So, as I was saying, Blue Thread used to be way different. After major deconstruction and reconstruction, the new Blue Thread underwent polishing, polishing, polishing, polishing, and…polishing. And still the acquisitions editors at Ooligan Press wanted more. Sylvia Spratt and her co-editor Leah Brown at Ooligan went through the final rounds. Here’s Sylvia’s version of the process:
Ruth:What did you think of Blue Thread the first time you read the draft? Sylvia: Honestly? I thought, “Wow. This is seriously weird. But I kind of love it!”
Ruth: What was the easiest part of working with me? Sylvia: You are an incredibly generous author with an amazingly elastic ability to stretch and grow your story. You are always willing to accept constructive criticism, and you also aren’t afraid to stick up for yourself and your work.
Ruth: Aw shucks! Now I’m ready for the flip side. What was the hardest part of working with me? Sylvia: Probably our long, sometimes heated discussions on plot points and character development. They were rewarding in the end; discussions of that nature always are!
Ruth: What do you think changed the most in Blue Thread as a result of your working on the book? Sylvia: I hope that I had a positive influence on Miriam’s consistency and strength as a heroine throughout the development of the manuscript. The young woman that readers will encounter in copies of Blue Thread picked up off the shelves in February is the same young woman who captured my interest and heart when I first read the manuscript two years ago, only now she is truly the best representation of herself in every way. And I think we got her there together.
Ruth: What’s your advice to writers in their encounters with acquisition editors? Sylvia: Three things:
- Research, research, research. Make sure that the editors you are contacting accept the kind of material you write, and that they are actively accepting unsolicited manuscripts or queries.
- Try to put yourself in their shoes! If you were sitting down to read a submission, and you only had a short amount of time to decide whether or not it was a good fit for you/your house, what would you want to see on the page?
- Be patient and cordial, yet persistent.
Ruth: What’s your advice to acquisition editors in their encounters with writers? Sylvia: Three things:
- Yes, you’re buried neck-high in manuscripts. Yes, you’re overworked and underpaid. And yes, you signed up for this! Remember to retain your sense of humility and to not get too cynical.
- Never seek to change your author’s voice or intent. Always seek to nurture both.
- Communication, communication, communication. More emails/phone calls/coffee dates are better than fewer!
Ruth: What’s with the tattoo? Sylvia: When the press rebranded with Alan Dubinsky’s wonderful concept at the helm, about a dozen of us Ooligonians decided to show our love by branding ourselves! We’d spent countless hours together becoming a family by pouring over manuscripts, contracts, press releases, media kits, design briefs, and everything else that makes Ooligan tick, so we felt it was a fitting gesture of solidarity and unity. It’s my first tattoo and I will never regret it for an instant!
Ruth: Anything else you’d like to add? Sylvia: I AM SO EXCITED FOR FEBRUARY!
Ruth: Me, too.