Bookish Interview: Rebecca Weston

Bookish Interview

Meet Rebecca Weston.

RebeccaWeston_RWL.jpg

Photo credit: Elizabeth Clark Photography

Hi Rebecca! Thanks for joining us today. Tell us a little about yourself.
Hi, thanks for having me! I started my publishing career as an editorial assistant at Random House Children’s Books. I was an editor there for eight years and was lucky enough to work on award-winning middle-grade and young adult novels. In December of 2016, my husband and I moved from New York City to Boston, and I started freelancing. A few months later, I founded Rebecca Weston Literary, LLC, an independent editing company. Currently, I edit middle-grade, young adult, and adult fiction, as well as memoir. I offer a wide range of services, from editorial letters focusing on big-picture aspects such as plotting, characters, and tone, to intricate line edits. I welcome writers at all stages in their careers, from those just starting out to published, seasoned veterans seeking a fresh set of eyes. I tailor each edit to fit the specific needs of each writer and to help writers develop their stories into the best versions of themselves. In addition to my editorial work, I am a co-host on the Writer’s Bone podcast, where I interview authors about their books and careers.

Website: http://www.rebeccawestonliterary.com
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/rwestonliterary
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/rwestonliterary
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/rwestonliterary

What is an average day like for an independent editor?
On a typical day, I am doing a combination of emailing, posting on social media, chatting on the phone with writers, and, my favorite and predominant activity: editing. I exercise first thing in the morning, which energizes me and helps me to focus. After breakfast, I check email, then get to work editing. I usually schedule author calls for the late morning or early afternoon, and I go for an afternoon walk most days. I like to get an early start and stop working before dinner, leaving my evenings free for reading published books, either related to manuscripts that I am editing or for my Writer’s Bone author interviews. Sometimes, I even find time to read just for fun!
Did you ever have a project that you struggled to connect with? If yes, how did you work through the roadblocks?
If I take on a project, that means that I have, on some level, connected with it and with the author’s vision for it. I always have had an active imagination and an overdose of empathy, so it isn’t difficult for me to connect with many different types of characters and stories. And, usually, I know fairly quickly what are the main areas that need work. I take notes and write my editorial letter with the aim of helping the author see what he or she needs to focus on and how to strengthen the manuscript. Once in a while, I notice a lot of little things that need work but not the overarching aspect that needs focus. When that happens, I set the project aside for however long I need—an hour or a day or two. When I take a break by going for a walk or working on another project, the ideas usually start coming to me pretty quickly.
You have the option of living in one of the books you edited for a day – what book would you pick?
Wow! Great question. Some of my favorite books involve scary or sad worlds, so I wouldn’t necessarily want to pick one of those. . . . I would have to say that, if I had the option of living in one of the books that I have edited, it would be Nate the Great and the Missing Birthday Snake. Well, the snake part isn’t great, but the world of Nate definitely is! The Nate the Great mystery series has existed since the 1970s, and the books all have been written or co-written by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat. A few years ago, I was lucky enough to get to edit the latest book in the series. Nate never ages, he always solves the mystery at hand, and he eats a lot of pancakes in the process. That is a world in which I would be happy to live.

Tell us about the experience of editing your first project and later seeing it published.
The first book that I acquired at Random House was Black Radishes by Susan Lynn Meyer. Editing this beautifully written, poignant novel was an honor and a wonderful experience from start to finish. The author is a really talented writer, and we are both obsessive perfectionists. We spent hours on the phone and over email, going back and forth about everything from plotting to commas. I was quite proud when the book was published and went on to win a Sydney Taylor Honor Award.

Share a daily routine fact that helps you focus.
I practice Pilates and walk, which are great ways to start and break up the day, reenergize, and refocus. Checking email or social media is not a break! I am working on checking email only three times a day . . . “working on” being the operative words.

What made you decide to start your own company and go independent? What challenges and joys have you experienced along the way?
I left Random House because I needed to give my arms time to heal from three repetitive strain injuries that I had developed from overuse on the job. It was really hard to leave my talented Random House authors and colleagues alike, but I am incredibly happy with how things turned out. I love working for myself, setting my own hours, and spending the majority of my day editing and chatting with writers about their stories. I am so grateful for the work that I get to do every day.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with the readers today?
Writing is a solitary profession—to a point. It is important to know when to take a step back and share your manuscript with someone else. There always are things that you miss when you are too close to the story, and it is essential to get feedback before submitting to agents. You don’t necessarily need to find a professional editor. You can join a writing group, or find a friend who will be brutally honest. If you do want a professional set of eyes on your manuscript before reaching out to agents, or during that agent-hunting process, don’t hesitate to reach out! I’d be happy jump on the phone, listen to your vision for your project, and go from there. You can find out more about me, my independent editing company, and the editorial services that I provide at http://www.rebeccawestonliterary.com, where you can also listen to my Writer’s Bone interviews. And please follow me on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook @rwestonliterary. I look forward to connecting!
Thank you so much for your interest in my work! It was fun thinking about these different aspects of my job. See you around the online publishing community!

Witch-y Wednesday: Guest Post: The Lit Coven

Guest Post, October Spooky Features

logo_Lit-Coven.pngMeet The Lit Coven.

The Lit Coven is an adults only book club centered around the fantasy genre, that started in 2015. This post was written by Paige (@moonst0rm on Twitter) on behalf of The Lit Coven. Paige is a founding member, witch, and graphic designer (moonstorm.design).

Social Links:
Twitter @thelitcoven
Instagram @thelitcoven
Goodreads “Lit Coven” https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/49431126-lit-coven
http://www.thelitcoven.com

The Guest Post.

“What are you reading?” isn’t the always the easiest question to answer when asked by a non-bookish person, or a stranger, when you are deep into a fantasy world with its own magic system. Do you answer excitedly and start explaining everything that is going on? Do you try to explain what magic even is? Because honestly sometime it depends on the book. Personally, my answer in the past tended to be “A book”, “A mystery”, “It’s about witches”. Which would generally lead to someone making fun of me for just reading in general (wut?!). Let’s not even get started on the whole “adults-reading-YA” debacle (which is ridiculous).

 

When you find people who happen to be reading the same magical book as you, I recommend holding on to them. That is just how The Lit Coven came to be.

In February 2015, While reading A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness, I shared with a friend who I knew I could trust with my book interests because she had the same tastes. She knew of a few more people that love fantasy and this led to 4 of us creating a group chat to talk about the series. Our group chat was originally titled “Book Worms” until a few months later the idea for a name change to “Lit Coven” sparked and it stuck ever since. Then, we’d just go with the flow of whatever we felt like reading, but as we talked about our new book club online, others started gaining interest. We decided to plan books a bit in advance, create discussion questions for when everyone finished, and have an organized calendar for everyone to keep up with reading goals.

Within a year, The Lit Coven grew to 20 members and a single group chat was no longer feasible to hold everyone with the book discussion and side discussions going on. We then made the decision to migrate to the BAND app, where we could have a general feed and as many members and chat rooms as we wanted. BAND has been our home base since 2016.

Since then, our membership has grown to 68 members. There are generally only about 15-20 members active at a time, depending on time of year, the books being read, or when they can fit a book club into their life. We are firm believers in putting life first, so everyone is completely understanding if someone goes silent for awhile. A lot of our members reach out to each other via other social platforms and stay in touch when not participating in The Lit Coven activities, which to me is beautiful.

 

We created The Lit Coven to be a fun space to share our love for fantasy novels and it has evolved into a growing, caring community where people from around the world are connecting with each other and forming friendships, stemming from our favorite books.

 

Here’s a sneak peek at our 2019 TBR. Be sure to check out our website or social on October 31st, the witches new year, for the official release to see the full list!

  1. The Wicked King (The Folk in the Air #2) by Holly Black
  2. King of Scars (Nikolai Book #1) by Leigh Bardugo
  3. Hollow Crown (Hollow Crown #1) by Zoradia Cordova
  4. Winterwood by Shea Ernshaw
  5. Seafire (Seafire 1) by Natalie Parker
  6. The Fifth Season (The Broken Earth #1) by N. K Jemisin (3 book series)
  7. Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik
  8. The Poppy War (TPW #1) by R F King
  9. We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal
  10. Furthermore (Furthermore #1)  by Tahereh Mafi (2 book series)

 

Which Witchy book is a favorite of The Lit Coven?

(Poll options chosen from our 5 star witch-centered books; 23 votes)

39% The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw

35% -All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness

26% -Brooklyn Brujas Series by Zoradia Cordova

 

the litcoven.jpg

Fun Facts

  • Throne of Glass chat is our longest running chat, being open since 2015
  • As of this post, we’ve read about 70 books together.
  • We have quite a few witches in our ranks.
  • Launched our website, thelitcoven.com in August 2018.

 

 

Interview with iWriterly’s Meg LaTorre

Bookish Interview, Misc.

Meet Meg LaTorre.

Meg LaTorre

 

Website: https://iwriterly.com/
Newsletter: https://eepurl.com/c7skY6
YouTube: http://youtube.com/iwriterly
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MegLaTorre
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/meg_latorre/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MegLaTorre/

 

Welcome Meg! Thanks for joining us today. Tell us a little about yourself.

Thanks for having me! My name is Meg LaTorre. I’m a writer, AuthorTuber/BookTuber, developmental book editor, and former literary agent with a background in magazine publishing, medical/technical writing, and journalism. On my YouTube channel, iWriterly, I geek out on all things books—from the concept to the bookshelves (and everything in between). I also launched Query Hack, a query critique platform where writers can submit their manuscript queries or Twitter pitches for free feedback. Query Hack is hosted on my website, where I’ve also started a blog on writing-related topics. I’ve written for publications such as Writer’s Digest and SavvyAuthors on topics related to writing and publishing and can be found teaching online classes throughout the year. In my free time, I enjoy reading, running after my toddler, and sleeping. To learn more about me, visit my website, follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Facebook, sign up for my monthly newsletter, and subscribe to my YouTube channel, iWriterly.

 

The Interview.

What is the origin story of iWriterly and how did you first get involved with the book community?

I initially joined the book community on Twitter, which is where I’ve met so many amazing writers and industry professionals. iWriterly started as a YouTube channel in March of 2017. At the time, I was on maternity leave from my job as a magazine editor, but I was also working at the Corvisiero Literary Agency on the side. I learned so much during my time at the agency and, because I’m also a writer, I wanted to share what I learned with other writers. When I first started my journey toward traditional publication, I remember being so frustrated about the lack of (decisive) information on how to write a book well, how to get an agent, or even how to be traditionally published. AuthorTube didn’t exist back then (in the format it does now) and there were plenty of blogs, but many had conflicting information. My husband suggested starting a YouTube channel, and I quickly became convinced it was the information-sharing medium I had been looking for to help other writers so they didn’t have to experience the same hardships I went through. Gradually, the iWriterly videos have gotten out there (starting a channel today is tough with YouTube algorithms). After receiving similar questions in the video comments (and on my other social media platforms), I decided I wanted to create a secondary resource to my YouTube channel and launched the iWriterly website, posting supplementary blogs to the videos and answering popular questions.

 

From journalism to medical and technical writing to being a literary agent and now a jack of all trades in the book community, how do you balance the roles you play and played and how have they influenced or clashed with each other?

At heart, I’m a writer—regardless of genre or style (novel writing, technical writing, etc.). When I first graduated college, I started out as a program manager for a medical communications company and worked my way up the ranks to medical writer and eventually the lead editor of a (technical) magazine. Those experiences give my blog and platform a business twist. I’m a huge proponent for treating your passion with the serious attention and dedication you’d give to your job. It’s also impacted the way I approach potential opportunities, such as teaching online classes or webinars. I’d say the biggest clash they’ve had is simply for my time. While working as a full-time editor, I also worked at a literary agency on the side while also writing my own book and freelance editing. Now that I’m a mom, that level of multitasking is much harder to maintain, and I’m very selective of where I invest my time. Because time is precious!

 

Is an “AuthorTuber” very different from a “BookTuber” and how do you use them to connect with your followers?

I go into this on my website, but AuthorTube and BookTube are two communities on YouTube. On AuthorTube, published and yet-to-be-published writers post videos on writing-related content. This could be anything from vlogs of their personal writing journey or how-to videos on the craft of writing. BookTube is another community where creators post videos related to books, and they aren’t necessarily writers (though they can be).

For me, AuthorTube has been fantastic for connecting with my followers because my platform revolves around the craft of writing and navigating the publishing industry. I’ll do occasional BookTube videos, such as book reviews or book hauls, because I acquire quite a lot of books throughout the year at industry events or at local bookstores. All writers are readers, so (for me) having a hybrid AuthorTube-BookTube channel has been a very natural one.

 

Query Hack sounds like a great service you offer. How did you decide and then define the services you offer from Query Hack to development editing?

To clarify, Query Hack is not part of my freelance editorial services. It’s a free query critique platform where writers can submit their queries with the chance to receive free feedback. I specify “chance to receive” simply because I’ve received hundreds of queries and it’s physically impossible to get to every one (though I wish I could!). I launched Query Hack as a way for writers to see how a publishing industry professional would look at their query—identifying what’s missing, what parts of the story are unclear, how important the metadata is (word count, genre, age group), etc.—without the need for a financial investment. (Let’s be real, so many of us writers are broke!) My developmental editing services, on the other hand, are opportunities where writers can pay a fee for me to review their work. I offer query, synopsis, first five pages, first chapter, and full manuscript critiques as well as video coaching. The latter I added on as an option later because I noticed a lot of writers asked pretty personal and in-depth questions either on social media or sent through the website. These questions were often ones related to the direction of their book or writing career. Thus far, it’s been a great way for me to help coach and encourage writers who are at a crossroads in their journey and want advice on where to go next.

 

You do book reviews too! Phew. I can only imagine the crazy schedule you have split between books and family and personal care. Any tips on how to step away from the workload without feeling guilty?

That’s a great question! And one I’m still working on. Personally, I love my work (and I love to work). As time is going on, I’ve become far more selective with the projects I take on so that I still have time to spend with family or doing things I love (like sleeping). For example, I often will turn down time-consuming opportunities or opportunities that lack financial compensation (because we all have to eat!). Once you get to a certain place in your career, people will ask you to do things all the time (such as family members asking you to edit their book for free), and I constantly remind myself that it’s okay to say no. I think the next phase in my career will be shifting to a scalable career/income. I’m also huge into scheduling. Once I’ve worked my allotted number of hours each day, I’ll stop and do personal stuff.

 

Is there anything else you’d like to share with the readers today?

Although many of us want to turn our writing into our career, make sure you’re still writing for yourself. Don’t be afraid to hustle and work hard (something we all have to do as we’re launching our platforms and careers), but make sure you’re filling your creative well and writing for the enjoyment of it. On the flip side, be prepared to put in a lot of hours to get your platform and author website off the ground. Work hard to learn things like SEO and algorithms so that eventually your platforms will do the work for you.

 

Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions Meg!

Thanks for having me!