Ok guys - SP here interrupting your normally scheduled Wednesday for a special guest. I've invited my editor Shana Smith with Harlequin Desire to the Playground to visit with everyone. She's got some great insider info, so everyone be on your best behavior (yes, you), don't embarass me and be sure to comment because there's two great books up for grabs!
Secrets Editors Want You to Know
7 tips for finding your “in” and making the most of it
by Shana Smith, Assistant Editor for Harlequin Desire & Romantic Suspense
1. Submit to the assistants. Editorial Assistants, and even Assistant Editors, are hungry. We’re looking to build an author list and raise our own profile within the company. We also have more time to devote to working with an author who may need some help to get a manuscript in selling condition. So instead of automatically sending your project to—or making a pitch appointment with—the Senior Editor, consider the assistant.
2. If an editor or publisher says they’re “actively seeking” a certain type of submission, you have a better chance of getting published with that line or imprint. Maybe it’s a new line, maybe the program just expanded, but they need books. If you have one, or can write to the guidelines, submit! Two Harlequin series that are actively acquiring right now are Love Inspired Historical (Christian historical romance) and Nocturne Cravings (paranormal erotica digital short stories). All writing guidelines for Harlequin (including Love Inspired and Kimani lines) can be found here: http://bit.ly/l6XSYX
3. Contests sponsored by a publisher can also be a good way to get your foot in the door. Harlequin contests/online writing events such as Mills & Boon’s New Voices and So You Think You Can Write have both resulted in manuscripts bought from new authors.
4. Read editors’ blogs, follow them on Twitter and attend their panels or workshops at conferences. These are all ways you can learn more about them and what they’re looking for and find someone you might connect with.
5. Send editors manuscripts that fit what they’re looking for. If they say they want historical manuscripts, don’t send them contemporary. If they say they don’t like paranormals, don’t send a story with a werewolf.
6. However, if you find an editor you really connect with, stick with her/him and keep submitting to that same editor. At Harlequin, editors can acquire across lines and imprints. So if you’ve sent manuscripts to, say, a Desire editor who liked your writing but for whatever reason the project didn’t work out, and you find your writing changing to better fit Love Inspired, ask the editor if she’d be willing to read the manuscript. It may be that her particular interests don’t extend to that line, and she may recommend another editor. But she also may be happy to read it. Give her the chance.
7. If an editor sends you a revision letter with suggestions for changes to your manuscript, it’s not a criticism of your work. We want to help you make your story stronger. And if we say we want to see the manuscript again or ask you to send us something else—we mean it! We have tons of manuscripts just waiting to be read, so if we’ve read something of yours and specifically ask you to send us more; you’re definitely on the right track.
Thanks for visiting the Playground, Shana!
Those are some great tips! I know I have personally benefitted from following a couple of these suggestions. Knowledge is power, people.
Shana will be popping in throughout the day to answer any questions. Comment today and you could win a copy of The Billionaire's Beside Manner by Robin Grady and Meddling with a Millionaire by Cat Schield.