Here’s a crazy thing about publishing – you are often required to work with people you have never meet in person and trust them with your life’s work. It’s a little unnerving. But I had nothing to worry about. Kate Dresser is a manuscript whisperer – she knew where I wanted to take my story before I did. I knew from the moment I heard her laugh (about two seconds into our first conversation) that she and I would get along like peanut butter and chocolate (a little sweet, a little salty). We were meant to be together!
She’s already provided me with valuable advice on reviews (DON’T READ THEM) and revision (Don’t worry about writing a perfect manuscript. A perfect manuscript doesn’t need editing and she likes doing her job). You can find her on Twitter and as one of the hosts of XOXO After Darkcast (a podcast talking romance novels, sex, pop culture and more).
After a short stint elsewhere, Kate was thrilled to return to the Gallery/Pocket team as an editor. When she’s not reading for work or pleasure (or both!), she buys too many lipsticks, watches movie musicals, cooks what her friends call “comfort food on a budget,” and dreams of road trips.
Here’s her answers to the Deb Ball Editor questions:
How many pages into a manuscript do you know it’s something you want to acquire?
It depends on the project! It’s much easier to know when I *don’t* want the project, which I can tell pretty darn quickly after starting (a few pages or so). The ones I want to acquire are the ones that I keep reading but can’t really tell why. And if I put it down and actually want to come back to it later, then I know it’s a winner. Somewhere between page 100 and the end, I’m waiting for what I call a “vision,” which is just when the whole picture starts to come together. I start thinking about how I’m going to explain this book to the publisher, present it to the sales force, which comp titles would work, a cover idea or two, a mental image of readers holding it in their hands. That’s when I really know that I want it badly, when those sorts of strategies begin to trickle in, rather than just a “hey, this is good” feeling.
When you’re looking to work with an author, what are the three things that are most important to you?
A tough one! There are so many important things! I’d say the three are 1. Talent; 2. Humility; and 3. Good humor. An ability to roll with the punches and flexibility get honorable mentions.
What was it about my book that made you say, “YES!”
It was the way it stuck with me. As you know, I didn’t buy it right away. But I remembered it, and thought of it fondly, as I do with a lot of projects I’ve read but was unable to buy for one reason or another. I’ll often write to agents when I read a good review and say “good for you, I loved this book!” So when I switched jobs, I called your agent Rachel, who was so lovely when we’d spoken last, and happened to ask what happened to your book. When she said it was still available, and when I reread it to confirm my adoration, I knew it was meant to be. It’s been over a year since the first time I read it, but I remember the sun shining through the window as I sat on my bed in my old apartment laughing aloud reading it the first time around. So I guess that’s a long way of saying “how happy it made me!”
If you were a drink, what drink would you be and why?
I want to say I’d be rosé because that’s my favorite drink, but I’m less easy-going than that. Let’s say dry cava: not too sweet, a little bracing and distinctive, and good at a party.
Which recent book do you wish you had acquired?
I’m going to cheat: whichever book is number one right now. (I never claimed to be above external validation!)
See – now you adore her too, don’t you?