Love Romance? So does Sourcebooks editor Deb Werksman!!

Hello all. I am so pleased to be able to share my interview with you all today. A few months back I had the absolute pleasure of pitching to Sourcebooks editor and 2010 RWA NYC Golden Apple, Publisher and Editor of the year award winner Deb Werksman online through SavvyAuthors.com . While doing so my computer locked up and poor Mrs. Werksman had no one pitching to her for nearly ten minutes as I tried everything to get my computers(yes more than one failed me) to work. I explained what happened and she was nice enough to try the pitch again! Thank goodness.

After my pitch with Mrs. Werksman her passion and excitement for the romance genre motivated me to send her two of my manuscripts(not at the same time though) and while neither was something that she was interested in acquiring I am still looking forward to sending her more! So without further babbling from me here is Mrs.Werksman’s interview. Thank you to her for participating in the anniversary of the blog. The winning commenter from Rebecca Zanetti’s blog post was our blog friend the wonderful Danica Avet. And again today I will be giving a free digital copy of my short story Riding Double to one commenter.

What made you become an editor?

Becoming an editor was a natural progression for me. I was an English major, went to law school for a year (long enough to get trained on contracts) then decided I wanted to be in the arts. I’ve always been an avid reader—it’s what I love best!

How did you go about becoming an editor?

Worked in art galleries in NYC for 5 years, where the thing I enjoyed most was working on catalogues. Then in 1989 my husband and I started a magazine, which led to publishing calendars and books, and in 1998 I sold my company to Sourcebooks. I was offered to keep whatever job in the publishing company I wanted, and acquiring editor was the natural one.

 

Did you ever think of becoming an agent?

No, I haven’t. I like being on the “buying” side of the conversation!

 

If you get a manuscript on submission on you like it but just don’t love it do you ever offer any advice on what would make you love it?

Yes, I actually do this fairly often. I always try to give value to authors, and if I see something, I’ll say something!

How many new authors to you acquire a year and what typically are the genre’s that stand out the most for you?

I make sure to have debut authors on every list, so every season (Spring and Fall) I’m launching at least 2-3 new authors.

I’m acquiring single title romance fiction in all subgenres, so there isn’t one that particularly stands out for me. Every subgenre has its challenges. With romantic suspense, the biggest challenge is the credibility/world-building. The author has to deliver not only a fast-paced, action packed romance, but it’s also not enough to just place hero/heroine in law enforcement or the military—the author has to really deliver the world of special ops, or the world of the FBI, etc. With historical romance, because there’s so much of it, the challenge is a hook that will make the stories stand out. I think that’s the big challenge in paranormal now, too, especially with vampires. In erotic romance, the balance between the sex and the love story is the biggest challenge, and in contemporary, it’s again the world-building and the hook.

I have five criteria that I use to evaluate every submission, whether it be from a debut author or an author with a track record, so this is where it all starts for my list:

A heroine the reader can relate to

A hero she can fall in love with

A world gets created that the reader can escape into

A hook I can sell with in 2-3 sentences

The author has a career arc—this book is the first in a trilogy or a series, or the author has ideas for further books in this subgenre—in other words, if the readers love this book, the author is prepared with what to offer readers next, and next, and next…

 

I attended the 2010 RWA Sourcebooks book signing and noticed right away that there were several authors who were published with Pride and Prejudice “spin offs”. Is this something to watch for? I admit it instantly caught my attention and I got each one I could. My mom currently has those books so I have not had the pleasure of reading them yet, but they do look interesting.

Sourcebooks is the country’s leading publisher of Jane Austen related fiction, and I’m publishing about 1 new title a month, and sometimes a few more than that. The film adaptations of Pride and Prejudice in particular sparked a real outpouring of imagination and lots of wonderful continuations, retellings or modern renditions are out there. Jane Austen seems to be immortal!

 

What is the next step in editing for you? What are your future plans?

The next step for me is growing Casablanca even bigger, expanding my list of women’s fiction and historical fiction (right now I do a few of each every season, and while I’ll stay selective, I think there’s room for growth). I could be happy editing romance fiction for the rest of my life!

Again thank you so much to Mrs. Werksman for taking the time to participate. For more information about Sourcebooks and Mrs. Werksman as well as all the fabulous authors and books with Sourcebooks please head over to http://www.sourcebooks.com/sourcebooks-community-books-and-solutions.html . For another great blog to follow with the occasional chance of pitching to Sourcebooks follow http://casablancaauthors.blogspot.com/ And remember leave a comment and enter to win another free digital copy of Riding Double.

Wetsday Smells Good, Too

Jealousy, envy, covetousness. All very good words for my mood this week, as many of you head off to see Mickey Mouse and spend three glorious days with people who know GMC is not a pickup truck, who can debate the merits of the clinch cover, who don’t consider stories about people living happily ever after in committed relationships to be literature’s red-headed stepchildren. Oh, yes, I am in the deep throes of RWA envy, and I better be getting lots of play-by-play tweets!
But I can still join in the festivities here at home. Several sites are having Not-at-the-Conference workshops, and I’ve picked out a couple that look good. If you, like me, are not lucky enough to be in Orlando, check out Savvy Authors — I’ll be in the chats for “The Language of Erotic Romance” and “Muse, Breathe, Focus, Achieve”.
And since I won’t get to see real, live, cover models in the very attractive flesh, I wanted to get someone really special for this week’s guest.
Now, this week’s guest is someone you either really love, or just can’t stand. Since I fall into the really-love camp and it is my post, those of you who don’t appreciate him can just come back next week.
I think he is absolutely gorgeous, with pec’s to die for and a sense of humor too. In the clip this week, he even occupies a hot tub. Just ask SFCatty how I feel about hot male eye candy in a hot tub — on second thought, I’m sure you know without asking!
To celebrate RWA week, here’s the man women want, and men want to be: The Old Spice Guy!!!

Tuesday’s Industry News: My Little Grain of Salt

Hello all, I’ve been quite busy these last few days rewriting the opening of a WIP I’ve decided to actually finish. This book is quickly adding up the word count and while some of my SavvyAuthors.com friends are already finished with their bootcamp I’m at 17k. I’m happy with that. ALso I may interupt someone elses day with news this week but can’t promise anything, although I sure wish I could.

Onto today’s topic, during the second week of bootcamp I got really discouraged and decided to write another little article. This article is all about advice. I hope you enjoy it.

My Little Grain of Salt

By

Sayde Grace

 

Each time my stocky bay mare would come barreling out of the arena there was always someone nearby to tell me what I did right or wrong and of course how to do better. It never failed to amaze me how others just knew how to fix all my problems, even when there weren’t any. But being an obsessive person and determined to be the best I would sit atop my panting horse and listen to every word spoken to me. Many times I’d leave the arena with more advice floating in my brain than money jingling in my pocket, which of course had nothing to do with the fact that maybe I’d listened to the wrong advice before my run, right?

But like any other teenager or in most cases plain old human I had to test the advice given to me before I could determine whether it would work for me and my horse. Many times it didn’t but on the occasions it did, I’d place high in that nights go round and make the failed advice parish from my mind and be eagerly awaiting new advice that would of course make me better.

After awhile though, I got tired of the constant trial and errors of said advice, so what did I do? I began taking all the advice with a grain of salt. This was suggested to me by mother and honestly as a fifteen year old kid I rolled my eyes and said whatevahhhh before strolling away muttering unpleasant things. But turns out the parental figure was right. Scary that I’m admitting that and if she ever finds out I did it’ll be hell to pay. But that little grain of salt has suffered through lots of runs, lots of practices, and lots of advice. In the end it’s served me well over the years on horseback but then I tested it to see what would happen if I ventured out to a whole new world, one I’d never stepped foot on?

Well my grain of salt ended up cooked and ate with the morning grits. I threw it in the bowl the instant my confidence was shattered by a rejection in my inbox. Nearly two years ago I began writing my career. Terrified and not knowing what had caused me to get a rejection I got online and began asking questions to other writers. Well turned out my voice was too passive, my adjectives weren’t right, I over used this word and told things instead of showing, not to mention I head hopped, whatever in the world that was. After getting this information I sat at my computer with a large glass of Diet Mountain Dew(yeah I’m on the hard stuff) and a Snickers bar nearly in tears. What did all this mean?

It meant I needed more advice which meant I was being quoted rules on writing I never knew existed and am still Googling today. But then one author emailed me after receiving a rather distressing email from me, she said a very motherly statement to me; “Take it all with a grain of salt. No one person knows what’s best for you. Authors can give you advice that has worked for them but there is no magic formula.  So my dear, suck it up and find your own magic formula. “

One year, five manuscripts, and lots of rejections and requests later I’m now looking at advice for my current work in progress and saying “Hmm, I don’t think that’ll work for me but thanks for sharing your advice.” Now this may seem to some that I’m snubbing advice from other authors but I’m not. In fact I love getting advice because I always find something from the advice given which helps me. Whether it opens my eyes to a new researching process, a plotting strategy, or a how to get your fingers to stay connected to the keyboard to finish that book , I always learn something new.

At the same time I also always find some piece of advice that if taken to heart as the gospel would harm my writing  in some way. Of course this advice isn’t ill given advice but just something that I know would not help me. New writers as well as veteran ones should always remember that their isn’t a set formula to publication and we aren’t all alike so when you receive or give advice remember to hold your grain of salt closely so that you never forget you are unique and not a sheep to be herded. We all are different and see things different so when you get that next email, phone call, or person outside the arena waiting to give you his/her advice listen closely but listen with an open mind knowing that they aren’t you and you are your own writer with your own flair.

Tuesday’s Industry News: Bootcamp Anyone?

Hello all! If you’ve read any of my twitter updates or my blog updates you know that I’ve been running around from one book to another for the last month. I’m a member of several organizations which have “bootcamps” going on. One I decided to join after the fabulous Liz at Savvy Authors drill sergeanted me into picking one book and finishing it. I gotta say she can be a hard ass and it worked 🙂

So now I’ve signed up for bootcamp and I’m pulling my material together to finish my Steampunk book which I’ve written three chapters on now. I don’t have to have this book finished for any reason but its not like me to not want to finish a book, well besides the young adult book. And of course as soon as I committed to writing one book a new fabulous idea came to mind that I want to write a novella with for an ebook. And when I say fabulous I do mean it!

What to do what to do? I’ve never participated in a bootcamp because I’ve never had the problem of not finishing something so I’m a little nervous. Have you ever participated in any sort of “bootcamp” for writing or anything else? If so did you find it helped or not?

And just for giggles here’s what I’m thinking my inventor hero of my steampunk will look like: Oh and the title of the book is… Steamed, Primed, and Pumped 🙂

Tuesday’s Industry News: Tips for Self Promoting

Hello everyone! So I missed last Tuesday’s blog and I’m so sorry for that mishap. Today I’m back in full force. Well not full force, I have a bit of a problem. You see as I’m researching ways to promote Riding Double I’m running around not settling on any one WIP. I’ve started five new WIPS this month! FIVE and written a chapter on each one, thats five chapters plus change. That could be a great first quarter to one full length book or half of a great short story(I say great because I’m trying to think positive). Instead I’m running from WIP to WIP and in-between I’m going crazy over what to do for promoting. My critique partner is having great fun with this also. As she said “I’m the one usually never settling, what the hell is wrong with you?” I don’t know!!!

I’m hoping once I get my mind off the release I’ll settle some. I emailed Ms. Cat Johnson who we had on the site a few months back for her new release Bucked to get her advice on promoting. She emailed me back with some suggestions on what to do for promoting and I’ve started.  So I’ll give you all three of my favorite tips and we can discuss them.

1. Setting up Author Pages.

Now I had never really put much thought into this as I figured the stuff I sent my publisher would work but turns out you can create your own author sites on some book seller websites with more information on you and your book. For example on amazon.com if you have a book sold through them you have the great chance to go to authorcentral.com and set up an author page. I loved it. I got to add more about myself, my book, book reviews, I even added an interview that my ‘laughing at me because I can’t settle’ friend Rebecca Zanetti did of me. I uploaded a photo and all. Loved it. Now have I ever really checked out an authors page? No, but it was cool to do one and I hope people check it out and maybe buy my book because they decide “Yeah I like her, sounds cool” because you know I am 🙂 That last comment was a test, my author friend Brandi Hall “visits” the site every so ofter and I make comments like this to her all the time while she rolls her eyes and tells her cat I’m a dork.

2. Free Reads

Okay I love free reads, I mean really they are the best. When Cat suggested that I write one in hopes that readers would get a taste of my writing and want more I was all over that. In fact I started one (#5 of my WIPS). But I sent an email to my editor about it and well for her it has to have a beginning, middle, and happily ever after. I didn’t want it to have a HEA, no I wanted to introduce a character let him have some wild times then pick up his story later. Alas not going to happen. SO I’ve adjusted and have it going in a way I kinda like. Now have I ever read a free read then went “Gotta buy this chicks books now”? Not really, I will say that after reading a free read if I like it I will go and look at the other books offered by said author.

3. Articles

Now this is one that I had already done before I got any advice. A friend of mine along with some of her friends( I think 2 maybe only 1) started SavvyAuthors.com and recently invited me to participate in the weekly newsletter. When she asked if I wanted to I said “Sure, why the hell not”. I gotta admit I loved it. It gave me a chance to write an article I’d been wanting to write for some time and it helped promote my book. It was a win win and I’d love to do another one as I’ve got all kinds of stuff to rant about(Hear that Liz?? I’m making a list!)

So as readers what makes you want to buy a book? Do reviews matter? Do free reads help? Does seeing a person’s biography and picture help? Tell me what helps you decide.

And my writer friends what do you do to promote?

Thanks all

Sayde

Oh and just for shits and giggles here is my current WIP list:

1. Hell’s Transporter- Paranormal Suspense filled with demons, fallen angels, bull riders, and more.

2. Steam Punk(haven’t named it yet)- Steampunk filled with a smart mouthed southern woman who likes to invet contraptions to help save her plantation from the Yanks although and one New Orleans bred and born inventor of the HOT kind.

3. Spirit Heart- Western Romance filled with Comanche’s raiding, loving, and kidnaping and one pissed off half Comanche and half white woman who has been taken by Running Horse in order to be saved from his brother Kicking Buffalo. Did I mention this woman is mad?

4. Saige’s Story(haven’t named it yet)- Erotic Romance short filled with emotions of loss, griefing, finding love again and hot sex with a playboy bull rider who is lost in his own self pity.

5. The Free Read- Erotic Romance free story. Woman kicks her cheating husband out, divorces him and then shows up her first love. The injured bareback rider who now works for her brother(Bo from my book Riding Double) hot renewed love begins.

%d bloggers like this: