Interview with Editorial Director, Tera Cuskaden, from Entangled Publishing
Tera– Hi! I’m Tera, and I’m the Editorial Director for Select Otherworld at Entangled Publishing. Books have always been a huge chunk of my life, and I started swiping romance books from my mom and grandma when I was ten or eleven, and it’s been the majority of what I’ve read since. When I first started out, I thought I was going to write, but a series of events led me to editing instead, and now I find it hard to contemplate writing a book. I get the itch every once in a while, but it only lasts for about two seconds, until I start a new editorial project. =D Working hand-in-hand with an author to hone their vision and create a story that readers are going to fall in love with just as much as I did is an amazing process, and I love collaborating with all of the amazing, talented authors I get to work with on a daily basis. When I’m not working, I can usually be found binging something on Netflix (I’m currently rewatching all of Gilmore Girls), knitting, drinking coffee, try out new craft breweries or wineries, or being a loyal servant to the eight million cats my husband and I have. (Just kidding, it’s not eight million. It’s—no, I can’t say. It’s more than two.)
Entangled Publishing is an independent publisher of romantic fiction, in both the adult and young adult markets. Since its first release in July 2011, Entangled has published more than 970 titles, including the #8 bestselling book of 2012 by Jennifer Probst, The Marriage Bargain, as well as the blockbuster YA hit Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout which was recently signed for a major motion picture to begin production in the Spring of 2017. Entangled has since grown to thirteen imprints, with 42 titles appearing on the USA Today Bestsellers list and 14 titles on the New York Times Bestsellers list. Currently, Entangled releases approximately 30-45 titles per month in digital first format and 4 per month in simultaneous print and e formats.
What is your weekly routine like?
Tera– Try as I might, I can’t seem to pin myself down to a routine. For me, it depends on the amount of edits I need to get done and when those edits are due. I typically have a running list of tasks I need to complete, in order of importance, and I cross them off as I go. Because who doesn’t like to cross things off a list! =D
Who first introduced you to the love of reading?
Tera– My mother always encouraged me to read. In fact, she’ll swear that my love of reading comes from her reading aloud while she was pregnant with me. I wouldn’t go that far, but I read early, and I read a lot. It’s always been my happy place.
For authors or prospective authors: what influences your decision to read a submission: the query letter, synopsis, the plot, etc.
Tera– There are a couple of things that will drive me to read a submission—the query letter and the plot. It’s important that the query letter is well written and that it’s an accurate representation of your voice. If a query letter is poorly written, it typically leads me to believe that the manuscript might be poorly written as well. The basic premise of your plot should be in your query letter, and if you have a high concept idea and great conflict contained in a marketable idea, I’ll be more excited to read a manuscript.
What is the biggest no no you see in submissions that makes you reject them?
Tera– One of the biggest no-nos I see are cliché plot elements that are currently underperforming in the targeted marketplace. It shows that a person hasn’t researched what people are currently reading and enjoying, or they haven’t read widely enough to know that something is overdone. For example, a witch who comes into her powers at a certain age and holds the power to save the world from evil. Or a girl who has a specific type of blood very appealing to all vampires who come near her and she’s claimed by an alpha vampire who is stronger than everyone else. Of course, these elements can work, but they have to be done in a unique way.
Will you share some encouraging words for authors still struggling for that first contract? Also, how can our readers find your submission guidelines?
Tera– Never give up! And keep writing. No matter what, keep writing. When you finish the first book and you’re trying to find a home for it, it’s important that you keep writing. The more you write, the better you’ll get, and that’s never a bad thing. Make writing a habit, even if it’s only for a few minutes a day while you have your morning coffee (or tea!). It can be a tough road, but remember that even the most prolific writers had zero publishing contracts at some point.
For more information on Entangled’s submission guidelines, go check out http://entangledpublishing.com/submission-information/. We’d love to see what you’ve been working on!
Tera Cuskaden started working in publishing in 2005 as a reviewer and proofreader. She began working at Samhain Publishing in 2007 as an acquiring content editor and was promoted to Senior Editor of the Romance and Horror lines, also serving as the Art Department Coordinator. She has worked with many New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling authors, including Megan Hart, Shelli Stevens, Dana Marie Bell, and Cathryn Fox. Tera was also the first editor to hit the New York Times bestsellers list with a digital-only title.
Tera enjoys romance of all heat levels, and particularly loves paranormal, sci-fi and fantasy, romantic suspense, contemporary, New Adult, and sexy alpha males who give their heroines heart-melting HEAs.