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Feb 26, 2021

Editor Spotlight Series - Alethea Spiridon

Alethea Spiridon was an editor for Harlequin Books in Toronto for almost seven years, working with writers such as Bobby Hutchinson, Roberta Gellis, Lori Foster, Cathy Yardley, Lori Wilde, Jill Shalvis, Anne Stuart, and Pamela Morsi to name a few. Alethea joined Entangled in 2011. She enjoys a fresh, fun, flirty voice, and anything that can make her laugh and see the lighter side of life. That being said, she’s also drawn to contemporary alpha male stories and lush historical romances. As a freelancer through her company she has edited all genres of books in every category from finance to philosophy, fiction and non-fiction, magazines, websites, academic titles, and textbooks. 

Feb 25, 2021

Into the (Query) Trenches

By: Madeline Dau

You’ve just completed your novel. You’re excited, riding an exhilarating wave of momentum because you just typed “The End” at the bottom of your masterpiece. So, what happens next? There are hosts of hurdles in between your newborn manuscript and seeing your book on the shelves. 

Here, I’ll explore ten initial steps for the traditional publishing journey.

Feb 24, 2021

Editor Spotlight Series - Abby Muller

A warm welcome to Abby Muller, associate editor at Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, where she acquires fiction and narrative nonfiction. She has edited titles including Made in China by Amelia Pang and the forthcoming Pump by Bill Schutt, Clean Air by Sarah Blake, and Off the Edge by Kelly Weill. She reads widely, but has a particular soft spot for well-researched nonfiction about culture or language, as well as for character-driven narratives and for fiction that blurs genre boundaries. She has been spending quarantine baking sourdough bread like everyone else and learning to embroider.

CritiqueMatch: Share a fun fact about you. 
Abby: Algonquin is from North Carolina and so am I! I live in Brooklyn now, but by total coincidence, I grew up about ten minutes from our Chapel Hill office, which is itself around the corner from the coffee shop where sleep-deprived teenage Abby would buy espresso drinks (necessary to stay awake on the long drive to oboe lessons).

Feb 23, 2021

Critique Partnerships – It’s a yes from me!

By: Skylar Shoar

I’ll begin this post by saying what I always tell my critique partners: all opinions are my own–choose to take from them what you believe will enhance your work.

What is a critique partnership? Why do you need it? How can you get one?

These are all great questions, and every author, especially new or aspiring writers, should aim to know the answers. 


Feb 22, 2021

Editor Spotlight Series - Elizabeth Stranahan

A warm welcome to Elizabeth Stranahan, Associate Editor at Crown Books for Young Readers, a division of Random House Children's Books. Elizabeth is interested in young adult and middle-grade fiction that is character driven, filled with banter, and challenges readers to life’s big questions, as well as middle-grade nonfiction that makes complex concepts accessible and relatable. At Crown, she has worked with New York Times bestselling author Nicole Williams, Elle McNicoll, whose debut A Kind of Spark was a Blackwell Best Book of the Year, YA thriller writer Alexa Donne, and the Smithsonian Latino Center among others. When not tending to her email, Elizabeth can be found catching up on the latest gymnastics competition, quilting, and rewatching Derry Girls—occasionally at the same time.

CM: How did you become an editor? Can you describe the career path for those looking to enter the publishing industry?
Elizabeth: I knew I wanted to pursue publishing, editing specifically, relatively early in college. I watched an interview between an editor and an author and became fascinated with the idea of a job where your role was to try and ask the right questions to draw out a story. 

Feb 18, 2021

You’ll Know It When You See It, and Other Confusing Advice about Finding a Writer’s Voice

By Mary Keever

As a lifelong avid reader and a prolific writer of letters and tolerable business prose, I thought I might’ve had some grasp of what makes a written story engaging to readers. Nope. When I launched into what was to be my debut masterpiece, I understood nothing about the mechanics of writing a good book.
        I floundered along, learning most things the hard way, including the expectation that writing must have its own voice. Its own what, now? I had no idea what that might mean. And yet, it turns out my early work had a voice. A strong, clear, haughty voice sure to turn readers off at hello. Wanting my linguistic mastery to shine, I spelled out facts, writing to an imaginary panel of scholars ready to pass judgment on my slightest grammatical misstep. I used no contractions for this cadre of sophisticates, no shortcuts, no small words where a perfectly good multi-syllable alternative would do. Everything properly spelled out, clearly defined, hammered home. 

Editor Spotlight Series - Erin McClary

A warm welcome to Erin McClary

Erin is an Associate Editor at Sourcebooks—one of the nation's largest independent publishers and the country's biggest woman-owned publisher—located just outside of Chicago, Illinois. After 14 years of working in brand and digital marketing, she decided to pursue her passion of reading and editing and barreled her way into the publishing industry, where she acquires adult fiction and nonfiction. Erin currently lives in Naperville, Illinois, with way too many books and not enough time to read.

CritiqueMatch: How did you become an editor? Can you describe the career path for those looking to enter the publishing industry? 
Erin: I did not take the traditional path to publishing (i.e., majoring in English, interning at a publishing house, and then working my way up). I went to business school where I studied marketing before going on to work in brand and digital marketing for fourteen years. When I moved back from the Bay Area to the Midwest, I came across an independent publisher located just outside of Chicago (I mistakenly thought I would have to move to NYC if I wanted to work in publishing…not true! There are a number of amazing publishers located all over the U.S.). I was able to demonstrate how the skills I had developed working in marketing would transfer over into a career as an acquisitions editor, and they liked that I had a different background and could bring a unique perspective to the role.

Feb 16, 2021

Editor Spotlight Series - Toni Kirkpatrick

A warm welcome to Senior Acquisitions Editor Toni Kirkpatrick! Toni began her publishing career at St. Martin’s Press, where she worked for more than a decade acquiring commercial fiction. She joined Crooked Lane Books and Alcove Press in 2019.

CritiqueMatch: Share a fun fact about you. 
Toni: I don’t know how fun this is, but I am an author as well. I published a short story collection under my maiden name Toni Margarita Plummer. So I know publishing from both sides and am able to relate to writers as a writer myself. 

Why You Should Talk to Strangers

By: Alice Baine

Writing is strange. I find it both bizarre and wonderful that we have this indomitable urge to forge stories from our imagination, then graft them into a tangible medium for the enjoyment of random strangers. It makes very little sense, but it’s also something that makes us human. We need to produce art.

This passion consumed me ever since I was old enough to comprehend it. My free time went to pounding words out of a keyboard until they somehow arranged themselves into a completed novel, ready in all its glory to wow the world.

Feb 11, 2021

The Art of Critiquing: How Others Can Help You Sculpt Your Work

By L. J. Hasbrouck

Many consider writing to be a solitary journey, but it’s dangerous to go alone. Okay, maybe not dangerous, but I’d advise against it. Here’s why.

There’s a massive world out there filled with people like us: creators who want to tell their stories. But telling isn’t enough, as many editors will advise when it comes to your writing. You thought I was going to write something about “showing” here, but I actually want you to share. It’s scary because we’re all afraid other people might not enjoy our work or think we’re talented authors. Maybe you write as a hobby and don’t care about getting your work out there. That’s understandable. But sharing it with other authors, editors, and readers can help you see things you’d likely never see on your own.

Feb 10, 2021

Editor Spotlight Series - Caitlyn Averett

Caitlyn Averett is an Assistant Editor at Hachette with Little, Brown and Company/Jimmy Patterson. She’s worked on bestselling series by James Patterson, such as Max Einstein and Middle School, Rebecca Rode’s Tides of Mutiny (9/7/2021), and Maeeda Kahn’s Nura and the Immortal Palace (Summer 2022). She is also a writer and has a background in dance, and when she’s not reading, writing, or editing (which is rarely), she’s probably over-analyzing movies/TV shows or playing with her kittens.

CritiqueMatch: Tell us two truths and one lie about you.
1) I’d never been to NYC before moving there to start working in publishing. 
2) I grew up in a solar-powered house. 
3) I was a theater kid growing up. 

(Number 1 is the lie! My house growing up was completely powered by solar energy, I was always at dance class and musical theater rehearsals, and had visited NYC a few times over the years before moving to the city.) 

Pro-Critiquer Interview Series with Kayla M.

A warm welcome to Pro-Critiquer Kayla M!

CritiqueMatch: Why did you want to pursue freelance editing?
Kayla: I started out with editing “critique” partners’ manuscripts on CritiqueMatch and found it to be very rewarding. I love reading, so being able to help authors develop their manuscripts with everything from world-building to plot and character arcs just feels right. I also discovered that I am very good at it. I pride myself on picking up on little details that others miss, and I make my suggestions in a caring and understanding way so that clients feel that I’ve truly connected with their story and its characters.  

CM: What is the best way clients can approach you on CritiqueMatch?
Kayla: I always prefer that my clients communicate with me before sending any work to me. I think it’s important for me to understand what the client wants out of their editing services with me. Equally important, I want to make sure that I’ve efficiently communicated what a client can expect from me. So, a little blurb about your work and what kind of feedback you want (general feedback, length of work, expected turnaround time, specific questions regarding a character or element in your story, etc.) are always helpful. Once we establish all the details, I get to work on your manuscript as soon as you’ve sent it my way. 😊

Feb 4, 2021

Pro-Critiquer Interview Series with Jackie H.

Jackie H profile picture on CritiqueMatch

A warm welcome to Pro-Critiquer Jackie H.

CritiqueMatch: Tells us about your critiquing/ editing journey. 
Jackie: About a decade ago, while I was working on my dissertation, I took a part-time job as a writing tutor at a local community college, and over time, that morphed into a position as a tutoring coordinator and a tutor trainer.  When I’d first applied for the tutoring job, I mostly saw it as a resume-builder, but I learned (and relearned) so much about writing in those years.  Suddenly I had to explain aspects of grammar and syntax and organization that had become natural to me, which meant that I had to go back to the books myself!  I still work as a writing tutor for an online platform, and I’m still learning every day!

Editor Spotlight Series - Rhonda Penders

Rhonda Penders spotlight
A warm welcome to Rhonda Penders, Editor-in-Chief of The Wild Rose Press. She and her business partner, RJ Morris, opened their publishing house in 2006 and continue to be the sole owners today. Penders has been on both sides of the query process and brings a special touch of compassion to authors. She believes that publishing is a team effort between the author, the editor, and the publisher.  

Penders has worked as a small town newspaper reporter, a confessional magazine writer, and is a published romance author. But it is her story “Feeding Squirrels with Dad,” published by Chicken Soup for the Soul; Alzheimer’s Caregivers Edition that is the work of her heart.  

Penders lives in Upstate NY with her husband of 36 years.  Her three grown sons live nearby on their own. Follow her on Facebook.