Today the Riskies welcome Angela James, the very recently-appointed editor for Quartet Press. Quartet is brand new to the epublishing world, but its founders are well-versed in the digital age. Join us in welcoming Angela to the Risky Regencies!
A random commenter will be chosen to win a prize pack from Angela. Yay!
What is your position at Quartet Press?
I’m the editorial director for Quartet Press. Which is a fancy way of saying I’ll be helping Quartet build their editorial department from the ground up including staff, style guide, authors and schedule. No pressure, right?
What is Quartet Press’s editorial focus?
Right now, my two priorities for Quartet are acquiring quality submissions and quality staff (editors and copyeditors). Overall, editorial focus is going to be on joining the ranks of other digital publishers that readers and authors list as the publishers to shop at and submit to.
What is your background prior to joining Quartet?
For the past four years I helped start and build Samhain Publishing, first as an editor and then as executive editor. Prior to that, I started in publishing as a proofreader for Ellora’s Cave. I’ve been in publishing about six years. My first career was as an occupational therapist in mental health settings (both home health and a state psychiatric hospital). I’ve been lucky to do two careers that I really love, in a seemingly short period of time.
What is the one thing you wish people knew about digital publishing?
This is probably the toughest question you asked. I have filled a two-hour presentation with all the things I wish people knew about digital publishing. But if I had to pick just one, I’d say that despite the years digital publishing has been around, I think we all need to remember it’s still in its toddler stages, there’s going to continue to be changes, hopefully positive, and there’s definitely still room for a lot more growth. It’s an exciting time to be in publishing, and in digital publishing in particular because of that immense room for growth.
What is your own preferred e-reader? Why?
Right now I use the Sony 700, though I switch off with the Sony 505 sometimes. And I also read on my iPhone occasionally. I do have a Kindle 2, but I don’t use that. I used to be a dedicated fan of the Ebookwise! Currently, I prefer the Sonys over the Kindle because the Sony gives me more options for shopping at other online bookstores and also has superior file management over the Kindle. On the Sony, I can sort my books by whatever category I assign to them. As an example, by series name, genre, submissions, or maybe if I have an ARC. That was something I just couldn’t adapt to with the Kindle. I also like the ability to be able to put all of my books on a memory card and pop that card out when I want to show people my Sony, so I can keep my reading semi-private.
I do also read on the iPhone, though not regularly. But that’s where I read the free downloads that Kindle offers. I don’t buy books via Kindle normally, but I do like to take advantage of the free offerings!
I’m looking forward to seeing the new Sony Readers releasing soon, to see how they’ll compare to my current experience. And Sony is supposed to be announcing something on Tuesday. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a wireless reader, as I do think wireless is a nice feature, though I choose superior file management over wireless in my use of the Sony over the Kindle.
What’s the last book you bought?
Pitch Black by Leslie Kelly. Though I have to admit it was a small accident. I was trying out the new Books on Board mobile-friendly website on my iPhone and had no idea when I went through the process of adding the book to my cart that I’d somehow bought it. But since I was looking at it, I was definitely interested and I will read it! Now, if you’d asked me this question next week, I would have had a list of books to share. Tuesday looks to be an awesome release day.
The last book I read was One Scream Away by Kate Brady. Fabulous romantic suspense and I highly recommend it.
What’s funny is, the last book I read and the last book I bought make it look as though romantic suspense is my preferred genre, but it’s actually the genre I read least. But it does go to show that I like to read across genres, when I’m reading even a genre that’s not my favorite!
What are you looking to acquire?
Amazing books from authors who are interested in working with a professional publisher and building a career with them. Ha, the answer every author hates, no? Currently, I’m looking to acquire for the Quench imprint across the romance genres, from inspirational to erotic, contemporary to historical to paranormal, interracial to GLBT. And all of them in between.
We will consider both women’s fiction and YA, though I wouldn’t expect to see a plethora of them being released at Quartet.
We’re going to be doing two special sub-imprints of the Quench romance line: one for digital reprints of previously printed books and one for something I’ve long held a special spot for: fantasy/science fiction/urban fantasy with romantic elements. We’ll be targeting some extra marketing efforts at these sub-imprints as we get going because I think there’s a place for both in the digital world.
Who are your own personal favorite authors?
JD Robb, Julie Garwood, Patricia Briggs, David Eddings, CL Wilson, Jo Beverly, Ilona Andrews, and John Sanford are a good representative of my crazy reading habits and of authors I love.
Anything else you want to share with us?
I’m currently acquiring for both our launch day and our launch month releases, and response times are going to be fairly short turnaround as we look to get our frontlist built. I’m definitely interested in acquiring historicals for these slots. I’m excited about what we’re going to do with Quartet Press, and the sheer amount of knowledge and intelligence in the people who own the company is both awesome and intimidating. I’m looking forward to acquiring authors to help us build a strong digital publisher.
Also, I’m always open to questions about both digital publishing and Quartet Press, so anyone can email me now or in the future if there’s something you want to know. firstname.lastname@example.org I’m going to keep dragging people to the digital dark side one reader (and author) at a time.
Thanks for joining us, Angela!
Thank you for having Angela James here today, and thanks Angela for sharing. I can only imagine the excitement you must feel starting a new publisher and putting your imprint on the books to be released.
All the best,
Thanks so much for having me!
I should have also mentioned that I can be found on my blog:
but even more frequently on Twitter:
Oooh fingers crossed you get some fantasy – type-romance novels. I’m loving this genre.
Great interview x
I really enjoyed this interview Angela! Quartet Press seems like a dynamic new publisher and I am very curious what it has in store for us readers 😀
Great interview! It’s always great to see the industry growing and how exciting it must be for you!
As an editor, you must get a first hand look at the trends emerging from the market, anything new and interesting coming our way?
Love the interview! Quartet Press is doing exciting things. Angela, what’s the best part of the start-up experience for you?
@Sarah: I have my fingers crossed right along with you!
@Leontine: I hope you won’t be disappointed.
@Heather: I think we’re going to be seeing a lot more of science fiction/fantasy romance and steampunk in the coming few years. The genre seems to (finally) be picking up steam.
@HeatherLong: the possibilities. It’s too early to have been disappointed, not lived up to expectations or otherwise not accomplished something. We have nothing but possibilities ahead of us!
Great interview and nice to have more information about QP! Am really looking forward to seeing the first releases.
I can imagine you’ve had a lot of positive reactions to your move to QP but want I am curious about is if there have been any less positive reactions too?
It may be too early to ask both these questions, but…
Has Quartet made any decisions regarding POD?
And the website states “Quartet will assign (at its expense) a qualified editor to work with author”. Does that mean each work would have an editor assigned on a rotating basis, or would an author work with one editor?
I’m excited to watch this company & wish Quartet all the best. I’m especially hoping for more SFR & Romantic SF/F. Good luck!
@Pearl: I think it’s probably only natural that there be some negative reactions to my move, but almost overwhelmingly, people, while shocked, have been supportive.
@Ella: Authors will be assigned to a “permanent” (as permanent as that can be in this business) editor to work with as they’re contracted.
Quartet will be doing POD, but the details of that are still being worked out.
I’m really excited to be doing some more targeted things with SF/F romance so I hope we can get some submissions rolling in!
Great interview. Thanks Angela for taking the time to answer some good questions.
Can you tell us what makes Quartet different from any other new publisher and why an author or reader should look to you for either submitting work or feeding their book habit?
ooo.. fantasy and sci-fi with romantic elements.
Now I is getting interested in QP..
Congratulations on your new adventure!I imagine it’s useful having a mental health background working with authors. 🙂
You gave me great feedback on a rejected submission once, which I will always treasure.Seriously.
How exactly do you convince those who are bitter and clinging to their paperbacks like a religion to try digital products? I admit I occasionally read ebooks on my computer screen but I’m waiting for hand-held readers to plummet in price (I remember VCRs,LOL).
It will be interesting to see what you will do over at Quarter Press. I do confess I had never heard about them but now I will take a closer look.
blodeuedd1 at gmail dot com
Are the sony e-readers compatible with a mac? I want to get a reader since i have a bunch of e-books on my mac and i’d like to be able to take them with me.
I, for one, cannot wait to see what Quench comes out with.
Also, have to say I really really really appreciate QP bringing back gems from the past that I’ve never had my greedy hands on… *gleefully rubbing hands together*
And regarding PITCH BLACK… The only thing you’ll regret about that book is that you didn’t read it sooner!
So while Quench is the launch imprint, it seems that Quartet is eventually going to be a general publisher in a number of genres. Can you provide any insight into what those other genres will be, and how long it will be before we see them?
Thank for a very interesting read. Angela,I have two questions. 1. What do you think of cross-genre reads such as a paranormal regency or a futuristic steampunk?
2. What, in you mind, is the best way to form a query that will get your attention? (Other than those large amounts of food and alcohol I know we all attach…LOL)
@ Scott Romanski: Mac compatibility (e.g. a software upgrade if i remember well) is on its way from what I read, Sony had stated it would be there at the same time as the 300 and 600 eReaders would be available in stone. In the mean time, there’s Calibre.
Couldn’t you have asked an easier question, like what’s my favorite color? 😉
Actually, I think that’s a great question to ask, though my answer might surprise some people. Everyone always asks what’s going to be different, and I don’t believe different is always the right question or the best answer. I’m sure that not too many romance readers are, in reality, that interested in a publisher who’s going to do romance different. We’re not going to redefine the genre, try to change the constructs, or make it into something it’s not.
What we do hope to do for readers is provide another outlet for great books, talented authors, and unique stories. Each story we sign will be what’s different. The different things we’re doing, as a publisher, exist in the business model, plans for marketing (no pressure on the marketing chick, Kat!), the business acumen and experience each partner brings to the table. The combination of those is different.
But absolutely, there will still be sameness. I’m not someone who believes the market is crowded in the digital arena. If that were the case, digital publishing wouldn’t still be fighting for respect. The number of publishers readers and authors name as ones they turn to for product/career opportunities wouldn’t be so limited. New readers wouldn’t be finding digital publishing daily.
Welcome to Risky Regencies, Angela! It is so nice to have you with us.
Since this is Risky Regencies, how do you see Traditional Regencies and Regency Historicals at Quartet Press, if at all?
Great interview, ladies! I’ve been hearing tons of buzz about Quartet Press (So yay for you all, Angela.) My interest is definitely piqued.
All the best!
@girrlit: then I hope you’ll check it out!
@Maggie: I’m so glad I said something useful for you. That’s nice to hear!
I think there are some people who will 1) never be convinced to try digital or 2) will try it and it will not be for them. I think of my job more as one of educating people who are interested, even if they’re hearing of it for the first time. I don’t think there’s any need to convince every person who’s a hard sell because it’s not the most effective way of bringing people to digital.
Forgot to ask my Q!
Meant to ask are there any specific out of print books/genres/authors you are chasing?
Or is it just going to be a bit of a random thing?
Best of luck to Angela and Quartet Press. Hope you guys are a MAJOR player in the publishing world.
@Blodeudd we’re still fairly new, so hopefully a year from now, less people will be saying they hadn’t heard of us!
@Scott I use Calibre to sync the Sonys with my Mac with no problem. If you want to be able to access the Sony store, you’ll have to wait for the new firmware upgrades coming soon.
@msbookjunkie thanks for being so gleeful! I love that.
@Kym: since Quartet is a new press, we’re going to concentrate on getting Quench going and doing it right first. We don’t want to spread ourselves too think and disappoint either authors or readers. But you are definitely right in that there will be future genres coming.
I think the fabulous thing about romance is that its sub-genres touch on most every main genre out there. That will give us the opportunity to test the market and see what specific direction to take next. Romance rocks 😛
I’m a fan of cross-genre reads. I’ve been asking for people to write steampunk for the last 5 years. I’m glad it’s finally catching on! I just read a submission that was a paranormal historical, which I really think is a fun genre.
In truth, I think the blending of sub-genres is becoming more common, and is one way authors are keeping the genre fresh. I love it!
2. One thing that has always worked to catch my attention in a query letter is just a short line that personalizes it to me, maybe the author reads my blog, has read an interview with me, follows me on twitter. Saying something like, I read in an interview with you on Risky Regencies that you’re especially interested in fantasy romances, so I’m submitting my… Shows that you’ve done your homework and you’re interested in working with me/my press, not just blindly sending out 25 query letters. Other queries have caught my attention in various ways, but it’s almost always something that shows they’re interested in me as an editor/my press specifically.
@Christine I just refreshed and saw your answer. Thank you and sorry for the repeat!
@Diane Gaston: if it’s a subgenre of romance, it has a potential place at Quartet. One of the things I’ve noticed in my past years in digital publishing is the dearth of people who seem to write historical romance that’s not erotic. I hope to see submissions in both erotic and non-erotic historicals, including regencies, which I think there is still a market for.
@limecello thank you!
@girrlit we’re not going to target specific subgenres in reprint area, just romance specifically.
@Cynthia thank you, I hope we are too!
Oh Angela, I’ve so missed your blog posts lately, but now I know why they’ve been in short supply. How do you find time to breathe?! Congratulations on your new position! Quartet Press is lucky to have you. 🙂
I am really excited for Quartet Press, and I think that Angela is a great addition! I have been following the start-up process on Twitter and it is awesome.
My question for Angela is from a bit different perspective than reader or author – How did you become an editor? And what advice do you have for those of us interested in that aspect of the industry?
Congrats on the new venture, Angela! I’m interested to see Quartet’s first book offerings for us readers. 🙂
Hurray for a new digital publisher! Hurray that you will have formats compatible with the Sony! Hurray that you will consider historical that isn’t erotic historical!
I don’t have a question, but I like what I’m hearing.
It takes courage to leave an established place & build another. It’s also very exciting. Best of luck with this new venture. I’m sure you’ll help make it a success.
As an avid reader, I have really enjoyed reading your evil editor blog and getting some insight into the process that authors and editors have to go through to bring my “drug” to me.
As a newbie to ebooks in the last year, I am looking forward to even more choices as Quartet comes into the market.
I enjoyed the interview, it sounds like exciting times for you and the new publisher. I haven’t let go of my print books yet, but I think if the readers come down in price it would definitely interest me – since there’s only so much room in a house for print books.
@Christine What is Calibre? Not familiar with that
Hi Angela. Congratulations on your new job. Best of luck to Quartet Press
Most of my reading list is digital these days, love my Ebookwise Reader, and I look forward to checking out your new site. Wishing you the best of luck, Angela.
Angela – thanks so much for sharing your perspectives. Especially on the e-readers. I’m still trying to figure out what to buy because I want to get one. Your insight was very helpful for making that decision.
Congrats on your new job, Angela. Wish you all the best and great success with your new venture
Angela, it’s great to have you with us as an honorary Risky today and hear your words of wisdom.
I didn’t know you could sort better on an e-reader. I do love my Kindle though. Good luck on your career.
I learned a few new things today! I didn’t know that the free kindle books could be accessed through the iPhone. Must look into that!
Also, I do exactly the same thing with the memory card when I’m showing people my reader! 🙂
I got smart after a colleague found me in the office kitchen reading an ebook. He wanted to look at the reader and I kept hoping he would not notice the titles! LOL!
Is it weird that I’m worried about my grammar in this comment? 😉
Thanks so much to all of you who posted encouragement and such kind things while I was off grocery shopping (at Wal-mart. On a Sunday. Is there anything worse?)
@Scott may I suggest you visit http://www.dearauthor.com and put calibre in their search engine? They have some excellent informative posts on the use of calibre. It’s a great program for both cataloging your ebooks and converting the formats, as well as transferring them to different devices.
@fleur I started as a proof reader for Ellora’s Cave. I’d belonged to their Yahoo group, they advertised for people to apply, I took a test and was hired! From there I applied my skills to critiquing for authors and doing some editorial services for them. I think offering to beta read/critique for authors, as well as participating in writers’ forums where they discuss the craft of writing (like Romance Divas) are two fantastic ways of learning basic editing skills and starting on the path to editing.
I hope I haven’t missed anyone’s questions so far. Please shout out if I have.
Congrats on the new adventure you are embarking on. I wish you all the best!
What was the last book you couldn’t bring yourself to stop reading? You were so enthrall to the story that you felt like crying when it was over.
Angela: Welcome to the Riskies! So nice to have you here.
Can you talk a little bit about what authors can expect from Quartet? What are you offering them that’s different, or the same, from traditional publishers? Are you looking for established print authors? Or does it matter? Can you speak at all yet about author income streams with you?
No question. But good luck with your career move.
hi and welcome Angela; you will be one busy lady. Have you ever considered writing a book or two yourself? Have you thought of becoming an author? Thanks.
The best of luck to you and Quartet.
I just wanted to say thank you for your comments on the eReaders on Twitter. Because of that, I now have a Sony 505. I’m looking forward to seeing what else you can come up with in the digital publishing space. You’ve offered quite an education so far. Good luck with your new venture.