“Usually, it’s a journey without maps but a journey with a destination, so I know how it’s going to begin and I know how it’s going to end, but I don’t know how I’m going to get from one to the other. That, really, is the struggle of the novel.” Martin Amis
This week, I continue my recap of publisher spotlights from the 2015 Romance Writers of American convention with a look at Avon Books.
The Spotlight on Avon was presented by Editorial Director Erica Tsang, Associate Editor Chelsey Emmelhainzd, Assistant Editor Nicole Fischer, and Editorial Assistant Elle Keck. The spotlight began with a short film with all the Avon editors talking about the first romance novel they remember reading and why they love romance novels.
Next was a series of slides highlighting current Avon authors and their books. The panel also gave away prizes to people who correctly answered trivia questions about romances.
Avon is looking for new authors with marketable concepts, compelling voices, great story hooks and terrific happy endings. New authors they have recently acquired have written small town contemporaries, Victorian historicals, romantic suspense and New Adult novels. Avon publishes romance in digital first and mass market formats.
Avon FanLit is a community based platform where aspiring and published authors come together to create original concepts. FanLit is one way to gain the attention of Avon Editors, who post prompts on the website. Participants create new chapters in an ongoing story, based on the prompts. Fellow writers, readers and editors comment on the posted work and a chapter winner was announced at the end of a voting period. Avon will publish the novella that resulted from the contest and one of the winning authors received a publishing contract with Avon Impulse.
Avon Impulse is Avon’s digital-first imprint. Since 2011 Avon Impulse has published digital first romance by both new and established authors. Forty percent of Avon Impulse titles sell more than 10,000 copies, and four Impulse authors have transitioned into print. Forty aspiring authors have made their first sales to Avon Impulse. Avon does a lot of marketing for its Impulse titles. Authors earn 25 percent royalties on the first 10,000 copies and 50 percent royalties thereafter. Avon pays these royalties monthly. Each impulse title of 22,500 words and more is also published in trade paper. Avon subrights teams also sell rights to Avon Impulse titles to 18 countries and 17 languages.
Next, the editors played a video of Avon authors talking about their experiences working with Avon.
The next topic was marketing. Each Avon title has a marketing plan. Avon promotes books through its Avon From the Heart newsletter, which goes to 75,000 subscribers two to three times a month. BookPerk is a HarperCollins version of BookBub, a daily email newsletter that goes to over 350,000 subscribers and features specially priced deals on Avon titles. There is also a BookPerk ap for smart phones. They also do a lot of digital promotions with special placement at ebook retailers. Avon also is active on all social media platforms. They do Facebook launch parties, Twitter author takeovers, Twitter chats, and Instagram giveaways. They provide social media training for authors also.
Avon publicists received a shout out for their work getting Avon books in front of bloggers, reviewers and readers. Each book is assigned a publicist and these publicists schedule personalized blog tours for each title. The publicists also work with Avon Addicts, their social media street team. This year Avon launched Kiss Cons – Avon only multi-author events that allow readers to interact with their favorite authors.
Avon books should have strong commercial potential and series potential. Some things that do especially well for Avon: historical romances with a strong hook, romantic suspense, very sexy contemporary romance, and trilogies or longer series of books. They like sexy, determined heroes; smart, daring heroines; dark and dramatic, emotional stories; and series.
You do not need an agent to submit to Avon. Upload the manuscript here and an editor will read your manuscript.
When submitting your manuscript to Avon.com, you may address your submission to a specific editor. There’s also a place to mention if you met an editor at a conference or online.
You can find out more about all the Avon editors here and read their personal wish lists.
Entangled Editors have posted their wish lists for this fall and winter.
Alethea Spiridon Hopson is looking for stories for Entangled Indulgence that feature Greek or Italian/Sicilian alpha males and sassy heroines. Stories should be set in Spain, Monaco, Greece or Italy.
Alycian Tornetta edits young adult and new adult and would love to see a YA fantasy series with a compelling romance or a contemporary YA romance featuring time travel or parallel universes. She loves stories with bad boy heroes and cute, nerdy girls. For new adult, she wants sexy, trope-driven romances, sports romances, or a series featuring camp counselors. Alycian also acquires adult romance and would love some small town contemporaries or Regency or Victorian historicals.
Candace Havens would love some stories for Indulgence that feature rich, alpha heroes — particularly British, Scottish or Irish men. She’s tired of office romances and would like to see some different settings. For historical, she likes Regency and Edwardian stories that are fast-paced with smart dialogue.
Erin Molta is looking for single-title historical romance — Regency, Scottish or Vikings. Sexy, with irresistible alpha males.
Heather Howland wants category romance that breaks the mold for Brazen and Lovestruck — characters who don’t do the expected thing. She likes dark new adult stories, YA psychological thrillers and spicy contemporary romance.
Karen Grove would like contemporary romance set in wine country. She is also interested in New Adult stories that feature heros and heroines just starting their careers in the corporate world, training to be police or firefighters, or enrolled in one of the military academies.
Kate Brauning wants “high concept, big-hook, fast-paced” young adult and new adult. She also likes “messy, dark” stories.
Laura Stone is interested in a conspiracy-based thirller. She likes paranormal stories that aren’t werewolf or vampire-based, retold fairytales with contemporary settings, and time travels where a historical hero comes forward to a heroine’s contemporary world.
Lydia Sharp wants sci-fi YA set on earth — but not dystopian or post-apocalyptic. She enjoys YA historical fantasy or alternative history and YA fairytale retellings. Lydia would also like to see stories featuring people of color and gay or lesbian couples.
Robin Hasseltine likes contemporary romantic comedy, Alpha male historicals, and sci-fi romance that isn’t tech-heavy.
Stacy Abrams would enjoy some stories for Bliss that feature animals as secondary characters. She would like some stories set in an everyday high school with a sci-fi twist, and time-travel or dystopian stories.
Stephen Morgan is also a fan of romantic comedy, He would love a YA time travel or reimagined YA fairytales. He would like to see more diverse heroines and is open to Beta as well as Alpha males. He likes stories that put the hero or heroine out of their element.
Suzanne Evans wants dark teen stories and hot Viking and Highlander historicals.
Tracy Montoya loves space opera sci-fi and would love to acquire more writers of color.
Wendy Chin loves contemporary category romance She loves marriage of convenience, enemies to lovers, and stories that balance conflict and chemistry.
Read more about these editors and what they are looking for here.
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