Rejection slips, or form letters, however tactfully phrased, are lacerations of the soul, if not quite inventions of the devil – but there is no way around them.
– Isaac Asimov

This week I begin my look at the Publisher Spotlights from the 2010 RWA National Conference in Florida. If you weren’t able to attend the conference, or if you attended but didn’t make it to all the spotlights — or if you know anyone who’s interested — watch this space for a new publisher to be featured each week. First up — Avon Books.

The Spotlight on Avon Books was presented by May Chen, Editor; Esi Sogah, Associate Editor; Amanda Bergeron, Assistant Editor and Tessa Woodward, Associate Editor.  They began the presentation with a look at some of the new books Avon is putting out in the coming year: historical romance, suspense, paranormal romance, futuristic urban fantasy, thriller, and gothic romance. They will also be putting out books – both reprints and new titles — from a number of former Dorchester authors.  Though they publish a little bit of erotica, they’re not really looking for it right now. Avon is not looking for any American westerns.

Under the Avon A imprint they publish women’s commercial fiction, historical fiction and romance in hardcover and trade paperback.

Avon Inspire is their inspirational romance line. These stories are 60,000 to 90,000 words. Faith based love stories with Christian characters. American set contemporaries and historicals. No foul language, alcohol or drug use or premarital sex.

Generally, the books are 90,000 to 100,000 words. Unagented authors should query first by email to avonromance@harpercollins.com – no attachments, please. Check out their submission guidelines here.

They get “a lot” of queries every day – they don’t ask to see a lot out of those.

Though all editors buy all types of books for Avon, they talked a little about their personal preferences:

May Chen — darker stories with complex, layered plots.

Esi Sogah – people with baggage who overcome their pasts – darker stories.

Amanda Bergeron – Dark paranormal, funny and lighter historicals – Regency and Victorian. She doesn’t care much for time travel. She also loves small town, contemporary romances – especially former flames reuniting.

Tessa Woodward – “anything good in romance”. 

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My October Superromance, Dance With the Doctor will be in stores soon, but it’s already available online as both a paperback and as an ebook at eHarlequin.

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This weekend, I’ll be at the Mountains and Plains Booksellers Convention in Denver. If you’re a bookseller attending the convention, please stop by the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers booth on Saturday morning and say hello.

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As always, feel free to pass along the information in this blog. All I ask is that you give me credit and provide a link back to it. Thank you.

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