Monday, October 29, 2012

Editor Chat - Sascha Illyvich

Today's post focuses on co-editor Sascha Illyvich, one of the creators of the Intoxication line, Sizzler's newest line of books focusing on erotic romance.  He's here to tell us about the line, why it was created and give us some insight into the mind of an editor.

Sizzler Blog:  How did you get started editing?
Sascha Illyvich:  Interestingly enough my background in editing was something I picked up doing the odd job for Jean Marie several years back.  The more I did for her and the more I did in the genre of writing romance, pushing out more releases each year, gave me an edge in this area of expertise.

SB:  How did the Intoxication line come about?  What were your thoughts in bringing this to a seemingly erotica only publisher?
Sascha Illyvich:  Basically I took a look at our books, at the market, watching it change and grow.  The Intoxication line is a line that fits well with this house because hey, we've got some authors who write romance.  Myself included.  Talking to the publisher about it seemed only natural once we started seeing statistics claiming that romance was the largest selling genre in fiction.  The genre dominates everything else COMBINED.  So it was a natural and for me, it was a way to give back to both the house that's supported me for so long, and to give back to new authors and old ones as a way to pay it forward.

SB: Your style of editing is...interesting to say the least.  Why?
SI:  You're referring to the fact that sometimes I'll ask an author to "unfuck" something, right?  Fact is, my mentor didn't pull any punches with me when I was starting out.  She'd told me right from the get go that she loved the premise of Her Male Slave, enjoyed the characters but I had some craft issues and she was blunt about it.  Depending on the author in question, they're going to get my professionalism, 100% of the time.  But I'm not going to mince words or hold their hand.  Nobody held mine and that's the way this industry works, sadly.  But the ass kicking they get from me will make them stronger.  If they give me a second book and are ready to take the flack from me, great.  They've got a good chance at succeeding in this business and that's all I truly want for each author that comes across my desk.  Some authors I don't play with as much because I either haven't gauged their personality yet or I'm not sure they'd understand exactly what I meant.  In those cases, I err on the side of caution and extreme professionalism.  

SB: How is it working with M. Christian?  I've heard great things about him.
SI:  That guy?  He's locked in my basement...

SB:  Umm, question.  When you see a book with potential but the writing is just mediocre, what do you tell the author?
SI:  Just that.  Not in those words of course, because that does little to help the author.  I usually tell them that after reading the first few paragraphs I've spotted what the trouble areas are and how they can improve them.  I have a few resources bookmarked that I send all prospective and current authors when they run into problems that will hinder a book's progress, or mine as an editor.  

SB: What is the Intoxication line about?
SI:  The Intoxication line is my take on somewhere between Harlequin's hottest and our competition's hottest.  I want stories with heat, heart and that timeless HEA.  The Intoxication line stories should sweep you away, grab your heart and genitals and involve you in the entire story from start to finish so that you're rooting for the Hero and Heroine to finally get their shit together by the end of the book.  

SB:  How do you deal with difficult authors?
SI:  I don't. 

SB: What do you like about this job?
SI: Honestly, the fact that a: my authors are MY authors and I had a hand in helping their career.  That makes me feel good.  The other bene of this job is that for the most part, I'm working with a group of authors who learn from each round of edits.  Amber Rose Thompson's first book with us was pretty clean considering, but after the round of edits Thompson went through, Amber learned more about the process and the next story had a new set of issues to deal with, while the old ones were mostly gone.  That's an author that grows.  

SB: What has this gig taught you about the industry?
SB: It's given me a greater insight into marketing aspects, cost effective promotions and how the acquisition process works.  I've applied these lessons to my own writing career and thrown them back at my stable of authors for them to utilize.

SB:  You've had some hit anthologies come out in erotic romance lately.  What was the thinking like when you came up with these ideas?
SI:  Well our market primarily does a great deal of bondage so I wanted to work in the romance aspect for our longtime loyal readers, but I wanted to expand into erotic romance as that's where my heart (and from what I've read, the money) is.  Our first anthology, Riding the Rocket , came out some time back and did well in the reviews.  I brought a lot of new talent to light from that alone, but the next one we did, I took a step back and said "You know, as a romance reader, the thing I always pick up are those little four author collections.  Not a lot of money in those, but I'm not interested in that for once.  I'm interested in giving the reader their biggest bang for their buck and for not stacking an anthology with two solid authors, a great name, and a newbie.  The authors in my anthologies deserve to be published, at least those stories anyway.  And they've all worked hard to promote the books.  I may see about a theme anthology for Sizzler that deals more with our primary crowd while trying to attract new readers.

SB: Last question for now:  Any advice to new authors who want to submit to you?
SI:  Such...delicate phrasing LOL!  Read the guidelines, talk to me, talk to other romance readers.  Write the story you want to write, send it in and give us a shot. 

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