This week I’m looking at the Spotlight on Ballantine/Bantam Dell from the Romance Writers of America convention in Washington, DC.

The spotlight was presented by Senior Editor Shauna Summers and Senior Editor Kate Collins.

Shauna works on romance, commercial women’s fiction and general commercial fiction.

Kate is in charge of the romance list at Ballantine.

Ballantine/Bantam Dell is an imprint of Random House. Random restructured last year, going from five publishing divisions to three: Knopf/Doubleday, Crown and Random House Publishing Group. Random House Publishing Group (part of Random House, Inc) involves Del Ray, Spectra, Delacort, Bantam Dell, Ballantine, Modern Library, Dial Press and Random House imprints. As Shauna explained, “The way that I like to think of it is that before we were cousins….now we’re like sisters, with even closer cooperation.” The imprints are still separate with separate editorial departments, but they share some internal functions.

Ballantine and Bantam Dell both publish a wide range of romance – contemporary, paranormal, romantic suspense and historical romance. Both editors spent some time talking about the authors they publish. You can see their list at http://www.randomhouse.com/rhpg/

Shauna emphasized that both Ballantine and Bantam Dell are buying right now. They are interested in authors and don’t have certain slots to fill or a particular number of books they publish each month.

Both said several times that they will buy “really good books.” They seemed reluctant to say they wouldn’t want something, not wanting to limit themselves. However, after repeated questions, Kate said she really likes sexy romantic suspense. She’s not a huge fan of Regency historicals or comedy, but she has bought both. YA, fantasy and urban fantasy and steampunk are handled by other divisions of Random House.

They admitted that the current economy has made all publishers pickier. They will look much harder at new submissions, and the editors must be able to really justify a desire to purchase a book. The days of editors buying a book simply because they love it are no more. But they continue to buy both new and established authors.

They do not accept email queries but you may send hardcopy queries. They generally only accept agented manuscripts but will accept unagented queries. They warned that agented work gets first look, so it will take longer to hear back from them if you don’t have an agent.

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Charles Griesman has taken over the Associate Editor’s position at Silhouette Books previously held by Diana Ventimiglia. Griesman will be working for Silouette Desire. He previously was an assistant editor for Silhouette Special Edition, and befor that worked for Time Warner.

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Karen Woods is putting together a fantasy anthology, with all proceeds going to the Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research. She’s looking for fantasy short stories which deal in some way with the consequences of dishonesty.  5000 to 10,000 words, in all sub-genres of fantasy except erotica or erotic romance.  You can find all the details at http://www.sleepingbeaglebooks.com

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Check out my latest books, see upcoming work and link to excerpts at http://www.cindimyers.com

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