SinC Puget Sound

June 2021 Meeting Recap: Tara Gavin: How Editors and Writers Work Together

Tara Gavin

Tara Gavin, a professional editor at Alcove Press/Crooked Lane Books, made the following points during her presentation and Q&A:

  • What an editor looks for first in an intellectual property is saleability. The editor works with the author on how to best present the project to readers. Sometimes acquisition is based on whether or not the author will create more books in that vein.
  • The editor is the person who negotiates changes between the publishing house and the author, often sending revision request to the author by email after editorial meetings. The editor acts as an advocate from the publishing house to the author.
  • The editor must remember that it is the author’s name on the cover.
  • The editor works with the art department on the cover. Sometimes the author has input, sometimes not.
  • A plan for promotion is also part of the editor’s job.
  • To make a relationship with an editor work, the author has to be a team player, and has to understand that the main job of an editor is to make the book sell. Paperbacks generally have a shelf-life of two months, though trade paperbacks can have a longer shelf-life depending on the book’s subject matter.
  • In terms of submissions, each author should research editors’ websites to make sure that the editor works in the author’s genre. Tara gets 15-20 submissions per day. She reads them all, but like many editors, she doesn’t have the time to respond to each one. She welcomes unagented submissions to Alcove Press/Crooked Lane Books.