We're pleased to welcome our lovely editor, Deb Werksman, back for another spin on the blog. She'd be delighted to field questions about the kinds of books she's buying, but please, no pitching stories. And now, here's Deb!
For today's blog, I thought I'd talk a little about book publishing. Then, I'll reiterate what I'm looking for in terms of acquisitions (so you can skip ahead to that part if you wish!), touch on the subject of pitching your book, and then I can't wait to hear your questions.
Did you know that:
*romance fiction is the best selling category in the bookstores, 26.4% of all books sold in 2006?
*trade book publishing grew 5.5% overall in 2007?
*in 2007 there were over 400,000 (count 'em!) books published?
*one of the biggest chain book retailers announced it's reducing inventory this year by 25%?
*the vast majority of books published will sell 1000 or fewer copies?
*all books are currently sold on a returnable basis?
*the publisher pays "co-op" money for placement on tables and endcaps in the stores, or face out on shelf?
What does this mean for you?
*you're in the right category! Fiction and romance fiction are both growing.
*you must position your book with a great "hook"!
*you must be a tireless promoter
What does this mean for Sourcebooks?
*it's tougher than ever to sell your book "in" (to the buyer) and to sell it "through" (to the reader)--so saleability is an absolutely essential part of our acquisitions strategy--that's why sometimes I say in a rejection letter "I don't know how to sell this"
*the package is really, really, really important! It is NOT necessary for the cover to be literal--it has to communicate the subgenre and differentiate the book, and it has to make the reader want to pick it up! It's great if the hair color/eye color/build of the characters is correct, but beyond that, the cover has to be designed with the marketplace in mind--NOT with the content of the book in mind
*we're going to do everything we can to get you opportunities to promote your book, and we're relying on you to take advantage of all those opportunities and to create other opportunities
Finally, a subjective thought--we're in the entertainment industry! So write your books with that in mind--your reader is looking for an experience!
And now, what you all REALLY want to know! What are we looking for?
WHAT WE'RE LOOKING FOR
Single title romance fiction (single title series and trilogies, too) in ALL subgenres--paranormal, historical, contemporary, romantic suspense, erotic romance AND innovative women's fiction (show me something NEW!)
85-110,000 actual words, please!
Criteria for romance fiction are:
1) a heroine the reader can relate to
2) a hero the reader can fall in love with
3) a world is created
4) I can differentiate it in 2 sentences (ok, maybe 3!)
I prefer electronic submissions, as attachments in Word (.doc) files--synopsis and full manuscript are fastest.
I went into this in more depth last time on this blog, so check out my earlier blog, and also more detailed guidelines are on our website: www.sourcebooks.com.
PITCHING YOUR BOOK
I'll be at RWA nationals in SF in July/August so if you want to pitch your book to me or meet me in person, contact RWA and slot yourself in! (not necessary if you're already a Sourcebooks author)
So, let me tell you something about pitches:
1) be bright, be brief, and be gone
2) let me know IMMEDIATELY what the subgenre is
3) pitch the "hook" first, then go from there
4) feel free to ask me questions when you're done pitching
5) you may be nervous and that's ok--I'll be able to hear what I'm listening for even if you're nervous!
Ok, what else do you want to know?