Interview with an Editor Series: Helen Rosburg, Executive Editor Medallion Press
Medallion Press began in late 2003 when Helen Rosburg, a romance writer and investor, decided to start her own house to publish and market fiction that the big six weren’t. Medallion Press, in its short life, has major distribution deals with bookstores like Borders and Books-A-Million. When I purchased Hope Tarr’s book, my Waldebooks ordered it for me and it arrived in 4 days.
Can you briefly describe what an editor does. I think that readers assume that you get to do what we all dream of doing and that is get paid to read for a living. I suspect that the truth is less romantic.
At Medallion, we have an Acquisitions Editor, Kerry Estevez, who does indeed get to read a LOT. She reviews every submission, judging its merit before either rejecting it or requesting the full to send out to our editorial readers. They write reviews on each manuscript and send them back to Kerry.If the submission receives raves, it goes on to me, Helen Rosburg, Executive Editor, for a final decision.As Executive Editor I also head up the actual editing process of purchased manuscripts.I take a first look at every manuscript and make the decision to either edit myself or give it to another Medallion editor.Finally, the manuscript goes to one of proofreaders.So, actually, a lot of people in the Editorial Department get to read!
With the exception of the month of January, during which we have no releases, we publish at least one romance per month, usually more .Romances come under our Jewel imprint: Ruby, Contemporary romance; Sapphire, Historical romance; Emerald, Romantic Suspense; and Amethyst, Paranormal romance.
Are there any trends you see growing, expanding or contracting? What do you think is driving these trends?
Historicals have a lot of strength universally. The fascination with our past may ebb and flow, but will never disappear entirely. This is almost always a strong market. Horror and Paranormal hold a different kind of fascination and also tend to remain strong.
Trying to catch up on our slush pile, my daughter Ali, who also happens to be our Horror/Thriller Acquisitions Editor, and a former General Acquisitions Editor, took our pile on a lengthy road trip we had to make.Ali quickly went through her stack, became bored, and started flipping through the partials in the Gen/Ac’s reject pile. A little while later I heard from the back seat, “Mom, I have something I think you ought to look at.”The manuscript turned out to be one of our best selling mysteries, part of a very successful trilogy.
How much time do you spend actually reading as part of your job?
Kerry, Acquisitions/Author Liaison, spends at least half her time reading.I spend only about a quarter of my time reading, unless you count “reading while editing” in which case it’s ALL the time.
Do you get to read for pleasure? If so, do you have favorite authors?
I occasionally get to read for pleasure. Michael Crichton can always be found on my night stand.
We are actively seeking Historical romance, particularly those set in unusual places.Time period matters not at all.
Do you think readers today are more accepting of rule breaking romances (pushing the envelope) or are we still very traditional in our buying habits?
Traditional buying habits are our backbone, but readers seem more willing to branch out these days.Rule-breakers seem to be more popular.
We’ve heard some about the loss of older readers because of lack of content which is reflective of their lives, specifically baby boomers? Is that still the case? What are you doing to attract older readers?
Besides Historical romances, we also actively seek Historicals, Mainstream fiction, and Women’s fiction, precisely for those baby boomers.
Do you have a favorite way of spending time away from books?
What is the worst part of an editor’s job?
Rejections and fabulous stories with lots of editing problems that require a lot of time.
What is the best part of an editor’s job?
Constantly looking for, and finding, that extra special manuscript.
I am a multi-published author.
It seems there are two very diametrically opposed growths: erotic romance and inspirational romance. Are those fringe trends or will they become more mainstream?
Since we do not publish these genres my knowledge is limited and I wouldn’t care to speculate.
Which books are you proudest of having worked on in your career?
Because each book, its strengths and weaknesses, is different, each is extremely fulfilling in its own way.I couldn’t possibly single out a title.
While you are probably excited about all of the books that you have in your catalog can you share with the readers a few that we should be anticipating?Any new authors or existing ones that have exciting projects for 2007?
Dolores J. Wilson with Jail Bertie and the Peanut Ladies, another hilarious series of adventures in the life of Bertie Byrd Fortney; Final Stroke, another outstanding thriller from Michael Beres; and Blood Eagle, an edge-of-your seat spy thriller from debut author Robert Barr Smith.These are Platinum (hardcovers) being featured this year at BEA in New York.
Thanks so much!