Monday, November 14, 2011

Interview with Author/Editor Nicole Zoltack

Deirdra: What made you decide a career as an editor?

Nicole: First and foremost, I’m a writer but as a writer, you also have to be an editor and self-edit your own novels. When I saw some epublishers were looking for editors, I thought it would be a great experience for me. By reading and editing other people’s stories, you learn what works and what doesn’t. I work as both a content and a line editor for MuseItUp Publishing, and a content editor for eTreasures Publishing. Finally, I’m a freelance editor for Passionate Writer Publishing. It’s very rewarding work to be an editor and help an author make his/her story the best it can be.

Deirdra: When you are not wading through massive amounts of query letters what do you like to do in your spare time?

Nicole: Family is very important to me. I’m married to a wonderful man (we just celebrated 4 years!) and I have two wonderful sons that keep me on my toes! The oldest is three soon, the youngest is one. And in February, another one will be coming - another boy. I really hope the next one (our last) will be a girl! I also love to watch movies with my husband. And, of course, I love to read!

Deirdra: How does one become an editor?

Nicole: You don’t have to have a degree in English, although I’m sure that would help. My degree is completely unrelated to my writing and editing careers. Basically, any writer can become an editor. Start out small and help other writers by being a beta reader and critique partner. Learn or relearn all of the grammar rules. Take a course, if you need too. Then you can start to apply for editing positions at smaller publishers and work your way up.

At two of the publishing houses that I work for, I’m paid a portion of the royalties; at the other one, I get paid a flat fee for each manuscript.

Deirdra: What is the most challenging obstacle editors encounter when working with authors?

Nicole: Some authors are easier to work with and willing to learn than others. I think the biggest challenge is to have an open channel of communication between the editor and the author. Communication is a two way street, though, so I would say that authors that are hard to get a hold of are the most challenging ones for editors.

Deirdra: What kinds of books are currently in demand?

Nicole: All kinds. As long as a book is well written, there is a place for it somewhere.

Deirdra: Are there any genres that publishers in general shy away from?

Nicole: Most publishers have their niche so it’s important to read their submission guidelines so you aren’t submitting a romantic suspense to a publishing house that only publishes fantasy and science fiction. It’s a waste of both your time and the publishers. There are so many publishers out there that you can find a publishing house for any genre.

Deirdra: Do you prefer to find your authors through query letters, live pitches or as references from other authors or agents?

Nicole: Through query letters. At two of the three publishing house, I’m not an acquiring editor, but for the other one, I do read query letters and manuscripts. Visit for what the editors are looking for specifically at MuseItUp Publishing. I mentioned paranormal, but really I’m up for anything that’s well written and interesting.

Deirdra: What’s the best part of your job?

Nicole: Helping an author make his/her story the best it can be.

Deirdra: What’s the hardest part of your job?

Nicole: Making the time to edit. With two little ones, it’s hard to find time for myself, let alone for my work.

Deirdra: Would you ever consider representing a new client who previously self-published? Why or why not?

Nicole: As I said before, I’m not really an acquiring editor, but I would have no problem working with a client who previously self-published. Some authors choose to only self-publish, some use it as a means to be published by a publishing house. In publishing, there are more options for authors than ever before.

Deirdra: How do you think the growing popularity of e-books will impact the literary market?

Nicole: I think ebooks are wonderful. The more options there are for readers, the better it is for authors. The literary market is going to have to change and expand to better include ebooks and epublishing.

Deirdra: On average, how many query letters do you receive each year?

Nicole: Me specifically? Not many, although I am involved with submissions at MuseItUp Publishing.

Deirdra: What advice would you have for someone aspiring to become an author?

Nicole: Read in your genre. Find a trusted beta reader and critique partner (or two or three). Polish and edit your story until it’s as perfect as you can get it. Then have another reader look at it. You can never have too many eyes on your story before you submit it.

Deirdra: What advice would you have for someone aspiring to become an editor?

Nicole: Make sure you know your grammar rules and be ready to defend yourself to an author who wants to break the rules for no good reason.

Deirdra: I also noticed from your blog that you as an author as well. When did you first know you wanted to be an author?

Nicole: Since I was a little girl. I’ve been writing stories since I was six. I’ve always wanted to be an author.

Deirdra: What makes you passionate about writing?

Nicole: I love creating stories and making up lives for my characters. I’ve been reading a lot of picture books to my sons so lately, I’ve been working on some picture books. Now that is one tough market to crack from what I’ve heard, but I’m willing to try!

Deirdra: What is your writing schedule like?

Nicole: It varies from day to day. I’m very lucky that my two boys take a nap together every day from 2-5 or so, so that’s built-in time to edit or write. But sometimes real life and chores get in the way and I end up staying up until 2 am in the morning writing. I’m trying to get as much done writing and editing-wise before the next baby is born.

Deirdra: Can you tell us a little about Woman of Honor and Knight of Glory.

Nicole: Sure!

Woman of Honor is about Aislinn, a young girl who wants to become a knight to take her fallen brother's place. She's willing to give up everything for the Kingdom of Arnhem - her childhood, her life, even her heart.

Knight of Glory takes place immediately after the events in Woman of Honor. This book focuses on Sir Geoffrey, a knight who trained alongside of Aislinn. War has come to the Kingdom of Arnhem, and Geoffrey is trying to recruit allies in the fight. Along the way, he finds his heart torn between two different and mysterious ladies.

Deirdra: What do you hope readers will get from your books?

Nicole: I want to provide my readers an escape from their troubles and worries. I want them to love the characters, for them to immerse themselves into the world I created. Most of all, I want them to finish each story with wow, I'm glad I read that.

Deirdra: Who has made the greatest difference for you as a writer?
Nicole: Good question! I would have to say my mom. If it weren't for her sitting my sister and I down and giving us papers and pencils, neither of us would have grown up wanting to be a writer.

Deirdra: Besides writing what other talents or hobbies do you have?

Nicole: I love to sing. I was involved in choirs in high school and college and I miss it. I also enjoy horseback riding, but I've stopped my lessons for now until I'm done having kids. It's not a good idea to ride while pregnant.

Deirdra: What words of advice do you have for other writers who desire to have their manuscripts become books in print?

Nicole: Read, read, read, write, edit, polish, edit, polish, edit, polish. Writing isn't about writing so much as it is about rewriting and editing. It's a process.

Deirdra: What are you working on now?

Nicole: I'm waiting to hear back from beta readers on my MG fantasy story which I hope to start querying before the end of the year.

I'm also working on another MG fantasy. This one is an adventure story about a princess who likes to lie and loves to sneak out of the castle.

Deirdra: Where can our readers go to find your books and order them?

Nicole: Here's the link to my books on Amazon:

Deirdra: Any final words you would like to share?

Nicole: Never write to trends. Write the book of your heart. I also strive to write books that I would like to read.


  1. Cool interview, I learned a lot about you Nicole =-)

  2. Great interview!

    Deirdra, check out my blog I've nominated you for the Lovely Blog Award. Your blog truly is gorgeous, one of the best I've seen. Congratulations!

  3. Great advice about trends, and a great interview.


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