I'm starting the People Who Inspire series by highlighting one of the people who have given me this platform. My editor, Janet Fix. As most of you know, I don't write in a necessarily typical fashion, I like to call it present tense immediate. Most editorial instincts would be to transform it to something more typical, maybe more marketable, and it was one of my biggest concerns when seeking an editor. Janet was put in my path by another self-published author. When I approached her to look at my book, Intoxic, I expected a list of things that should be changed to make it more mass-market friendly; what I got was an editor who embraced my style of writing and helped me make it better, just the way it was. She didn't want to change the way I write to suit the norm and has been an amazing sounding board for me this past year. That, though, is not why she is on this list; that is just to tell you why she is first.
Janet Fix hits this list because she is so incredibly positive and encouraging. Even when she has to slash through something I've written with a big red pen, she does it with so much respect that I almost don't mind. Janet has incredible literary instincts, and without a doubt, she has improved my body of work by being on my team. She has a keen mind and is willing to share it with others to help them find success. She works very hard, and I know her work is mentally exhausting, but she is always positive and ready with a suggestion to turn a closed window into a fire escape.
Janet owns and operates thewordverve, a small-press publishing house out of Canton, GA, that is transforming from a hybrid model into more of a legacy house. She also works as a professional editor for a myriad of authors outside her published authors. She puts out quality books and supports her writers every step of the way. Jan is a powerhouse, and I think thewordverve is going to continue to grow and thrive under her leadership. She's a testament that hard work and perserverence can pay off. Thanks, Jan for participating in my People Who Inspire series.
Can you tell me a little about your early life?
I have only recently wondered where I get my “word” roots from. Are there any other writers in my family history? That kind of thing. After about ten years of working on my family’s genealogy, I still haven’t discovered any fellow wordsmiths. Seems like I’m a lone ranger in that department. At least as far as I know to date. Of course, my parents did encourage my interest in books and writing, so perhaps it’s not such a mystery, but a gift from them.
I’ve been reading since I can remember anything in my life. I started writing poetry in sixth grade, twelve years old. From there, I went on to writing short stories, to writing articles for the high school newspaper, to being editor of the high school paper, copy editor for the yearbook, and then copy editor for my college paper at University of South Florida. I also did a bunch of photography work, thanks to my dad’s generosity in allowing me to use his Pentax. I had a freelance journalist job at the St. Pete Times/Clearwater Times when I was just seventeen years old. I wrote Sports and Feature articles. I was treated like a “regular,” and I was amazed by the process of producing a newspaper.
All these years later, and I am a publisher, editor, and author. It’s my dream come true.
What did you want to be when you were little?
A writer. (not kidding you)
When did you realize you had something that needed to be written and shared?
I guess it was first in high school, per above.
In the last decade, I’ve published my children’s book series: Ranch Hero (and I’m so proud of it) . . . but I also have many fiction novels scattered about, not yet published. I can’t seem to get past the “editing myself” mode. But I will get there. Timing is everything. I publish my children’s books under my name, Janet Fix. My novels and other such writings will be published under a pen name, Helen M. Ruby, which acknowledges the three grandmothers in my life. Not a hiding-behind-a-name thing, but instead a nod to these women who contributed to my life in some way, for better or for worse.
What is the writing process like for you?
I could write all day and night if I had the time. Honestly, I have not experienced such a thing as writer’s block. When I sit down and grab the time, the words flow easily for me. If only I can stop editing them, ha ha. Ultimately, I will hire a professional editor to do the real deal for me. There is nothing like a professional editor—this coming from a professional editor, who knows better than to edit her own work. In the end, I know my writing will benefit immensely from an editor’s input other than my own. I’m looking forward to that moment when I submit a manuscript to an editor, like so many authors do when they submit their work to me. Entrust their work to me. Author-editor relationships are amazing.
Can you tell me a little about your body of work? Who is your target audience?
The Ranch Hero series is obviously targeted toward kids. It’s about losing a pup and then that pup turns out to be a guardian angel for farm pals everywhere. It’s silly and fun. It gives us a chance to think outside the box . . . that, should a beloved pet die, he just might be a guardian angel—his calling.
As for my fiction works via pen name Helen M. Ruby, these are more geared toward the fantastical or psychological type of stories—sometimes via a 50-something woman (ahem) and sometimes just in general. I find myself drawn to write about life’s woes and how someone gets through them . . . in unconventional ways.
Did you self-publish or are you with a legacy publisher (traditional publishing house)?
Since my business, thewordverve, is a publishing house, I published through them. So that’s kind of a weird mix, I know.
What do you want to inspire with your work? What do you hope to achieve?
Oh man. I want to elicit passion and compassion and a relatability to what I’ve written. Some things people don’t want to talk about. I write about those things.
Is there any one person in your life that inspired a change in you that led you to your current path?
My high-school journalism teacher, Ken Henderson. Hands down. #gospongers
What is the one piece of advice you most often give?
Live for today. But I never do that, so that’s not a good one.
For my writers, for whom I edit, I say: If it doesn’t add to the main thread of the story in some way, get it the hell out of there.
There is a tendency for us writers to be more verbose than necessary. I’m probably one of the worst offenders. Readers in general expect their authors to stick to the thread, and every bit they read contributes to that thread. It’s kind of an unspoken deal between authors and readers. If you, as an author, nix on that deal, it’s not a good thing.
Oh, and for sure this advice: Do what you love!
Just a little more about my business, thewordverve inc. We started as a strictly hybrid publishing house (Champion for Authors! Is the Verve in You? #teamV) back in 2010. Since then, we’ve gradually moved toward a more traditional style of publishing, which has always been my dream for the business (more vetting, prime product). It’s like the “less is more” concept. And it’s working. Our authors are truly the cream of the crop.
Janet Fix - Contact info: