Thursday, July 23, 2009

Keep on keepin' on

Before I sold my first book to Silhouette, I had amassed several full manuscripts as I toyed with themes and voice, some right for Silhouette, some not. One particular manuscript (we'll call it "Love Story" for the purposes of this blog) wasn't right for Silhouette but had finalled in many contests and was a favorite story of mine. I never gave up hope that one day "Love Story" would find a home somewhere.
Fast forward several years and several other sales. This spring, Sourcebooks acquisitions editor Deb Werksman attended the NOLA STARs Written in the Stars conference in Shreveport, Louisiana. It was a thrill for me to have another chance to chat with Deb and introduce her to some Southern foods. (She liked the catfish, but the collard greens, not so much.)
During our dinner, I pitched "Love Story" to her, and she asked me to send the full to her. So I went home after the weekend conference, pulled the book out of storage and sent it off. I had high hopes that Deb would love the book, and LS would find a home at Sourcebooks. Well, Deb did like the book and wanted to buy it. We were even talking about when it might be scheduled. But...in the final analysis, when marketing plans and the current romantic suspense market were factored in, it was decided that "Love Story" wasn't the kind of book that was selling well now. Deb had to turn the book down.
While quite disappointed that LS didn't sell to Sourcebooks, I understand the reasoning. Romantic suspense and contemporary romance- heck, almost any romance genre, is a competitive market. Good books get passed over because publishers have to think in terms of the big picture. If readers have drifted away from one type of story and another type of story is selling well, the publisher has to give the readers what they want or sales will suffer. That's not to say that Sourcebooks doesn't do new and innovative things within the popular genres, but they also have to think in terms of competing in the current market.
If you look back at Deb's previous posts here, you'll see her list of things she looks for in a submission. The last item is about her ability to sell the book. "Love Story" is a good book, it almost sold, but the book doesn't meet the current market demands. Publishing is cyclical. Historicals went out a few years ago but now are storming back on the scene. So I'll save LS for another time when the winds of change in the ever evolving publishing world blow back around for an LS kind of story.
And I'll get another submission ready to send Deb, one that I feel is a better fit for what she's looking for. Because my mantra has always been "Never never never give up!"

6 comments:

  1. That is the only credo that works in the difficult, highly competitive publishing market... never ever give up!!

    Good post, Beth, showing how hard it is, even with talent and drive, to get published in the romance industry!

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  2. Absolutely, Donna, and great post, Beth!!! I so agree! When I had sold two of my YA novels to a publisher, I was thrilled. And then their scheduled releases were delayed a year, and then the publisher closed the YA line a month before the first was to be released. I was disappointed to say the least. But I didn't give up. As in Galaxy Quest, the creed I love is: "Never surrender! Never give up!" And that's the way I feel. Perseverance is the key!

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  3. I've got lots of contemporary romances in stock, just waiting for the right moment. I think we all must be persistent or we wouldn't be here. Great post!

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  4. What a great post about being persistent in the market, Beth! Thank you for sharing, and I'm glad that one of your stories came to Sourcebooks... maybe we'll see "Love Story" soon enough :)

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  5. ooh, I've got a LS too, Beth. I'm still hoping it'll sell.

    As I always say when asked what advice I'd give: giving up is one way to ensure you'll never get published.

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  6. Thanks everyone! The extreme of Never give up my also apply to me. I think it could be said that I don't know when to quit! :-)
    Who, me? Stubborn?

    Back to the WIP!!
    Beth C

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