Monday, August 24, 2009


See Gretchen Jones' post (her link is in the right column under blogs I follow) for a good deal of what Deb Werksman had to say to the MARA group on Saturday, but I'll add a few things.

While my work wasn't for her, the editor who spoke was fabulous, very friendly, very approachable, savvy, and if I DID have something they might use, I'd definitely query her.

Werksman said that her chief concerns were an unusual premise and a strong romantic hook. She emphasized this over and over. Blow her away with what makes your book stand out amongst the others, but (a personal aside) I wouldn't compare your work to someone else's. In other words, don't say "If you like So & So..." or "I write like So & So"...

She said she receives between 200-250 submissions a month and reads them on her Kindle and that she prefers email submissions with query, synopsis, and completed manuscript, because if she liked your submission, it'd pretty much piss her off if she was reading and then had to send your query to the back of her queue while she waited for you to submit the complete if she wanted it. If she didn't like it, she'd of course simply stop reading and let you know. **She also said that rejections were her least favorite part of her job and that if she COULD and had a name in mind, she'd happily refer you to an editor who probably WOULD want what you'd submitted.** In other words, if it's not for Sourcebooks and it's strong, she'll try to help you even if she's not the buyer. Ya gotta respect that, folks.

Include in your query, if you're published and if you can do so, your publishing history, sales history, and pertinent info that shows her you are the one to write that particular book. She also appreciates the author's info on every page, as in the header, either TITLE - SYNOPSIS - YOUR NAME or TITLE - QUERY - YOUR NAME, something consistent so that when her Kindle searches for you, that title is foremost, followed by either the query, the synopsis, or the manuscript itself and always your name last.

Reasons she doesn't buy are #1 launch platform--they simply don't publish what you submitted; #2 it doesn't have a hook (and these are one-liners, no more than 2 or 3 lines, that will help her sell you to their sales department and subquently to book buyers); #3 you lack a career arc - Sourcebooks wants to build authors, not publish one-hit wonders; #4 the author indicates they'd be difficult to work with. (That might make an interesting article or blog post some day.)

For you writers, romantic comedies are on an upswing again; romantic suspense has pretty well evened out but is still being sought if it's good; paranormal is still big; and erotic romance is something Sourcebooks is looking into but hasn't launched. Young Adult - ditto - and they do have an editor who is looking (I searched for his name on their website but didn't see it - it's something like Eric Erinhaft or Ernhaft - maybe you'll have better luck searching).

Best of luck if you query them - I was really impressed with Deb Werksman.




At 10:24 AM, Blogger Denise Patrick said...

OK, now you've made me feel bad - and you didn't even know it!!

Last year, Ms. Werksman judged the finals for our RWA Chapter contest. To be frank, I only entered because the ladies in charge of the contest were leaning on everyone in the chapter to enter. So, I did (and broke one of my own rules by doing so - never enter a contest unless the manuscript is finished).

You've probably guessed it by now, but I won and Ms. Werksman asked for my MS. And that's not the worst of it. Here it is, almost an entire year later and I'm finally writing the last chapter of that #%*$ book!! (It was a long year.)

I do plan to write her and ask if she still wants it, but I really feel stupid about it. That's the last time I break one of my own rules!!!

(You can stop laughing now.)

At 12:48 PM, Blogger Lyn Cash said...

wouldn't dream of laughing! - but do finish and at least ask if she still wants to see it. ack - I've done the same thing, if it makes you feel any better.

best of luck with it!!!!!


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