The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say.  ~Anaïs Nin

This week I continue my look at publisher spotlights from the Romance Writers of America National Convention with a look at Pocket Books.

Spotlight on Pocket Books

The Spotlight was presented by Executive Editor Lauren McKenna and Senior Editor Abby Zidell at Pocket and Gallery Books.

Lauren started the presentation by talking about the various imprints at the publishing house. Gallery Books is a combination of Simon Spotlight Entertainment, which focused on pop culture and celebrities, and Pocket hardcover and trade paper, focused on commercial fiction and commercial literary.

Pocket Books publishes mass market fiction, including romance and urban fantasy. Under romance, Pocket publishes paranormal romance, historical romance, contemporary romance and romantic suspense. They also publish urban fantasy.  

They discussed their preferences for paranormal romance. “You can’t go wrong with vampires.” Lauren doesn’t like dragons and isn’t a huge fan of futuristic paranormal. Abby isn’t into shape shifters or futuristic paranormal. They already have a fallen angels series so don’t need another one, but almost anything goes – as long as it’s well written.

“When we take on a new author, the writing really has to be a cut above,” said Abby.  “For the debut authors we’ve picked up, the writing was truly remarkable.”

“We’ve seen an increase in the contemporary market,” Lauren said. “We’ve seen a move toward small-town, contemporary romances.”  They also publish humorous contemporary romance and women’s fiction with romance.

“We only see women’s fiction growing.” These books do well in trade paperback.  The contemporary romance that does well for them straddles the line between romance and women’s fiction – still a strong romance, but dealing with the kinds of life issues found in women’s fiction.

You must have an agent to submit to Pocket.

They talked about the Pocket After Dark website. This is an interactive website that brings together authors and readers. There are author spotlights, editor and author blogs, online chat and message boards and other features.  


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