As a new series, I will be posting guest blogs by other professionals in the industry, as well as some great tips on writing, some awesome links to people like Nathan Bransford, and some of the best books on every aspect of writing, editing, publishing, etc.
Warren Lapine of Wilder Publications, Inc. Thank you so much for joining us and answering some often asked questions.
Thank you, Warren Lapine, for joining us, and bringing your publishing expertise.
You’re welcome, I’m always happy to talk about the publishing field.
Can you tell us how long you have been in the publishing business?
April marks twenty years, it seems like it was only last week.
What made you want to enter this industry?
I’ve wanted to be part of the publishing industry since I was a kid. I started writing when I was ten or eleven and I thought about getting into magazines as early as fourteen.
Was there a book in your childhood that made you sit up and pay attention? A book that made you think “I want to work with books when I grow up”?
Yes, Nine Princes in Amber by Roger Zelazny shook my world to its core. It made me realize that what I’d been doing since fourth grade was writing and that I wanted to make people feel the way Zelazny’s writing made me feel.
In your experience, what has been some of the wackiest queries? How about the most uniquely interesting?
Oddly enough I haven’t received all that many odd queries. Back when I published magazines I would tell people not to send me queries as I could decide on a story just as fast as I could a query. As a book publisher nothing stands out when I try to remember all the queries I’ve seen. I did get one cover letter, though that still stands out even after all these years. It said, “Dear Mr. Ryan, I am sending you this story in the hopes, of course, that you will consider it for publication in Asimov’s.” I noted in my rejection letter that he had sent the manuscript to one editor, asked that a second editor consider it for a third magazine. When I mentioned this to Darrell Schweitzer (at the time he was the editor of Weird Tales) he told me I’d blown it. I should have said, “I’m sorry Planet Stories has ceased publication,” and signed it Frederick Pohl.
As a publishing professional, what is one of your biggest pet peeves with writers just starting down the road to publication?
I don’t have a lot of pet peeves. People with pet peeves usually don’t last long as editors or publishers. I’ve probably seen more than a million manuscripts, if I had had a lot of pet peeves I imagine I’d have lost my mind by now.
What is the biggest no-no for newcomers in the writing industry?
Writing a rejection letter to a rejection letter or writing an angry letter telling an editor why they are wrong. It may make you feel better, but there is absolutely no way it can do anything to help your career.
Can you give us your best piece of advice to us newbies?
Write. Don’t waste too much time on rewriting. You improve more as a writer when you are writing something new. Going through the same story over and over again actually slows down your progress as a writer.
Thank you so much, again, Mr. Lapine, for allowing us to pick through your brain.
It was a pleasure, thanks for inviting me.
You can find Mr. Lapine at his website or on Facebook.
Stay tuned the rest of the week, not to mention month, for interviews from unbelievably beautiful and talented authors, such as Stacy-Deanne and Tracy Ames.