JoeyPinkney.com Exclusive Interview
5 Minutes, 5 Questions With…
Lori Higham, Book Manager/Editor for BookTrope.com
My parents are involved in charity work overseas, so I had a lot of experience with extensive travel from a very young age. I also worked in the fashion industry as a model and photographer, so that gave me the opportunity to get to know New York very well!
Those types of activities kept me very busy, so unfortunately I had to lay aside my own love for writing. I discovered that I could take on freelance editing of other people’s books and not lose that connection with good literature.
I’m a Christian, so in all areas of my life, I like to take on jobs I can do based on good moral principles.
Joey Pinkney: How did you become a Book Manager/Editor?
Lori Higham: While editing with various companies, I started finding the books I’d edited on Amazon—some selling quite well. In addition, I was given the opportunity to work with a good proofreading service (ProofreadingPal.com), practicing continual attention to detail.
Later down the road, I called Ken Shear from Booktrope Publishing—having seen their innovative method of book publishing online—and discussed options for working with them. And here I am!
JP: When editing a book, there’s a thin line between love and hate when it comes to suggesting changes to the author. What is your approach to guiding an author with their work?
LH: Ah yes! The love/hate relationship. I’m careful to discuss the extent to which I believe the book will need altered to become highly marketable. Booktrope’s method of matching authors and editors helps make it easy for me to do that—I can look over the manuscript and then speak with the author personally about ideas and see if we come to an agreement.
My personal approach is generally to cut, cut, cut. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and I think authors sometimes take that to mean they should make up for not having pictures by including an abundance of words! Not so!
Concise and focused is much more powerful. My job is to discover the most compelling focus of an author’s book and ensure that everything in the book contributes to that focus AND is right for the target audience.
I rewrite short sections, when necessary, and include comments highlighting areas that require further explanation or should be eliminated because they just go on too long (or don’t contribute substantially to the theme). I always remind my authors that they must keep the readers in mind—the readers are the ones who will purchase (or not) the book, after all!
JP: What are some of the day-to-day activities a book manager does to make a book have a fighting chance in today’s market?
LH: First of all, I believe it is crucial that book managers themselves understand the books they manage—meaning they must be clear about the target audience and genre, and whether the book is “right” for both (and if not, what must be changed about the book to make it so).
Second, they should understand the author and his or her background—with whom might he or she connect? Why? How? Are there other authors this person could be connected with, for example, who might be willing to swap guest blog posts for mutual benefit?
I personally also have my own blog (www.enewsblogs.com) and feature famous individuals on it from all walks of life to draw in a diverse audience. I recently contacted two famous photographers who agreed to contribute a special feature, for example, and another who will provide beauty tips soon.
In addition, I’ve arranged to feature international bestselling authors in the Literature section of my blog. These are all things that bring in an audience, and that is what marketing is all about! (And check out the author currently on my blog, by the way—she has a really great story!)
JP: They say editors make great novelists. What is your take on that?
LH: It’s probably true! I do know several novelists who began as editors. On the other hand, having an eye for detail and story structure doesn’t necessarily ensure creativity of ideas. In other words, I think a higher percentage of editors make good writers, but not all editors have the creativity required for excellence in literature.
JP: What projects are you currently working on as an editor and/or book manager?
LH: I’m currently managing Run, River Currents by Ginger Marcinkowski, as currently featured under “Literature” in my blog (www.enewsblogs.com). It is a new release and can be purchased on Amazon and Barnes and Noble! It’s a great (but dark) Christian book that was inspired by a true story.
Names and some minor events were changed, so we call it a fiction (and use the typical fiction disclaimer), but the incidents of abuse (both beating and childhood sexual abuse) were all true. I edited this book, too, by the way!
I’m also currently editing several books that are being managed by other Booktrope managers—not yet published (MAF-YA by Marni Mann, Holding True by Emily Dietrich, and a business book).
And—for those interested in Booktrope’s new method of publishing, check out this link: http://www.booktropepublishing.com