By: Deb Werksman
Today we had our weekly editorial meeting, and I spent most of the day doing acquisitions activities, so I thought I'd share with you what that part of the process looks like for me.
Acquiring is my favorite part of my job and rejection letters are my least favorite part.
To put the quantities in perspective, I get about 100-150 submissions each month, and will publish about 50-55 books for Fall 09 (that equates to 50-55 books out of roughly 800 submissions).
The lovely and brilliant Lisa Acosta works with me to keep submissions organized and moving through, so today she and I put our heads together and came up with:
31 submissions to send to readers. Unfortunately, we only had 23 reader slots open (we send them in batches so as not to overwhelm) so 23 got assigned and 8 got put back in the files to await the next round.
14 submissions were sent to other editors whose list is more appropriate for them.
6 submissions went to Lisa's PRIORITY reading.
4 went to my PRIORITY reading (to join the 18 that were already there).
13 submissions flagged for rejection.
What gets a submission to stand out and get assigned to PRIORITY reading? A variety of things, including:
• it's written by one of my existing authors
• it came back from one or two readers with strong positive recommendations
• it has an unusually strong title*, premise* or author platform
• the project is aging, we're on the fence, and a decision needs to be made
• the project is with me on exclusive
• the project was referred to me by another editor or by our publisher
The projects that go into any given week's editorial meeting may have been read and researched already, in which case they get prepped for the meeting by being entered into our Acquisitions database and having excerpts, synopses and market research ready for others to review before the meeting.
And now, the asterisk (*)--strong title, unusual premise--does this remind you of my FAVORITE thing to talk about--the HOOK!!! Yes, here it is again!
So, as you pitch/title your book, ask yourself:
• does this clearly communicate what it is? (I get a lot of titles that don't sound like romance fiction...)
• does it stand out from everything else that's out there?
• can Deb turn around and sell this in one or two sentences?
Finally, here's a refresher on what I'm looking for:
• Single title romance fiction (including single title series', trilogies, etc.) in all subgenres--paranormal, time travel, historical, romantic suspense, contemporary, erotic romance
• minimum 90,000 words
• a heroine the reader can relate to
• a hero she can fall in love with
• a world gets created
• a great "hook" that allows me to sell the book in one or two sentences
More details at www.sourcebooks.com
Reminder: we're in the entertainment business!
Ok, that's my rant for today! Bring on the questions (about anything and everything!). I love to hear from YOU!!!