November 2010


Being an author is like being in charge of your own personal insane asylum. ~Graycie Harmon

Mocha Memoirs  is a new e-publishing venture focused on speculative fiction. Editor/publisher Nicole Givens Kurtz is actively seeking science fiction, fantasy and romance speculative fiction titles. She’s interested in interracial romance, space opera, steampunk, cyberpunk, science fiction and fantasy romance from 8000 words and up. Submit your complete manuscript with a cover letter and synopsis to mochamemoirs@gmail.com.

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Agents Jessica Faust and Kim Lionetti of BookEnds LLC are closed to queries until January 5, 2011.

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Pill Hill Press, a small, independent publisher based in Nebraska, has issued a call for submissions for romantic suspense short stories for an anthology Fire and Ice: Short Gasps of Romantic Suspense. They’ll consider stories between 1500 and 15,000 words, but prefer stories in the 4000 to 6000 word range. Storis can take place any place, in any time period. Deadline for submissions is December 31, 2010. Get all the details here. ****************************************
As always, feel free to pass along information from this newsletter. All I ask is that you give me credit and include a link back to this blog. Thanks!

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Detail makes the difference between boring and terrific writing. It’s the difference between a pencil sketch and a lush oil painting. As a writer, words are your paint. Use all the colors.
Rhys Alexander

In the wake of John Prebich’s resignation, Dorchester Books has a new CEO. Robert Anthony comes not from the publishing world, but from business and finance. The current CFO of Backe Digital Brand Marketing and former CEO of The Blue Sky Financial Group, Anthony, a CPA, takes over the reins of the troubled publishing company with an eye to reorganizing its finances and streamlining operating procedures.

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My very first novel, Patchwork Hearts, has been re-released by Aspen Mountain Press’s Aurora Regency Historical Division. This book, set in post-Civil war Texas, tells the story of Lucy O’Connor, who hatches a plan to make and sell quilts and use the money to buy cattle. Newcomer Trace Abernathy offers to help her, but when the two fall in love, complications threaten to tear them apart. If you’re interested in history or quilting, give the book a try.

Another of my historicals, A Willing Spirit, is now available for the Kindle ****************************

Cup of Comfort is holding a Holiday Memories story Contest. From now to December 5, submit your favorite holiday memory story, 1000 to 2000 words. Grand prize winner receives $100 and all the Cup of Comfort books. Two runners-up receive all the Cup of Comfort books. All three stories will be published on the Cup of Comfort website during the holiday season.  

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 Share your Most Romantic Moment with Reed’s Jewelers and you could win a pair of diamond earrings. Deadline for entries is Jan 28, 2011. ***************************

If you’re interested in writing historical romance for Harlequin, check out this podcast. Harlequin Historical editors Linda Fildew and Joanne Carr share tips on what they’re looking for in a submission.

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Wishing all my American subscribers a Happy Thanksgiving.

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

Writing is making sense of life. You work your whole life and perhaps make sense of one small area.” Nadine Gordimer

This week I’m reporting on the Spotlight on Samhain Publishing from the Romance Writers of America annual conference.

The Spotlight on Samhain Publishing was presented by:

Lindsey Faber, Managing Editor

Chris Brashear,  Publisher

Marty Matthews, Author Liaison

Samhain is a digital publisher that releases titles in trade paper also after digital publication.  They publish romance, all sub-genres, both erotic and non-erotic, as well as fantasy, urban fantasy and science fiction with strong romantic elements.  At this time they no longer publish women’s fiction or young adult. The books are widely distributed, both online and in traditional book outlets.

They are interested in all kinds of romance, including cross-genre stories and stories that don’t fit into a convenient category or niche.

They prefer manuscripts of 60,000 words up to 120,000 words. They do publish some shorter works of 12,000 words. Chris said she though the “sweet spot” for many readers is 60,000 words. At that length, the price point is lower. Find all the guidelines for submitting on the Samhain website. http://samhainpublishing.com/submissions

Like most e-publishers, Samhain pays royalties but no advance. Royalties are 30 to 40 percent of the cover price, paid monthly.  Though the contract specifies Samhain owns the rights for the lifetime of the copyright, but Chris said there is a clause that after 7 years the author may request reversion of rights. The contracts do not have an option clause. The contract is negotiable. You do not have to have an agent to submit to Samhain.

They do a lot of online promotion at reader blogs, social networking, and giving away free books for Kindle, Nook and other e-readers. They’ve found this increases demand for the author’s other works. They may do this with the first book of a series when other books of the series come out. This has been very successful for them.

Lindsey also talked about how e-publishing offers you the opportunity to continuously sell your backlist. your backlist is always available. Readers who discover your new book can go buy other books by you in your backlist.

Right now, in addition to romance novels, Samhain is looking for shorter submissions for two anthologies: A Spring Romance anthology, to be released in May 2011. These are sweeter stories about budding romance, first loves, etc.,  20,000 to 25, 000 words. The deadline for submissions to this anthology is November 30, 2010.

They’re also looking for stories for a Cyberpunk Romance anthology to be released in August 2011. These are stories set in a post-industrial dystopia, dark and gritty (think The Matrix or Bladerunner. )  All stories must have a happily ever after romantic ending. Stories should be 25,000 to 30,000 words.

Deadline for submissions is February 1, 2011. All the details for submissions for both of these anthologies are on the website.  http://samhainpublishing.com/submissions

Lindsey talked about the money to be made in digital publishing.  You earn more money per book. Their books sell for an average of $5.50. 30 percent of that is $1.65 per book.  They pay 8 percent royalties on print books. Every book varies, but she did give examples:  A high-selling erotic title sold 12, 800 e-book sales and 14,000 print sales. Another erotic title sold 11,000 e-book copies and 29,000 print copies. A mid-range erotic book sold 1800 ebook sales and 5400 print sales. A high-selling non-erotic book sold 4100 e-book sales and 8200 print sales. Another non-erotic book had 3100 ebook sales and 3500 print sales. A mid-selling non-erotic title sold 1200 ebooks and 3200 print copies.  But she did point out they had one book that sold only 28 copies. So anything can happen.

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

Ink and paper are sometimes passionate lovers, oftentimes brother and sister, and occasionally mortal enemies.”  ~Terri Guillemets

This week I’m looking at the Spotlight on Kensington Books from the Romance Writers of America National Convention in Orlando.

The Spotlight on Kensington Books was presented by:

Laurie Parkin – Vice President and Publisher

Alicia Condon – Editorial Director of Brava. Also acquires for Zebra

Audrey Lifer – Editorial Director at Kensington Trade.

Leslie Irish Underwood – Director of Marketing

Karen Acerbic – Publicity Director

Kensington is the largest independent, privately owned publisher. They publish heavily in fiction, particularly romance and women’s fiction. They publish more than 400 books a year in mass market, trade paper and hardcover. They’ve experienced double-digit growth in the past five years.  They do 32-35 hardcover’s each year. The rest of the titles are split 50/50 between trade paperback and mass market.

Laurie stressed that editorial at Kensington has a lot of autonomy to make decisions.  They enjoy buying new authors and building their careers, and have a number of New York Times bestsellers on their list.

Alicia then talked about how to submit to Kensington. She presented 5 questions authors should ask themselves before they submit their work to Kensington:

1.       Why submit to Kensington? They’re small enough to give you individualized attention, yet large enough to have wide distribution to get authors onto bestseller lists.  They have a commitment to romance.  They’re willing to go out on a limb when they find something they love.

2.       Who do I submit to? They have several imprints

Most mass market romance comes out under the Zebra imprint.  In Zebra they’re looking for paranormal romance, small-town contemporary romance (softer feel, quirky characters, the town is almost a character), historical romance (pre-twentieth century), romantic suspense (gritty, hard-edged and books with law enforcement characters) and cozy mysteries (any setting, amateur sleuth, quirky secondary characters, often have a theme such as quilting or antiquing, etc.).  

Kensington Trade has grown and publishes women’s fiction, which Audrey defined as a novel that focuses on a woman and her life and her journey. There may be romance in the book, but the focus of the book is not the romance. Kensington Trade also publishes historical fiction which features real historical personalities with fictional characters.  In young adult, also published by Kensington Trade, Alicia is looking for paranormal romance that is not all vampires. The characters are dealing with real-life issues that are relevant to teens. 80,000 to 100,000 words.

 Aphrodisia publishes erotic romance and erotica in all sub-genres – contemporary, historical, paranormal and BEDS.

Dafina Books publishes African American fiction in trade size. Salina James edits that line and is looking for all kinds of African American fiction, including romance.  Dafina also publishes multi-cultural young-adult books.

Brava is a line of sensual romance. Audrey is looking for historical, contemporary and paranormal romance.

Find more information about the different editors and what they want to acquire at the Kensington website. You can also find information at Kensington Publisher Steve Zaccharius’s blog, The Publishing Insider.

3.       How do I submit? They accept queries by snail mail or email. If your manuscript is requested, you can submit via regular mail, but they prefer email submissions.

Red Flags in a query letter: The word count is wrong for the line – too short or too long. The wrong kind of book  — science fiction for a trade paper line, for instance. Something that’s too similar to something the editor is already working on.  The author is unable to define the novel as a particular genre. If the author says “It’s a little bit of romance and a little bit mystery, with some paranormal elements, it’s almost an automatic rejection,” Alicia said. Leslie pointed out that if you can’t define your book, the marketing department can’t define it and you can’t reach readers.

4.       When is the right time to submit? If you’re unpublished, have a complete manuscript before you query. Make sure the manuscript is polished to the best of your ability. You only have one chance to impress the editor. Previously published authors may also need a complete manuscript if their previous sales were not good.

5.       Have you thought about how you’re going to position your manuscript? They want to acquire writers for more than one book. If you have ideas for promoting your book or differentiating it from other books out there, this is a plus. If you have quotes from other authors or can list some contest wins, Alicia said this would impress an editor. Audrey gave the example of an author who’d written a quilting series of books who talked about the number of quilters out there, who are also readers hungry for books, and had ideas for marketing the books through quilting stores and quilting shows. Also, if you have an idea for a series, say so and tell a little about it.

Karen then talked a bit about publicity. Authors complete a questionnaire about their background and possible media contacts or marketing ideas. They want to know about the author’s website, Face book page, if they use Twitter, etc.  They use the questionnaire to generate ideas for marketing your book.

Once your book is purchased, it takes about a year to get it on the shelves.

You do not have to have an agent to query Kensington.

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Guideposts Books announced today that they have acquired Summerside Press. Summerside is a fast-growing publisher of inspirational fiction and nonfiction. No word on what, if any, changes are in store for the Summerside romance program.

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As always, feel free to pass along the information from this blog to others. All I ask is that you give me credit and include the link to the blog. Thank you!

 

Detail makes the difference between boring and terrific writing. It’s the difference between a pencil sketch and a lush oil painting. As a writer, words are your paint. Use all the colors.
Rhys Alexander

In the wake of John Prebich’s resignation, Dorchester Books has a new CEO. Robert Anthony comes not from the publishing world, but from business and finance. The current CFO of Backe Digital Brand Marketing and former CEO of The Blue Sky Financial Group, Anthony, a CPA, takes over the reins of the troubled publishing company with an eye to reorganizing its finances and streamlining operating procedures.

***************************

My very first novel, Patchwork Hearts, has been re-released by Aspen Mountain Press’s Aurora Regency Historical Division. This book, set in post-Civil war Texas, tells the story of Lucy O’Connor, who hatches a plan to make and sell quilts and use the money to buy cattle. Newcomer Trace Abernathy offers to help her, but when the two fall in love, complications threaten to tear them apart. If you’re interested in history or quilting, give Patchwork Hearts a try.

 Another of my historicals, A Willing Spirit, is now available for the Kindle ****************************

Cup of Comfort is holding a Holiday Memories story Contest. From now to December 5, submit your favorite holiday memory story, 1000 to 2000 words. Grand prize winner receives $100 and all the Cup of Comfort books. Two runners-up receive all the Cup of Comfort books. All three stories will be published on the Cup of Comfort website during the holiday season.

******************************

Share your Most Romantic Moment with Reed’s Jewelers and you could win a pair of diamond earrings. Deadline for entries is Jan 28, 2011.

***************************

If you’re interested in writing historical romance for Harlequin, check out this podcast. Harlequin Historical editors Linda Fildew and Joanne Carr share tips on what they’re looking for in a submission.Wishing all my American subscribers a Happy Thanksgiving.

*****************************

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