011: At The Table With Andy Rogers

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Andy Rogers, Acquisitions Editor, Zondervan of HarperCollins Christian Publishing, took a seat at our table, giving us insight about writers and editors.  We had many favorite pieces of the conversation, especially when he shared how he had planned on being a musician; however,  he was led to be a writer and editor.

Listen . . . 

Here are a few pieces of our conversation with Andy: 

Tell us about your life.

I am a husband and a dad, which is the center of my life.

I am an acquisitions editor in the publishing industry. I have been a part of the book industry for fourteen years now and I’ve worked in different roles.

What do you in your free time? 

I don’t have a lot of free time because I’m in the young kid stage. But. I love to write, which is part of the book, “Jot That Down.”

Writing is part therapy, and it’s part joy and hobby, and part work.  I’m also a musician.   My wife is a musician too.   We play a lot at home, church, and with friends.

We have tried to make writing and creativity a part of their life.  My son and I will write stories together one line at a time.  The part I like is that it’s in his own writing.  We have quite a collection now.

It’s valuable because it’s important to me and it’s teaching him creativity.  It’s good to be creative.  It’s very hard to make time for everything but if, we don’t do things like that we will end up on technology too much.

In your own journey how did you end up where you are now?  

For me, it began with music.  I was in garage bands and writing songs.  I went to college and studied music.   I was married right after college . . .  I had this sense that music was not going to be life.  It wasn’t just the practical realities of being a musician . . . We kinda knew that this was not where God was going to keep us . . . This was supposed to my life, what were we going to do now? . . . I was praying fervently and I was reading a bunch of literature that I did not get a chance to read when I was in college . . . John Steinbeck and Earnst Hemingway.  

I remember praying:  “What am I supposed to do?”  . . .  I looked at the books in my hands and knew this was the plan “B.”  God used that part of my brain and creativity to write and edit books.

Now there’s no looking back.

Which do you consider first to be a writer or editor? 

It’s very easy not to feel like a real writer.  I always encourage people . . . “you are a writer” . . . even when you write in a journal.  Is it for you? . . . for other people? . . . your family?  There’s not a right answer.

I think most days I think of myself as an editor because I have to get up and go to work.  But.  I do think of myself as a writer.

Writers struggle calling themselves a writer.

How do you determine if, someone has a book in them? 

Do they have a message in them that they have to tell?  I fish around to find out if, it’s to be in an article, blog posts, or a book.  It’s a judgement call.

TableThink wants to promote reading for every age as well as to know the other side of it.  In the first chapter of your  book, Jot That Down,  Alison Hodges states a writer should have a “ridiculously achievable writing goal.”

Can you explain? 

“We have to have achievable goals in order to do it again.” 

How do you help the writer include certain details in the story? 

What type of story are you telling?

  • Is it a break-through story?
  • Is it a cautionary tale?
  • Is it a tale overcoming something?
  • Why are you telling the story?
  • Are you writing to guide others to arrive at a certain viewpoint?
  • Who is your audience?   This is probably the most important question.
You finally come to the place, your life is about writing.  You do everything you are supposed to do and then, you are rejected. 

It happens to everybody.  It hurts.  Editors don’t enjoy sending rejection memos.  We don’t want to crush anybody’s dreams.

Everyone gets rejected, even well established writers.  You would be surprised . . .  Creative work isn’t easy.

What would your encouragement be to writers today? 

If, you write, you are a writer.

We appreciate all that Andy brings to the table–Joshua & Kerrie

About A. L. Rogers

A.L. Rogers is an award-winning writer who has published short fiction in Splickety Magazine, Catapult Magazine, on DailyScienceFiction.com and elsewhere. He is a co-founder of the semi-annual event for writers, the Jot Writers Conference (www.jotwritersconference.com). His nonfiction can be found in various places on the web. He’s a husband and a father. And most people call him Andy.

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