I have interviewed several authors on this blog in the past year. Most have been published by one or other of the ‘Indie’ publishers. But what is it like to be a publisher? And what is a publisher looking for in authors they choose to take on? Here Kate Collins, who is herself a noted author, describes her work with the American publisher, Solstice Publishing.
Hello Kate, what is your job title? Chief Operating Officer.
And what does the job entail? A little bit of everything, to be honest. I upload the books, take care of contract renewals, pull books and send releases when a renewal doesn’t happen/author requests it, do the math for the monthly statements, send out those statements, set up promo days, mediate problems between authors and editors/staff. I’m also the cheerleader and do my best to motivate the authors to get out there and promote!
What is the skill set you need for a job like this? What attracted you to the job?
A high degree of professionalism, excellent writing/communication skills, and the ability to tell someone they’re not going to get what they want without making them mad. Most of the time.
I fell into this job, actually. I started with Solstice as the executive assistant to our CEO, Melissa Miller, and the Editor in Chief for the Shadows line. Approximately a year later, Ms. Miller decided to hire someone else for the EIC job and told me that she’d already changed my title on the website. That’s how I found out I was the Chief Operating Officer.
Does being a publishing executive help or hinder your work as an author?
It helps, really. I’ve got an understanding of both sides of the coin. I understand as an author what it takes to write a good book. By being COO, I also understand what publishers do and don’t do. It gives me a truly unique perspective on every aspect of what it takes to be a successful author.
What advice can you give to any aspiring writer looking to submit a manuscript for publication?
We want authors who will promote their book, not drag our name into a flame war by association. Posting 3 or 4 memes about politics or faith and then following it up with 1 about your book? Not going to work for us. If you can, keep your personal views out from your public image as an author.
Any advice for someone looking for a job like yours?
Don’t expect it to drop into your lap like mine did. I love my job. I have the best possible job for me. I get excited on Sunday about coming to work on Monday! It’s hard work. There’s days I want to scream at authors. And there’s days I celebrate with them. This is one of the few businesses where the nice guy finishes first. This is true for both author and executive. You want to do high school drama and back-stab people? This isn’t the career for you. It’ll take time, but you’ll get noticed because of your work ethic and how well you interact with people more than not.
I am delighted to report that Kate, who writes under the name KateMarie Collins, has agreed to do an author interview for this blog later in the year. Meanwhile, you can find copies of her work (and mine!) on Amazon books, and on the website for Solstice Publishing.