by Janet Lane
RMFW’s conference burst at the seams this year with informative workshops and panels.
For those of you who couldn’t attend, here’s an update. Enjoy and employ these tips! –Janet
The editor panel this year featured–
Moshe Feder, Consulting Editor for Tor Books
Latoya Smith, Assistant Editor for Grand Central Publishing
Angela James, Executive Editor of Carina Press (Harlequin digital)
Brian Farrey, Acquiring Editor for Flux, Llewellyn’s Young Adult (YA)
Lindsey Faber, Managing Editor for Samhain Publishing.
Where does your genre fit?
If you write Young Adult (YA), your work will be welcome with Brian Farrey. He’s looking for YA stories that feature urban fantasy, straight up fantasy, teen romance, and sci fi, but no space opera or high fantasy. He would like to see more realistic books with no fantasy, just teens trying to relate to each other & themselves.
If you write mystery, Carina Press does digital imprints of all genres of adult fiction, so consider querying Angela James when your book is ready to market. They’re big on mystery among other genres. Latoya Smith is interested in all adult, commercial fiction.
If your pen produces romance or women’s fiction, your work may find a home with Latoya Smith at Grand Central Publishing. She’s acquiring romance (mainly paranormal and romantic suspense), women’s fiction, and erotica and African romance, across the board. Angela James’ Carina Press is also big on romance, as is Lindsey Faber of Samhain.
If Sci Fi’s your genre, do not pass ‘go’ and run directly to the post office (or computer) and send your ready-to-market query to Tom Dougherty of Tor in hard-copy or Angela James at Carina Press, where you can launch your career in digital format.
At the panel, Moshe pointed out that Tor publishes more Sci Fi per year–150 new titles per year—than anyone else. Their stories run the gamut: epic, high, sociological SF, space opera, military adventure, paranormal romance. Each of Forge’s three seasons includes 50 sci fi titles and 20 of all other titles.
Have a thriller to market? Try Carina Press or Grand Central Publishing.
What they can offer you
As authors, we’re concerned about being lost in the cracks, especially with a debut novel. Are the publishers too small to afford any promotion? Will we have to do it all ourselves? If the publisher is large, are all their promotion dollars used on established authors? The editors addressed these concerns during the panel.
Latoya Smith mentioned promotional themes and making good use of the online department at Grand Central. “Who are your contacts? How can we combine efforts to make a strong promo effort?” The author will pay for some of it. “We usually focus efforts on bookmarks, postcards. Most all books get galleys and ARCs (Advanced Reading Copies printed at no cost to the author) to send for blurbs. Some authors go on tour. We offer all of our authors an on-line blog tour and Twitter parties.” Grand Central also hosts a Forever Fan Page where authors can speak to readers during hour-long book club sessions.
Moshe Feder mentioned Tor’s large PR department. “Every book has someone in PR who’s associated with it, arranging reviews, interviews, book stores placement. Tor encourages our authors to participate in the website activities. They do tour their authors extensively.” Tor is large, but small, Moshe said. “We are a family run company who happens to be part of a large corporation. We work on an informal, friendly basis; no editorial board that has to be run through. We have strong personal relationships with our authors.”
Lindsey Faber noted they use print, advertising, media, blogs, horror magazines and conference sponsorships to promote their authors. They do banners and giveaways at Comic Con, “And we’ve had lots of success with giveaways.” She explained how Samhain offered the first book of a series free for a week which was “hugely successful with many downloads. Book giveaways are very successful. In a post giveaway week we sold over 2,000 copies. The second book in the series hit the USA Today best seller list.”
There are advantages to being small. Flux’s Brian Farrey said they work closely wth authors, doing lots of social media on-line—video streams, Facebook and Twitter. “We’re a company of 110 years. We target the library market. We’re all doing the same thing, just with different resources. Flux prints targeted ARC copy runs of 2,000—more modest runs but more targeted.” Further, Brian said Flux helps authors understand what they can do so they can have their own voice. “We educate our authors on proper on-line etiquette.”
“We’re a small press within a larger company,” Angela James said. “We have tools to help you learn how to (promote) yourself because no one’s more passionate about your book than you are. We teach you how to do social media, how to build a web site, and you can take that wherever you may go in your career. We utilize Net Galley – online digital ARC reviewers, librarians, bookstores – over 30,000 users for review copies.” Through these resources they are able to reach many people. “Every release gets a release tour.”
Next: How submissions rise out of the slush pile and how to query.