Meet the Conference Faculty

An Interview with Editor Latoya C. Smith

Latoya C. Smith started her editorial career as an administrative assistant to New York Times bestselling author, Teri Woods at Teri Woods Publishing. It was there that she discovered her passion for book publishing. Latoya worked at TWP seasonally while pursuing her Bachelor’s Degree at Temple University. She graduated Cum Laude from Temple in August of 2005. She then attained a full-time position at Kensington Publishing in March of 2006. In October 2006, Latoya moved over to Grand Central Publishing, an imprint at Hachette Book Group. For the span of her eight years there, Latoya has acquired a variety of titles from Hardcover fiction and non-fiction, to digital romance and erotica titles. She was also featured in Publishers Weekly, USA Today as well as various author, book conference, and book blogger websites. She is the winner of the 2012 RWA Golden Apple for Editor of the Year. In early 2014, she appeared on CSpan2 where she contributed to a panel discussing the state of book publishing. Now an Executive Editor at Samhain Publishing, Latoya acquires short and long form romance and erotica.
mediumScribe: How would you describe your personal approach to working with an author?
Latoya Smith: I look at our relationship as a partnership and my goal is to do all that I can to make the author and their works a success.  I see myself as the author’s advocate in-house, so it’s imperative that we are on the same page in terms of content, branding, marketing, and overall publishing direction. I try to be open and honest with my authors about what’s happening with their books at all stages of the publishing process and I try to be as accessible as possible whether it’s via email, phone, or virtual meeting.
Scribe: What do you look for in a debut author?
LS: There are two key things I look for in a debut author—their willingness to hit the ground running with self-promotion and branding, as well as growth potential of their writing and careers. I’m looking for an author I can have a long-standing publishing relationship with.
Scribe: Do you think social media presence is critical for a successful writing career?
LS: Definitely! Over the years we’ve seen how powerful social media can be. So of course, you want to take advantage of the amount of people you can reach by being a part of social media. To me, it’s one of the easiest, and in some cases, least expensive ways to reach hundreds, sometimes, thousands of people. You can brand, market, and network on social media. It’s a win-win!
Scribe: If you could give writers one piece of advice, what would it be?
LS: Never stop promoting and networking! Whether you self-publish, publish with a small press, or publish with one of the top New York publishers, you have to be willing to do the work to promote yourself and your brand. Every little bit counts. I’d also say be careful what you say or do on social media. Because once it’s out there, it’s hard to take back and you don’t want to become an outcast based on something you said or did on a social media platform.
— Thanks, Latoya!
Click here for a full list of our 2015 A&E Conference Faculty.
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