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Editors Roundtable

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on March 11, 2012

Sleuthfest: Part 4

Editors Roundtable

Annette Rogers from Poisoned Pen Press said unagented submissions are okay and they are looking for new, unpublished authors. They do mysteries only, not thrillers. Some of their bestselling books are historicals. They have 120 writers. They’re running a contest for previously unpublished mystery authors, so check it out. There’s a $1000 prize and a quick response. Otherwise, submissions may take 2 to 3 months for a response. She likes a calculating, evil villain. Don’t start with backstory. Jump right into the action. Then she looks for author voice. As for topics, she likes unusual settings. World War II is over, and nobody wants to read about Vietnam. However, she’d like a good story about Iraq or Afghanistan as long as it’s not political. She says to send a query letter and then she’ll let you know if she wants to see anything else.

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Abby Zidle from Pocket and Gallery Books reported that business has shrunk with ebooks and the loss of Borders. They’re looking for big airport-type stories that they can do in hardcover and follow up with mass market. These are mainly suspense. They will do cozies, i.e. craft and food mysteries, in trade paperback as long as they’re not too narrow a niche. Gallery does the trade paperbacks and hardcovers. All have simultaneous ebook releases. Regarding true crime, it depends on how hot and accessible the story is, if she’d be interested. They take only agented submissions, or you can mention that you met her at a conference or heard her speak at one.

Denise Dietz from Five Star Publishing says, “If you drop a dream, it breaks. Don’t give up.” She claims she can fix a book if the voice is there. So she’s primarily looking for voice. What does this mean? You pick up book two or three from an author and you say, that sounds like so and so. It’s unique and distinct. Too many people need to show, not tell. And she’s not looking for a book opening with a weather report. Don’t have your character meet somebody alone in the cemetery at night. Another pet peeve — the killer explains everything at the final confrontation. The most important factors to her characterization, voice, and pacing. You can send her a query letter and she’ll send you the submission guidelines.

Pat Van Wie from Belle Bridge Books would like to see Apocalypse or post-Apocalypse stories, hard-edged thrillers and suspense. They accept cozies but she may pass it on to another editor. She prefers hard-edged material and would be interested in true crime.

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Deni Deitz and Pat Van Wie

Robert Gussin from Oceanview Publishing says they put out one book per month and have about 50 authors. They’re looking for exciting, fast-paced stories in the mystery/suspense/thriller genres. He advises authors to build depth of character. Write truly what you know. They like credibility, i.e. a doctor who writes medical mysteries, a pilot who write books about airplanes, or a lawyer who writes courtroom dramas. Half the books they get are about Middle Eastern terrorists, so if you write one, it had better be different. They do hardcover and ebooks with a two book contract. The first book will later come out in trade paperback. About three books per month are going to audio. They take agented submissions only, unless you are previously traditionally published, you’ve met him at a conference, or you’ve heard him speak on a panel.

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Nancy Cohen and Deni Dietz

All of my photos are available in the Sleuthfest 2012 Album on my Facebook Author Page.  Please “Like” my page while you’re there!


6 Responses to “Editors Roundtable”

  1. Thanks for the report, Nancy. Very interesting and leaves me thinking that the publishing industry is going through some significant changes these days. Nice to know these editors are still looking.

  2. Yes, there are viable alternatives to the Big Six.

  3. Great report, Nancy. Specific information is exactly what we need before sending out queries.

  4. Great round up of information, thank you so much.

  5. Marilyn and Rachel, I’m glad you could drop by.

  6. kathymckenzierunk said

    Thank you one hundred times over for the reporting!

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