, cooperativeness, affiliations to writer’s organizations, knowledge of publishing industry, etc.?
Cooperation is high on my list. I’m here to help make the author’s story shine, and I would never change their voice, or ask something of them that wasn’t necessary to the story. I want to work with authors who are professionals and willing to accept constructive advice.
- How do you balance your writing and your editing careers?
It can be a challenge, and my own writing is usually what gets pushed to the side, as I have a responsibility to the authors, which I take very seriously. But I try to at least write a little each day, and I’ll take a few days between editing deadlines to just concentrate on my writing.
- Where do you get your ideas? What inspires you?
Life experiences drives my writing in many ways…and I also look at news headlines and historical events for ideas.
- How long does it typically take for a manuscript to go from being a submission to being accepted?
That depends on the author and the quality of their work. A normal turnaround time, once the editing process starts, is a couple months and 3 rounds of edits, if the book is in good working order. But at times a book takes much longer, and I’ve had a few take up to a year with 10 or more rounds of edits.
- How long does it typically take for an accepted manuscript to become a published novel?
Eight months to a year, depending…
- What are you working on now?
As an editor, I currently have 13 manuscripts in my pile, actively working on about half of them, and they’re close to being finished, hopefully within the next few weeks…then I‘ll start on the next batch.
As an author, I have 4 manuscripts in the works. Between Midnight and Dawn is about 75% completed and already signed with Soul Mate…I’m working on the 3rd book in my Hero series, and I’m also working on the 2nd novel in The Dustin Lovers Series, Roping Her In, which is a co-written novella series, with my BFF, and co-acquiring editor for Soul Mate Publishing, Char Chaffin.
I also have a paranormal I’ve been kicking around for a few years, and have the world outlined, and about 4 chapters written…it’s a slow go, but I’m determined to get it completed.
- You write romantic suspense, right? What are your tips for doing this and writing a romantic suspense in general?
The best advice I can give for writing romantic suspense, is to keep the pace of the story flowing. Readers of romantic suspense want a fast ride, and if you use too much backstory or visual details it can slow down the pace. Give them just enough to understand and visualize the setting, but don’t bog it down with unnecessary details. For instance, if your hero rents a motel room, we don’t need to see every single detail of what that motel room looks like, unless it plays an important part in the story…
- Tell us about yourself and how you became a writer.
Back in 2010, my awesome husband gave me a Kindle for Christmas, and I rediscovered my love of all things romance. After a couple years of reading romance novels, I decided to try to write one. So, I checked out some books from the library, signed up for some online classes, and began my manuscript for, Protecting Rose. It took a year to write and edit, Protecting Rose. I sent my baby out to three publishers and received two offers. I signed with Soul Mate Publishing, and Protecting Rose went on to win the 2012 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence. It was very exciting!
Cheryl has won a number of awards. Just recently one of her latest releases, The Mountain Hero, became a finalist in the Carolyn Readers’ Choice Award, but I asked her if we could feature one of my favorite of her books, The Notary. Here’s what she had to say about it.
THE NOTARY. This story was fun to write and had been percolating in the back of mind since I wrote my first novel, Protecting Rose. I worked as a Mobile Notary for over ten years, conducting real estate closings for title companies in people’s homes and business, coffee shops, and other totally off the wall places. Wherever the borrower needed me.
The Notary’s premise, where the heroine is given an incorrect address for a closing appointment and shows up at the wrong home, actually happened to me. Of course, I didn’t walk into the middle of an undercover operation with a sexy cop to save me. But it could have happened! J
I’d like to share the Blurb for The Notary with you.
Adrianna Morgan’s life takes a dangerous turn when she’s given an incorrect address for a notary assignment, ending up in the wrong place, at the wrong time.
Attempting to take down a local drug ring, Lucas Hunter’s cover is blown when he goes to the aid of a beautiful woman during an undercover operation.
But the bad guys better watch out, because this sexy cop will do anything to protect the woman he loves, no matter how high the body count.
I created the book trailer for The Notary myself. I love how it turned out. It helps that I had such an awesome book cover! Book Trailer: http://youtu.be/7_l2bR969LU
Amazon Link: http://tinyurl.com/CherylYeko
I hope you’ve enjoyed learning about Cheryl Yeko and her work. Please consider leaving a comment. We’d love to hear from you.