Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Interview with...Mick Silva

      Today I’m thrilled to welcome editor Mick Silva to the blog. Mick has worked in the publishing industry for over 10 years, including time with Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group. Mick’s currently a freelance editor and consultant to authors. He’s building a fabulous online community at YourWritersGroup.com. Please welcome Mick!

1.      Thanks for joining me on the blog today, Mick. Could you tell the audience how you came to be involved in the publishing industry? 

Mick: I don't know how else Peter Pan stays in Neverland once he gets a wife and kids. Madeline L'Engle, E.T., and The Hobbit. That order. They made me want to read and that made me want to write. After film school, I went to Focus on the Family, started acquiring marriage books, went to WaterBrook Press and then began helping Windblown Media after The Shack took off. And now I run a website for discovering and telling stories for "writers of a higher purpose," code for "misfits and reformed hoodlums." 

2.      What are the pros and cons of being an independent editor vs. part of a publishing house?

Mick: Pro for indy: no one spits in your coffee. Con: you have to make it yourself. Pro: It's better coffee. Con: You buy it yourself. Pro: You appreciate that more. Con: less time to appreciate it. Pro: You can schedule more time for that. Con: You have to figure out how to explain it to your wife so she doesn't question. Pro: You do, in fact, figure that out  eventually.

3.      What keeps you engaged with a story? What does “story” mean to you in the big picture?

Mick: There are no fairytales left. What I always want is a believable fantasy so I can believe my life really could be like Peter Pan's. Many books tickle ears and think they're doing that but there's no substance. Some books slap your face, some punch your gut. I don't have time for those. Very few show you they really know you have ice around your heart that needs melting. I'm looking for what I think everyone wants deep down which is escape from myself so I can be unfrozen.

4.      What are two of your all-time favorite books, fiction or non-fiction? Why?

Mick: Great question. I always love the book I'm currently reading the most, but if I could fuse A Wrinkle In Time and The Alchemist into one book, I'd probably give up trying to write. They broke the rules. They didn't write what they should have. They didn't fit. And they didn't hoard their vision but they included everyone in it and made the world better by showing us we're all like them in some undeniable ways. And in those books and others like them (To Kill a Mockingbird and The Book of the Dun Cow come to mind now as well) we learn that we all need each other. (parenthetical examples don't count in the tally, right?)

5.      In your career, what are the primary reasons manuscripts fail to grab an editor’s interest?

Mick: Sadly, I think it comes down to one thing: the author hasn't read enough. I was going to say their acknowledgments page isn't long enough yet, but I think that grows as readers discover more of who they owe for their very minds. And minds come from books. Books are the antidote to stupid, which I'll humbly suggest here as my memorable soundbite. They cure ignorance. Books are a way to experience knowledge which is the definition of we grow and mature and realize all we don't know. It's the rare folks who've read their heritage and defined a fresh interpretation that can catch an editor's eye.

6.      E-books, POD and e-readers have altered the publishing landscape. How do you envision the publishing realm continuing to change over the next 5-10 years?

Mick: Grossman wrote a great article in Time a year or so ago about how the old neat orchard has become an overgrown jungle. And some people freak out about that but if you look at diversity through the eyes of millions of young readers who don't know any different and haven't yet found their favorite books yet, you begin to think maybe what's coming isn't so bad. Sure it's a mess right now. The floor is covered in digital static. But we're also freer to move around because the room is expanding. And freedom is always dangerous but despite the predictions, over 2000 years ago we were told the making of books would be endless. I appreciate that we've got work to do in this new Guttenberg era to craft and lead our collective dream of a better life. But God knows what he's doing and I'm just excited to share my hope in the wonderful surprising journey.


  1. Great interview and I always appreciate Mick's take on the industry.

  2. Mick is sly, witty, obtuse (on purpose), intelligent, after holiness, and a good friend. Love you, Mick.