Today on the purple crush velvet couch I have one of my favourite people, Georgia Woods, executive editor with Liquid Silver Books. Georgia was just leaving my first publishers as I arrived and everyone only ever had good things to say about her. I was very disappointed not to have had the chance to work with her. So, when she came back to Liquid Silver Books after they published some of my books I was very excited. I have to say the good things people said didn’t do her justice they weren’t complimentary enough. She is an absolute dream to work with.
Lillian: Your official title at Liquid Silver Books is Executive Editor, even though you like to refer to yourself as mother hen when you talk about your role with authors. I think cat herder is probably more accurate J
Georgia: LOL! You could be right, but most of the time it isn’t quite that disorganized. At least most of the cats want to go in the same direction most of the time.
It’s funny—I always say mother hen because I see myself standing my new authors up on the edge of the nest, and I have my arms out to keep them from falling back into the nest. They have their wings ready to fly, and I’m cheering them on. Occasionally, I’ll have one or two who can’t seem to make the leap, and then I shove them off like any good mother should, because while they may not believe it until they do it, I KNOW they can fly. I totally believe in them. And God forbid anyone mess with my chicks! LOL! But yes, that’s where the Mother Hen comes from.
Lillian: So, tell me, what was your path to Executive Editor?
Georgia: I have held a lot of different jobs over the years, nurse’s aide, secretary, artist, cake decorator, IT manager, small business owner, and then retired from law enforcement, so I’ve had a very widely varied working life. I’ve always thrived on learning new skills and being in a position to use them all. But I’ve been a romance reader all my life, so books, and especially romance books, have been a thread throughout. I started on the business end of publishing as a proofreader right here at Liquid Silver Books. I worked my way up through the ranks at several of the major ebook publishers to Senior Editor, Author Development Manager, Acquiring Editor, and Managing Editor for Romance and Women’s Fiction. Then Liquid Silver CEO Mike Feury made me an offer I couldn’t refuse in January of 2012, so here I am back where I started. And I’m thrilled. I’ve always had a special place in my heart for LSB, and I have to admit I love my job, I love the folks I work with, and I love our authors to pieces. I stomp and growl when things go wrong, but I’m grinning behind the scenes at how lucky I am to be working in a field so near and dear to my heart and for a company I believe in.
Lillian: What exactly does an Executive Editor do?
Georgia: Well, it’s a mix of things, but generally whatever isn’t someone else’s responsibility falls to me. LOL! The basic job description is that I’m responsible for what’s inside our books. I get to be involved in a lot of different processes, and I have a lot of responsibility, but I also have outstanding coworkers, especially our team in the acquisitions and editorial sides of the house. In one week, I can find myself hiring and training editorial staff, teaching craft classes to authors and aspiring authors, recruiting authors and staff, setting editorial policy and handling contracts, putting together PR budgets and convention trips, to sweeping the floors and locking up after everyone goes home. 🙂 But that’s the beauty of the job – there are a lot of very different skills involved, so I’m always excited to come to work, interested in what I’m doing, and rarely bored. And I get paid to read! That’s the best part.
Lillian: Even though I am sure you are not always the right person to approach, I know if I have a problem with anything writing or publishing related, you are always happy to listen and help with a solution. Other authors have told me when they have an issue with an editor or something, they are worried to say anything in case they get a bad reputation. How important do you think it is that people feel they can approach you and not be taken lightly or castigated for it?
Georgia: I think it’s one of the most crucial parts of my job. There’s nothing more frustrating than feeling powerless, and if the author thinks it’s important, then it’s important to me. I will always listen, and no one will ever be ridiculed or their concerns taken lightly. My door is always open, and I am always available to authors via email or Skype or phone. Misunderstandings are inherent in the medium, this virtual world we live and work in, and situations escalate because you can’t see facial expressions or read intentions via email. I’d much rather someone ask a question or send me a concern than for the situation to continue or even escalate when a simple explanation could clear the whole thing up. The bad reputation worry is totally a non-issue—if there’s a conflict, it needs to be settled for everyone involved.
Lillian: Since you took over the role at LSB, there have been lots of changes. Can you tell us what the driving force is behind that and where you see things heading in the future?
Georgia: The driving force behind us is growth, expansion, and sales—making LSB the best romance epublisher it can be, as simple as that. We have very high goals for this company, and the owners are stellar. They sat down, put a team together they felt could take them where they wanted to go, and then sat back and gave us the freedom and tools to do it. Every one of us on staff has a lot of years in business and in epublishing, and we decided the best way to get where we need to go would be to analyze all the processes, only keep those that work, and start over from scratch. It’s been hectic, confusing, and painful on occasion, even scary at times, but I’m convinced there was no other way to do it. We did our research and our homework, we built it back lean and smart, and I think the best is yet to come.
Lillian: One of the things I love about being part of LSB is the sense of being part of a huge family. How important do you think that is, and is it something you plan to maintain as you get bigger?
Georgia: LSB has always been like a family, and their support is why they have always been so special to me and why I’ve always kept my ties here open. A strong sense of family is the bedrock upon which I’m made and I work, and it will never go away as long as I’m involved. I have never been one of those “it’s not personal, it’s business” folks. For me, it’s personal, it’s part of who I am, it’s what I believe in, and LSB is people I know and love working with. Together we are building something we can be proud of. It’s personal. Sometimes I don’t have time to be as chatty as I want to be with everyone, but I will never be all business and that’s okay with me. I’m comfortable fixing problems, giving advice, and doling out hugs in equal measure.
Lillian: When you are not being the Executive Editor, what do you like to do with your free time?
Georgia: That’s a good question, especially since I don’t have a lot of free time! LOL! I love to travel with my husband—he’s like one of those alpha guys in the romance books we read, retired military, doesn’t say much, but growls a lot. LOL! We like to take short weekend getaway trips together, quiet stuff like cabins in the mountains, or walks on the beach. I also enjoy spending time with family, crocheting, cooking, building furniture, reading, lots of the same things everyone else likes to do. I’m an NRA certified firearms instructor, and I also enjoy shooting sports of all kinds. I like to shoot holes in paper targets, and I call it gunpowder therapy. Great for stress relief.
Lillian: What is the best thing about your job?
Georgia: Getting paid to read smokin’ hot books, hands down.
Okay, now some questions just for fun.
Sex or chocolate?
Both, at the same time. Body heat and chocolate can lead to some very interesting situations.
Do you prefer your men in boxers or briefs?
I just prefer men. I don’t care how they are dressed because I don’t plan to keep them dressed for long.
Editing or writing?
Oh, now that’s one of those secret yearning things. Can you see me shaking my “you naughty girl” finger at you? My heart lies with both, but if I had to give up one, I’d keep writing. I still like to edit a manuscript every now and again, but as things settle into place at LSB, I’m finding time to write again and realize how much I missed it. I don’t think I’ll ever give that up.
Thanks for playing along. 🙂
Thanks for having me! But I’m feeling sort of cheated because Jennifer got male strippers and I didn’t. Solid proof—while the cat herder’s away, the mice are playing. Bah-humbug! I’m always working, and I miss all the fun!
I will definitely arrange male strippers next time.