By Deb Werksman
One of the most wonderful things about my job is being able to make ‘The Call’ to an author—it’s what I live for. It’s very exciting and rewarding, and kind of like asking someone to marry you—or, for an alternative metaphor, since I consider myself to be a book midwife, it’s like taking on a new pregnant mom (I always tell authors that publishing a book is more like birthing an elephant than it is like running a horse race, so patience, patience!). This is about where the metaphor breaks down though, because I also tell authors all the time—the book is NOT your baby—it’s a professional endeavor, it’s a craft, it’s something to be very proud of, but anyone who actually has children will tell you not to be attached to your book the way you would be to your child. (On the good side, while your book may keep you up all night from time to time, it will never throw up in your bed or make you rush to the emergency room.)
“The Call” that I get to make happens after quite a bit of work—maybe weeks’ worth, maybe even months’ worth: Reviewing the initial pitch and manuscript, which sometimes involves preparing a critique and working with the author to shape the work into a series or to develop the writing, characters and storyline. Then I have to think about how to present the author and work to our editorial meeting. When acquiring, we have to know why the book will appeal to readers and how we can successfully package and present it to the marketplace and reach the broadest audience. We’re constantly researching the competition and trying to gauge where the marketplace is and where it’s going.
Once we make a decision to acquire, we commit one hundred percent. By the time I make “The Call,” I have a vision for the book, the author and her career.
Then once I get the author on the phone, it’s just the best. Sometimes an author shrieks, or I can tell she’s jumping up and down or maybe holding her breath (I haven’t had anyone pass out on me!). A lot of debut authors then go and sign with an agent, so I know that my call has facilitated a lot of agent/author relationships, which is also great.
“The Call” is very special, and I just love when I get to make one—the editor/author relationship is very special and close, and it is a business relationship, but in such a creative field! The beginning of a new editor/author relationship is just wonderful.
So here’s what I’m looking for:
*single title romance (90,000 words) in any subgenre: paranormal, historical, romantic suspense, contemporary, erotic romance
*a heroine the reader can relate to
*a 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 (if the reader loves this first book, what do we give them next and next and next…)
Full submission guidelines on www.sourcebooks.com