“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 XOXOAfterDark.com, 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.


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