Editing, Harper Impulse

A Day in the Life of a Romance Editor: HarperImpulse’s Charlotte Ledger

One of the best things about being a book blogger – aside from the chance to chat to some of my favourite authors – are the opportunities that you get.

This summer I was lucky enough to be given the chance to spend a day at the HarperImpulse offices in London.

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HarperImpulse is a digital and POD (publish on demand) romance imprint from HarperCollins and their editor, Charlotte Ledger, was lovely enough to invite me to spend the day with her, so I could get a better idea of what it is that goes on behind the scenes in the romance publishing world.

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All in all, it’s fairly busy in the offices.  As HarperCollins (and therefore HarperImpulse) is owned by News Corp, this meant heading up to The News Building, opposite London Bridge, previously called the Baby Shard.  It’s seventeen floors of sleek glass and publishing royalty, with the offices for newspapers including The Wall Street Journal and The Times, as well as HarperCollins and more recently Mills & Boon looking out of stunning views of the capital.

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I was lucky enough to get my very own guided tour of HC’s offices, and boy are they a delight!  Each conference meeting room is themed, with quotes from authors decorating the walls.

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And below them, on the fourteenth floor are two of the most important things any office can have – a sprawling canteen with multiple food stations, and its very own bookshop!

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My day was split between chatting with Charlotte about all the hard work that goes into creating a HarperImpulse book, shadowing her as she attended meetings, and getting involved with helping out with some of the day to day jobs!

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As an imprint, HarperImpulse publishes varying subgenres of romance:

–  Contemporary Romance (eg. Carmel Harrington and Michelle Betham)

–  Erotic Romance (eg. Nicola Jane and Zara Stoneley)

–  Historical (eg. Jane Lark and Georgia Hill)

–  New Adult (eg. D. R. Graham and Rachel K. Burke)

–  Paranormal (eg. A. J. Nuest and Corinna Rogers)

–  Romantic Suspense (eg. Angela Campbell and Angel Nicholas)

–  RomCom (eg. Erin Lawless and Charlotte Phillips)

–  Short Stories (eg. Brigid Coady and Aimee Duffy)

–  Non-Fiction (eg. Jenne Davis and Samantha Birch)

There’s huge variety of writing styles and there’s such a range of books that there’s something to suit every romantic inclination!

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But creating a book – even after it’s been edited and written – still takes a huge amount of hard work.

Firstly, there’s the cover itself.  There are so many books to buy, online and in shops, that a cover needs to be eye-catching and engaging, even if it’s on a webpage with thirty other books.  HarperImpulse covers range from illustrated, (both hand-drawn sketch-style and outlined images) to using photos to illustrate characters and themes.

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The next step after this, is to create the ebook itself.  All HI books have two release dates – a digital released date and a POD release date.  POD, or print on demand, means that books are printed according to orders made through websites, or requests from bookshops.  But the book will always be released digitally first, and so it’s this ebook that needs to be created.

Charlotte showed me how to pull the publishing information, including all the metadata (the keywords attached to a book, that make it easier to search for on shopping websites) from the IT system that HarperCollins uses, so that it can be attached tho the ebook.

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And then I got to have a go at updating an actual book!  I did the title page and the acknowledgements page for Katherine Garbera’s Eye Candy – all under Charlotte’s watchful eye, of course!

After that, we looked at the cover and blurb for Linn B. Halton’s upcoming A Cottage in the Country.  It’s partly a matter of proofreading, and also of making any changes that need doing.  I worked with Charlotte on the blurb – cutting, pasting and tweaking it so it wasn’t too long, and yet didn’t lose the sense of the book itself.

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Meetings-wise, there’s always plenty going on.  I attended a meeting about deadlines, covers and release dates with Charlotte and the rest of the HarperFiction team, and I also got to tag along to a cover meeting about Michelle Betham’s upcoming Shirley Valentine Goes to Vegas.

But publishing isn’t all meetings, editing and creating the books themselves – Charlotte also oversees the HarperImpulse blog and updates their Twitter account.

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I got to write a piece for the blog – an introductory “this is me” post as I’ll be writing a monthly piece going forward (look for my piece on Erin Lawless’ recent launch party later this week) – and even wrote some copy about Michelle Betham’s Striker series for a promotional giveaway for The Sun.

I suppose what I’ve taken away from the day is that being a romance editor is an all-encompassing job.  Charlotte’s passion for her work, and her dedication (she was still working, long after I left at four thirty) is infectious, and you just know that her authors are in good hands.

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Editing, For Books' Sake, Reading, Writing

Tongue in Cheek

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I am so excited to be talking about For Books’ Sake‘s Tongue in Cheek erotica anthology:

Filthy, feminist short fiction from women writers. From sex with strangers (in an anonymous hotel room, while your partner watches via webcam, or on a crowded train) to illicit trysts and extreme exhibitionism via bittersweet breakups and X-rated reunions, 15 short stories showcase a broad range of sexualities, characters and kinks. A bold, diverse new force in contemporary erotic fiction.
 

I’ve been involved in the project as consulting editor, helping to select stories from submissions, give editorial feedback and decide on the story order.

It’s got an introduction from Girl on the Net, and I can guarantee the quality of the writing!

So if you’re looking for saucy, spicy stories, it’s available for pre-order now!

Editing, Writing

“Over-Editing is a Disease”

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I like writing.

No, that’s not quite right.  I love writing.

I love getting the turn of a phrase just right and I’ve been known to spend weeks perfecting a paragraph.

But unfortunately, that’s where I’ve been struggling lately.

“Over-editing is a DISEASE” – Trish Wylie

The problem isn’t that I can’t write; I can.  The problem is that I can’t finish projects.  I find myself with writer’s block when a phrase isn’t just so and I can’t move past it.  I started NaNoWriMo this year, after doing two months of prep work.  That’s two months of plotting and character drawing and making copious notes on narrative structure.

I didn’t even hit 2000 words.

My issue lies in my persnickitiness.  Reading and rereading and rerereading what I’ve already written.  Spending hours pouring over details and getting everything just right.

I over-edit until even I can’t face looking at my work in progress any more.

So here’s my promise, to both myself and to you dear reader:

I will write.  Damn it, I will force myself to break through this funk I’m in.  I will stop over-editing.

As a show of good faith, this is what I’m going to do.  From now on, the end of my post will have a word count; the up-to-date word count of my wip Made for Sin.

And you have my permission to have a go at me if the word count doesn’t up enough.  🙂

Startup Stock PhotosWork In Progress Word Count:  2531 words