September 2015


I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves“. ~Anna Quindlen,

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This week I continue my recap of publisher spotlights from the Romance Writers of America conference in New York with a look at the Spotlight on Sourcebooks. Editorial Director Deb Werksman started off the session with an introduction to Sourcebooks. Sourcebooks is based in Naperville, Illinois and has been around 27 years. Sourcebooks Casablanca is their romance imprint. They also publish nonfiction, children’s, young adult and general fiction. Sourcebooks is the largest woman-owned independent publishing house in North America.

Sourcebooks publishes 8-10 mass market romance titles each month. They are open to working with hybrid authors, who want to publish both traditionally and independently. They are open to both established and brand new authors.

Sourcebooks accepts submissions from both agented and unagented authors. Deb Werksman is interested in acquiring women’s fiction with a strong hook. On the romance side, she likes strong heroines and heroes and is open to all sub-genres, but don’t send her anything dark and depressing.

Editor Mary Altman is interested in strong single-title romances, She likes all sub-genres of romance, but don’t send her women’s fiction or young adult.

Associate Editor Cat Clyne. She likes all romance sub-genres, but especially romantic suspense and contemporary romantic suspense. She likes damaged heroes.

For a look at the editors and their interests, go here.

Part of the spotlight was devoted to talking about the process for making the cover for the book and the publicity and marketing that Sourcebook does for its authors, including a dedicated publicist for each author, author branding, print and online advertising, social media campaigns and ARCs to reviewers.

Find out more about Sourcebooks here.

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Crimson Romance, a digital publishing arm of Adams Media, has issued a call for LGBTQIA* romances. They are especially interested in male/male romances. They are interested in both novels of 55,000 to 90,000 words and novellas 20,000 to 50,000 words. The focus of the story should be on the emotional and romantic relationship between the partners. For more information, go here.

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The fun continues with my free online read for Harlequin intrigue. Chapter Seven posted this week — only one more chapter to go. Black Canyon Betrayal ties into my Ranger Brigade series for Intrigue. Read the novella free here.

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Children’s publications Cricket and Spider have issued a call for stories about castles and knights. They’re looking for both historical and contemporary fiction that relates to the topic and welcome interesting twists on the theme. Multi-cultural stories and humor are welcome. Cricket appeals to children ages 9-14 and accepts stories between 1200 and 1800 words. Spider is for kids 6 to 9 and accepts stories between 300 and 1000 words. Payment is 25 cents a word. The deadline for submissions is October 26, 2015. For more details, go here.

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The First Line is a quarterly story publication with an interesting twist — writers are asked to submit a story based on a first line supplied by the magazine. Currently, editors are looking for stories with the first line “George pressed the call button and said, “Mrs. Whitfield, you have a visitor.” Stories should be between 300 and 5,000 words. Payment is $25 – $50. The deadline for submissions is November 1, 2015. Get all the details here.

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As always, feel free to share the information in this blog with others. Repost, reprint, retweet, etc. Please give me credit as the source of the information and include a link to this blog. For more about me, visit my websites here and here, or check me out on Facebook. 

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“Do you realize that all great literature is all about what a bummer it is to be a human being? Isn’t it such a relief to have somebody say that?” Kurt Vonnegut

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This week I’m continuing my recap of publisher spotlights from the Romance Writers of America convention in New York City with the Spotlight on Ballantine Bantam Dell.

Shauna Summers began with an overview of Ballantine Bantam Dell, which is a division of Random House. They publish approximately 800 titles a year in all formats. About 200 of that number is e-original. They publish all types of fiction and non-fiction.

Sue Grimshaw spoke about their digital imprint, Loveswept, which is devoted to romance. St. Martins has three other digital first lines – Hydra for Science Fiction, Alibi for mystery and Flirt for New Adult stories. Loveswept has had multiple New York Times and USA Today best-selling titles. Loveswept accepts both agented and unagented submissions. There is an online submission portal. The editors would like to see a synopsis and the first few chapters.  Find out more here. 

Penguin Random House offers an Author Portal where any of their authors can log in to track sales of their books, access marketing tools and information, and other resources for authors.

Much of the workshop was devoted to talking about all the things Ballantine Bantam Dell does for authors in terms of marketing, author training, tools for promotion, etc. The speakers emphasized that they are happy to work with hybrid authors who want to combine self-publishing and traditional publishing.

BBD is open to all kinds of romance. With digital, they are open to all kinds of lengths. They prefer series because readers prefer series.

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Blue Cubicle Press is compiling a collection of stories “Tales from the Construction Site” and wants stories and poems from woodworkers, electricians, plumbers, contractors — anyone who works in construction. Payment is $50 per story for stories of 500 to 5,000 words. The deadline for submissions is December 31, 2015, or until the issue is full. Find more details here. 

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The fun continues with my free online read for Harlequin intrigue. Chapter Six posted this week — two more chapters to go. Black Canyon Betrayal ties into my Ranger Brigade series for Intrigue. Read the novella free here. 

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Dappled Things literary magazine is seeking stories in which memorable characters experience grace in ordinary settings and activities for the J.F. Powers Prize for Fiction. Dappled Things is a Catholic publication that explores “ideas, art and faith.” Stories may be up to 8,000 words. First prize is $500 and second prize is $250. There is no fee to enter. The deadline for submissions is November 7, 2015.  Check out all the details here and be sure to click on the links to read a couple of past contest winners.

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Rhubarb is a Mennonnite publication based in Canada. The editors are seeking fiction, poetry and nonfiction on the theme of ability and disability from Mennonite writers. Stories may be up to 3,000 words, and the deadline for submissions is November 1, 2015. Payment is $50 per story. Get all the details here.

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As always, feel free to share the information in this blog with others. Repost, reprint, retweet, etc. Please give me credit as the source of the information and include a link to this blog. For more about me, visit my websites here and here, or check me out on Facebook. 

“I write because I’m afraid to say some things out loud.” ~Gordon Atkinson,

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This week I’m continuing my overview of publisher spotlights from the Romance Writers of America annual conference in New York City with a look at the Spotlight on St. Martin’s Press.

Editorial Director of Romance Monique Patterson began the spotlight with an overview of St. Martin’s. The company was founded in 1952. It is one of the five largest trade publishers in North America and is dedicated to publishing commercial and literary fiction and nonfiction of all kinds. St. Martin’s has a diverse romance publishing program. They are always looking for new voices for the romance program.

Like pretty much every other publisher these days, St. Martin’s is expanding its digital publishing program with a new digital imprint, St. Martin’s Swerve. Swerve has an online submission portal here  and the first Swerve title will be published in January 2016. Authors who are selected for Swerve may choose from a royalty and advance arrangement or no advance and higher royalty rates.

The editors in attendance spoke briefly about the types of books they are each looking for. Senior Editor Rose Hilliard acquires all kinds of romance, but said she particularly loves small town romances, romantic young adult stories, humor, stories where animals are featured and she loves alpha males in romance.

Associate Editor Eileen Rothschild really loves romance with high concept plots and dark edges, but she also enjoys small town settings and humor. She likes “high octane adventure” and alpha males. Don’t send her historical romance.

Assistant Editor Elizabeth Poteet does not like dark romance. She loves Southern settings, sexy but emotional stories, small town contemporaries and humor, especially Southern humor. She’d love to see some romantic comedy or romantic suspense for Swerve. She also loves books with stalkers.

Associate Editor Holly Ingraham is looking for a strong narrative voice and emotional stories. She loves sassy heroines and humor in stories. She would like to acquire contemporaries, especially if set in a metropolitan area. She’s interested in acquiring romantic suspense with a strong, alpha-male hero, maybe military. She also loves cowboys. She is also looking for mystery – some cozies, amateur sleuths, and she likes a little romance in her mysteries. For Swerve she would enjoy some lighter paranormal, with humor.

Monique likes very emotionally intense stories and is open to darker stories. She doesn’t do lighter, sweeter romance. She is also interested in “very high concept” women’s fiction.

St. Martin’s does consider both agented and unagented manuscripts, though agented material takes precedence.

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The fun continues with my free online read for Harlequin intrigue. Chapter Five posted this week — three more chapters to go. Black Canyon Betrayal ties into my Ranger Brigade series for Intrigue. Read the novella free here. 

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Spider Road Press has issued a call for suspense novellas by women authors for an upcoming anthology. Approaching Footsteps will be released in 2016 and will feature four novellas. Editor Patricia Flaherty is seeking more literary suspense stories between 9,000 and 13,000 words by the deadline of November 1. Payment is $150.  Find all the details here.

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Harlequin Books’ So You Think You Can Write program is nearing its close for 2015. The deadline for submissions is September 21. Submit your first chapter on Wattpad for a chance to advance further in the contest — perhaps all the way to a published book. Get the details here.

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House of Erotica is seeking manuscripts for a variety of upcoming anthologies, including:

To Obey Her — stories of FemDom BDSM, 3,000 to 6,500 words. Contemporary settings, diverse characters, Deadline September 21, 2015.

A Dose of Murder, Mystery and Mayhem — Mystery, crime and murder mixed with romance. Any heat level. 5,000 to 15,000 words. Deadline October 31, 2015.

For more information, go here.

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As always, feel free to share the information in this blog with others. Repost, reprint, retweet, etc. Please give me credit as the source of the information and include a link to this blog. For more about me, visit my websites here and here, or check me out on Facebook. 

“Fantasy is hardly an escape from reality. It’s a way of understanding it.”
― Lloyd Alexander

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This week I’m continuing my overview of the Publisher Spotlights from the Romance Writers of America convention in New York City, with a look at Samhain Books. 

LaToya Smith, executive editor of Samhain Publishing, began this publisher spotlight. Samhain is celebrating its tenth birthday in 2015. Samhain publishes ebooks and POD paperbacks. Their books are distributed through all major retailers and etailers. They publish romance, horror fiction and erotic fiction. They publish all sub-genres and try to give their readers lots of variety. They pay royalties monthly. Samhain is a full-service publisher with editorial, marketing and art department professionals. Samhain works with the author to come up with a good cover that the author will be happy with. Most manuscripts are published within six months of acquisition. Samhain is not opposed to authors publishing with other publishers or self-publishing, in addition to publishing with Samhain.

Marketing coordinator Kaitlyn Osborn talked about Samhain’s marketing efforts. All books published by Samhain receive Facebook and Twitter banners. Romance and horror titles are sent out for review at over 150 places. They promote the reviews on social media. They send a weekly newsletter highlighting new releases and Samhain authors. All of Samhain’s new releases receive an ad. If authors want to purchase additional ads, Samhain is happy to provide artwork for the ad. Samhain is very active on social media. Samhain will also work with authors to come up with promotional ideas.

Samhain accepts both agented and unagented submissions.  They accept manuscripts between 10,000 and 125,000 words. Every published work over 50,000 words also goes into print-on-demand.  Send a query letter, the full manuscripts and a detailed synopsis to romance@samhainpublishing.com  Allow 12 to 16 weeks for a reply.  Find all of Samhain’s writing guidelines here.

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Fireside Magazine publishes flash fiction in all genres — westerns, mystery, romance, sci-fi, fantasy — almost any kind of fiction. They are open to submissions now and will accept 1,000 to 4,000 words short stories until September 30, 2015. They pay 12.5 cents per word for accepted stories. Editor Brian White is looking for complete stories with a strong plot and compelling characters. The magazine strives to depict diverse characters and encourages submissions from writers who may have traditionally been excluded from publishing. Find the magazine’s detailed submission guidelines here.

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For a limited time, my fictional autobiography of Jesse James’ wife (based on true events) is on sale for Kindle for only 99 cents. The regular price is $9.99, so this is a bargain. Get your copy of The Woman Who Loved Jesse James here.

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Jerry Jazz Musician is sponsoring a short story contest with a first prize of $100. Editors prefer stories of up to 3,000 words, but will consider stories of up to 5,000 words. The magazine will accept stories on any theme for this contest, but the magazine’s readers are particularly interested in the jazz culture of 20th century America. There is no fee to enter and the deadline for entries is September 20, 2015. For more information, go here.

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As always, feel free to share the information in this blog with others. Repost, reprint, retweet, etc. Please give me credit as the source of the information and include a link to this blog. For more about me, visit my websites here and here, or check me out on Facebook. 

Usually, it’s a journey without maps but a journey with a destination, so I know how it’s going to begin and I know how it’s going to end, but I don’t know how I’m going to get from one to the other. That, really, is the struggle of the novel.”  Martin Amis

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This week, I continue my recap of publisher spotlights from the 2015 Romance Writers of American convention with a look at Avon Books.

The Spotlight on Avon was presented by Editorial Director Erica Tsang, Associate Editor Chelsey Emmelhainzd, Assistant Editor Nicole Fischer, and Editorial Assistant Elle Keck.  The spotlight began with a short film with all the Avon editors talking about the first romance novel they remember reading and why they love romance novels.

Next was a series of slides highlighting current Avon authors and their books. The panel also gave away prizes to people who correctly answered trivia questions about romances.

Avon is looking for new authors with marketable concepts, compelling voices, great story hooks and terrific happy endings. New authors they have recently acquired have written small town contemporaries, Victorian historicals, romantic suspense and New Adult novels. Avon publishes romance in digital first and mass market formats.

Avon FanLit is a community based platform where aspiring and published authors come together to create original concepts. FanLit is one way to gain the attention of Avon Editors, who post prompts on the website. Participants create new chapters in an ongoing story, based on the prompts. Fellow writers, readers and editors comment on the posted work and a chapter winner was announced at the end of a voting period. Avon will publish the novella that resulted from the contest and one of the winning authors received a publishing contract with Avon Impulse.

Avon Impulse is Avon’s digital-first imprint. Since 2011 Avon Impulse has published digital first romance by both new and established authors. Forty percent of Avon Impulse titles sell more than 10,000 copies, and four Impulse authors have transitioned into print.  Forty aspiring authors have made their first sales to Avon Impulse. Avon does a lot of marketing for its Impulse titles. Authors earn 25 percent royalties on the first 10,000 copies and 50 percent royalties thereafter. Avon pays these royalties monthly. Each impulse title of 22,500 words and more is also published in trade paper. Avon subrights teams also sell rights to Avon Impulse titles to 18 countries and 17 languages.

Next, the editors played a video of Avon authors talking about their experiences working with Avon.

The next topic was marketing. Each Avon title has a marketing plan. Avon promotes books through its Avon From the Heart newsletter, which goes to 75,000 subscribers two to three times a month. BookPerk is a HarperCollins version of BookBub, a daily email newsletter that goes to over 350,000 subscribers and features specially priced deals on Avon titles. There is also a BookPerk ap for smart phones. They also do a lot of digital promotions with special placement at ebook retailers. Avon also is active on all social media platforms. They do Facebook launch parties, Twitter author takeovers, Twitter chats, and Instagram giveaways. They provide social media training for authors also.

Avon publicists received a shout out for their work getting Avon books in front of bloggers, reviewers and readers. Each book is assigned a publicist and these publicists schedule personalized blog tours for each title. The publicists also work with Avon Addicts, their social media street team. This year Avon launched Kiss Cons – Avon only multi-author events that allow readers to interact with their favorite authors.

Avon books should have strong commercial potential and series potential. Some things that do especially well for Avon: historical romances with a strong hook, romantic suspense, very sexy contemporary romance, and trilogies or longer series of books. They like sexy, determined heroes; smart, daring heroines; dark and dramatic, emotional stories; and series.

You do not need an agent to submit to Avon.  Upload the manuscript here and an editor will read your manuscript.

When submitting your manuscript to Avon.com, you may address your submission to a specific editor. There’s also a place to mention if you met an editor at a conference or online.

You can find out more about all the Avon editors here and read their personal wish lists.

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Entangled Editors have posted their wish lists for this fall and winter.

Alethea Spiridon Hopson is looking for stories for Entangled Indulgence that feature Greek or Italian/Sicilian alpha males and sassy heroines. Stories should be set in Spain, Monaco, Greece or Italy.

Alycian Tornetta edits young adult and new adult and would love to see a YA fantasy series with a compelling romance or a contemporary YA romance featuring time travel or parallel universes. She loves stories with bad boy heroes and cute, nerdy girls. For new adult, she wants sexy, trope-driven romances, sports romances, or a series featuring camp counselors. Alycian also acquires adult romance and would love some small town contemporaries or Regency or Victorian historicals.

Candace Havens would love some stories for Indulgence that feature rich, alpha heroes — particularly British, Scottish or Irish men. She’s tired of office romances and would like to see some different settings. For historical, she likes Regency and Edwardian stories that are fast-paced with smart dialogue.

Erin Molta is looking for single-title historical romance — Regency, Scottish or Vikings. Sexy, with irresistible alpha males.

Heather Howland wants category romance that breaks the mold for Brazen and Lovestruck — characters who don’t do the expected thing. She likes dark new adult stories, YA psychological thrillers and spicy contemporary romance.

Karen Grove would like contemporary romance set in wine country. She is also interested in New Adult stories that feature heros and heroines just starting their careers in the corporate world, training to be police or firefighters, or enrolled in one of the military academies.

Kate Brauning wants “high concept, big-hook, fast-paced” young adult and new adult. She also likes “messy, dark” stories.

Laura Stone is interested in a conspiracy-based thirller. She likes paranormal stories that aren’t werewolf or vampire-based, retold fairytales with contemporary settings, and time travels where a historical hero comes forward to a heroine’s contemporary world.

Lydia Sharp wants sci-fi YA set on earth — but not dystopian or post-apocalyptic. She enjoys YA historical fantasy or alternative history and YA fairytale retellings. Lydia would also like to see stories featuring people of color and gay or lesbian couples.

Robin Hasseltine likes contemporary romantic comedy, Alpha male historicals, and sci-fi romance that isn’t tech-heavy.

Stacy Abrams would enjoy some stories for Bliss that feature animals as secondary characters. She would like some stories set in an everyday high school with a sci-fi twist, and time-travel or dystopian stories.

Stephen Morgan is also a fan of romantic comedy, He would love a YA time travel or reimagined YA fairytales. He would like to see more diverse heroines and is open to Beta as well as Alpha males. He likes stories that put the hero or heroine out of their element.

Suzanne Evans wants dark teen stories and hot Viking and Highlander historicals.

Tracy Montoya loves space opera sci-fi and would love to acquire more writers of color.

Wendy Chin loves contemporary category romance She loves marriage of convenience, enemies to lovers,  and stories that balance conflict and chemistry.

Read more about these editors and what they are looking for here. 

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As always, feel free to share the information in this blog with others. Repost, reprint, retweet, etc. Please give me credit as the source of the information and include a link to this blog. For more about me, visit my websites here and here, or check me out on Facebook.