Thursday, July 17, 2008

Editor Deb Werksman Is In Da Lair!

interviewed and posted by Aunty Cindy

We are excited and pleased today (and Aunty's extra tickled) to have Sourcebooks acquiring editor Deb Werksman as our guest in the Lair! Deb is taking time from a very busy day full of meetings so she will be popping in and out to answer your questions in the comments as time allows.

AC: Please tell us a little about Sourcebooks Casablanca, your job/workload on a daily basis, and your previous experience in the publishing industry.

DW: Sourcebooks Casablanca was started in 1997 with Greg Godek's 1001 Ways to Be Romantic. I've been running it since I joined Sourcebooks in 1998 and it has been the #1 non-fiction romance imprint in the country. Before joining Sourcebooks I had my own publishing company (started in 1989), specializing in political satire. In addition to running Sourcebooks Casablanca, I was also acquiring for the rest of Sourcebooks' list--gift books, humor, women's interest, self help, parenting, calendars and Jane Austen sequels!

(Aunty wipes the sweat from her brow just thinking about all that work!)

We launched our romance fiction list in 2007 and my non-fiction responsibilities have been taken over by other editors and I'm acquiring single title romance, Jane Austen sequels and women's fiction.

My daily workload varies every day, which is part of what I love about my career! If anyone REALLY wants to know what my typical day looks like I'll be happy to give you details!

(Aunty would prefer a cocktail from a cabana boy, or a foot massage from Sven.)

AC: Do you maintain an awareness of what other publishing houses are doing as part of your assessment of what to buy? Do you have certain "specialties"? Or do you buy what you love and want to read?

DW: Part of my criteria for acquiring is that I have to feel we can successfully sell the book, so we're always looking at the marketplace to see what's working. I don't "specialize" per se, although I have more experience with historicals and paranormals than with, for example romantic suspense right now, but I want my list to be balanced across all the subgenres.
My four criteria are:
*a heroine the reader can relate to
*a hero the reader can fall in love with
*a world gets created
*a hook--a 2-3 sentence description that I can use to sell the book

(Aunty scribbles furiously on her Bandit notepad.)

AC: We've all heard that contemporary romances are not selling and that paranormal is over done. What trends do you see in the marketplace?

DW: I think this is such a robust marketplace that there are readers for every subgenre all the time. When a subgenre gets overpublished it's tougher to launch there, but the established authors will continue to thrive. If a book has a strong enough hook, it will transcend what the subgenre is doing.

AC: And any advice for writers about trends? Or what to do if your book is not a current "hot" trend?

I begin to feel like a broken record, but the hook is the most important thing ESPECIALLY if your book is not in a current hot subgenre.

AC: What book did you find recently that you believe will be a hit on the shelves?

DW: Romeo, Romeo by Robin Kaye is one that I think is going to be a hit--because EVERY woman wants a man who's as good in the kitchen as he is in the bedroom!

I'm also really excited about The Wild Sight by Loucinda McGary--an Irish tale of deadly deeds and forbidden love. This one is a hot read with a suspense element and a paranormal element and Ireland is an incredible location for the story.

(Aunty blushes, no small feat, and wonders if she mentioned lately how much she LURVES her editor...)

AC: What kind of submission is guaranteed to receive positive attention from you?

DW: A submission that actually follows our submission guidelines is going to get my attention, because, believe it or not, most don't. But really, it's the hook that gets me--so putting that upfront is really helpful.

And--please include you and/or your agent's contact information (phone number essential) on EVERY piece of the submission and on every page is great (a header in a small font works fine).

You can find submission guidelines on Sourcebooks' website:

AC: What's your strangest submission story?

I once got a submission with a $100 bill paper-clipped to it. I was horrified.

(Aunty is equally horrified! Sven and the cabana boys also gasp.)

AC: I know you will be at RWA National in San Francisco in two weeks. Anything you'd like to add about it?

DW: I'm really looking forward to seeing many of you at RWA. PLEASE, if you see me, please come up and introduce yourself. I want to meet/talk to as many of you as I possibly can.

Our SPOTLIGHT on Sourcebooks is at 11:00 on Saturday morning--please come and meet me and our publisher and get all your questions answered in person!

AC: Oh, you will NOT be Nigella NoFriends, Deb. Rest assured! And I have the Sourcebooks Spotlight highlighted on my color coded agenda (thank you Tawny-Depp)!

And now it's time for everyone to chime in! If you have a question for Deb, please ask away. If you have read any of the Sourcebooks Casablanca romances please give us your opinion. Also, please tell us what subgenres are your favorites and why. Anything you'd like to see more of on the shelves?

Aunty, er, um that is Loucinda McGary and her Sourcebooks sister Marie Sullivan Force will each give away an IOU for their new fall releases. Marie's contemporary romance
Line of Scrimmage will hit the shelves on September 1st and Loucinda's The Wild Sight will be out in 75 more days, on October 1st!
UPDATE: Robin Kaye is also generously offering an IOU for Romeo Romeo, another 75 day wait, but WELL WORTH IT!


Amy Andrews said...

Oh NO!! The GR is mine? But I'm leaving for the US in 19 hours - will someone come and get him early or shall I just pack him in my suitcase?

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

LOL Amy!
I don't blame you for not wanting to leave him alone at your place, but he will be fine.


Just lock the doors and be sure the liquor cabinet is secure. :-P


Amy Andrews said...

LOL AC - secure the liquor? That's not even in my vocabularly!

Great interview BTW. Think I'm going to have to catch that Sourcebooks session in SF.

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Okay everyone, I'm off to watch Leno and TRY to get back here earlier tomorrow morning than I usually do (don't hold your breath).

All our Oz gals and you early East Coasters, I know you'll make Deb feel at home if she is able to check in before I'm back online.

Congrats again, Amy on winning the Golden Rooster, even if only for 19 hours.

Enjoy everyone!


Destiny Blaine said...

I ran across a post at Just Another Paranormal Monday and wanted to stop by to say hello to Deb and Aunty Cindy too, of course!

I have two questions for Deb. Is there anything specific you’re most interested in reviewing for the Casablanca line? Also, do you consider previously published novels?

Great interview, ladies!

Destiny Blaine

Jennifer Y. said...

Ooooh...I have loved the Sourcebooks books I have read so far and cannot wait for the upcoming ones!!! I especially can't wait for Marie's and Loucinda's books...they have been on my wishlist since I learned of them.

Hi Deb! I love your a reader, those are often some of my criteria for choosing books to read...only instead of a hook, I am looking for a plot that will draw me in and allow me to get lost in the story.

As for what I'd love to read more of, well, I mentioned it in yesterday's post, but I'd love to see more westerns and time travels. Of course, I'll read anything as long as the story sounds interesting. As I mentioned above as long as I like the characters and the plot, I don't have a preference for only requirement is a happy ending.

Anna Campbell said...

Oh, take him to the airport and leave him in the bar. He'll be perfectly happy there until another chick picks him up tomorrow, AA. Hey, have a fantastic trip! See you in SF!

Deb and Cindy, that was a great interview! I've put a message on the Romance Australia loop because I think a lot of the Aussie girls will be interested.

Jane said...

Congrats on the GR, Amy.

Hi Aunty Cindy and Deb,
I've never read Sourcebooks Casablanca books before. All I need is a likable hero and heroine and a great plot. My favorite sub-genre is romantic suspense, followed by paranormal and historical. I'm a big mystery fan so I like romances with a heavy emphasis on suspense, intrigue and action.

Christine Wells said...

Deb, welcome to the lair! The cabana boys salute you! Sven the Swedish masseur is here to take care of your every need. Pull up a massage table and let's begin!

I'd like to say how much I love the Source Books covers--especially our Loucinda McGary's! or as we know her, Aunty Cindy. There's quality about them, I think. And the nice chests don't hurt, either;) Sven tells me he modeled for a few, which probably explains it.

I notice your guidelines pretty much correlate with my idea of a great romance. Can you tell us a little about your working relationship with your authors? Do you steer them towards the kinds of stories you want to see or do you give them free rein and see what they come up with? Are there any kinds of romance or elements you *don't* want to see?

Amy, may the Golden Rooster be with you as you navigate the skies to SF! In fact, you should take him in your carryon luggage. He'll keep you entertained on the long haul, if you know what I mean;)

Helen said...

Well done Amy and have a fantastic time in San Francisco

Great interview ladies

I am counting down the days till The Wild Sight hits the shelves I can't wait to read it.

I haven't read any of the Sourcebooks yet but I have them on my to get list.

I love historicals and romantic suspense I have branched out in the last 12 months and have read some shapeshifter and contempary books and have really loved them. What draws me to a book is what is written on the back cover and recomendations from the blogs that I read The Bandits have given me some wonderful recomendations and my to get list and TBR pile just keeps growing. Well done everyone keep em coming because I can never have too many books.

Have Fun

Eric said...

Deb, I’ll make my confession straight up; I’ve not read a Sourcebooks Casablanca novel but I promise I’ll correct the situation; quickly. I’m a contemporary romance tragic and yet more and more often these days I’m sensing an outdated sameness on the page. I’m relying on you to repair this.

The contemporary problem is interesting (to me). I wonder if the traditional heroine/hero relationship myth is becoming inappropriate for a modern western (politically correct) world. It’d be interested to read your view/opinion. (No need to be gentle with me (I’ll be a better reader (eventually) if you tell me I’m lost)).

Second question. Do you have an agent in Australia (to help overcome shipping cost)?

I’m sure my time is up now – Thank you for the great post Deb (and Aunty).


Suzanne Brandyn said...

On Source Books Casablanca's website it states 90.000 words plus for submissions. Does this include all lines?
If so, how does Source Books achieve their word count? Is it by page count of the 25 lines per page etc, or by computer count.
Thanking you,
Suzanne :)

Margay said...

Deb, you emphasize the importance of a good hook in the pitching process. Can a good hook truly sell you on the idea of a book? What if the hook is great, but the rest of the query is mediocre - will you still want to see the manuscript? Also, does the author have to have an agent before submitting to you? Do you read unagented entries?

Thank you so much for stopping by the Lair. This was a great interview. Thank you, Aunty Cindy!

Gannon Carr said...

Congrats on the GR, Amy!

Thanks for stopping by Deb. I'm looking forward to Aunty Cindy's book, and the other Sourcebooks you mentioned definitely caught my attention--well, the sculpted chests did, too!

I'm a huge fan of paranormals and, historicals are my first love. But as long as there is a good story, I'll read anything.

Carol said...

Amy...I think it's part of his Plan...
I bet he clears out on you and rides up with the Captain, probably on the top of his pilot chair!!

My Favourite genre is Regency Romance...but a good cover and an interesting/intriguing book blurb will get me every time, in any genre!
Cheers Carol

Sophie Renwick said...

I've read a few books from Sourcebooks and have loved them. They're easy to find, too, up here in the Great White North.
No Regrets by Michele Ann Young was my fav and has wound up on my keeper shelf. The hero was sexy and to die for, and the heroine was totally relatable. I'm reallly beginning to become disillusioned by all the thin, young, astonishingly perfect heroines running around lately!

I have 2 questions for Deb.

1. How many romance titles does Sourcebooks release per month?

2. Casablanca submission guidelines mention erotic romance. Will that be under the Casablanca umbrella, or will you have a different imprint, or will you just stipulate the fact that it's erotic on the cover?

Fun interview! Thanks for all the great information.

Kirsten said...

Deb, thanks so much for being our guest here at the Lair! I just want to say, as an author, how much I appreciate the work you do to turn our words into a product that people will buy. I don't mean to sound crass, but I was recently at BEA and I was struck by how much I loved seeing all the industry professionals gathered together working hard to make this bookselling thing a BUSINESS. And I'm struck by it again every time I hear an editor like yourself speak.

Because, really, that's how we authors make a living. We need to make this work as a business. We need to figure out a way to turn our dreams and fantasies and stories into a product that people buy. And editors have the special magic that can do that.

So I just want to say thanks for having that magic and making it possible for folks like us to actually write books for a living! You rock!!

jo robertson said...

Hi, Deb, welcome to the Lair. We've been so excited about your visit!

Wow, you early visitors are asking great questions for Deb.

I have just one right now. You mentioned Sourcebooks non-fiction line and I noticed quite a healthy list in your catalogue. Can you refer us to an editor for that line?

jo robertson said...

Oops, Amy, under NO circumstance must the golden rooster be left alone -- he will get into way too much mischief. Why not bring him to national? He could go undercover and dig up some dirt for us.

Louisa Cornell said...

LOL Amy!!! I just assumed someone would bring the GR to San Francisco to keep the world safe from him!! We can't just let him run loose!

Great interview AC and Deb.

I am so looking forward to reading THE WILD SIGHT!!!! Everything about it is right up my alley.

Interesting about contemps. Do you think the current economy is responsible for that? As our reality gets worse do we rely on fantasies as far removed from that reality as possible to keep us entertained and amused and sane?

jo robertson said...

Helen, if you haven't read any Casablanca authors yet, try CALL OF THE HIGHLAND MOON by Kendra Leigh Castle if you like paranormals. She's done a great job of building this Scottish werewolf world. And the supernatural villain is quite chilling (no rhyme intended LOL).

Of course, you MUST read Aunty Cindy's THE WILD SIGHT when it's released in October. I'm especially attached to that since I'm her critique partner. Hey, do you think I can get a cut? JK.

And I enjoyed NO REGRETS by Michele Ann Young, an historical that employs a heroine who doesn't fit the current social definition of "pretty." I think we can all identity with that! When I was in high school, curvy, voluptuous girls were "in" and I had a skinny, boyish figure. Caroline, the heroine in NR is just the opposite.

Okay, that reminds me that Curves is waiting for me. I'm off to the gym since that "boyish" figure of mine went by the wayside years ago.

Beth said...

Hi, Deb! Thanks so much for being here today!

Like Christine, I love Sourcebooks' covers! So gorgeous - really make you want to pick up the book to what it's about. And I can't wait for The Wild Sight to come out!

I love the insight into an editor's life. Can you tell us what your favorite part of your job is? Least favorite?

Thanks for the great interview, ladies!

MsHellion said...

Hello Deb, very good interview! I'm glad AC lured you to the lair!! :) I had to check out the guidelines at Sourcebooks for submissions, and had to giggle at this: "full synopsis, including actual digital word count and the ending" Okay, I understand giving full digital word count, but seriously, people send in a synopsis WITHOUT the ending? Do they just not know the ending to their own story, or do they think you guys have so much spare time and will be so intrigued by their unique and completely original work about the pauper girl who finds out she's the daughter of an earl that you'll request they send you the ending? Seriously.

jo robertson said...

Jennifer Y, try Sourcebook author Laurie Brown's HUNDREDS OF YEARS TO REFORM A RAKE if you like time travel. The heroine must travel back in time (Regency) to save the earl she's falling in love with. You can imagine the awkwardness of a modern gal in a Regency world!

LOL, and no I don't get a kickback from Sourcebooks; I just like their books.

jo robertson said...

Eric, your time is never "up" in the Lair. You pose an interesting question. Do you think that an ever younger readership will require contemporary romances that are more edgy, more in keeping with the lives of today's young women?

Or do you think readers will always want a happily-ever-after fantasy no matter what their real world is like?

What do you think, Deb?

Suzanne Welsh said...

Great interview, Cindy. Welcome to the lair, Deb! We're very excited to have you visiting today.

I think it's great that Sourcebooks has opened their lines for more romances to be published. And Cindy's book The Wild Sight is definitely being anticipated by all of us here at the lair. Between the cover, the unique setting and great paranormal twist, this book will be on the top of my TBR pile when it comes out.

Paranormals are still hot, but you and Sourcebooks chose Cindy's psychic vision paranormal element to publish over a vampire or shapeshifter book. Do you see paranormals as branching out in this area, as well as maybe time travels or other less popular paranormal twists?

Also, is there any specific contemporary or historical type books you might be interested in seeing?

Suzanne Welsh said...

Hey Jennifer, Helen, Jane and Gannon, it's really cool to hear what readers are interested in reading these days...maybe you guys could be like the Neilsen raters of romance fiction! hehehe

Edie said...

Deb, great interview! HUNDREDS OF YEARS TO REFORM A RAKE sounds like the kind of book I enjoy, combining time travel, contemporary and Regency. With a bad boy hero, it has everything going for it.

I'm working on a paranormal novella now. I know several New York publishers are putting out books of novellas, especially with paranormal romance. Is this something Sourcebooks is considering?

Buffie said...

Great interview Deb and Aunty Cindy!!! I really enjoyed getting into the mind of an editor. Very interesting!

I have to confess that I have yet to read any Sourcebooks authors yet, but all the books you mentioned sound fabulous (can't wait for Aunty Cindy's!) and those covers are just, well, dang gorgeous.

I would love, love, love to see more medievals on the shelves. They are my absolute favorite to read. I also enjoy historicals and paranormals, and I am starting to read contemps and erotica too.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Welcome, Deb! We're glad you're here. :> Ooooh, and giving away AC's book and another lucious one too. I see that has football players...yum, my favorite. I love the covers and I love the subject matter you're finding.

Is Sourcebooks really finding the unusual and special or is it just me? I love the different twists I'm reading in Sourcebooks, I love that you're giving us a football player, someone who cooks in Robin Kaye's book and a reluctant psychic in AC's. Not the usual fare. Thanks!

Before I forget...Woohoo, Amy~ I think that Chook wants to be SURE to be in SF. :> If I forget to say it before you go, safe travels!

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Morning? It is morning, isn't it? (Aunty pries open eyelids and props them with toothpicks.)

Thanx sooo much everyone for being here so early... late... WHATEVER! Yes, the gardeners woke Aunty up and she is a tad bit cranky. However, I am happy to see so many eager to "talk" with my lovely editor. As I mentioned, Deb is enduring meeting mania today and will be popping in and out when she is able.

I can and will address a few of your questions in the meantime... As soon as I find CAFFEINE!

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Welcome Destiny! (and what a GREAT NAME, I've been meaning to tell you that on the Para Monday loop)

To the best of my knowledge, Deb does not acquire anything that has already been published in any format. But I will let her correct me if I am wrong. :-P

GAH! How DO you people function at this hour?!?!

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hi Eric!
Long time no see. Nice to have you back in the Lair.

You asked about an agent in Oz to help with shipping costs. I have good news for you, Deb does almost everything electronically! I submitted my query, partial, and full manuscript via email and received my revisions and copy edits the same way. Fast and easy! No fuss, no muss, hundreds of trees saved!

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hi Suzanne Brandyn and thanx for joining us in the Lair!

Pull up a cabana boy or summon Sven for a massage! It IS too early to bring out the drinks isn't it? Oh wait, how bout a mimosa? Cabana boys! Fetch ye olde orange juice and some bubbly!

AHEM! Back on task...

Suzanne you asked about word count and this I do know. Sourcebooks uses computer word count. I can also tell you that SHHH! The Wild Sight is a hair short of 90K. So there's a wee bit of flexiblility there.

AC taps foot impatiently whilst waiting for that mimosa

Jo Davis said...

Hi Deb!

I have a question for you-- do you foresee a comeback for contemporary romances? I've heard some buzz about this. I love a good contemporary, especially if it has a suspense element, and they are so hard to find!

Always great to visit the Banditas! :)


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Margay, Margay, Margay!
You seem to imply that your query might be mediocre. Aunty KNOWS better! CONFIDENCE, M'dear! If you have a fabulous hook, no way will the rest be mediocre!

As for needing an agent to submit to Sourcebooks, in a word -- NOPE! I do not have one. Neither do several of my Sourcebooks Sisters.

Good luck with your submission!

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Welcome to the Lair, Sophie!

Is it chilly up in the Great White North right now? Could you please send a little down to California for a day or two? How about some nice Peppermint Schnapps in your hot choccie?

So glad you have no problem finding our Casablanca titles up there! No Regrets and Hundreds of Years to Reform a Rake were the first two titles released in the line.

At the moment, Sourcebooks releases Casablanca titles in Fall and Spring rather than monthly. (Aunty counts on her fingers.) I believe 5 books were released this past Spring and 7 are scheduled for this Fall. Or maybe more than 7?

GAH! It is too early in the morning for Aunty to attempt mathematics! But current release schedule is Fall and Spring. YUP! Definitely know that... Until the line sells so well that they are FORCED to release in the Summer and Winter also. :-)

Margay said...

Aunty Cindy, can I adopt you? You're really good at the pep talks!

btw, this is my worst fear, that my writing is mediocre when everyone is looking for fantastic. Does it stop me from writing? No! But still, there's that fear...

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Jo Davis! GREAT to have you back in the Lair!

I know Deb is a great champion of the purely Contemporary. Romeo Romeo and Line of Scrimmage are both contemps. So was SEALed with a Kiss by Mary Margret Daughtridge, which I highly recommend! And I KNOW there are several other strictly contemporary romances "in the pipeline" for the Casablanca line. :-)

terrio said...

Margay - trust me, you are NOT the only one with that fear.

Congrats on the GR, Amy. Or should that be condolensces? Not sure how to spell that and too lazy to look it up.

Great interview and everyone has posted some great questions. I'm quite excited that one of Deb's picks has a hero that can cook as my hero is a chef. And I'm anxiously waiting the answer to the contemporary comeback question.

Deb - do contest finals or wins give a submission any weight in your eyes?

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Jennifer, Jane, Helen, Gannon, Louisa, Buffie...

Your checks are in the mail! LOL! :-) But seriously, THANX A BUNCH (and of course to my Banditas too) for being enthusiastic about The Wild Sight.

And Jo-Mama, Sourcebooks might need to put you on the payroll, for reading and recommending so many of their great books!

The covers ARE scrumptious, aren't they? I can't give the Art Department at Sourcebooks enough KUDOS for the wonderful job they do. When I saw my cover for the first time, I nearly swooned with happiness! Anyone who has spent any time in the Lair knows, Aunty is NOT a swooner!

Marie Force said...

Great interview Deb and Aunty! I'm the one who wrote the football book, "Line of Scrimmage," which is a contemporary, so I hope the genre makes its comeback in time for September 1! :) I love to read and write contemporaries. The love story is what it always comes down to for me. In our lovely romance genre, there are all kinds of ways to package it, but Deb is right about the most important elements--a heroine you can relate to and a hero you can fall in love with. I hope you all love Ryan and Susannah as much as I do!

Look forward to meeting the Banditas in San Fran!

Nancy said...

Welcome Deb, and thanks for spending the day with us! AC, thanks for having her. This is a great interview.

Amy, congrats on the GR! I second Anna Campbell. Dump him in the airport bar. As AC, says, someone will collect him around midnight tonight.

Jo--bring the rooster to national? Let him dig up dirt on us? Think back. Are you sure that's a good idea?

Favorite subgenres . . . historical, of course. I also like fantasy elements, which is one reason I enjoy urban fantasy romance. For me, though, the contemporary urban setting isn't a requirement. If it's fantasy, I'm open to it. I enjoy stories with strong plots in any subgenre.

I agree with Christine that the Sourcebooks covers are wonderful. They're very eye-catching. For me, picking up the book to read the blurb is step one in the purchase, and I do that because of the cover, the title, or both.

We're all counting down to AC's release, with its gorgeous cover, here in the lair.

Deb, are you seeing any trends in the submissions you receive? Do you read the pages or the synopsis first?

Helen, I'm glad we've enabled your TBR pile to grow, as someone else pointed out in the comments yesterday.

Margay wrote: this is my worst fear, that my writing is mediocre when everyone is looking for fantastic. I think this is a pretty widespread fear, Margay. Maybe that's because we tend to be more critical of our own work than others are of it?

Eva S said...

Great interview. The only book I've read so far is "Call of the Highland Moon", a great book if you like paranormal. There were many other interesting books, will have to look for them.
I read anything, right now most paranormal but in a few weeks it will be historicals, especially medieval, more Highlanders, thanks!

Congrats Amy, and have a nice trip.

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hellion, Darlin',
If someone paper-clipped a $100 bill to a submission (Aunty shudders again at the thought), would ANYTHING surprise you?

Though Aunty can not imagine not including the ending in a synopsis, I'm quite sure it happens. :-P

And Dear Margay, we ALL have those pesky doubt demons! Just ask my CP Jo-Mama about how often I whine that my writing sux ditchwater... No wait, DO NOT ASK! That is just too ugly and time-consuming a tale. BANISH those doubt demons!

Let's find Le Duchesse Jeanne for a true cheerleading session!

Cabana boys! Grog for Hellion! Libation of choice for Margay!
Another mimosa for moi!

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

All right, my dogs are CLAMORING for their breakfast, so Aunty must take a short break. We KNOW who is boss around here and it is NOT Aunty or her DH...

Please continue with the great questions and discussions! I'm looking forward to Deb's answers too.

Margay said...

I wish i could pick something cool, but I'm not much of a drinker these days. In honor of summer, though, I think I'll choose lemonade.

Thank you, everyone, for your kind words of encouragement. I love it here in the Lair - everyone is so wonderful!

terrio said...

Can't believe I forgot to mention that I am impatiently waiting for Aunty Cindy's book. Come on! Delicious Irish hero, gorgeous setting, a touch of the mystic, and a mystery of sorts. Is it October yet?

Oh, and I'm waiting for Marie's book as well. I read about it over on the Casablanca blog and I'm totally hooked.

AC - can I have one of those lovely mimosas? They are so good!

Jennifer Y. said...

I can babysit the GR...he and I get along real well ;) Plus I have blackmail photos that will keep his little beak shut.

Jennifer Y. said...

Jennifer Y, try Sourcebook author Laurie Brown's HUNDREDS OF YEARS TO REFORM A RAKE if you like time travel. The heroine must travel back in time (Regency) to save the earl she's falling in love with. You can imagine the awkwardness of a modern gal in a Regency world!

That one's in the TBR and was actually the first Sourcebooks book I bought...but I haven't read it yet. I have read Call of the Highland Moon (which was mentioned earlier), No Regrets (also mentioned), and SEALed with a Kiss (which I LOVED!!!). I have loved all of the books. The covers are great and the content is even better.

Jennifer Y. said...

Is Sourcebooks really finding the unusual and special or is it just me?

I, too, like the variety that they have. There's something for everyone.

Katey Coffing, Ph.D. said...

Hi Deb and Aunty Cindy!

Deb, it's great to hear your support for romance fiction. I was a Golden Heart finalist last year and enjoyed chatting with you at National about your plans for Casablanca. Kendra Leigh Castle is my critique partner, and seeing her wonderful Call of the Highland Moon on the shelves is a thrill. :)

Question for you: How do you feel about fantasy romance and its prospects in the marketplace? I've heard talk that it's revving up nicely, as readers who've been devouring paranormals for the last few years continue to branch out and explore. (And I hope you enjoy fantasy romances, since *cough* my agent has one of mine on your desk right now. ;-) )

Aunty Cindy, I'm waving at you from the other side of the mountains--hope to see you again next time I drive over them to a Sac.V.R meeting!

Donna MacMeans said...

Hi Deb - Welcome to the lair! Like so many others, I have to add my vote of appreciation for sourcebook's covers - stunning.

Thanks as well for providing another outlet for GREAT romance stores. I can't wait till AC's book hits the shelves.

Amy - congrats on the rooster-nabbing.

deb werksman said...

Dear Destiny:
To answer your second question first--if a previously published book had considerable success and backlist potential, then yes, it might work (for example, we publish Laura Kinsale's Prince of Midnight, Seize the Fire and Midsummer Moon).

I'm looking for single title romance fiction in all subgenres and women's fiction with an unusual premise.

If in doubt, please do query me--I'd rather know about your work than not.

deb werksman said...

Hi Christine:
I like to give authors free rein, but I also give as much feedback as I have. This can include ideas for subsequent books in a series; requests for rewrites on certain scenes; more or different development of a particular character. I absolutely share my ideas, but they're only suggestions. In the end, the book is the author's book--her name is on it. And, it's all about the book!

flchen1 said...

Hi, Deb! OK, so, did you keep the $100? ;)

Wow, that is surprising!

Thanks for sharing today--as a reader, it's neat to hear how books make it through the process and into my eager hands! As for genres I want to see more of, I've been enjoying Westerns and also any books set in Asia.

Congrats on the GR, Amy! And happy travels!

deb werksman said...

Hi Eric, I think great love stories are always going to capture readers. Romance fiction is in some senses a "traditional" genre, but even modern women want to have a wonderful relationship with a man they can love and respect. And, even as far back as Jane Austen (who, one could say, started the whole thing), the heroine of a romance can be a strong, smart woman with a mind of her own.
The "sameness" that's boring you is because we live in such a commercial marketplace, and so a lot of writing becomes formulaic. Keep looking for those books that transcend the genre--that's what I'm looking for.
We're a publishing house, so we don't have any agents at all. For overseas authors, I recommend email submissions.

deb werksman said...

Hi Suzanne:
We have no lines--just one imprint. I'm looking for actual, digital, computer word count. 85-110,000 words.

deb werksman said...

Hi Margay:
The hook is enough to make me want to see the manuscript. I have a lot of latitude for the synopsis--it's sometimes harder to write one of those than the actual book.

Yes, we consider unagented submissions.

Sophie Renwick said...

Thanks for the warm welcome. Unfortunately, I live in what they laughingly call the 'banana belt' of Canada.We're currently sitting at 95 degrees but with the humidity if feels like 108. Alas, no snow for your drinks!But I could be persuaded to send my cabana boy up there, he's very well versed in the cycles of 'heating up' and 'cooling down'!

I've been a lurker for a while on the Bandits, because i'm such a HUGE fan of Ann Campbells.
I write erotic historical romance under the name Charlotte Featherstone for Harlequin Spice and my Sophie name is currently with NAL and tied to an erotic contemp, about guess what???
A sexy playboy chef!! lol!
Seems like men who can cook are turning us on.
I'm also working on a sexy paranormal series that I hope to *cough* be able to entice Deb with.

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Thanx for popping in for a few. Hope you'll be able to join us again before too long.

Destiny, sorry about the mistake. :-( And I'd forgotten that Sourcebooks is reissuing some of Laura Kinsale's books and -- Listen up you Regency lovers -- they're also reissuing many of Georgette Heyer's books!

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hi Katey!
(Aunty waves madly in the direction of the Cal/Nevada border)
Have you seen/read Cheryl Brooks' Cat Star Chronicles? Slave was released in May and I believe Warrior is due out in Oct. This series is fantasy/sci-fi in the tradition of the original Star Trek and Star Wars and are a fun and sexy read.

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Terrio, here's a mimosa for you!

And Sophia, 95 degrees is hotter than it was here yesterday. YUCK! Cabana boy! Bring this woman a cool, refreshing Mud Slide! And I'm so glad you came out of lurkdome Char/Sophia. You'll find LOTS of Anna Campbell AND erotica fans here. ;-)

Katey Coffing, Ph.D. said...

Oooh, Cindy--thanks for the suggestions! [runs off to Amazon]

Michele Ann Young said...

Deb, Just dropping in to say hello. Looking forward to chatting with you at Nationals.

And for Christine's question, from my end it has been a great working relationship. Lots of interaction and discussion which I found very helpful. It's great to work with an editor who knows what she wants and how to get there.


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Okay, everyone, I just went in and amended the post because Robin Kaye would also like to give away an IOU for her debut release Romeo Romeo! So now you have 3 chances to win a Sourcebooks Casablanca release. I promise they will be worth the wait! Would your Aunty lie to you? ;-)

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

BIG THANX to my Sourcebooks Sisters Marie and Michele for dropping by!

Yes, I know that the 3 of us agree that we LURVE working with our editor Deb! We were all 3 debut authors (though Michele's second book is out this Fall and talk about a GORGEOUS COVER!) who sold to Sourcebooks and have had wonderfully positive experiences.

Walt Mussell said...

If you were going to recommend some Sourcebooks titles to a guy, what would you recommend?

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hey Walt!
Nice of you to hop over from the GIAMx3 loop!

What type of novels do you usually read?

If you like emotional, family oriented fiction, then I'd recommend SEALed with a Kiss. For comedy try 50 Ways to Hex Your Lover.
For sci-fi/fantasy, as previously mentioned Slave but be forewarned that this is a very sexy book. ;-) And I do believe that my own The Wild Sight is the first Casablanca release that is strongly suspense, but again, not for the faint of heart! (Aunty blushes just the tiniest bit.)

M. said...

I've been intrigued by the Casablanca imprint since learning that it published author friend Michelle Ann Young's 'No Regrets' with such gorgeous cover art, and since it had the brilliant sense to reissue some of Laura Kinsale's titles. Definitely a house I'm drawn to! And on that basis,I'd place a fair bit of trust that the unknown-to-me titles mentioned in this post would also appeal to me as a reader.

Christie Kelley said...

Hi Deb, great interview. I know so many other people have said this but I love the Sourcebooks covers. They are lovely.

The story of the $100 bill attached to the submission almost made me lose my iced tea. Too funny!

deb werksman said...

Hi Louisa:
Escape literature has indeed always done well when the economy declines. But I've always said we're in the entertainment industry!

deb werksman said...

Hi Sophie, For the next 3 seasons (Fall 08, Spring 09, Fall 09) we'll be publishing 25-30 novels per season. By Fall 09 they'll be scheduled to release at least 3 per month.

Erotic romance will also be published under Sourcebooks Casablanca and the cover design/category designation will make it clear.

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Nice to see you again and I appreciate your trust. Casablanca really does offer a wide variety from shapeshifters, Regencies, comedic paranormal, sci-fi/fantasy, pure contemporary, and romantic suspense (with a twist).

TRY US! I'm sure you'll LIKE US! :-)

deb werksman said...

Hi Jo: for non-fiction, contact Shana Drehs

Lindsey Brookes said...

Hi, Deb! So glad to have you here to answer questions. You have a full of mine from a contest win and I am lengthening another story as per a request from your assitant. I'd love to meet you, put a face with a name, but I won't be at National this year :( I am thinking about going to the Central Ohio Fiction Writer's conference since I see you are on their list as an attending editor and it's just over three hours from my house. I was planning on going to the New Jersey conference in October and wondered if you might be going to that one as well.

aka Lindsey Brookes

deb werksman said...

Kristen, I want to thank you for your comments about publishing being a business. I think it's really important for authors to be honest with yourselves about what you're in it for. There's WAY more beyond the writing that's going to be demanded of you if you want to succeed--especially in today's marketplace, which is quite crowded.

deb werksman said...

Kirsten, I spelled your name wrong. Forgive me.

deb werksman said...

Hi Beth:
My favorite part of my job is reading submissions and my least favorite is doing rejection letters.

Sophie Renwick said...

Deb, thanks for sharing the news about Casablanca expanding their number of titles. That's such good news.

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

LOL Deb,
I do believe the rejections are EVERYBODY's least favorite part! And Aunty doesn't need "the Sight" to know that! :-)

deb werksman said...

Mshellion: yes, I know, it seems obvious that I need the ending included in the synopsis, but more don't include it than few submissions actually follow the guidelines that it's a nice surprise when one does...sigh...(for those of you reading between the lines, there's a really simple way to win an editor's heart in here...)

Walt Mussell said...

Comedy is great. However, the potential for getting gored, axed, run through, etc. is better. I enjoy historicals (think Braveheart type) and suspense (think Phantom of the Night by Kenyon/Love). My likes are also genres getting mixed (granted, a hard sell). Can't deal with too much romance/erotica or Fabio wannabes on a cover. (These types of books would worry my wife.)

deb werksman said...

Hi Jo: I think edgy with a happy ending is exactly what works! Women want to read books that are real and reflect who we are today and what we're dealing with; at the same time, the happy ending is what makes it romance fiction. I've reached the point where I don't want to read books that don't have a happy ending. Life's tough enough.

deb werksman said...

Hi Suzanne: paranormal is still a hot subgenre, but there are so many vampires that it's tough to break out with a new one. That said, Linda Wisdom's series, starting with 50 Ways to Hex Your Lover, is doing great for us. I'm not ruling out vamps, but they have to have something else going for them too. Cindy's The Wild Sight drew me in, and with a paranormal element that's different and a great location like Ireland, I had a great way to "hook" the book.

I'd love to see more historicals that aren't Regency (but please keep sending me Regencies because I love them). I think there's opportunity in the marketplace outside of the Regency period, but it's a little harder to pull off. Readers are so familiar with the Regency period now that the author can fudge a little more. With other time periods, the history has to really be accurate.

deb werksman said...

Hi Edie:
We're not doing novellas right now. I won't rule it out for the future, but Fall 2009 would be the earliest, and I don't have any planned at this point.

deb werksman said...

Hi Terrio:
I do love to know that a submission won or finaled in a contest, but it's interesting to me how many winners/finalists don't meet the criteria for publishing. It's a different set of criteria. In a contest, the book is being judged against the other entries. For publishing, it's an absolute set of criteria for me:
*a heroine the reader can relate to
*a hero she can fall in love with
*a world gets created
*a "hook" that gives me 2-3 sentences to sell with

deb werksman said...

Aunt Cindy:

THANK YOU for answering questions--I didn't realize you were doing that! I started reading/answering from the top!

Keep up the good work. I'm jumping back into my meeting--I'll be back on the blog in a couple of hours!

Susan Seyfarth said...

Thanks for swinging by the lair today, Deb! I remember being a first time Golden Heart finalist in Atlanta in '06 when Sourcebooks was first starting to put out the call for romance submissions. Now here it is two years later & Sourcebooks is a well-defined force in the industry. That's got to feel great--congratulations!

And thanks, too, for being so open about what you're really looking for, how you want it packaged & how much or little the trends really affect what you buy. I'll definitely attend the Sourceoboks Spotlight in San Francisco!

terrio said...

Deb wrote:
*a heroine the reader can relate to
*a hero she can fall in love with
*a world gets created
*a "hook" that gives me 2-3 sentences to sell with

I think I'm going to print this out and put it over my computer. Thanks for answering the questions and I hope I get to meet you in San Fran.

Anna Campbell said...

Ooh, Sophie, you know how to start my day with a smile in Australia (no, it wasn't JUST the cabana boy you put in the post!). Thank you! Laughed at the banana belt comment - we actually HAVE a banana belt in Queensland where I live.

Congratulations on the Spice gig. Was I right in thinking you've got a submission with NAL? If so, good luck! Hey, and pop out to say hello when you feel like it! We're a friendly bunch, especially when we've hit the margaritas. Which sadly is most of the time.

Deb, I'm really enjoying your answers to all these questions. And I was really glad to see the Laura Kinsales out again in such lovely editions. They're classics of the genre and everyone should read them to see just how powerful romance fiction can be.

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

You're very welcome, but I'm sure most would rather hear from the definitive source -- YOU!

Try to stay awake for the rest of those meetings. Sven will be here for a cyber-massage when you manage to escape!

Meanwhile, more cyber-mimosas all around! Cabana boys! Don't make Aunty bring out her crop... Oh all right, if you INSIST!

Edie said...

Thanks for the answer, Deb! And the answer to the other questions. I'm reading them all. :)

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Walt said: the potential for getting gored, axed, run through, etc. is better.

Gee why is Aunty NOT surprised?!?! And btw Walt, have you met our body disposal expert Le Duchesse Jeanne, or our weapons expert Cassondra? And then there's p226 (who will be thrilled to see a couple more men commenting) who likes anything that goes fast or blows up.

Actually, Aunty is rather a blood-thirsty sort in terms of her entertainment and writing. Shot, stabbed, kidnapped, raped.... yes, Aunty's poor characters are not spared any torment. MUWAHAHAHA! But no worries, those who deserve an HEA get it!

Margay said...

Thanks, Deb, that is great to know.

Marie Force said...

Love that my Aunty CIndy likes her books bloody. Can't wait to read The Wild Sight. And let me echo Cindy's and Michele's sentiments about working with Deb. She's a gem.

Walt, you might like to read about the love life of an NFL football player. He's a guy, you're a guy.... LOL! I'm just saying....

Thanks to the others who have expressed excitement about Line of Scrimmage. As a debut author, I can't tell you how much it means to me to have people I've never met (but feel like I know in many cases) excited about my little book that could. Thank you!

Pat Cochran said...

Hello to Deb and Aunt Cindy, the
interview is just great! Very informative for this non-author!

Pat Cochran

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Pat C. great to see you, as always!

Marie, you are sooo right about it being a wonderful but slightly unreal feeling that people I don't know (or know only online) are excited to read my book! I feel incredibly complimented and humble at the same time!

Well all, Aunty has an appointment and a couple of errands so I must run out on you for a couple of hours. I will check back in later tonight (to make sure the mess is cleaned up) and will announce winners tomorrow evening.

Cabana boys! Fire up the blenders. Time for the extra-special Bandit margaritas. ;-)


Helen said...

All these questions answers and recomendations are fantastic.
I will be online today tring to get some of these books can't wait to read them.
Deb I would like to thank you for bringing us some wonderful reads that take us on some great adventures.

Have Fun

Tawny said...

Hi Deb :-) Welcome to the Lair.

You mention that there is way more than just the writing that an author will need to do to make it in today's marketplace. Can you expand on that a little?


Lindsey Brookes said...

Deb, I forgt to ask. Is SourceBooks looking into YA fiction down the road?


Cindy Procter-King said...

Deb, I can't believe you told that story about me clipping the $100 bill to my submission. I'm so embarrassed. Don't you realize how difficult that was to accomplish through email? I worked hard to get you that $100, I tell you.

Looking forward to meeting you in SF and attending the Sourcebooks Spotlight!


deb werksman said...

Hi Marie:
Line of Scrimmage is a perfect example of a romance that's so good it doesn't matter what the subgenre is doing. I believe for that kind of really strong love story, there's always going to be an audience.

deb werksman said...

Hi Nancy:
I read the cover letter, then the synopsis, then I start reading the novel.

deb werksman said...

Hi Katey:
I do like fantasy romance and I look forward to reading yours!

Katey Coffing, Ph.D. said...

Deb said:
> I do like fantasy romance and I look forward to reading yours!

*happy sigh* That's good to hear. :-)

And thanks for hanging out and answering questions on top of your many other duties! See you at National.

deb werksman said...

Hi flchen1:
I sent the $100 back the very same day! :-)

jo robertson said...

Thanks for the non-fiction contact, Deb, and thanks again for joining us in the Lair. It's been informative as always.

Marie Force said...

Thanks, Deb. That's nice to hear!

Carolyn Scott said...

It's a breath of fresh air to hear that you're looking for non-Regency historicals, Deb. For someone who writes Elizabethan-set romances, it's definitely encouraging. Thanks for the great interview!


Nancy said...

AC, we also are owned by the dog. For a being who lacks opposable thumbs, she gets her way an awful lot!

Sophie, your banana belt sounds a lot like the southern US. The temperature at the Outer Banks last year was in the high 90s, with heat indices in the low 100s. I sympathize!

Jennifer Y., I'm not sure we need you striking up an alliance with the rooster. We want you on our side!

Deb, are there any particular historical periods or contemporary types of stories you would rather not see because they're so tough to move in the market? Thanks for hanging around and answering our questions today.

Jill James said...

Deb, great to hear Sourcebooks is doing so well for you and your authors. Your criteria sounds so simple to say and so difficult to execute well, I like it. I agree with whoever said it, I think I'll print it and post it on my computer as well.
1. Heroine to relate to
2. Hero to fall in love with.
3. world-building
4. 2-3 line "hook"

Kate Carlisle said...

Stopping by a little late to say hello! Aunty and Deb, what an amazing interview. Thanks so much for all this great information.

Deb, I'm a big fan of good old fashioned contemporary romance when it's done really well, so I'm looking forward to ROMEO ROMEO when it comes out. And of course I can't wait for Aunty's book. It sounds fantastic and I'm in love with that cover!

Pass me one of those industrial strength margaritas, please? I've had a long day. :-)

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

I'm baaack!
Thanx a bunch, Deb for being with us today in spite of your very busy schedule. I know we have all appreciated your answers! Hope you can join us again in the not-too-distant future.

BIG THANX to everyone who stopped by to leave a question/comment, monopolize a cabana boy, get a massage from Sven... It's been a GREAT DAY here in the Lair and National is less than 2 weeks away! WOO HOO!

Please check in tomorrow for the winners of the 3 IOUs and for MORE FUN in the Lair!


catslady said...

Great interview and I just absolutely love all those covers!

Robin Kaye said...

Hi Deb and Cindy~

Great interview! I love Deb's interviews, and no, not just because she plugs Romeo, Romeo either.

I'm with Marie, hoping that the Contemporary market takes off in a big way this fall.

Kate, I look forward to you reading Romeo, Romeo too, I'm giving out an IOU, maybe you'll win it.

I'm so honored to be working with Deb. I can't imagine a better editor. The entire Sourcebooks team has been amazingly supportive. They've made the journey a true pleasure. My fellow Casa sisters have just been the icing on the cake.

I'm looking forward to seeing so many of you in SF!
Safe travels everyone.

Robin Kaye :)

Joan said...

Hello? Hello?

Anybody at home?

Gah, I'm so late after working 12 hours!

Glad to have you in the Lair Deb and I love your sound advice and down to earth approach to the world of publishing.

I too am looking forward to The Wild Sight. I read Aunty's excerpt on her website and was drawn right in. (And, being an Ireland fanatic LOVE that it is set there!)

Speaking of websites, how important do you think these are for new authors?

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Catslady, Robin, and Joanie,
So sorry you missed the big bash. :-( I think there may be 3 maragritas left. Sit back and let Sven give you all a foot massage while you enjoy the view of the cabana boys on clean-up detail.


Eric said...

Deb (and Aunty), Thank you for the response(s). The agent I was asking about was for the purchase of hard copy novels I choose. (I didn't word it very well) ---- However the alternate answer might well prove of interest to someone I know (as well).

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