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Editing for authors: because every writer needs a good editor.

swvaughn

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I'm definitely NOT questioning her integrity here...

Just wondering if anyone on this board happens to know where I can find more information about Ms. Singer's particular likes and dislikes when it comes to subject matter for fiction--for instance, does she like "dark"? Or funny? Are there certain plots she's tired of seeing? Anything specific she's looking to acquire?

Interviews, profiles, anything of that sort. I've struck out on Google -- found a lot of info about Patrick Neil Hayden (the sf/f editor) but nothing much about Melissa Singer.

Thank you!

-S
 

James D. Macdonald

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Some of what Melissa Ann Singer is looking for is historical fiction with strong female characters, like The Witch of Cologne.

I've emailed her to invite her to come here and answer for herself, if she cares to.
 
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swvaughn

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Thanks so much, James! That would be fabulous, if she did.

And I'll try not to go all fan-girly... :)

-S
 

Cathy C

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She's also the editor for the western line at Forge (that includes Elmer Kelton) and some of their horrors too. She's a neat lady and I hope she'll accept your invitation, UJ! :)
 

swvaughn

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Horror is encouraging. Thanks, Cathy!

-S
 

Josie

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Oooh oooh, Melissa Ann Singer did you say? She's a senior editor at Tor.

It would be great if she came on here for questions.

She also has started a program at Tor for novels about women 35+. Wasn't that on AW Forum somewhere?

Can't find it at the moment.
 

Susan Gable

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Josie said:
Oooh oooh, Melissa Ann Singer did you say? She's a senior editor at Tor.

It would be great if she came on here for questions.

She also has started a program at Tor for novels about women 35+. Wasn't that on AW Forum somewhere?

Can't find it at the moment.

It's over in the Romance/Women's fiction section. I posted it over there.

Here's a link:

http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=36324&page=2

4th post down.

I also posted their paranormal romance guidelines over there:

http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=37962 3rd post down.

I met Ms. Singer at the RWA conference this summer. I had a good time chatting with her about various things. I can tell you one thing she said she doesn't want to see because it's been so over-done it's become a cliche - stories with ex-husbands who become EX's because they're gay.

At one of her presentations, she spoke about books they have in the pipeline, and was very enthusiastic about them. :)

Susan G.
 

swvaughn

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Thanks, Josie and Susan. Phew -- no gay men dumping their wives in my novel. That's another brownie point... :)

Must... query... Forge!!

I'm glad to know she's enthusiastic.
 

swvaughn

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Janet, Forge publishes mainstream, while Tor publishes sf/f. So, literary romance might fit. They seem to have pretty wide tastes.

I'm just trying to narrow Ms. Singer's down a bit. :)
 

Speed

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This one's easy: Melissa likes good books. She's interested in a wide range of subjects. Within that range, "good" trumps "specific content". If you've got a book that touches on Jewish history, she'll be an especially knowledgeable and sympathetic reader.

A note on Tor's internal chain of command: Patrick Neilsen Hayden's in charge of SF and Fantasy. Susan Chang does YA. Melissa is the editorial top dog for everything else.
 

James D. Macdonald

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Melissa replies:

I'm sort of a stealth editor, I guess, lol!

I edit in many different genres so am looking for all different types of fiction--except for science fiction and fantasy. Though I do edit a few sf&f authors, I'm not looking to acquire in those genres. I am also not acquiring paranormal romance, since Anna Genoese is doing a fine job there.

While I am open to just about every kind of commercial fiction you can name, I am, at the moment, particularly interested in horror fiction, disaster novels and science-based thrillers, and for women's fiction (with a special interest in works that feature protagonists who are over 35). I'm open to both contemporary and historical settings, and male and female protagonists, and I've learned that I must actually say I'm open to "multi-cultural" projects, because people keep asking me things like "Is it okay that my heroine is Hispanic?"

I'm attaching the guidelines for the women's fiction "project," for lack of a better term, and our general submissions policy for unsolicited submissions.

Hope this helps, feel free to ask more. Would it be helpful for you, or
for the posters on the boards, for me to drop in on Absolute Write at some point?

Melissa
 

James D. Macdonald

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Guidelines for the 35+ project:

Fiction/Romantic novels for women who are 35+

These books feature...
heroines in their mid thirties to late forties
women who are not perfect in looks or habits or clothing choices—real women. Protagonists should not run themselves down too much and should be happy/proud of at least some aspect of their lives
a significant emotional plot that doesn't necessarily center around the romantic/sexual relationships in a woman's life

There are several subgenres within this category. They include:
Marriages
o Ordinary people working to maintain or improve their marriage
o Marriage in jeopardy
o Romance rekindling within a marriage
o Second marriages: romance while step-parenting or creating a blended family
Late life babies (by birth or adoption), for singles or married people
Divorcees/widows/widowers, who may or may not be parents, discovering relationships
Crisis situations
o Sick parents/child/spouse/pet
o Financial or business-related crisis
o Home renovation (due to accident or planned)
Single person, no children, discovering a new phase in life
Friendships, through good times and bad—a slice of life, showing women as friends and supporters, not rivals or competitors in the Mommy Olympics
Self-fulfillment—through new job/career, volunteer work, self-improvement, gaining of new skills, etc.

While these books do not always have neat endings (i.e., "happily ever after marriage"), the endings, as with all romantic novels, must be emotionally satisfying in a positive way.

Permitted:
Disabled people as secondary or tertiary characters. Disabilities may be physical or mental and may include learning disabilities. Disabilities should be portrayed in a realistic manner. Disabled main characters are possible.
Minor forms of mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety disorder, agoraphobia, fear of flying, etc.
Non-white and/or non-Christian main or secondary characters
Non-Christian holidays or religious traditions

Things to avoid include:
Virgins (implausible in this day and age although there are some extenuating circumstances, such as illness or abuse)
Infidelity should not introduce or take place with the love interest. Infidelity should be seen as damaging the existing marriage, not setting up the next one.
First person POV (at least in the beginning)

See reverse side for submission guidelines.

 

James D. Macdonald

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Submission guidelines for unagented writers:

Submissions guidelines for unagented writers


We consider query letters a waste of everyone’s time, since it’s so difficult to judge the value of a project from just a couple of paragraphs; if you want to submit to us, please send a proposal, not a query.

Please do not submit anything in electronic format, by fax or e-mail, or by directing us to your website.

Every proposal that reaches us is reviewed by at least one member of the editorial staff, even if you receive a form letter in response. We use form letters because we receive thousands of submissions each year.

The submissions packet should include:
The first three chapters of your book, prepared in standard manuscript format on white paper. Please use one side of the page only and align text to the left. Do not bind the manuscript in any way. Make sure the header of the ms. includes either your name or the title of the book and the page number (on every page).
A synopsis of the entire book. Include all important plot elements, especially the end of the story, as well as aspects of character development for your main characters. The synopsis should be fewer than ten double-spaced pages.
A self-addressed, stamped envelope for our reply or for the return of the entire submission. If you live outside of the United States, please include International Reply Coupons. Since we generally don’t open the envelope until we’re ready to read the proposal, including “ms. received” postcards is not useful. If you do not include an SASE (or IRCs), you will not receive a reply.
Optional: a brief cover letter. Tell us what genre or subgenre your submission is and mention any qualifications you have that pertain to the work. Please list any previous publications in paying markets.

Please send only one proposal in each submissions packet. If you have written a series, send a proposal for the first book only. If we like what we see, we’ll ask for the rest.

Address submissions to:
Melissa Ann Singer
Senior Editor
Tom Doherty Associates, LLC
175 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10010

Please note that the person you send the submission to is not necessarily the person who will read it.
 

swvaughn

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Great stuff! Thanks so much, James (and by proxy, Melissa). Very informative; just what I wanted to know!

Of course, if Melissa wants to drop by some time that would be totally awesome too.

(And I do own Atlanta Nights, in PDF and softcover formats. It's the best worst book ever!)
 

Josie

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Thank you, James.

And thank you so much, Melissa by proxy

I would love it if Melissa has time to come and visit us here. I am mulling over a novel of a female protaganist 35+
But only if other posters on here are interested in talking to Melissa.


Cheers, Josie :)
 

swvaughn

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Wow...

Melissa, you are awesome. Thanks so much for stopping by! I think we all understand how little time you have -- it's great that you're willing to drop in once in a while!

Horror and science thrillers... most interesting! (Not that I have one of them now, but if I did I'd sub it to Forge!). I'm glad to know horror isn't on a decline. Haven't read a good horror novel in a long time!

Thanks again for dropping by, Melissa. You rock!

-S
 

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For YA at Tor, Susan Chang is the lead person.
 
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