Only in grammar can you be more than perfect.” William Safire


This week I continue my recap of publisher spotlights from the Romance Writers of America convention in New York City with a look at the Spotlight on Grand Central Forever and Forever Yours

Amy Pierpont, Editor in Chief began the workshop. She was joined by, Editorial Director, Leah Hultenschmidt, Senior Editor Michelle Bidelspach, Editorial Assistant Megha Parekh,  Editorial Assistant Lauren Plude, Dana Hamilton, Associate Editor Alex Logan, and Editorial Assistant Jessie Piece. Grand Central is part of the Hachette Publishing Group, which publishes all kinds of fiction and nonfiction under a variety of imprints. Forever is the imprint devoted to romance and Forever Yours is the digital first romance imprint.The company is very open to new authors. In 2014, Forever and Forever Yours had 14 debut authors – never before published.

The editors on the panel were polled about what they are looking for in submissions. I was listening to a recording of this workshop and none of the editors identified themselves in the recording, so I apologize that I cannot tell you who said the following, but mentioned as likes were:

Books that make them sob.

Books that make them laugh out loud.

Books that shock them.

Navy Seals, Scottish Highlanders, Bikers, Bad-Boys, Billionaires, Cowboys “our next book boyfriend.” Hot guys are always in.

Page-turning stories – a book that will keep you up all night.

Emotional books

“Crack-alicious” books

Series with a strong hook across the series.

Forever publishes mass market and trade paperback, as well as ebooks. They are looking for full, single title length manuscripts (85,000 to 95,000 words). Generally, they accept agented-only submissions, however if you attend a session they give at a conference or pitch to them at a conference, you may email an editor and mention that and they will be happy to take a look at a query. For unpublished authors they want a full manuscript. If you are previously published, they will accept a synopsis and first three chapters. Only submit to one Forever editor. If your submission isn’t right for that editor, she will pass it on to another editor on the team if she believes the manuscript is better suited for that person.

Forever Yours publishes ebook first and Print-on-Demand. They accept manuscripts from 15,000 words to over 100,000 words. Books over 50,000 words are eligible for POD. You do not have to be agented to submit to Forever Yours. The editors like to see a proposal and sample chapters, but the manuscript should be completed and ready to go when the editor requests it.

Next followed a discussion of some of Forever and Forever Yours’ marketing efforts, which include online ads, interaction with bloggers, social media posts, reviews, ads in magazines, and activities on Goodreads. Hachette has a hug presence at BEA and lots of different conferences. They have two newsletters that go to readers and a newsletters targeted to reviewers.

The publicity department pitches books to media. Publicists work with authors to brainstorm potential media outlets and to plan blog tours and book blitzes. They do Q&As, excerpts and giveaways on blogs. They host Facebook parties and Twitter campaigns. They try to help authors with their promotional efforts. They tweet quotes and create quote-graphics from their authors’ books. They are also very active on Instagram.Hachette does paid placement for books in physical bookstores and with online retailers.

The editors encourage authors to follow them on Twitter. They tweet about stories they are looking for and have bought books authors submitted as a result of these tweets.


The Poisoned Pencil, an imprint of Poisoned Pen Press, is accepting submissions of Young Adult mysteries, 45,000 to 80,000 words. The books are published in both ebook and trade paper editions. The book’s protagonist should be between 13 and 18 years old. The editors appreciate “off-beat approaches” and also welcome submissions from teen authors. The company pays a $1000 advance. Find our more details here.


Arizona State University’s College for Liberal Arts and Sciences, and The Imagination and Climate Futures Initiative are sponsoring the 2016 Climate Fiction Short Story contest. Submit your short story of up to 5000 words which offers a vision of a future Earth impacted by climate change. Stories will be judged by award-winning author Kim Stanley Robinson. There is no fee to enter the contest. The grand prize winner will receive $1,000. The deadline for entries is January 15, 2016. Get all the details here.


My altar-ego, Cynthia Sterling, has a new historical romance for sale. The last pirate features a daring heroine, a handsome sea captain, a roguish pirate, buried treasure and a killer hurricane. And of course, romance!  Look for it wherever ebooks are sold. TheLastPirateOTHERSITES


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