Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Sourcebooks is Opening A New Romance Line

First off, I just wanted to note that I absolutely CANNOT get this post to format correctly. When it's in "compose" mode, it looks great. When it's in "preview" mode, the format is just all over the place. I really don't know what to do about this. It's driving me crazy. This is not the first time I've had problems of this nature and I'm sure it won't be the last. If anyone has any suggestions, please let me know. Now, on with the post... I always look forward to Cynthia Sterling's weekly MARKET NEWS NEWSLETTER. It's always chock full of industry and market news updates and her current issue is no exception. I've especially been looking forward to the upcoming issues, because I know it will have lots of good information straight from the RWA National conference. To my delight, I received the newsletter today, and, I was right. :) It's full of interesting news. This issue contains a resource for Sourcebooks, a publisher who normally sticks to baby naming books and college guides, but will be adding a new romance line this fall. Maybe this is old news to some of you, but for me, it's not. For those of you who, like me, have never heard of this publisher, here's the scoop. Enjoy!
*The following article is re-posted with permission per the Cynthia Sterling MARKET NEWS Newsletter.*

This week I began my look at all the publisher Spotlights from the RWA National Conference in Dallas last month. So if you have friends that are interested, let them know they can sign up for the newsletter. And as always, the archives are available at if you miss anything. First up, Sourcebooks. The Spotlight on Sourcebooks was an energetic presentation by President and CEO Dominique Raccah and Editor Deb Werksman. Ms. Raccah spoke first, and gave some background on Sourcebooks. She founded the company in 1987 in an upstairs bedroom of her home in Napierville, Illinois. Sourcebooks currently publishes 250 titles a year and has 75 employees. It is one of the top ten independent publishers in the company and the largest woman-owned publisher in America. Sourcebooks has had ten New York Times bestselling titles. Ms. Raccah spoke at length about what she feels separates Sourcebooks from other publishers. She said they publish careers and authors, not just books, and have a long-term focus. They also put together a marketing plan for every author. She gave the example of an author Sourcebooks took on, Ted Fisk. He’s the author of the Fisk Guide to Colleges, which was published by Random House. The book was the number four college guide in the country when Fisk came to Sourcebooks. Through repackaging and a promotional push, Sourcebooks took the guide to number one. They also came up with a plan for Fisk to produce a number of complimentary materials that could be marketed with the guide to increase his market share. Ms. Raccah also spoke about a Sourcebooks fiction author, Michael Malone. He’s a southern novelist who has been previously published by Knopf and Harper. When he came to Sourcebooks they bought out his backlist and reprinted it. They developed a five-year marketing plan for his new books and sent him on a pre-launch book tour to meet book buyers before the book was even available. His first new book for Sourcebooks was a New York Times bestseller. “We’re known by our customers for innovation and marketing,” she said. Thirty percent of the company is devoted to sales and marketing. They also have an active sub-rights department. Ms. Raccah said that whenever Sourcebooks enters a new category, they go into it with the intention of being at the top of the category. She cited their experience entering the crowded calendar market and becoming one of the top sellers, as well as their successful foray into children’s book publishing. Now they are making the same commitment to being a top seller of romance fiction. In 1997, Sourcebooks bought a company called Casablanca, which had published a bestselling book, 1001 Ways to Be Romantic. Today Sourcebooks Casablanca is the largest nonfiction romance publisher in the world, with books that are especially popular at Valentine’s day. In 2004, Sourcebooks published Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife, by Linda Berdoll. This very sexy sequel to Pride and Prejudice has been very successful. That success led Sourcebooks to target the romance fiction market. Editor Deb Werksman spoke next. Sourcebooks Casablanca is launching its romance fiction list this fall with a mixture of reprints and original fiction by both new and familiar authors. They’ll publish two Georgette Heyer reprints, a new Regency by a debut author, and a time travel romance by an established author. In the Spring they’ll release two more Georgette Heyers, a women’s fiction novel and a collection of erotica that was previously a bestseller overseas, a paranormal by a previously unpublished author and one by an established author, a historical romance reprint, and a contemporary romance with a Navy Seal hero by a debut author. Sourcebooks is looking for single title romance fiction between 85,000 and 120,000 words – contemporary, historical (any time period to 1900), romantic suspense, humor, erotic romance, paranormal and women’s fiction. Ms. Werksman said she wants to fall in love with the story’s hero, or, alternatively, fall more in love with her husband because of the story. She wants to relate to the heroine. She likes heroines who are realistic and even a bit unusual – no perfect twenty-two year olds. She wants to be taken to another world, “a wholly conceived environment for the characters.” She said authors should be able to sum up their book in a couple of sentences so that the sales people and account buyers can quickly grasp the story. Sourcebooks accepts submissions from both agented and unagented authors. She prefers email submissions and would like either a simple query or a synopsis with the full manuscript. Authors should receive confirmation of their submission within 21 days and her goal is to reply in 12-18 weeks. Detailed guidelines are available at

Anyone can sign up to Cynthia Sterling's newsletter by sending a blank email to:
Also, if you're interested, I've found a really good article at the Publishers Weekly Website regarding the new romance line opening this fall with Sourcebooks. It's entitled: Sourcebooks Launches Romance Fiction Line and you can access the article by clicking on the links. Happy Writing!

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