August 2013

“Write your first draft with your heart. Re-write with your head.” ~ From the movie Finding Forrester


This week I’m continuing my look at the publisher spotlights from the Romance Writers of America convention in Atlanta with a summary of the Spotlight on Pocket and Gallery Books. The spotlight was presented by  Abbie Ziedel, Senior Editor of Pocket and Gallery Books; Miki Nuding, Senior Editor; and Lauren McKenna, Executive Editor of Pocket and Gallery Books and Editorial Director of Pocket Star.

Pocket Books is the mass market paperback division of the company. Gallery Books handles trade paper and hardcover releases, while Pocket Star is their e-original line, which publishes erotica, YA, urban fantasy, horror, choose-your-own adventure, as well as contemporary and historical romance.
They love hot alpha men — brave, protective, decisive and ready to love their woman. These editors are looking for stories with larger-than life heroes, and a heroine who is his equal. They want books with sizzling sexual tension. They like contemporary, historical, paranormal, erotica, romantic suspense, new adult and women’s fiction.

Abby spoke about, Pocket’s revamp of the old Pocket After Dark website. The site is designed to be more user friendly. They offer a new free novel to read each week that you can read on your smartphone, tablet or online, available for 30 days.  Lauren said, “There’s really not much we don’t publishr” in Pocket Star. They have been more adventurous in Pocket Star, publishing YA and urban fantasy, for example.

The editors spoke a little about things they each especially like in a story. Miki said. “If it’s sexy as hell and funny, you’ve got me.” and “The kind of flaw I like best in the hero is a virtue carried to the extreme.” As an example, she mentioned a hero who is over-protective, to the point where he might come across as bossy and over-bearing, until he realizes the error of his ways.

Lauren likes dark and brooding stories, with emotionally tortured characters. Abbie likes women’s fiction, and loves animal stories.

Pocket usually only takes agented submissions, though if you pitch at a conference or capture an editor’s interest through a contest, you may be invited to submit, even if you don’t have an agent.


Jason Boog, a writer and editor of GalleyCat, has compiled a list of recent Tweets from editors and agents, talking about what they’re looking for right now from writers. You can find the list here. It’s interesting to see what’s on the radar of these publishing pros — heavy on YA and new adult, with some romance and fantasy/science fiction in the mix. If you see something you’re interested in knowing more about, sign up to follow that person’s Twitter feed.


Masque Books is a new imprint from digital publisher Prime Books. Masque will focus on science fiction and fantasy and science fiction and fantasy romance. Acquisition Editor Natalie Luhrs is interested in novellas of 30,000 to 50,000 words, and novels of 50,000 to 120,000 words. Each novel should stand on its own, though Masque is open to connected books. They’re interested in all sub-genres of science fiction and fantasy, including space opera, alternative history, steampunk, dark fantasy, etc. On the romance side, all heat levels are welcome, from sweet to erotic, and they are open to straight and GLBT relationships. Masque pays a small advance and royalties of 50 percent of net receipts. Check out their submission guidelines here.


The University of Iowa, known for it’s creative writing program, will host a free writing seminar online from September 16 to October 28, 2013. The course will consist of reading and writing contemporary fiction and will be led by Nate Brown, Deputy Director of the PEN/Faulkner Foundation. “Students will receive brief written feedback on weekly exercises and fuller comments on a longer story or novel excerpt collected at the end of the course. ” Anyone is eligible to apply for the course, but participation will be limited to 15 people. The deadline to apply is September 6. You can find all the details here.


As always, feel free to share the information in this blog with others. Reprint, repost, retweet — all I ask is that you give me credit as the source and include a link to this blog. Thank you!


“Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts. You need to start somewhere.” ~Anne Lamott


I’m continuing this week with my look at the publisher spotlights from the Romance Writers of America’s national convention in Atlanta in July. The Spotlight on Avon Books was presented by  Jesse Edwards, Assoc. Publicist;  Tessa Woodward, Editor;  Amanda Bergeran, Editor;  Shawn Nichols Sr. Director of Marketing and  Eric Tsang, Editorial Director.
Avon publishes historical, contemporary and paranormal romance and has a long tradition of publishing best-selling romances. “We’re always looking for different ideas in all genres [of romance.] We’re looking for the right story. We’re looking for good stories and we hope you’ll keep us in mind.”\
Avon began publishing new adult stories this year. Tessa Woodward talked about Avon’s new adult books. “drama filled fun stories that keep you reading.” Heroes and heroines between 18 and 26 or 28.
Amanda talked about Avon Impulse, Avon’s digital-first imprint that launched two years ago. They publish about one book a week, occasionally more. They publish authors who are new to Avon as well as established Avon authors. In 2013 they have published 13 debut authors so far. They can publish as quickly as in 12 weeks, though they can take more time also.  Impulse publishes everything from paranormal, romantic comedy, erotica, historical — pretty much everything. The same art, marketing, and editorial team works on Avon and Avon Impulse.
Sean Nichols in Avon’s marketing department talked about Avon’s marketing and publicity team. Campaigns are tailored to each book and start three to six weeks before the book is released. Examples of the kinds of things they do are free e-samplers with excerpts from upcoming titles; QR codes “everywhere”; Facebook; Twitter, as well as working with retailers to get books primary placement.
Jesse spoke about publicity. Every book has a dedicated publicist and a dedicated campaign. They also make heavy use of social media, especially Twitter. They’ve partnered with Little Black Dress Wines to sponsor events. They use Street Teams — the Avon Addicts — 25 super-readers who receive a package of swag and books each month.
The final segment of the workshop discussed submitting to Avon. On you can post excerpts from your book and get feedback from other romance fans, writers and some editors, who pop in occasionally. is the portal to submit your manuscript to the editorial team. Use the online form to upload your book. They accept anything from novellas to long novels. They accept agented and unagented submissions, and will accept simultaneous submissions.

The editors spoke briefly about some of their personal preferences:
Amanda –Contemporary romance with high concept and great new adult. Romantic suspense, serialized erotica
Tessa — more erotica, whether full-length of serials. “super dark and dirty heroines and heroes.” Historicals — would love a new historical series with “an amazing concept.” She’s also looking for contemporary and new adult.
Erica — “anything but zombies.” She does a lot of historicals, also likes paranormal. She also likes more emotional, gothic historicals and “dark, angsty stories.”
Tip: Follow the editors on Twitter. They sometimes issue calls for submissions via Twitter


Entranced Publishing is a Minneapolis-based e-publisher that publishes young adult, new adult, romance and erotica. They’re also interested in fantasy, science fiction and urban fantasy with strong romantic elements. Entranced currently released three to four titles each month. YA and NA titles should be 50,000 to 90,000 words. Other manuscripts may be from 10,000 to 120,000 words. They pay royalties of 40 percent of net. Find their submission guidelines here.

Entranced is accepting novellas of 25,000 to 35,000 words for an upcoming anthology of contemporary takes on classic fairy tales. The editors are interested in stories with strong heroines who rescue themselves — or maybe even rescue the hero. “Simmering sexual tension” is a must. The deadline for submissions is November 30, 2013. Find more details here.


Authornomy, a project of HarperCollins, is sponsoring a First Line contest. The winner will receive a package of self-publishing bennies, including a professional editorial review, a professional book cover, a book trailer and an e-press kit. Simply enter up to the first three sentences of your book (no more than 100 words) by September 8. You must be an Authornomy member to enter, but membership is free. All genres of fiction are welcome. Get the scoop here.


As always, feel free to share the information in this blog with others. All I ask is that you give me credit as the source and include a link back to this blog. Thanks!  Cindi


Get it down. Take chances. It may be bad, but it’s the only way you can do anything really good.”
– William Faulkner


This week I continue my look at the publisher spotlights from the RWA National Convention in Atlanta, Georgia, with a look at Grand Central Publishing.

Amy Pierpont,  editor in chief, presented this spotlight, along with editors Michelle Bidelspach, Alex Logan and Loren Plude. Forever and Forever Yours are the two romance specific imprints for Grand Central.2013 is Forever’s Tenth Anniversary, while Forever Yours is Grand Central’s new Digital First imprint.

Though Forever accepts only agented submissions, Forever Yours accepts unagented authors. Forever Yours publishes 10-15 titles a month. The editors who acquire for Forever also acquire for Forever Yours. They’re looking for all kinds of sub-genre stories — they’ve done sci-fi romance, male-male and other niche stories. Forever authors also do e-novellas for Forever Yours. Novel length stories come out as digital editions first, then are available as POD print editions. They accept novellas from 8,000 to 35,000 words, and novels from 35,000 to 100,000 words.

Forever and Forever Yours are looking for the following types of stories:

Historical romance that transports the readers to a different time and place. All levels of sensuality. Open to Regency, Victorian, Georgian and Scottish historicals.

Contemporary romance of all types, from sweet to sexy. Small towns are very popular, but they’re open to other settings. Family stories do well. Cowboys are always popular. Contemporary westerns set on ranches are popular.

Romantic Suspense — action, suspense, fear. Like the author to create a world and a family feeling with a group of firefighters, FBI agents, special forces operatives, etc.

Paranormal Romance — They are not tired of vampires yet, but also like other kinds of creatures and settings, including historical paranormal.

Erotic Romance — Hot, alpha heroes — BDSM, male-male, menage. “break boundaries. Anything goes.”

New Adult — “It’s all about the angst.”

A large portion of the Spotlight was given over to discussing the marketing and publicity efforts Grand Central makes for its authors. They try to target niche audiences that might be interested in the book. They encourage author blogging and participation in social media. They send books to reviewers and use NetGalley. They have done blog tours, giveaways and many other types of marketing and publicity.

Find out more about Forever here. And for more information about the editors and their particular likes and dislikes, check out this link.


This week, I’m part of a fun online scavenger hunt featuring the July and August authors for Entangled Indulgence. Each day, authors will post questions. Find the answers at the link the author also posts. Every answer enters you in a drawing for an Indulgent Gift Basket of goodies. The more answers, the more chances you have to win. The contest will run through Sunday. Play as often as you like. Check it out here.



Speaking of Entangled Publishing, the editors at Scandalous, Entangled’s historical romance line, are looking for sexy cowboy stories — particularly those set 1866 – 1890. 50,000 to 60,000 words. The deadline for complete manuscripts is January 31, 2014. Get the details here.


The First Line challenges writers to create a short story that begins with a first line they supply. This month, the line is “I came of age in a time of no heroes.” Submit your 300 to 3,000 word story. Stories may be any genre. If published, you’ll earn $30. The deadline for submissions is November 1, 2013. Get the scoop here.


Panverse Publishing is an independent publisher founded in 2009. Panverse publishes both print and digital editions on its titles. The company released six titles in 2013 and plans 8 to 12 titles for 2014. Because it is a small company, Panverse accepts submissions only during limited open reading periods — one of which is going on right now. Panverse is accepting submissions from both agented and unagented authors until August 21. Manuscripts should be between 60,000 and 130,000 words (though they prefer under 115,000 words). The editors are looking for “Non-traditional romance”, historical fiction, mystery, crime, humor, science fiction, fantasy or humor. Panverse focuses on publishing character-driven, genre fiction. Get all the details here.


As always, feel free to pass along the information in this blog. Reprint it, repost it and share. Please credit me as the source and include a link to the blog. Thanks!  Cindi



“I wrote for twelve years and collected 250 rejection slips before getting any fiction published, so I guess outside reinforcement isn’t all that important to me.” – Lisa Alther


This week I’m starting my recaps of the publisher spotlights from the Romance Writers of America annual conference in Atlanta in July. Of course, I’ll also include other market news and is comes across my desk, so stay tuned!

First up — Coliloquy. Coliloquy is a new digital-first publisher that is already publishing some big names — think Ridley Pearson and the members of the literary rock band, the Rock Bottom Remainders.

Lisa Rutherford, CEO and Co-founder of Coliloquy, presented this workshop. Coliloquy was founded in January 2012 with the slogan, “Reading and Writing — Reimagined.” The company uses technology to enhance their books and create different kinds of stories. They’ve done interactive, “choose your own ending” stories; stories that allow readers to customize by choosing their own preferences for the types of characters and situations; and multi-media stories, such as a new release by the writers of the Rock Bottom Remainders that mixes prose and music.

Coliloquy started with five authors. Their books are available on all e-reader platforms and they now have 30 authors. They now have a staff of 18 and produce about 12 books a year.

In the romance genre they publish from middle grade to erotica and everything in between. To date, they have mostly done contemporary settings. They’ve also done mystery and suspense and comedy.

They have a content management system that allows them to publish books not as something static, but as active applications. When someone opens a Coliloquy book, they are running an application, like Microsoft Word or an application on the internet. “It looks like a book to anyone who’s reading it ,” Rutherford said.  This allows them to add extra features and even to unlock and change content to enhance the story. An example is a YA with magic spells that appear and disappear in the book. Or a story about memory loss in which the story changes.

They gather a ton of information on their readers, but the information is anonymous and aggregated. They used the information to change the plots of sequels, based on what readers have reacted to most strongly in first books. They have also used the information for marketing — to place brands in books based on sponsorships, to pre-sell books, and to offer discounts on titles.

Rutherford listed several reasons authors should pick Coliloquy over other publishers:

Their use of technology is unlike any other publisher.

They come from a Silicon Valley culture — the principals of the company are very open and available 24/7. They give weekly sales reports and updates.

“We have a start-up mentality” They’re focused on esting and measuring things and learning. If a book doesn’t sell well initially, they will regroup and try another approach and continue trying to find the market for that story.

They have experienced editors who come from traditional publishing — “top talent.”

They invest heavily in cover art, PR and marketing.

50/50 revenue share. They release funds within 30 days of receipt by the company.

They normally only take agented submissions, but will accept submissions during open calls. Rutherford prefers short query letters with a one-line hook. Attach a manuscript to the email. Their normal turn-around time is two weeks.

Coliloquy is open to all kinds of stories but wants strong story-telling, crisp, simple writing. They want writers and stories that fit their culture — modern technology, appeals to the audience that’s reading twitter and interacting online. They must see a market for the book.

Rutherford mentioned some things she would be interested in seeing: contemporary fiction, ensemble cast in a college setting, romantic suspense (legal thriller?). Interracial YA or New Adult, personal disaster and recovery stories (personal dystopian story). A claustrophobia story!

Their strongest sellers right now are Young Adult, New Adult and light women’s fiction.

Rutherford also loves multi-author books. She’d love a story where each author wrote a different POV.

They like authors who have a strong, existing fan base with which to engage.


Mad Scientist Magazine is looking for first person mad scientist stories. Think scientific papers as if written by a mad scientist. They’re open to all genres: humor, paranormal romance, horror, urban fantasy, pulp fiction, etc. They accept flash fiction, from 500 -2000 words; short stories from 2,000 to 8,000 words; and serial fiction with each installment from 2,000 to 8,000 words. Payment is $10 for flash fiction and $20 for short stories — up to $100 for seriels. In addition to these payments, you’ll receive royalties from the quarterly ebooks Mad Scientist produces. Check out all their guidelines here.


Ellora’s Cave has issued some new calls for submissions for themed collections:

Hot Pink — celebrating lesbian love. 20K to 45K. Deadlines for Submissions is Nov. 1, 2013.

VaVa Boomers — Over-50 heroines, 10K – 70K, Deadline Feb. 1, 2014.

Merry Menage — winter holiday themed erotica, 20K – 45K, Deadline April 15, 2014.

Get all the details here.


As always, feel free to share the information in this blog with others. Reprint, repost and pass it on. All I ask is that you give me credit as the source, and include a link to the blog. Thanks!  Cindi