Saturday, March 15, 2014

PPWC 2014 Q&A - TIffany Yates Martin

Tiffany Yates Martin, Editor, FoxPrint Editorial

1. What was the defining moment that made your realize you wanted to be an editor?

I’ve never not loved words and stories. They’re my first memories. I wrote as soon as I could speak, and I analyzed books and movies as soon as I could reason. I began as a copy editor—which I also loved, by the way, because I think grammar is beautiful (I actually loved diagramming sentences in school)—and then moved into developmental editing, which I love even more because I get to be the handmaiden to an author’s creativity. I’m very, very lucky that I’ve worked in this field for nearly all of my career.

2. What is the one thing you cannot work without? What is your creative vice?

Can’t work without coffee, and my Webster’s Collegiate dictionary. Creative vice…well, until recently I would have said candy corn, as it used to fuel creativity—until an author friend sent me a terrifying list of health issues that it can contribute to. I suppose the worst creative habit I have is that I’m constitutionally unable not to analyze and deconstruct any form of entertainment I’m enjoying, or to not mentally (and, sadly, verbally) correct grammar and spelling in advertisements, signs, documents, etc.

3. If you could 'revive' any literary figure from the past for a one hour conversation, who would you choose?

Max Perkins, in a heartbeat. He was the editor for Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Thomas Wolfe, and so many more. By all accounts a gentleman, a gentle and insightful editor, and a profound fan and champion of authors.

4. What is one of your more notable or unusual conference or convention experiences?

At the Santa Barbara Writers Conference, I stayed with one of the organizers in her incredible home atop a mountain in Montecito. We sat outside overlooking mountains and ocean on their brick patio amid hibiscus and plumbago and frangipani and palm trees, a group of writers, editors, and publishing professionals talking about what we loved most in the world: books. Pretty idyllic.

5. If we asked your friends and family to compare you to a cartoon character, which would they choose, and why?

Ha! Oh, dear, probably Big Bird, because I’m very tall. And I love yellow. J

6. What is one thing would you like aspiring authors to know about the road to success?

I had an author friend of mine—a very successful multi-published Knopf writer—tell me once that the only thing that separated her from many of her unpublished writer friends was persistence. That really stuck with me. If you love writing, do it—in the face of rejection, discouragement, despair . . . keep doing it. You will get better and better, and eventually—I really believe this—you will find an audience for your work, whether that’s a traditional pub contract, or a wide readership as a self-pub author, or some other path we don’t even know about yet. As long as writing feeds your soul and what it offers your well-being is greater than the cost of the hard parts, don’t quit.

About the Editor: Tiffany Yates Martin has worked in the publishing industry for more than twenty years, currently through her editorial consulting company, FoxPrint Editorial, helping authors hone their work to a tight polished draft. As a developmental editor she works both directly with authors as well as through major publishers. As a freelance copyeditor and proofreader, she has worked with several of the “big six” New York publishers, among them Random House, the Penguin Group, and HarperCollins. She holds a BA in English Literature from GSU and is a member of the Editorial Freelancers Association. As a speaker, she has presented editing workshops for conferences such as the Santa Barbara Writers Conference and writers’ groups including Delve Writing, and served as a panel moderator for the Texas Book Festival. She has worked on titles by New York Times best-selling authors and manuscripts for unpublished writers, single titles as well as entire series.

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