Monday, September 15, 2008

Interview with Pandem Buckner

Hello everyone! Welcome to The Deadly Vixen's week of The Wild Rose Press. We're so glad you joined us for this very special week long event. Today we're presenting an interview we were able to snag with Faery Rose (light paranormal) Editor, Pandem Buckner. Enjoy and make sure to ask any questions you have for him as he'll be around on and off to answer them!


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Where do you see The Wild Rose Press being five years from now?
Five years from now, I think The Wild Rose Press will be a significant part of the romance e-publishing market. I'm not saying it'll be up there with Harlequin and Ellora's Cave. . .okay, maybe Ellora's Cave *s*. . .but if I see true, it will be a definite force in the market, and hopefully one that will explore print publishing more.

What do you see in the future for ebooks? The romance genre?
I don't think ebooks will replace printed books any time soon, but I can and do see them becoming a larger part of the literary market. In Japan, ebooks are available on cell phones, so I hope to see that come to North America soon. A factor that I think will help the market is, well, rising fuel costs. Rising fuel costs and improvements in metropolitan transit will push more people towards commuting, and, when they're on the bus (or train or rickshaw, whatever) they need something to do. As a means to fill that time, I think ebooks will become more and more popular as people start driving less and using public transit more, be it by cell phone or ereader.

As for the romance genre, I think it'll change over time, as men become a larger part of the market on both production and consumer sides. All genres change with time, and romance is no exception - but it will be interesting to see where it goes. Within the traditional framework (man and woman meeting, falling in love, having troubles, living happily ever after), there's a lot of room for creativity there, and I think that in the future, the more flexible elements of romantic writing, such as setting and conflicts, will become less traditional and more innovative.

What draws you, as a reader, to romance novels?
Ummmmmmm. . .I'm a hopeless romantic? *s* It's the fantasy everybody has, or at least I assume that everyone has, of finding that perfect person for you and winning their heart and devotion in the end. I have that fantasy, anyway, and while I've yet to achieve it, it's rather encouraging to see that so many others have it too. Plus, there's some good romantic ideas for men to be found in those pages *s*.

What do you look for in a manuscript for it to be publishable?
Literacy, or at least the ability to use spellcheck, is always good! Aside from what TWRP already has in its guidelines, I look for stories that really draw me in, that make me care about the characters. Believability is a plus, too, though I've enjoyed good farcical pieces as well. I guess what I really want is just a well-written story in a distinctive voice.

What do you like most/dislike most about your job?
I like the ladies I work with, and not just because they put up with my crap. *s* To a one, they've all been very sweet, helpful, understanding, compassionate, and I've learned a lot from them. If this job was in an office, they'd have to burn the building down to get me to leave. *s* They're all wonderful people who have made me feel very welcome, which was a bit of a concern for me, since I lack ovaries. I also like that we really are making dreams come true. Anyone that knows me knows I'll do whatever it takes to help someone, and I get to do that here in a way I've never done it before, in any way other than pro bono. *s* Even when we reject people, we direct them towards resources to help them become better writers, which is more than most publishers do. For those we accept, we make dreams come true, and for those we reject, we provide some steps that they can take towards making their dreams come true, and really, what's not to like about that?

What I dislike most. . .hmm. Maybe that it's not an office job and I don't get to see them all in person every day?

What is your pet peeve when dealing with authors?
Oooooooooooooh. . .this is the part where I get in trouble with Rhonda. *s* My pet peeve would be authors that don't handle the rejection well. As anyone can tell you, you're going to be rejected when trying to get published, and it shouldn't be taken personally. . .but some people take it that way. If I send out a rejection letter, complete with my reasons for rejecting the work and what can be done to improve it or the author's writing skills, and get back a scathing reply full of that author's prior publications and awards, recommendations from friends and loved ones, suggestions that I at least attempt what I'm fairly certain is an anatomical impossibility, and aspersions about my mother's native gender and/or species, all I'm going to think is that I did the right thing by rejecting that author, because they don't have the proper emotional distance from their work to handle going through the editing process.

What sort of reactions do you get when you tell people you work for The Wild Rose Press?
I don't tell people that very often, especially people I've just met. I did when I first started, but I came to realize that far more people out there have written work they'd like to see published than I had ever imagined, and even if it's not in the romance genre, they'll ask me to read it over and give my opinion. I don't have much free time as is; if I took on every manuscript proffered to me just to read over and give an opinion, I'd have none and I'd never get any sleeping done.

The people that aren't know me are a little surprised, but more that I chose to edit romance novels as opposed to me being in the literary field. That part isn't a surprise at all. *s*

What is it like being an editor?
It's more fun than you would imagine, and more work than you'd believe. You don't get to just read a novel once, make some changes and you're done with it; it can take seven or eight read-throughs, making changes every time, for even a good novel, and by that point, unless the story is utterly fascinating, you may get tired of it.

It's not easy to reject people, either. It has to be done, but it's not easy, and even when providing helpful hints, you still feel like you're stepping on someone's dream sometimes, especially if they dont respond to your rejection letter.

And then there's the paperwork. . .the endless, endless paperwork. . .but I blame Rhonda for that. *s*

What is your favorite romance sub-genre?
Erotica would be my favourite, though it's a close race between that and paranormal romance. I've had an interest in the paranormal for almost as long as I've been interested in sex. *s* But I'm very very picky about erotica, and almost as much so about paranormal romance.

What is your favorite part of the editing process?
The parts without paperwork. *s* When it's just me, the story, and a pen full of red ink, metaphorically speaking. I like tracking down the errors and knowing the best ways to fix them, I like researching to make sure the facts are correct and the context and setting are proper. . .maybe that's a bit boring of me, but it's true.

What is your least favorite part of the editing process?
The paperwork. *s*

What is your response time?
Depends on the length of the story, of course, but I try not to leave anyone hanging for long. I'm not a patient person by nature, so I definitely understand how much it sucks to be waiting forever for a reply! I think our website says to expect a response within 90 days, but really, if it takes me more than a couple of weeks, something's seriously wrong.

What is your advice to an aspiring author who wants to be published with The Wild Rose Press?
Read the guidelines before you submit. That's the most important piece of advice I can give. If you dont read the guidelines before you submit, and pay attention to them, you're just setting yourself up for a rejection letter. . .albeit a very warm and helpful one. *s*

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Disclaimer: The views expressed by the guest blogger do not necessarily reflect those of The Deadly Vixens.

10 deadly screams:

ajodonovan said...

Hi Pandem, I have a professional question to ask i'm afraid.

The guidelines say that you have to write a query and a synopsis to send to WRP for consideration, but is that still true when the story is only 5k in length?

As far as i can gather I would have to send them and not the MS, but i wanted to be sure before i did.

vagabondsaint said...

Look at it this way. . .it will be a really short synopsis. *s*

According to my senior editor, yes, you should send a synopsis with your query, and not the full MS. I agree with her; I'd rather have a synopsis of anything first.

Hope to see your submission soon!

Pandem

Gracen Miller said...

Thanks for blogging with us Pandem. Your comments were interesting, informative and funny at times. :-)

You also reminded me that I haven't responded to a rejection letter. :-( Now I feel like a very bad girl. *looks about guiltily* One thing I've learned in this business, you need really tough skin. I've been rejected more times than I've been published.

I still fear the one published book I have isn't good enough to be out there. I hope that insecurity is normal among authors too.

I do have a question for you...do you write? Many editors seem to be writers also, so I was curious if that applied to you as well?

Good luck at TWRP and thanks again for blogging with us! It was such a huge honor to have you!

Huggles.

vagabondsaint said...

Shame on you, Gracen, you naughty girl! (By the way, every man on earth likes a bad girl. . .*s*) I suggest at least a note thanking an editor for their consideration. . .feel free to keep a form rejection reply handy for people that send you form rejection letters, though. *s*

Tough skin is an absolute necessity for writers seeking publication. One has to have some emotional distance from one's work and understand that an editor is not rejecting one as a person when they reject a manuscript. If one doesn't have that thick skin, it might be best to wait until it grows on *s*

I haven't read your book, so I can't say if it's good enough to be out there or not. I can say, however, that I've probably read worse. *s* Insecurity is, as far as I can tell, pretty common. It still amazes me that people like my various writings.

So yes, I do write, though I don't have anything published as of yet, except for one poem in an online magazine a couple of years ago. I tend to write poetry more than prose, though I am working on doing more prose. It's more time-consuming and harder for me to stay focused on it. Maybe I'll share some of it here sometime *s*

A "huge honor"? You give me too much credit *s* But thanks to Sarah for asking me; it's an honour to have been asked at all, let alone asked back for repeat performances!

Pandem

Sierra Wolfe said...

Hi Pandem. Thanks for sharing with us today. I really enjoyed your post. I found it very informative and also a lot of fun. As an unpublished writer, I really had no idea what goes into the editing side of a book.

I can vouch for the insecurity feelings. That's one of the reasons it has taken me so long to sub to a press. In fact, if it wasn't for Sarah getting on my case, I probably still wouldn't have, LOL.

It's really nice to know that your company gives personal rejection letters, as TWRP is who I subbed to. I think it's nice to know where you've gone wrong so you can fix it. Form letters really provide no information to the author, who can be left wondering what they did wrong. Of course, I understand that it takes time to write out a personal letter, but it is a nice touch. Kudos to The Wild Rose Press!

Molly Daniels said...

Hi Pandem:) I'm floored by authors responding so violently to rejections letters! The only time I've ever responded to one is to THANK the editor for the helpful comments! Which, by the way, came from TWRP:) The editor very nicely pointed out I was submitting my ms to the wrong genre editor.

Sonja Foust said...

Thanks for your tips, Pandem. I particularly like your theory on how eBooks will increase in sales. I use the Sony eReader app in my iPhone so I'm already using my phone as an ebook reader and it's GREAT! Hopefully more people will figure out just how great it is and join my in ebook geekery.

Sarah Mäkelä said...

Thanks for interviewing with me, Pandem! It was an honor! =)

Molly Daniels said...

Forgot to ask...Can you resubmit your story to the same publisher after you've made changes they suggested?

Just wondered:)

vagabondsaint said...

You're welcome, Sonja and Sarah! Thanks for reading and thanks for interviewing!

Molly, I can't speak for most publishers, but I know that at TWRP we're open to resubs once improvements have been made.

Pandem