“You could compile the worst book in the world entirely out of selected passages from the best writers in the world.” ~G.K. Chesterton

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This week I’m continuing my look at the publisher spotlights from the RWA National Convention with a look at Sourcebooks. The Spotlight on Sourcebooks was presented by Editorial Director Deb Werksman, Editor Mary Altman, Assistant Editor Kat Clyne and publisher Dominique Racca. Sourcebooks is a general trade publishing house. They publish 350 new titles a year, about half of that is fiction. They publish 8 to 10 romances a month. They are the largest woman-owned, independent publishing house in the country. They are based in Napierville, Illinois, with satellite offices in New York and in Milford, CT. Sourcebooks Casablanca is their fiction and non-fiction romance imprint.  Sourcebooks Fire is their YA list, Sourcebooks Jabberwocky is for children’s books and Sourcebooks Landmark is general fiction.

Both women sent some time talking about how Sourcebooks targets different markets, from mass-retailers such as WalMart and Target, to schools and libraries. Marketing is determined on a book-by-book basis. They produce books as both paperbacks and e-books. They send ARCs to reviewers.

The editors are looking for heroines the reader can relate to, a hero the reader could fall in love with, a world the reader can escape into, and a compelling hook that makes readers immediately want to read books. They love it if the author has ideas for a series. Manuscripts should be 90,000 to 120,000 words. They publish single-title romance in all sub-genres. The editor and author work together to plan future books and a career trajectory.

They talked about some of what they are looking for. In paranormal: shape shifters are popular. Vampires remain popular, but it is very difficult for a new author to break out with a new vampire story. In paranormal, world-building is of utmost important. The reader wants to visit that new world. They also like romance suspense/paranormal mixes.

In erotic romance, the love story and the sex really needs to balance out. The love story must be really engaging, as well as the sex being really hot. Deb thinks BDSM is a “bit overdone” right now. She also likes very sexy romances that aren’t necessarily erotica.  Mary said that when she acquires erotic romance, she looks for a very strong hook that will make the story stand out in a crowded field. Every sexual encounter needs to be vital to the story.

Sourcebooks is eager to acquire more YA. Sales are very strong in YA for them. They do well with contemporary YA thrillers and YA paranormal. They also like YA non-fiction.

In historical, the eras that sell best for them are Regency, Victorian, Edwardian and Georgian England. Anything Scottish sells. Time travel does well for them. They’re also publishing medieval. They also have a strong historical western romance program. They don’t publish stories set in the American revolution, Civil War, or anything after 1900.

They publish women’s fiction, both with and without romantic elements. Deb wants women’s fiction with a strong romantic element; Editor Shana Drehs prefers darker, more issue-driven women’s fiction.

The next section of the Spotlight was a bit unusual – several authors took the microphone to give testimonials about how much they love working with Sourcebooks.

You can learn about everything Sourcebooks is looking for, all the editors at Sourcebooks, their likes and dislikes here. You can find their romance submission guidelines here.Sourcebooks’ romance editors do accept both agented and unagented manuscripts.

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For a limited time, the ebook version of my Harlequin Intrigue, Rocky Mountain Rescue, is

9780373697496

on sale for $2.99 (regularly $4.99) Pick up a copy for Kindle here, for Nook here, or check your favorite ebook dealer.

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Bundoran Press is seeking science fiction stories for a new anthology, Second Contacts. All stories should be set fifty years after humans’ first contact with aliens. Stories should be between 3,500 and 6,500 words. Payment is 2 cents a word, up to $130 Canadian dollars. The deadline for submissions is January 15, 2015. Find all the submission details here. 

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Crimson Romance is seeking novellas (10,000 to 20,000 words) for a Valentine anthology to  be released in February 2015. Stories may be sweet to spicy, though the editors cite a preference for  more sensual stories. The deadline for submissions is Octoer 15, 2014. See the guidelines here.

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