Meet the Owner and Editor: Victoria
Hello everyone! I am excited to have this blog come out today, because I am finally introducing myself to you all. I am Victoria Hadley, the owner and in-house editor of The Romantic Editorial Services.
I started The Romantic Editorial Services a little more than a year ago, and I have to say I’ve loved every minute of it. Romance novels are my thing, and working with them every day is a dream come true for me. In today’s post, I really wanted to introduce myself to you all and let you know why I love romance novels, why I became an editor, and what led me to start The Romantic and to where I am today.
I began reading romance novels when I was young--probably around eleven or twelve years old. But even before this, the stories and young adult novels I read were all romantic in nature. I read princess stories, stories where high school couples had magical powers, and every romantic story I could get my hands on. Then, I upgraded to real romance novels in middle school with one of my mom’s favorite books Wedding in White by Diana Palmer.
From that point on, I was lost. I launched myself into the world of romance novels. I began collecting them, and though it was slow at first, I have amassed somewhere around one thousand print romance novels. That does not include what is probably around the five hundred more I own on Kindle. Almost all the books I read are romance novels; I love every genre, time period, and couple type. If it’s a romance novel, I’m gonna read it.
My love for reading bloomed into a love for writing, and I’ve been writing romance novels since I was about twelve or thirteen. It was at this same age that I decided I wanted to work in publishing with romance novels. I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to do, but I knew I wanted to spend my life with romance novels.
I was one of the lucky people who knew what I wanted to do when I was young, so I was able to do everything I could to get myself into publishing. I tutored writing and learned everything I could online in high school. I wrote and wrote and wrote. I read everything I could get my hands on, and I built a good base level of knowledge about book publishing, romance novels, and the options of what I could do in the publishing industry. During this time, I also had two amazing opportunities. The first was that I was hired to be an editor and administrative assistant with a home healthcare company in Florida. Though I started as an assistant, when my supervisor knew I wanted to edit, she was happy to have me begin editing documents in our company. This was awesome and allowed me to start getting great experience with editing. The second opportunity was to take a position as an intern with a literary agency. It was so educational and fun to work with authors and the literary agents. I did research on publishing companies, genre standards, and marketing. The final project I was able to work on was actually editing a manuscript. I remember being so excited, even though it was a horror novel (which is definitely not my thing, if you didn’t know from my blog post “Paranormal Romance Movies for Halloween in Case You Don’t Like Horror”). I remember being jumpy as heck for a while after I read it, but it was so exciting to be able to edit an actual novel!
While in my senior year of high school, I took the leap and self-published my own romance novel. But, because I knew nothing about self-publishing and it was still relatively new, I made all the mistakes I tell people not to make now (so I know what I’m talking about and you should listen to me--more on that later). If you want to check it out though, it’s called She Thinks My Computer’s Sexy and is available at the Kindle store. But, remember, I didn’t do any of the things I should have. Instead, I made my own cover, didn’t have professional editing, and didn’t do any marketing. So, while I sold some copies of my book, it hasn’t taken off.
By the time I graduated high school, I knew I wanted to be an editor for a romance novel publishing company. Everyone else in my life knew that too because it was almost my entire focus. This is what led me to studying for a Bachelor of Arts in Writing and Rhetoric at the University of Central Florida (UCF). What I found unique about this degree was that it focused on learning to write and how to do it most effectively for whoever your audience may be, rather than just creative writing or learning about literature. I was able to learn about writing; publishing; creating content; and, most importantly, editing. During my time at UCF, I worked as an editor in every on-campus publication I could, and I also worked as a writing consultant with the University Writing Center. It helped me to fall in love with working with authors and be so excited to help others with their writing, whatever it may be.
In my senior spring, I began applying to every publishing job I could, no matter where it was. I applied to jobs in Orlando, New York City, Boston, Austin, Kansas City--everywhere. All I wanted was my foot in the door. I caught a lucky break with my older brother knowing someone who worked in publishing with a big publisher. She helped me get an interview with her boss for an assistant position in the logistics department of their company in Boston, Massachusetts. Then, I was also invited to interview with a self-publishing company in Florida for an editor position. After a few interviews, I was offered both jobs. It was a hard decision to make. I’d always wanted to work with a traditional publisher in a big city, but I didn’t want to work in the logistics department of a textbook publisher. Additionally, I didn’t really know what a self-publishing company was like. The plus, though, was that I would be editing books right out of college. After a lot of thinking (and a very difficult Friday because one of the companies wanted an answer by the end of the day), I accepted the editor position at the self-publishing company.
The world of self-publishing was rather new to me. Despite the fact that I had self-published my own romance novel and read buckets of self-published romance novels on Kindle, I didn’t know a whole lot about self-publishing or how a self-publishing company worked. But, I knew how to edit, and that’s all that mattered (for the most part--it was like 85% of all that mattered).
There was so much that I learned at the self-publishing company. About self-publishing, about editing, about working with authors, about how to do self-publishing well, and about how self-publishing can go wrong.
The company I worked for was full of great people, and it claimed to have a noble mission. I believe the people who worked there believed in that mission: to go above and beyond for authors and create amazing books. But, the policies and procedures the company followed didn’t really allow for that to happen. In my position, I cranked through books rapidly, often having to complete edits that wouldn’t be beneficial to authors and their books. There wasn’t enough communication for issues like this to be resolved quickly, so we just edited the books even if we thought the level of editing they purchased wouldn’t help. It was a rather frustrating and unfulfilling position.
The great thing was that I learned so much about self-publishing. I learned about the processes a book should go through, what an author needs to do to succeed, and why self-publishing is a good option.
I knew I wanted to work with romance novels and to be able to use what I learned for authors who had amazing stories. I knew so many self-published authors’ books would struggle to succeed because of errors or receiving bad editing from someone who wasn’t professionally trained or who didn’t give their manuscript the time it deserved.
Thus The Romantic Editorial Services was created. I created a mission that I knew I would be able fulfill: to help authors reach their goals and dreams for their romance novels by providing them with the editing their book needs. Since it began, I have been able to add on some services and better develop my business model. The best part of all has been being able to work with amazing romance novelists and content creators in the writing community.
Earlier this year, I was accepted into New York University’s Summer Publishing Institute. It was a great opportunity to get to learn more about the publishing industry and book production. I learned about what more I could be doing for my authors and their books, and it also gave me great ideas for new services I could offer as well. Learning from and working with industry professionals was amazing, and it was a great opportunity to be able to do more for The Romantic and its authors.
Creating and growing The Romantic has been amazing, and I want nothing more than to continue growing The Romantic and our pool of talented romance writers with my little team. In another post soon, I will talk more about what specifically led me to start The Romantic and less about myself and my background.
I know I talked a lot about romance novels and their role in my life (which makes sense, right?), but I want to share a little more about me and what I do other than romance novels (which honestly isn’t a lot). My other hobbies include crocheting and watching true crime shows. I started crocheting when I was really young after being shown by my great aunt Legae, and I began again when I was in my early teens. YouTube was a pretty helpful tutor in developing my craft and actually being able to crochet a straight line. Now I make all sorts of things like blankets, toys, hats, scarves, and Christmas decorations.
I have a seventeen-year-old black cat named Shadow, who I love to death. You may have seen him a couple of times on The Romantic’s Instagram page, but in case you haven’t (and because I want to), I have included a picture below.
Shadow has a weird affinity for sunflower seeds and licking the condensation off the outside of cups. His favorite hobby is following me around the house and yelling at me for treats. I have to admit, I think this is my fault. I talk a lot, and I talk a lot to him, so now I think he believes walking around the house talking to me is just normal. It would be fine if it wasn’t for the fact that he has a definite attitude. Now, he helps me work from home (and by help I mean he closes my laptop on me or pushes it out of the way demanding that I let him sleep in my lap while I’m working). As he is aging and starting to act more his age, I make sure to take advantage of those little moments to cuddle with him or scratch his head.
I also have two close friends that I tend to spend my free time with, Sadie and Theresa. It has been hard as of late because we are all busy, and Sadie has moved to Tennessee. Theresa is still nearby, but she is busy working and all around killing it.
As I said though, romance novels are really my main love. I enjoy nothing more than reading romance novels and even just being surrounded by them. I have them everywhere for that very reason. I’m 90% sure I’m the local used book store’s favorite customer because I buy way too many books (or so I’ve been told--I think I buy a reasonable number).
The only thing I love more than romance novels and my cat is my family. I have a large and boisterous family, which always keeps family events fun. I’m close with my parents, Greg and Barbie; two older brothers, Joseph and James; and my sister-in-law, Caroline. I am excited to say that I also have my first niece on the way, and I get to be the favorite aunt. We’ve always been a close family, and I am glad that hasn’t changed over the years as we’ve all moved away and settled into our own lives.
I hope you enjoyed learning a little about me and my background. I am happy to have the opportunity to share this with you all.