Editor's Spotlight
Urban Book Source
February 2006


Candace CottrellCandace Cottrell

Candace Cottrell has had a voracious appetite for literature from the day she learned to read. With a background in library science, book reviewing, web development, and graphic design, Candace, is an all-in-one publishing dream. Read on to see what it’s like to be a Q-Boro editor.

 

UBS: Do you ever want to write a book?
Candace:
Someday, but it takes time that I’m just not in a position to devote at this point. I have several ideas and have actually started one, which I will complete someday!

UBS: Have you ever or would you ever put a book down while editing if the story wasn’t good?
Candace:
I think that’s one of the reasons we need editors: to make sure the book is good and that it’s polished and a product we can promote and distribute with pride. So, to answer your question, no, I wouldn’t put it down.

UBS: How do you feel after reading something you spent countless hours working on and then you come across something you missed after the work has already been published? Maybe a typo or spelling error?
Candace:
You kind of feel like you walked out of the bathroom with toilet paper stuck to your shoe. But, at the same time, we have to realize that editors are humans and we do make mistakes. I think the key is to have more than one set of eyes looking at something so you can distribute the blame (just kidding!!!). No, really, it’s good to have an extra set of eyes so they can catch things you may miss because you’ve been staring at the thing for two weeks straight.

UBS: What’s next for yourself and Q-Boro Books?
Candace:
We are moving full speed ahead and have a knockout lineup coming in 2006 and 2007. It may seem as if there’s a lull in production since the merger with Urban Books, but there isn’t. We are working day and night.

UBS: What are the most annoying mistakes a writer can make?
Candace:
I don’t find any particularly annoying, but I do think an author should at least go over the book once or twice before handing it off to the editorial department. I tend to think that they may immediately see things they want to change, and this can dramatically help streamline the process by eliminating some of the “back and forth syndrome.”

UBS: What do you think of urban literature as of right now?
Candace:
I think it’s an exciting time; there are more authors, more stories, and more books available to readers. I don’t think there are too many. Readers are discerning and can judge for themselves with the help of reviewers, etc. what they would or wouldn’t like to read. I also love that we are seeing more African American horror and thriller novels.

UBS: How long does it take you to edit a book on average?
Candace:
This is a loaded question! Basically, there are multiple stages to the editorial process, from developmental and structural to the final proofread. It really depends on quality, resources (number of folks working on it), and how many problems there are with the manuscript. It can take anywhere from two months to a year.

UBS: What is the best book you have read in a long while?
Candace:
I know I may be partial, but I absolutely loved Demon Hunter by TL Gardner. It was so good, I wanted to smack him! LOL!

UBS: Do you ever find yourself re-writing a lot of any one authors work? What do you look for in the writing when editing?
Candace:
It really isn’t the editor’s job to rewrite per se, but, rather, to enhance. So, I will provide suggestions to improve flow, characterization, dialogue, word usage, etc., but I will never write the book for them.

UBS: Is there a side of editing that outsiders may not know about, that you can share with us?
Candace:
It really is a rewarding career. It may seem mundane or tedious, but there really isn’t a better job for a book fanatic like myself. I get just as excited seeing a book I designed the cover for or edited on the shelves as some of the authors!

UBS: What are your favorite types of books? Please name a few of your favorite authors.
Candace:
I like a little bit of everything, but my favorites are horror/thrillers (TL Gardner, Brandon Massey, Stephen King, John Saul), chick-lit (Patrick Sanchez), contemporary (Lolita Files, Bernice McFadden, Dianne McKinney-Whetstone, Gayle Jackson Sloan), mystery (Paula L. Woods, Pamela Thomas-Graham), and street fiction (Mo Shines, Kwan, Tyrone Wallace). Oh, I guess I pretty much covered all the genres!! LOL

UBS: Any tips/advice for writers?
Candace:
My biggest harps are on dialogue and characterization. Say the dialogue out loud. Act it out with your family. Make sure it reads the way people really speak, and pay attention that not all the characters speak exactly the same way. Give them a voice. With characters, just be consistent. Try formulating a character sketch that outlines the nuances of the character, both the physical and mental. I also put monthly tips for writers at the bottom of the Q-Boro Books newsletter.


Comments page 1 of 1:
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Posted 830 days ago
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Kaedon :
Posted 1952 days ago
Your answer shows real intlleginece.
cecilia cottrell :
Posted 3437 days ago
I think that Candace has a very good attitude and is very patient with the authors that haven't looked over their work, and it is found later. To me this does waste time and should be concidered when yor are ready to have your book edited.
 



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