Please welcome Kristina Wright to Book Reviews & More by Kathy. Kristina is a full-time writer and an editor of over a dozen erotica and erotic romance anthologies for Cleis Press, and she has graciously answered a few editor questions for me today.
Kathy: Let me start with the basics. What type of experience and/or education is required to become an editor?
Kristina: I’m technically an anthologist, which means my primary role is to curate a collection from initial concept to final manuscript, with the assistance of several people along the way. Being an anthologist involves selecting a theme (which is then approved by my publisher), putting out a call for submissions, reading those submissions and selecting the stories for the anthology, compiling the book (writing the introduction, securing an author to write the foreword, putting the stories into an order I think will be most appealing, working with authors on any significant edits, editing and proofreading the final manuscript and submitting it to my publisher. Cleis Press will then read and approve the manuscript, I will notify the authors of their acceptance (or rejection) and the book will then be professionally copyedited and proofread before being published.
As to my experience and education, I have a degree in English and have been a professional writer for almost two decades. My background as an anthologist is rooted in my own experience as an author whose short fiction has been anthologized in over one hundred anthologies.
Kathy: How large of a role does an editor play in acquiring manuscripts?
Kristina: In my case, I acquire only short fiction for the anthologies I edit. It’s a different role than an editor of novels in that I’m looking for short stories to fit a particular anthology and theme. On the plus side, writing for anthologies can help a new author gain experience and build credits and the turnaround time for anthologies is sometimes faster than submitting a novel to a publisher. Cleis Press has final approval over the manuscripts I submit and I work closely with the editorial staff there to create anthologies that fulfill my vision of the theme.
Kathy: As an author, do you turn off your inner editor and just write? Or do you use your experience to enhance your own writing?
Kristina: I think being a writer and editor enhances each area of my work. As a writer, I’m very aware of following submission guidelines because I’ve experienced the editorial side of things and appreciate when writers send stories that follow the call for submissions (including word length, theme and format). As an editor, I respect the writers’ time and effort and acknowledge their submissions both when they send their story to me and when I make my final choices, whether it’s an acceptance or rejection. In my case, if I tell an author I like her story but it isn’t right for a particular anthology, I mean it—and I will often encourage authors to submit their work to future calls for submissions. This comes from my experience as an author and knowing how nice it is to get feedback from an editor, even if it’s an encouraging rejection note.
Kathy: How does the submission process work? What types of submissions is Cleis currently in the market for?
Kristina: Authors interested in writing short erotic or erotic romance fiction can visit the Cleis Press website (cleispress.com) for a variety of calls for submissions. They can also check my website (kristinawright.com) or the Erotica Readers and Writers Association website (erotica-readers.com) for submission calls. Follow the guidelines in each call for submissions, as different editors are looking for different things, both in terms of story content and how they want submissions formatted. I always acknowledge submissions with a brief note and try to include an expected date of response in my calls for submissions.
Kathy: Thank you so much for providing us with insight into the editorial process! Now for a little info about the XOXO: Sweet and Sexy Romance.
Title: XOXO: Sweet and Sexy Anthology
Publisher: Cleis Press
Genre: Contemporary, Erotic, Romance
Length: 236 pages
Sexy, sweet, and short, this collection of erotic romance is a box of Valentine conversation hearts, filled with fun surprises and unusual twists. With over 30 authors in the anthology and stories from Sommer Marsden, Kathleen Tudor, Rachel Kramer Bussel, Elizabeth Coldwell, Saskia Walker, and Cheyenne Blue, XOXO is a Whitman’s sampler of decadent delights and the perfect introduction to erotic romance.