Happy Birthday to Escape Publishing! Interview with Managing Editor Kate Cuthbert
It is with great pleasure that I introduce you to the fabulous managing editor of Escape Publishing, Kate Cuthbert! She’s here today for Escape’s one year birthday to discuss the past year and what the future holds for Escape, and how you could be a part of this innovative imprint!
1. Happy Birthday Escape! So tell me, if you could receive any birthday present to commemorate your first year as Managing Editor, what would you choose?
Is it mercenary to ask for 50 Shades level sales? Probably, huh? 🙂 Alright, first anniversary is paper. So how about a certificate of achievement. Something old school like you used to get in primary school, that I can frame on my wall that says, ‘Hey! Escape! One year down, many to go!’
2. What are one or two of your biggest highlights from working with Escape over the past year?
The biggest highlight for me is the community of authors that we’ve built up, the Escape Artists. Their talent, their enthusiasm, their professionalism – just a great bunch of writers and a fantastic bunch of people.
The second highlight is the range of stories that we unearthed over the year – we’ve covered so much ground, put so much out there. I’m really proud of the variety of quality stories that we’ve published.
Apart from a monstrous amount of reading, I’m also heavily involved in editorial direction (which means identifying holes in our catalogue and looking to fill them, as well as some future-gazing into what we think will be the next big sellers), marketing, briefing for covers, reviews, blogging, social media – pretty much all aspects of Escape barring the technical stuff which is handled by people much more adept than me!
4. Escape has published books in a wide variety of sub-genres. What have been the three most successful genres for Escape so far?
Science Fiction, Historical Fiction, and Australian Rural Romance.
5. Escape does fabulous book covers. Do you have a few favourites out of all the wonderful designs so far? (Or is that like choosing between kids?)
Oh wow. Umm…I really really love the covers for the erotic historical novellas The Secret Diaries… and The Wicked Confessions…from Viveka Portman – they just encapsulate the stories so well, and are incredibly sexy and classy. We couldn’t have found a better image for Fast Forward, and I love the candy colours of that cover. And Words Once Spoken by Carly Drake and Awakening by Lara Morgan are just beautiful fantasy covers.
6. How many submissions do you get on average each week? How many of these do you request the full manuscript of?
On average I receive 10 – 15 manuscripts a week. I probably request fulls of 25% of those, and publish 15% of the whole.
7. What are three key ingredients in a successful submission for Escape?
Following the submission guidelines is a good first step! But the way to get published by Escape (and, really, anyone) is to have the three components of a good book: excellent pacing, fantastic characters, and breathtaking emotional development.
8. When you’re not reading submissions, what books/authors do you like to read for fun?
You may find this hard to believe that I still love to read romance! But I’ve been getting into crime fiction and non-fiction recently as well. I met Kathryn Fox at GenreCon and have been enjoying her novels (slowly, between submissions). The next three must-reads for me are Cecilia Grant’s A Woman Entangled, Julia Quinn’s The Sum of All Kisses, and Laura Lee Guhrke’s When the Marquess Met His Match.
9. What are the benefits of publishing with Escape Publishing?
I like to say we have the four F’s – fun, fearless, flexible, and fast. We take risks, we really understand and love romance fiction, and we’re dedicated to building careers as well as our imprint.
10. Now that Escape has turned one, what’s the vision for Escape over the coming months and years?
Our first year was about building a catalogue, getting a backlist up, and mapping out a place in the Australian publishing landscape. Our next steps are establishing and cementing that place, identifying and promoting key authors, and building reader trust in our brand.
Make sure that your story is the best it can possibly be. Edit, revise, rework. Make sure someone you trust to be honest reads it, and listen to them. Take advice, but don’t compromise your voice. Take risks and write your story, not the story you think will sell.
And, for goodness’ sake, begin your story and narrative at the same point. The number one reason I have for rejecting a manuscript is the narrative starting long before the story, or starting and then looking backwards.
Escape is always open for submissions, via our website, www.escapepublishing.com.au. Submission guidelines are available there, and I look forward to hearing from you!
Thanks Kate! So c’mon writers, polish up those manuscripts and send them to Kate, and readers, head over to the Escape website and check out the fabulous titles available!