Thursday, October 28, 2010

Question Day!

By Deb Werksman, Editorial Manager, Sourcebooks Casablanca




What do YOU want to know? You can ask me about:
*the book marketplace
*the publishing or editorial process
*your specific project (yes! I'm taking pitches today too!)
*anything else you want to know!

114 comments:

  1. Good morning, Deb. I've been getting to know the Casablanca blog and just wanted to say hello. Being in the UK, I guess I'm one of the few people up at this hour!

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  2. Deb, thanks for taking questions!

    I see on your submission guidelines that you're actively seeking 90-120k romance works. Do you ever accept shorter novels(60-90k)? If so, would they need to be agented, or a second novel with you, etc?

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  3. Good Morning, Deb

    I was wondering if you ever asked for a full from a manuscript you judged in a contest. Any sales from such an introduction?

    Also, do contest finals and wins help at all with marketing for a book you have bought?

    Thanks!

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  4. Good morning Deb. I'm always excited to see you on Casablanca Authors blog--you have so much info to share. I would like to send you pitch for a story I've been working on.

    Fantasy Knights
    Contemporary Romance

    Twenty years ago FANTASY KNIGHTS changed Andrea Morton's life. As a young woman working as the assistant to the CEO of the struggling all-male revue show she was brought out of her shell in more ways than one. After working behind the scenes in their marketing department and raising a daughter for eighteen years, recently divorced Andrea co- inherits the multi-billion dollar international corporation along with the man who taught her how to be a woman. Now she must face her past and figure out how to keep millions of women around the world happy and entertained.

    Thank you for your time, Deb.

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  5. Hi Deb. Can't wait to read the pitches and Q & A's. You're always a wealth of information.

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  6. Hi, Deb!

    Do our print runs depend entirely on preorders or does Sourcebooks figure in a specific amount that is run for starters based on averages?

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  7. Hi Deb! Thanks for taking questions and pitches today.

    I'm wondering what your feeling is regarding unpublished authors and websites. At what point should a writer consider having a website dedicated to her work? I'm curious as to whether it assists with marketing for a first-timer, both in terms of garnering positive attention for a manuscript as well as for marketing purposes after the book has been picked up.

    I'd also love to pitch my contemporary romance, 14 OCEAN AVENUE.

    There are two things at the top of Jolie Parker’s “never going to happen” list. Conquering her fear of the ocean is one of them. Falling in love again is the other.

    When Jolie’s husband abruptly left her for another woman, her auto-pilot kicked in and refused to let go. Since the minute he walked out the door, she’s been uttering the lie “I’m fine” like it’s her new name- and she believes it. Ben Sutter finesses multi-million dollar computer networks for breakfast. And lunch. And dinner. The endless stream of sixty-hour work weeks and cross-country travel suits him just fine. After all, there isn’t enough room in his life for more than one true love.

    The two find themselves as unexpected housemates on the shores of Bethany Beach, and Jolie is startled by the feelings Ben sparks in her, both above the neck and below the belt. Before her finely-tuned defenses even know what hit them, Jolie finds herself with her feet in the water and her heart on the line, while Ben starts to discover that there’s more to life than all work and no play. But when the past Jolie’s been struggling to deny literally lands on her doorstep, she is forced to face all of her fears head-on, despite their devastating consequences.

    Thanks so much for your time!

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  8. Good morning, Deb! Looks like you're going to have a very busy day. I love when you take pitches and questions. I always learn so much!

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  9. Hi Deb. I have a pitch for you---


    Presumed dead, Gabriel lives in solitude on a crumbling and deserted family estate, quietly fighting against a consuming desire for strong spirits... until the day he saves Melinda.

    Forced to flee her evil cousin and an unwanted marriage, Melinda should be dancing through Mayfair, not crashing through the forest half-dressed and faint from hunger.

    Together they must find the courage to face the enemy and claim the love and destiny they deserve.

    THE HEIR’S RETURN is a 98,000-word completed romantic historical (regency).

    Keri Ford
    keriford@hotmail.com

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  10. Do you publish much erotic romance or erotica? Would you be open to a collection of novellas (3 or 4) that would, in total, equal the 90-120,000 word count?

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  11. Hi Deb,

    I was wondering how long it usually takes from the time you offer a contract to seeing the book for sale?

    And a quick pitch you might be interested in.

    What’s worse than being forced to date your ex-boyfriend while hiding an affair with your new lover? Doing it all on national television.

    You're Not the One is a 98K Contemporary Romance that's ready to go!

    Thanks!

    Heather Thurmeier

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  12. Hi Deb, please excuse me for removing my post and re-submitting. There was a spelling error. So, I will try this again. Thanks for taking pitches today!
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    They say time heals all wounds. She just never thought it would happen three hundred years in the past.

    MARLANA CRAWFORD is a modern woman, saddened by grief and betrayal, is catapulted back in time to 1700's Scotland, where she comes face to face with the man who has haunted her dreams.

    ALEXANDER MACPHERSON has sworn to never love again after the death of his wife and child. Plagued by a recurring dream of a woman he doesn't know, Alexander is surprised when the object of his fantasies appears in his cottage, claiming to be from the future. Determined to figure out who she is and send her home, Alexander becomes enamored with the beautiful stranger.

    When an enemy of Alexander's kidnapps Marlana, he finds himself in the race of his life with two battles to win- one to save her life and one to win her heart.

    HIGHLAND DREAMS is a completed, 94,000 plus word novel. I am a PRO member of RWA and CHRW.

    Thank you!
    Sarah Hoss

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  13. Hi, Deb!! You are great to spend time with us given your busy schedule. Great job, Anita, landing Deb for the blog- she's, as my mother would say, "top drawer."

    I'm looking forward to reading all the questions and responses.

    Folks, Deb is wonderful. Don't lose this opportunity to have a conversation with her.

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  14. Deb, thanks so much for taking questions and pitches.

    Dante, a pack born shifter, thought he escaped the hell his old Alpha put him through. But Caster never lets anything of value out of his grasp, and Dante fights to protect the pack he has grown to love.

    When Jesse, a stray who has captured Dante's affection goes missing, he's torn between following his heart and protecting his pack. The balancing act of trying to do both leads him to find a disturbing bunker of hybrid creatures and torture.

    Reunited with Jesse, the pair must find Caster before he finds them. Can they work together to keep the pack safe from Caster's twisted amusement?

    ALPHA BORN is a 90k complete Urban Fiction with strong Romantic Elements.

    Thanks so much for your time,
    -Chris

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  15. Good Morning, Deb, and thanks for taking my pitch.

    NONI’S VISION is a contemporary, western-themed 92,000 word romance about a celebrity bull rider, his Native American grandmother’s vision and the woman tricked into spying on him.

    Facing eviction, LA artist Jennifer Benedict grabs the chance when her old schoolmate, nicknamed the Drama Queen, hires her to paint vineyard landscapes for a charity auction in the Santa Ynez Valley. However, the woman exacts a price. She claims her in-laws are out to ruin her marriage and threatens to fire Jennifer if she doesn’t do a little snooping. Loath to actually spy on people, Jennifer decides to fake her reports while the woman and her husband are away. But she can’t fake her reaction meeting Dan Patterson, the woman’s supposedly wicked brother-in-law.

    World champion bull rider Dan isn’t interested in his grandmother’s vision. Noni foretold of a woman coming to their valley, destined to be his. New arrival Jennifer matches that long-ago prophecy, but she's a member of the enemy camp, a friend of his cunning sister-in-law. Once Dan derails his sister-in-law’s plans to convert their historic cattle ranch into vineyards he’ll return to the circuit, where he belongs.

    Thanks so much for your time.

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  16. Good Morning Deb,
    I would like to send you a pitch for a completed Western Historical work at 110,000 words titled To Win A Texan's Heart.

    Query

    Rebecca Bogard survives the perils of the Civil War only to be kidnapped off the streets of New Orleans when the war is over. She finds herself a prisoner in a remote area of Texas where the only likely help is from Jacob McAllen.

    An emotionally closed off Rebecca prefers to remain detached from people, but after a brutal beating she concedes to allow Jacob to doctor her wounds, i.e. touch her. The help she requested didn’t involve anything physical, but she needs him to bring her to San Antonio where she can take the stage to New Mexico territory and finally escape her abductor. Frightening are the sensations awakened by Jacob’s touch. She can’t allow herself to become attached to anyone, for every relationship in her life revealed she is unwanted.

    Jacob McAllen is a brooding ex-soldier whose conscience won’t allow him to abandon a beaten woman alone in the desert. His plans to return to his family ranch are set aside to secure her safety, but only at the risk of murders, kidnappers, an orphaned boy and opening his heart to emotions he swore to keep locked away.

    Their journey not only pits them against deadly obstacles and deceit, but forces them to face the true desires of their hearts and the intrinsic need to be loved buried beneath the layers of hurt. The adventure through Texas, pursued by a relentless enemy, compels them to come to grips with their own demons.

    Thank you,
    Jeannene Walker
    jwalker711@gmail.com

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  17. Hi Deb,
    One exotic Carnie with wings. One hot Texas cowboy with roots. One helluva cowboy Christmas. My basis for a muffin. Keep plenty of sugar ready for the icing. Love your blog days ...

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  18. Hello, Deb! Thanks so much for this opportunity. A few weeks ago my agent sent my Regency Private-Eye story, THE HIDEAWAY, to Sourcebooks for your and Leah's consideration. From a bookseller's standpoint, I'm very excited by the house's success I've seen since you launched Casablanca. Your distribution and placement is impressive and the quality keeps improving. We're excited to hear your feedback about my submission!

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  19. Hi Deb! I love when you take pitches.

    Sending good thoughts out to everyone!

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  20. Hi Deb! Since I know some authors are shy, I'd like to ask a question that would benefit new authors. What is your reading process like for unsolicited manuscripts? Do you read the query, and if the hook line doesn't capture your interest, do you continue on to the first chapter? Or do you read the first chapter right away? Or the synopsis?
    You are always so generous with your time and information. Thank you!

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  21. Good morning, Deb! Thank you for being so generous with your time here. It's always mega-enlightening to listen in on your chat sessions!!

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  22. Deb, thank you for this wonderful opportunity of answering questions and taking pitches. I'm going to toss mine into the lot. :)

    Assistant district attorney Madison Montgomery has every reason to fear men and cops, but she has no choice but to swallow her apprehension when a killer forces her to shoulder an even bigger fear—the killer is murdering people in her inner circle and has targeted her as his next victim. Terrified for her remaining friends’ lives…and her own, Madison must place her trust in Josh Baldwin, the very same vice cop she just prosecuted for murder. Can she trust a man she believed could be guilty of murder? A man she believed to be part of a corrupt police circle? A man with every reason to consider her his enemy?

    Despite his resentment for the prosecutor and his distrust of women in general, Josh Baldwin can’t deny this strange need to protect Madison. She’s smart, sexy, and the only woman who’s ever matched his wits while lighting his fire—and the only woman with the power to help him clear his name. Madison and Josh somehow have to forget their damning start and bridge the emotional gulf between them if they are to accept that their percolating attraction has turned into true love. Except time is running out…unless they can stop the killer before he makes good on his threats.

    A completed 95,000 word romantic suspense, HER UNREASONABLE DOUBT has won and been a finalist in several RWA chapter contests under its original title The Gavel’s Echo.

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  23. Skylar, in our experience it takes close to 90,000 words for plot and characters to be sufficiently developed for single-title quality. 80,000 is probably the shortest I've seen that's worked. Jane Austen fiction can be much shorter, and erotic romance can be about 70,000 words. 60,000 just usually doesn't work in terms of quality, and I don't have time to review submissions that don't meet our minimum criteria, so if it's below 80,000, I'll turn it down out of hand.

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  24. Skylar, I forgot to tell you, we don't require that submissions be agented.

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  25. That is a fabulous picture of you, Deb! You look so happy, so friendly, so approachable that I'm sure you will get more pitches than you can handle in a day!
    Amelia

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  26. Jennifer, yes, I have requested full manuscripts from contests, but it is a rare occurence. Probably 3 times in the past year and I've judged at least 10 contests. I am interested to know when a manuscript has won or finaled in a contest. That info makes me take a closer look. I know the writing has stacked up well against some competition. However, when I judge a contest, I'm judging several manuscripts against each other. When I'm acquiring, I'm looking for my criteria to be met.
    *heroine the reader can relate to
    *hero she can fall in love with
    *a world gets created
    *a hook I can sell with in 2-3 sentences
    *the author has a career arc

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  27. Hello, Deb.
    I won't pitch today because I sent in my query a couple of months ago and recieved a nice note from you, stating I would hear from your associate shortly. But, I would love to hear what the Sourcebooks wait time is averaging, so I can gauge how long is long enough before I put my query to rest. :)
    Thanks for taking the time here today to answer our questions.

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  28. Pitch: Fantasy Knights
    Loni, the pitch doesn't make me want to read the book. Why is it a must read? What's the hook? I'm not sure it's credible--I don't get the "male revue" as a struggling business, or how she inherits a multi-billion dollar business. Sorry, it didn't hook me.

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  29. HI Terry, print runs are determined by the retailers and wholesalers orders, with an extra amount added in for potential re-orders.

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  30. I have a question.

    This is the second time I have pitched one of my books to you in open forum. It so happens that I am pitching the same book after taking your advice from the first about needing a hook.

    My question is... is it ok to pitch a book more than once? I have queried agents and been rejected. But the book has been revised. What is the proper thing to do?

    Thank you!
    Sarah Hoss

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  31. Kimberly, I don't think a website is necessary if you don't have a book on the market (or forthcoming). I don't think a website it useful for marketing a manuscript.

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  32. Pitch: 14 OCEAN AVENUE
    Kimberly, not a bad pitch, but I feel like I've read this story before. Nothing here stands out, and it's a very crowded marketplace. What makes your book a must read?

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  33. Hi Deb
    I am wondering what is going on in the straight(commerical) historical market? I am working on fictionalized account of a persona from history but the story has two plot lines ( one present day and one past with the historical figure). This at best a bittersweet romance, no HEA story ( in the romance sense) so it isn't romance so I am not sure how or who to pitch such a story to and if the Historical market in these aspects is different than historical romance

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  34. Thank you to everyone who's welcomed me today--I'm so glad that my blogging is useful to you--I'm thrilled to do it!

    If you find you have a question tomorrow, or next week, or next month, and it didn't make it onto today's blog, feel free to send it to me directly at deb.werksman@sourcebooks.com

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  35. Pitch: THE HEIR’S RETURN
    Keri, this was sort of intriguing. I'm always looking for unusual Regencies. I didn't quite get the hook, but I felt like I wanted to know more about the characters and how they got into such dire straits. Go ahead and send a full submission--be sure to include whether this starts a series and what the next couple of books will be. deb.werksman@sourcebooks.com

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  36. KJ, we publish erotic romance, but not erotica. I have two series started and I'd like to add a series each season. I'm open to a collection but it has to have a really good hook--it can't be just a collection. And it must balance the sex and the love story in every novella.

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  37. Hi Heather, the length of time between contract and publication depends on where we are in our seasons (Fall and Spring) and whether the book requires publication in a particular season. As a rule of thumb, minimum 9 months. More usually 1-2 years.

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  38. Pitch: You're Not the One
    Heather, I didn't like the heroine, sorry. She sounds like a victim, and she got herself into a mess. Why should I care? (Sorry, don't mean to be brutal, but you're asking a reader to spend a lot of time with your book, not to mention the money to buy it. What's the hook?)

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  39. Pitch: HIGHLAND DREAMS
    Sarah, Scottish Highland time travel works well, but I don't see anything in the pitch that will make this stand out. I feel like I've read this story before. What's the hook?

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  40. Pitch: ALPHA BORN
    Chris, we don't publish in the sci-fi/fantasy category--only the romance category.

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  41. Pitch: NONI’S VISION
    Sheila, you're possibly close. Cowboy romance can really work. However, the title is bad--it doesn't sound like romance and isn't saleable. And I'm borderline not liking/not relating to the heroine. She sounds like a victim.

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  42. Hi Deb,
    I wanted to pitch several stories.
    1. A trilogy based on angel mythology. King Nimrod’s wife Semiramis is seduced by an arch angel and the two fall in love. Their union results in hybrid creatures like the Minotaur, cupid etc. God commands the sons of Heaven to leave the Daughters of Man. Those angels that refuse are cast out and become demons. The arch angel Aldebarron lives for centuries a she sees Semiramis reincarnated as Anne Boleyn and other women both famous and non-famous. He may never touch her again; however, he follows her throughout the ages until battling the mob, C0olumbian drug lords until Armageddon where the two star crossed lovers fight on the side of good.
    2. This is a story involving multi-verse theory of alternate dimensions. A disgraced psychologist is teaching in a poorly funded juvenile offender’s school. An Earthquake occurs and she takes a strange rock that hit her on her head to the uncle and geologist of one of her students. The trio then battles a host of intelligent raptors from another dimension who want to enslave the human race.
    3. A young woman who is the last remaining Sybil and her pet dragon are running from the emperor Charlagmaign who is trying to eradicate her. The two must find the remaining pieces of the crown of Nebudcenezer so the world may find peace. This is a serious that moves into the discovery of America, the Revolutionary War and the pending apocalypse. It seems the Crown of Nebudcenezer is actually a part of the Arc of the Covenant that was stolen by Nebuchadnezzar when he sacked Jerusalem and has been hiding in the U.S.A. for centuries.

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  43. Hi Deb,
    I wanted to pitch several stories.
    1. A trilogy based on angel mythology. King Nimrod’s wife Semiramis is seduced by an arch angel and the two fall in love. Their union results in hybrid creatures like the Minotaur, cupid etc. God commands the sons of Heaven to leave the Daughters of Man. Those angels that refuse are cast out and become demons. The arch angel Aldebarron lives for centuries a she sees Semiramis reincarnated as Anne Boleyn and other women both famous and non-famous. He may never touch her again; however, he follows her throughout the ages until battling the mob, C0olumbian drug lords until Armageddon where the two star crossed lovers fight on the side of good.
    2. This is a story involving multi-verse theory of alternate dimensions. A disgraced psychologist is teaching in a poorly funded juvenile offender’s school. An Earthquake occurs and she takes a strange rock that hit her on her head to the uncle and geologist of one of her students. The trio then battles a host of intelligent raptors from another dimension who want to enslave the human race.
    3. A young woman who is the last remaining Sybil and her pet dragon are running from the emperor Charlagmaign who is trying to eradicate her. The two must find the remaining pieces of the crown of Nebudcenezer so the world may find peace. This is a serious that moves into the discovery of America, the Revolutionary War and the pending apocalypse. It seems the Crown of Nebudcenezer is actually a part of the Arc of the Covenant that was stolen by Nebuchadnezzar when he sacked Jerusalem and has been hiding in the U.S.A. for centuries.

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  44. Pitch: To Win A Texan's Heart
    Jeannene, historical western might work in the library market, but unless it has an unbelievable hook, I don't think it will work on my list. I'm not seeing that hook in your pitch, sorry.

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  45. JoMarie, thank you! Can't wait to see your submission!

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  46. Hi again Deb,

    Pitch: You're Not the One

    The heroine is most certainly not a victim. She's a just a girl on a reality dating show who's found herself accidentally in love with her cameraman and a bachelor who turns out to be her ex-boyfriend. Did I mention the ex wants her back?!

    A reader will like her because the heroine is accessible — she's every girl who's ever been in a tricky situation. She strong, independent, funny and crazy in love with an uber-hunky cameraman. What's not to like?

    Thanks so much for your time, Deb! It's fun to pitch even if I'm not quite what you're looking for. Maybe I'm not The One. ;)

    Heather Thurmeier

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  47. Hi Kathryne, thanks for asking that question on behalf of all the shy ones :-)
    I don't know how other editors do it, but I evaluate a submission as follows:
    1) I read the cover letter
    2) I read/review the synopsis
    3) I start reading the manuscript
    I stop at whatever point I become clear whether I want to pursue the project or whether it is not for us. For example, if the cover letter reveals that the book is in a category we don't publish, or it doesn't meet our minimum criteria, I don't continue. However, 99% of the time, even if the synopsis gives me doubts, I give the writing a shot. After all, it's not the synopsis we're going to publish...

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  48. Deb,
    Thank you for your question. The dreams are the hook. That two people, 300 years apart could dream of each other.

    In Highland Dreams, my characters are over coming emotional turmoil. Marlana's parents were both killed in a car accident and her boyfriend cheated on her, then left her. Alexander lost his wife and child in child birth. Through time and devastation, they dream of each other. When Marlana goes back in time, they have to overcome their broken hearts and find healing in each other. It is a tug of war emotionally and physically between them. Eventually, time does heal all wounds. They just had to wait three hundred years for it to happen.

    I hope this is what you were looking for, in all accounts. =)
    Thanks again for your time.

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  49. Pitch: HER UNREASONABLE DOUBT
    Anne-Marie, this is not a bad pitch, but it feels like a story I've read before. What's the hook? What makes it a must read in a really overcrowded marketplace?

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  50. Hi Deb,
    I just LUV your pitch sessions. I learn so much from your comments on everyone's pitches, not just my own. Thanks for taking the time to do this.

    THE PAWN, romantic suspense, first in a trilogy:

    An intelligent young woman is caught in a life-and-death chess match and used as THE PAWN in both her charismatic boss’s money laundering operation for a drug cartel kingpin and the FBI’s investigation. Fighting deception, manipulation, and seduction, she struggles to find the truth as dead bodies accumulate. Desperate for her help to decipher the secret laundering system, the mysterious FBI agent confronts her with the reality of the murder and mayhem around her. Suddenly aware that she’s been deceived by both sides, she must choose who to believe, who to help, and who to love.

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  51. Amelia, thank you so much for your kind words about my photo!

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  52. Bethanne, you should hear back within 10 to 12 weeks. If you haven't, please notify me and we will follow up. Sometimes our response doesn't reach the author, but we will always send a response.

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  53. What an awesome opportunity - thanks Deb for doing this :)

    Here's my pitch for The Seduction of Lady Bells (Medieval Romance)

    A young woman finds it difficult to rein in her curiosity when her husband’s been accused of murder.

    Newly wed Willamena de Graham knows listening in on conversations is wrong and she’s promised her stepmother and brother she will cease once she reaches her new home of Fallowlees. But with her husband Hugh refusing to speak of his past and both villagers and serfs evading her every question, her curious nature gets the best of her. Frustrated by even the lack of gossip and enticed by Hugh’s overtures of a partnership beyond the bedchamber, she curtails her inquiries. When a visitor arrives unannounced and suggests murder and a cover up, she knows she’s fallen for more than just physical seduction. Now she must decide – a future filled with passion, not love, or one more conversation to learn the truth about her husband.

    Both will break her heart. One could prove fatal.

    Thanks again - learning lots from this pitch session.

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  54. Hi Deb,

    Happy autumn! I'd like to pitch a contemporary laced with humor (just a little over 90K)titled: One,Two,Three-Meant to Be. Here goes... What's a girl to do when she doesn't want an involvement but finds herself attracted to two different men, one of whom is a co-worker and the other an online personality? Chaos ensues. To escape the madness, Kate Cherry takes to the high seas only to come face to face with the one man who happens to be both attractions. Instead of paving the way for smooth sailing, there's rough waters ahead.

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  55. Hi Deb, and thank you for taking questions and pitches. I would like to know if you ever accept manuscripts that are more of a novella size (45,000 words) and if not, why not?
    Here's my pitch for WINTER OF MY DISCONTENT (45,000 words but can be made longer:)

    Speechwriter Kelley McCafferty, a Republican writing for a Democratic candidate for Virginia governor, is looking at her missing-a-little-authenticity life. She must face the harsh reality: A lover of Shakespeare and poetry, she adores words, yet she doesn't believe the words she writes for the powerful congressman and candidate. When he asks her to write into a speech an alibi Kelley doesn't quite believe, the FBI starts asking questions. And in the midst of all this wordsmithing for this attractive yet hungry man, and who admits his feelings for her, she learns she has cancer. Married to an Education Department undersecretary who doesn’t even take her to chemo treatments, Kelley doesn't trust him, yet trusts her boss less.

    As a deep freeze penetrates the nation's capital, Kelley meets a different fate, among overturned trucks on I-95. What will the future unravel for her, her boss, her family? The answer will make you think: about masquerades, and about forgiveness. #

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  56. Good Afternoon, Deb.

    Thank you so much for taking questions and pitches.

    Here's the pitch for On This Forgotten Hill, a 98,000 word contemporary paranormal romance set on the shores of the Delaware River in the New Jersey Highlands, and the distant hills of Ireland.

    Campbell's Folly has a most tragic past and more than its share ghosts who roam the halls. Noah Chase, has heard their mournful cries since he played in the abandon castle as a boy. Now a successful contractor, he's returned to Sussex-On-Delaware to restore the castle to its former glory and set the spirits to rest. But in order to succeed he must face his own troubled past and gain the cooperation of a town that's never accepted him.



    Lilly Briton has ghosts of her own to put to rest. Coming out of a bad marriage and an estrangment from what's left of her family, the last thing she wanted was to return to the New Jersey Highlands. Hired as a photographer to chronical the castle's restoration, her growing love for Noah and curiosity of those who died tragically within the fortified manor, push them to uncover the mystery surrounding the place called Campbell's Folly and the curse that surrounds it. And in the process she'll learn to heal herself.

    Thank you so much for your time in reading this pitch. It is greatly appreciated.

    MK Mancos

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  57. Hi Deb.

    Thanks for taking questions and pitches.

    Brenda Bartolomeo wishes she could say no to a bet. But when it comes to her personal life, she has major gambling issues. Her latest bet lands her on reality TV show, Man of Your Dreams, where she’s supposed to find love with the bachelor. Only she doesn’t want the bachelor, she wants his brother, Caleb.

    What’s a man to do with a woman who can’t say no? Bet her.

    Caleb Smith uses Brenda’s weakness against her to keep her on the show. He bets her that if she stays on the show, she’ll fall in love with his brother. He soon discovers he’s made a mistake. If Brenda has her way, his days as a bachelor may be over.

    Betting Brenda is an 80,000-word contemporary romance.

    Jennifer Britt
    jenbrit1@yahoo.com

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  58. Hi Deb! Often during the Regency era women might use drink or laudunum to deal with the monotony of their lives. Would a heroine that is recovering from a drinking problem be of interest to you?

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  59. Sarah, I am always open to taking a look at a revised pitch or submission. You should ask others before you send it to them. When you send the revision, you should always acknowledge that it's been submitted before, and if possible, give a brief overview of what you've changed.

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  60. Hi Deb! Thanks so much for offering to read pitches

    Kitty LaSalle and the Marvelous Mystery Tonic
    Historical Romance

    Tyler Browning needs money—quick. He’s a first-rate con who has charm and charisma on his side. After making a hasty promise to a dying friend, he vows to take care of the man’s widow and her child, so selling a bogus tonic seems the easiest way to meet that goal. All is going well until a chance meeting with a pretty but far too conscientious reporter sends his plans and passion into a tailspin.

    Kitty LaSalle may be new at her job, but that doesn’t mean she can’t spot a rat when she sees one. Who cares if her editor’s only purpose in sending her after Tyler was to remove her from the office? However, as she pokes around, she discovers much more about Tyler than she expected. As Kitty investigates Tyler’s lies, her own terrible past resurfaces and she has to decide if Tyler is trustworthy or if he is going to ruin her life.

    As their unlikely relationship deepens, Tyler begins to reap what he’s sowed while kidnap and extortion schemes hound Kitty. The two will need to rely on each other if they’re going to make it through the drama. Together they will have to learn that acceptance and forgiveness don’t come from a bottle no matter how much they both wish it did.

    Thanks for your time.
    Sandra Sookoo
    sandra.sookoo@comcast.net

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  61. Jody, straight historical fiction goes into the general fiction category. What seems to work best there is people or events. Some periods work better than others. Tudor England, American Revolution. Pitch your book with a strong emphasis on what you're doing that's new/different in the time period. "Time slip" also does well in general fiction (see Ciji Ware and Susanna Kearsley from our list). Be sure to make very clear in your pitch how the past/present interact.

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  62. Renci, thank you for pitching your stories. They sound as though they belong in the sci-fi/fantasy category, which we don't publish. We only publish genre fiction in the romance category. In the romance category, the love story is central to the book.

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  63. Heather, thanks for pitching, and for the explanation.

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  64. Sarah, dreams are not a hook, I'm sorry. What's working in paranormal is vampires, shapeshifters, and urban fantasy romance. Ghosts, psychics, dreams and other etherealities are not selling.

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  65. Angel, my criterion is: *a heroine the reader can relate to. If your heroine meets that criterion, then yes, she could work. I like that you're pointing to an aspect of the period that's not over-explored.

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  66. Pitch: Betting Brenda
    Jennifer, I don't believe the premise, I'm sorry. Also a heroine with a gambling problem probably wouldn't meet my criterion for a heroine the reader can relate to. Sorry. BTW--Reality show isn't a premise that particularly appeals to me, and I'm seeing it A LOT. It's not original any more. Sorry.

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  67. Pitch: The Seduction of Lady Bells
    Janet, great pitch, please send a full submission to deb.werksman@sourcebooks.com Please be sure to include what your next 2 books would be.

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  68. Pitch: One,Two,Three-Meant to Be
    Jan, doesn't feel like a must read--all elements I've read before. I'm not seeing what's fresh, what's the hook?

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  69. Kristine, we don't publish novellas--I don't have a way to do that. We're a general trade publishing company--all our books are printed and released in ebook at the same time. The digital first publishers do accept novellas. Because I don't have time to evaluate submissions that don't meet my minimum criteria, I'm not going to be able to critique your pitch. If you want to build the book out to single title romance length, you may pitch it again. thanks!

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  70. Pitch: On This Forgotten Hill
    MK/Kathleen/Kate, thank you, this is a good pitch, but ghosts are not working for me in paranormal, so I'm going to pass.

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  71. Pitch: Kitty LaSalle and the Marvelous Mystery Tonic
    Sandra, this does not sound like a romance title. I don't get what period this is. And the hero being a con-man doesn't fit my criterion of a hero the reader can fall in love with. It makes him undesirable. Sorry.

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  72. Pitch: THE PAWN
    Diane, this doesn't sound like it belongs in the romance category (title definitely doesn't). I barely get a sense of the hero at all. Sounds like a mystery, which we don't publish.

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  73. If I missed anyone, please let me know! deb.werksman@sourcebooks.com

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  74. Deb, thank you for your response to my question. My very first pitch ever was to you at the Desert Dreams Conference. You were great. I wasn't.

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  75. Hi Deb! Thanks for offering to read pitches. What a great opportunity! Here's mine...

    Family – or the lack of it – has always been a sore spot for Holly Reed. But when she discovers the father she never knew is a renegade faerie out to kill her before he finishes a centuries-old war with humankind, her only chance for survival – and to keep her new faerie life (both literally and figuratively) - may be to accept the protection of Shadow, the faerie who claims her as his soul mate.

    Shadow’s life has always been about duty – to the queen, to his job, to Gaea. He gave up on finding his soul mate long ago, but when he meets Holly and feels the unmistakable connection between them, he’s not nearly as happy about it as he should be. You see, Holly’s half human and Shadow, like most fae, isn’t all that crazy about humans after losing a war to them centuries ago. The problem is, Holly needs his protection, and he won't turn his back on his mate. With a breathtaking attraction simmering between them, will they overcome their doubts and embrace their fate in time to save Holly from her father?

    FAERIE FATE is an 86,000-word completed paranormal romance, book one in a trilogy.

    Mara Nash
    maranash66@gmail.com

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  76. Thanks for taking pitches! This whole conversation of comments has been awesome to read!

    Here's my pitch for my erotica novella:

    Set in an ancient tribal community, THE CHIEFTAIN’S DAUGHTER tells the tale of a young tribal princess who is kidnapped and forced to slavery by her father's rival, but while trying to win her freedom, she instead wins the heart of her master.

     Ishara, the Chieftain’s daughter, becomes the slave of the Manahotchi chief, Mechan. Plagued by a past of loss and regrets, Mechan shuts himself off emotionally from everyone, and Ishara is no exception. The two push each other’s limits, challenging their wits to the breaking point. To make matters worse, Mechan’s son is not only trying to sabotage their relationship, but the tribe as well, and he plans on using Ishara to do it.

    Ishara’s plan is to run back home, but will she be able to get back to the tribe before Aloran carries out his plot for control? And will she be able to leave her heart behind with her father's enemy, Mechan?


    Thanks!

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  77. Hi Deb-

    Thank you so much for answering questions today!
    Do you foresee a decline in paranormal popularity in the future? I know shapeshifters are hot, primarily werewolves. What about other shifter romances, such as dragons?

    Thanks!

    Kara Wills

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  78. What the heck. I'll give it a shot.

    Two sentence pitch:
    In BLOOD DREAMS, a free-spirited vampire and guilt-ridden incubus combine forces to stop the dream-walker that threatens to destroy 80 years of peace between humans and non-humans. Can they preserve the peace and find love without their buried secrets coming back to haunt their futures?

    Blood Dreams is an erotic paranormal romance, complete at 94,000 words.

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  79. Oh, I also have one for my WIP. Yay!


    My novel-in-progress is a historical romance about the personal and romantic journey of a servant, Charlotte, who finds out that she is nobility and is quickly caught in the scandalous world of lust, money, and greed.

    The problem is, the Revolution is quickly upon the French elite, and just as soon as Charlotte thinks she has mastered and settled into her new life with a new husband and new friends, the seams start to loosen, and her world of privilege quickly becomes undone.

    The once helpless orphan must put to use what she learned as a Lady in order to keep her head above the water as the noble French society dissipates, and happiness becomes something of the past. In such fragile times, Charlotte learns some hard lessons, but most importantly she learns a new lesson that was absent for most of her life: love.

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  80. Oh dear. Ignore the novella pitch. I didn't catch your novella comment. Though, it's at 30k and could easily become a novel.

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  81. Pitch: FAERIE FATE
    Mara, the pitch is good, but I didn't see what the hook is. Lots of info, but what makes it a must read in such an overcrowded marketplace?

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  82. Leia, thank you, but we don't publish erotica and we don't publish novellas.

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  83. Kara, great question. Paranormals have been going strong for a long time--it's a natural cycle that the subgenre will get overpublished and it then becomes more difficult to break a new author out in that subgenre. I'd be interested in dragons as a shapeshifter paranormal. Demons are also hot right now.

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  84. Pitch: BLOOD DREAMS
    Tory, very well done as a 2-sentence pitch, but I'm not seeing what the hook is--what makes this a must read? The title doesn't sound like romance, either.

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  85. Leia, I'm not sure I believe your historical WIP. A servant who discovers she's nobility--I'm not sure about the credibility. French Revolution is a very tough time period in historical romance. You don't mention a hero, but I assume this is a romance? What's working is Georgian, Regency, Victorian England and Scottich any time. I'm hearing that medievals may also be on the rise. Other periods/places, not so much (there's some clamor for them, but they don't sell).

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  86. Olivia, and ALL my authors: YOU rock! :-)

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  87. Thank you for your response. Charlotte was a child of a Duke from a secret (and documented) marriage, if that helps. He acknowledges her after his wife dies and he realizes that there are no heirs to carry on the duchy.

    As for the time period, it is a tricky one, but I somehow manage it. Just right now (literally) I sold another short to Harlequin, so I'm hoping they do well and I can push the French Revolution into the mix.

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  88. Pitch: Dark Intent

    A rookie vengeance demon becomes a pawn in the deadly game between a demon hunter and the monster that destroyed his family.

    Arabella Hayes never thought astral projecting was dangerous, until it puts her at the scene of a grisly attack in progress. When her silent scream isn’t so silent, she finds herself stalked by the frightening entity with glowing red eyes, and an agenda she could never imagine.

    Half demon, half demon hunter Ryder McKinnon hides in the open—all the better to keep those who hunt him at bay. When a beautiful vengeance demon asks for his help against the mysterious entity that's stalking her, Ryder finds himself on the trail of an old familiar enemy filled with DARK INTENT.

    DARK INTENT is a completed paranormal romance of 95,000 words.

    Thanks for your time :)

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  89. Dear Deb, I pitched to you at RWA Nationals in Orlando. You requested a partial, and asked that I send it to Shana which I did. Not knowing how long the process is for responding, I am wondering if I can still expect to hear from her or should I resubmit? Thank you.

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  90. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  91. Deb, I just wanted to take the time to thank you for responding to my submissions. Romance is a key element in all of them, but I certainly understand that they do not fall in to the category that you publish. Thank you very much for your time, Renci Denham. P.S. Sorry for the typos and double posting of my last blog, I had just taken a pain pill for post op and apperently this is why they all come with a warning label not to operate machinery under their influence.

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  92. Hi Deb!
    Thanks for taking pitches today. Here's mine:

    BAD MEDICINE: 92k mystery/suspense/steamy romance
    Unable to escape her past, Chloe Palmer returns to the Texas coast for her murdered father’s funeral and to face Rafael Solis, the man she left behind. Rafael is now sheriff but he never gave up hoping for Chloe’s return. She inherits her father’s shrimp boat and irascible crew, enabling her to make a living for herself and her young daughter. Rafael’s passion breaks down her emotional barriers but her impetuous nature draws her into a cruel vortex where she runs afoul of old and new enemies. Previous rivalries emerge, pitting Rafael against a former classmate who is the heir-apparent to a crime dynasty. Rafael’s sister confronts Chloe about their relationship, but both are kidnapped by the drug runner’s crew in an effort to bring pressure on Rafael. The women are taken offshore, and when the drug runner is released he sends word that Chloe is under his protection. The kidnappers dump the women overboard in an attempt to deny their role. Chloe hates Rafael’s sister but chooses to save her, helping her to body surf onto shore. Body parts wash onshore as Rafael and Chloe battle an infatuated but vicious drug dealer, kidnappers, and a twisted curandero (Mexican healer). They emerge from the violence with a renewed respect for each other and a commitment to forge a life together.

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  93. Any comments that haven't been answered yet, or that come in between now and midnight tonight, I will answer tomorrow (Friday) by 5 pm. Thank you!!!!!

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  94. Hi Deb,

    I am very excited to find out you are taking pitches again. I have done some work on the pitch I sent last time you ran this wonderful opportunity, and I would like to share it with you now.

    A Bid For Love
    Contemporary Romance

    Unable to explain the nightmares and memory loss upon her return from London, reporter Becky Edwards is surprised to be awarded the covetted interview with millionarie, Greg Gibson, for the Albany Blend magazine. Unknown to her, Greg has tracked her down believing she is responsible for his sister's death, and in order to expose her, he integrates himself into her life... and her bed. As Becky's nightmares begin to unravel and Greg's own demons emerge, can their love overcome the enemies trying to keep them apart?

    Thanks so much, Deb.

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  95. Thank you Deb
    I have read the works of both Ware and Kearsley and I especially loved Kearsley's last book.

    Pitch; THE SILENT PRINCESS
    My story weaves the present day journey of PHd candidate Maggie Douglas who has found letters in a obscure family archives of a Scottish princess who was deaf in the 15th century. With only the letters from her princess's lover as her guide she sets out to find out why the lovers parted. Along the way she needs the help of a Scottish peer who refuses her access to his family archives and she is sure he knows more than he is willing to share.

    I had originally plot ths only as the princess's story but I a fan of authors like Kearsley and Barbara Esking who weave real people with fictional characters in the present.

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  96. Opps I need to wear my glasses...

    I had originally plotted ths only as the princess's story but I am fan of authors like Kearsley and Barbara Esking who weave real historical people with fictional characters in the present.

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  97. I hope it's not too late to post a pitch. I worked all day at the library.

    Larkfield House
    Contemporary Paranormal

    Katie is running out of time. The first guests at Larkfield House Bed & Breakfast arrive in a few months but the place is a wreck. Her search for a professional renovator digs up the blonde, blue-eyed Matt, and suddenly there’s action everywhere! Hammers hammering, Indian relics moving around under their own power, sanders sanding, empty rocking chairs rocking, while the relationship between owner and renovator heats up faster than a lightning strike. Problem is Katie’s the orphan who yearns for a home of her own, while the foot-loose, well-funded Matt has a mission in life to search the countryside looking for historic buildings in desperate need of his gentle touch.
    Witness to all the action—and that means all the action—is a voyeuristic virginal ghost. He is – er, was -- an unfortunate young English gentleman who shipwrecked off the coast of Florida a couple of centuries ago. He died despite the tender loving care he received from an exotic Ais Indian maiden who found him on the beach. And he wants to finish what they started.
    Annoyed at all the pounding and nailing that disturbs his centuries-long rest, the young ghost decides to learn about his sexuality…first hand…from Katie and Matt.

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  98. Deb--It is so totally fab that authors have a chance to pitch to you on the blog! You are the best!! I'm one happy SB author :) I'll keep a good thought for everyone that's putting it out there.

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  99. Hi Deb--question: How important do you feel social networking and/or building a web presence (in moderation, of course!) is for an unpublished author? For those querying you, do you take their skill in connecting with readers before The Call in mind when thinking about where their story will fit in the market? Also, what trends do you see in the future for historical romance?

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  100. Pitch: Dark Intent
    Lis, this pitch confused me. What's a "vengeance demon"? How can he be "half demon, half demon hunter"? And this doesn't make sense at all: "her silent scream isn’t so silent". I think you're trying to be intriguing, but you're not communicating clearly in the process.

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  101. Em, you can follow up with me--send me an email with the submission info in it (date, title, type of book) and I'll forward it to Shana. deb.werksman@sourcebooks.com

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  102. Pitch: WIDOW OF SCANDAL
    Evangeline, this is a very good pitch. My list isn't the right place for this book, but you should submit it to Esi Sogah at Avon, or to an editor at Kimani. Sounds like real fun!

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  103. Renci, I hope you're feeling better!

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  104. Pitch: BAD MEDICINE
    Dragonfly, you have to decide what category the book belongs in. "mystery/suspense/steamy romance" isn't clear. Is it a mystery (which we don't publish)? Or is it a romantic suspense (which we do)? You want your pitch to be as clear as possible so the editor can get the info he/she needs at a glance.

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  105. Pitch: A Bid For Love
    csaxby, this is pretty formulaic--I'm not seeing what will make it stand out. I worry about the credibility too.

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  106. Pitch: THE SILENT PRINCESS
    Jody, this is good, but I don't get her motivation for trying to find out what happened in the past. I don't see a credible reason why she (or the reader) would care.

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  107. Pitch: Larkfield House
    Marian, this is quite a fun pitch. I like how your voice is coming through. I'm hesitant because ghosts are not what's working in paranormal, alas.

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  108. Evangeline, social networking and web presence are irrelevant until you have a book to sell, so for unpublished authors, time is better spent learning the marketplace and honing your craft.

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  109. Deb, I just wanted to take the time to thank you for your kind words. I know you are a very busy woman and not only are you taking the time to field pitches but you also took the time to wish me well. I just wanted to say thank you!!!!!!

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  110. Thanks, Deb, for your encouraging words. Sometimes you can't even give a ghost away! I'll keep writing and pitching.

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