by Tamara Hogan
These days, most of that process is handled via email, and I must admit that I prefer it that way. I'm definitely an email girl. I have email addresses older than some college students, and between my day job, the business of writing, and personal email accounts, I triage over a thousand emails a day. Some I dutifully read and file for later use. About 10% require detailed analysis and response. Others can be skimmed and deleted, a few more discarded bits and bytes tossed, hissing, onto the digital discard pile.
But some emails stay with you. In 2009, a very special email hit my in-pan: Sourcebooks editor Deb Werksman, responding to my email query, informing me that she was about to read my manuscript.
I was both exhilarated and terrified. The opening chapters of the manuscript had won a 2009 paranormal Daphne and finaled in the Golden Heart, but this? This was the real test. Only a handful of people had read the manuscript front to back. I knew I was a decent writer, but the top editor on my list was about to tell me whether she thought I could tell a story. A marketable story.
Needless to say I didn't get a lot of work done the day that email arrived. In the days that followed, I was able to shove thoughts of Deb reading my manuscript to the back of my mind for several hours at a time (I'm very good at focusing on things I can personally control) but every now and then I'd look at the glowing red "Followup" flag I'd placed on the email, and I'd double-check the sorting rule I'd created, which would shuttle any Sourcebooks email to its own dedicated folder so the email wouldn't get lost in the deluge.
And several weeks later, the email I'd been waiting for finally arrived. I took a deep breath. This was the moment of truth. I opened it. Read. And there, after a cheery "This is pretty great!" was Deb's request for an Underbelly Chronicles series outline, and alternate title ideas to take into the acquisition process. A flurry of emails followed, and to make a long story short, Deb extended an offer for the first three books in the series - only one of which was written, but that's a topic for another blog. ;-)
I've exchanged hundreds of emails with members of the Sourcebooks team since that day, but there are some I've archived for posterity: the offer, quickly followed up by a personal phone call, where Deb told me my manuscript rocked her world. The email reflecting my debut novel's publication date. Editorial revision notes. Several versions of my cover, the last with the tattoo tweaks I requested.
But there's one specific email I value above all, one I printed and taped to my computer monitor, where it hangs to this day: an email from Deb, accepting my revisions for TASTE ME, stating, very simply, "Good job." Whether it's by email, phone or in person...somehow Deb always knows exactly what I need to hear.
All things being equal - and of course, they aren't! - what's your preferred mode of communication? Phone, email, text, letter? Why?