We are pleased today to welcome our acquiring editor, Deb Werksman, to the blog. Deb has agreed to answer your questions throughout the day, so fire away! She will answer as time permits.
I LOVE MY AUTHORS! As an acquiring editor, I never have to face a blank piece of paper, so I have enormous admiration for what authors do. You create whole worlds in your imagination and then hone your craft to bring those worlds to fruition. And THEN! After all that writing, taking critiques, rewriting, editing, polishing, and against all odds we get together to get you published, THEN you have to do everything our PR and marketing departments ask for and everything you can think of to promote and sell your books. A more dedicated, devoted and committed group of people can't be found and it is my privilege to be your editor.
The rest of this blog is going to be directed to authors who aren't "my" authors yet--how do you find me or how do I find you so that Sourcebooks Casablanca can become your publishing house? Let me tell you what I'm looking for:
First of all, I'm acquiring all the time, in all subgenres. So don't try to "time" the market. As we all know, the subgenres in the romance category cycle, and as a subgenre gets overpublished, that subgenre starts to decline. But I believe that doesn't mean the readership has gone away; it means there's too much competition and now you have to stand out in the category even more. So the "hook" is really, really important. (So is knowing/understanding your reader really well.)
The "hook" is a 2-3 sentence (basically 30 seconds or less) articulation of what the book is, that will make someone want to read it. The "hook" should distinguish the book from all the other books that are out there. It's essential at every point in the selling process. I use it at the editorial meeting where I pitch your book and recommend that we publish it, our salespeople use it when they present the book to the buyers, the booksellers use it to sell it to the reader.
Next, I have very clearly defined criteria, but keep in mind that book publishing is an art, not a science, so there's a subjective element to all of this. If I turn down a book, it may very well meet another editor's criteria, and/or your next book might be a better fit. Here are my criteria: 1) a heroine my readers can relate to (smart, whole, interesting, real) 2) a hero who's desirable (this eliminates ex-cons, murderers, thieves) 3) a world gets created (we're in the entertainment business!) 4) a strong "hook" (see above!)
Single title or single title series (not category/genre romance) of 90,000-100,000 (actual, digital) words.
Please submit synopsis and full manuscript via email to firstname.lastname@example.org in Word files (.doc)--queries are ok, but can take more time overall. I know someone will ask me how long it takes to get a response--at the moment it's as much as 16-20 weeks. I'm trying to beat that as much as possible, and hope it will be faster in the future.
For more detail, check out our submission guidelines at www.sourcebooks.com or email me with specific questions email@example.com
Finally, I want you all to know that I consider it my life's work to be a "midwife" for books (gestational periods vary!), so bring me your babies--I can't wait to fall in love with them and with you!