“Writing means sharing. It’s part of the human condition to want to share things – thoughts, ideas, opinions.”
This week I’m continuing my summary of the publisher spotlights from the RWA National Convention with a look at Grand Central Publishing.
The Spotlight on Grand Central Publishing was presented by Leah Hultenschmidt, Editorial Director of Forever and Senior Editor Michelle Bidelspach.
The Hachette Book Group is the parent company of Grand Central. Forever is the romance arm of Grand Central. Hachette is a very large company with many different imprints. Leah presented this as an advantage, because they have the clout of a large company behind them. Hachette has many best-selling authors in its ranks.
Forever publishes six to eight mass market romances a month. Forever Yours, its digital-first romance imprint, releases four to eight titles each month. “The growth of romance is a company-wide initiative,” said Hultenschmidt, who came to Grand Central after stints with Dorchester and Sourcebooks.
Michelle talked about what the editors are looking for and how to submit. Forever is single-title – both print and e-books. They are looking for “everything” – contemporary, historical, romantic suspense, new adult, erotic romance, paranormal romance. They publish some of their authors e-first and follow with print later.
The editors are looking for 85,000 to 95,000 words, agented manuscripts only. But there are some exceptions to the agented-only rule: if a Grand Central editor judges a contest and asks to see your work or if you pitch at a conference and the editor asks for your manuscript, you don’t have to be agented. In these cases, send your complete manuscript. They will also consider query letters from unagented authors.
Only submit to one editor. If the project isn’t right for that editor, she will pass it on if she feels another Grand Central editor would be interested in it.
All Forever authors receive an advance against royalties.
The Forever Yours imprint is digital first. Authors published in Forever Yours do not receive an advance, but have escalating royalties. They publish novellas, 8,000 to 35,000 words and novels, 35,000 to 100,000 words. They also publish all kinds of romance – sassy, sweet, sexy. The only things they don’t publish are young adult, straight mystery, general fiction or non-fiction or poetry. They accept both unagented and agented manuscripts.
To submit to Forever Yours, send a query that includes your genre, your word count and a brief pitch, a synopsis, and the full manuscript.
Leah then took the mike again to talk about things a publisher can do for you as opposed to self-publishing. Editors provide guidance about market trends. They help guide careers. They do title and cover brainstorming. They discuss pricing strategies and author branding. They partner with retailers to do special promotions for titles. They coordinate all aspects of your book’s publication.
The publicity team at Grand Central arranges blog tours for authors and sends out galleys – both print and e – for review. They send out newsletters to promote their authors. They collaborate with editorial to plan promo for titles. They do social media promotion and try to help authors do their own social media promotion, in addition to Grand Central’s efforts.
Finally, the editors talked a little about what they’re particularly looking for:
Michelle says she’s always looking for a rock star hero. She’d love a great highlander romance, a western. She does a lot of historicals and a lot of contemporary romance. She looks for a strong voice and arresting characters.
Leah answered for some of the other editors : Alex Logan loves romantic suspense and small-town contemporary romance.
Associate Editor Lauren Plude loves history. Give her historical romances, especially Scottish. She also really likes single title contemporary romance.
Associate Editor Megha Parekh specializes in New Adult. She also works on a lot of erotic romance.
Leah is looking for “band of brothers” type stories – sports teams, military or cops. She loves the ‘behind the scenes banter’ among the men.
You can find the Forever Yours submission guidelines here.
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East of the Web is looking for short stories for children ages 5-12. East of the Web publishes the stories online, as well as making them available through their Short Story e-reader ap. They accept both new and previously published submissions and pay five cents a word, up to $200. The editors have not set a word length for stories, though they stress they want short stories, not book manuscripts. They’re open to all genres of stories for children. Find their guidelines here.
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