Submissions update

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Winding up this week, sorry I missed posting yesterday (and I even have content to use!) but I spent a good 4 hours on the phone and when I wasn’t on the phone, I was trying to get some urgent items on my to-do list taken care of. But submissions are always at the forefront of my mind, so I thought I’d share some statistics to cap off the week.

Manuscripts offered contracts to date: 19

Rejections sent to date: 198

Revise/resubmit letters sent: 10 (0 returned so far, but I’ll remain hopeful since it’s still early days)

I have another batch of probably forty rejection letters to send and 2 new contract offers to deliver with more coming next week! Yay!  That puts us at about 8% acceptance, which is actually pretty high, so I’m impressed with that number, especially considering the stringent approval process these books are being put through.

All November submissions should get a response by next week, with two exceptions: any that were reissue submissions, and those manuscripts the acquisitions editors are still taking a closer look at. So we’re still within the 8 week time frame, and definitely within 10, despite the holidays. That time frame will actually be shorter now that I’ve added another editor and the holidays are past so we all have more time.

I know authors often wonder about the timing of sending in manuscripts so I’ll give you a little inside tip: right now, the editors and acquisitions team are flying through submissions and they are hungry for quality books. Since we’re still concentrating on submissions, and a lot of the editors haven’t entered into the editing phase yet, now is a really good time to submit and see a quick turnaround time from submission to response. We’re currently, as I said, finishing out November and many December books have gotten responses as well. The reason it doesn’t go in exact chronological response order is because I send books to editors based on not just date of submission, but also their reading preference. Since some editors read faster than others, and some genre categories had more submissions than others, or some genres have a larger number of team members reading them (like historicals, we had a lot of historical submissions but probably twice as many people who love that genre, apparently) we moved more quickly through those than through others.

I know authors also like to know what in particular a publisher is looking for, but I’d have to list most every genre because the reading tastes of the acquisitions team and editorial crew is amazingly diverse. And since we’re a new publisher, we’re looking to fill slots in all genres. I will say that historical submissions fairly get snatched up because nearly every member of the acquisitions team is a fan of historicals, as are at least half of the editors. On the other hand, several editors and acquisitions team members love erotic romance, science fiction romance, fantasy and steampunk and we’ve had some minor skirmishes over things coming in for those genres. And we’d love more contemporary romance. And paranormal romance. And futuristic…well, see? You get the point. A little bit of everything!

So that’s where we’re at with submissions. If you’ve got any questions about the process or turnaround time (please don’t ask about your specific submission, however) I’m happy to answer in the comments!

Meet Jenny…Submissions can be sanity savers!

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As the Manager of Digital Content for the Internet & Digital Team, Jenny Bullough helps to bring new projects and business ventures to fruition while maintaining production workflows for the current digital businesses. She is a passionate fan of TV, movies, and reading both digitally and print, and indulges in each whenever she can – though raising two girls under 5 takes up most of her spare time!

So, how was your holiday season? Good, I hope. Mine was pretty much the worst Christmas ever. You see, at midnight on Christmas Eve our 11-month-old baby girl became suddenly and violently ill with a nasty viral infection that immediately settled in her lungs and GI tract. By Christmas morning she was in such bad shape I took her to the ER and she was admitted immediately and hooked up to an IV. So, my Christmas Day and Boxing Day were spent at her bedside in hospital. Definitely not the way I envisioned spending her first Christmas!!

Thankfully, she was discharged after 36 hours and as I write this now, 10 days later, she is almost completely recovered. As you can probably imagine, I am counting my blessings these days, and living with a renewed perspective on what the holidays really mean!  Once the initial panic over our baby’s health subsided, I was awash in overwhelming feelings of gratitude for so many things: that we live near a major hospital; that we have family nearby who took care of our 5-year-old girl so we could be at the hospital with the baby; that we are rich in friends who offered support spiritually, emotionally, and practically; that we live in a day and age and place where these kinds of illnesses can be fought and conquered with the best medical care.

I’m also very grateful that just before Christmas, “Santa” delivered to me an early present: a Kindle. Before I left the office for the holidays I loaded it up with Carina manuscript submissions and a few choice PDFs of Harlequin, MIRA, and HQN titles from our company archives. When I left the house to take the baby to the hospital, I grabbed just two things: the diaper bag with all her necessities, and my Kindle. During the long hours at her bedside, when all I could do was sit and hold her tiny hand and pray (I think any parent can understand that sleep was, for me, out of the question during this time), reading kept me sane.

As I have so often in life, I turned to the greatest escape – fiction – to lift me out of the stress and anxiety I was feeling at the time. Through the words of writers published and not-yet-published, I entered other worlds far away from the concerns of the present. By following the journeys of fictional characters, I was prevented from dwelling on unpleasant thoughts and fears, and each time I set down my Kindle I felt refreshed and renewed and more able to deal calmly with the situation I was in. Best of all, the Kindle is so light I could hold it in one hand while I rocked my feverish baby to sleep in my arms.

I can’t tell you how many books and manuscript submissions I burned through, but I can tell you this: if your submission was one that I read, THANK YOU. No matter what happens with your submission, whether it ends up acquired by Carina Press or another publishing house or winds up being reworked into something else, please know that your words, your story, saved this mother’s sanity during a very scary time! A story doesn’t have to be published to touch a reader’s heart, and to make a meaningful difference, even if it’s just to one person in this big world.

Acquisition: Amethyst Bound by L. Shannon

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Note: This book and I have a bit of a history. I first saw it years ago, when I was putting together an anthology of dragon novellas. At that time, I really loved the voice and the writing, but felt the book was too short and needed to be bulked up. So I sent it back to the author with some notes and a request for fleshing out the story and a resubmission. I didn’t see it again for over two years, the author having put it away for a bit. Then, this fall, the author submitted it to me at the now defunct Quartet Press. She’d done exactly what I asked in my original revisions letter, and the book was now longer and even stronger. She doesn’t know, but I would have acquired it then, but I didn’t get the chance. I was glad to see it come through the Carina Press submissions inbox, and I would have happily been the acquiring editor but, it turns out, I didn’t need to be. Another editor saw the exact same things in it that I did.

L. Shannon, the author, came into existence in 2004. Shannon’s always been a reader and lover of books, but never considered writing until one night when she ran out of books to read… She began writing that very night as the first line of defense in a battle against insomnia. Her writing has steadily grown into a full-out war against reality. Her friends kindly say reality never stood a chance. The L. Shannon novels have expanded to fill an entire world with paranormal wonders including Valàfrn werewolves, Tascryn demons, blood-sucking vampires, sexy selkies and many, many more. Be careful if you choose to enter Shannon’s hunk-filled world. You may never wish to leave…
Born and raised in the hills of Western Pennsylvania, Shannon still calls the family farm home.  In the time Shannon doesn’t spend writing, she’s kept busy by bothering her super supportive husband, showing dogs, gardening and watching over her Butterfly Koi ponds. You can learn more about her writing and her life at www.lshannon.net or stay in touch through http://twitter.com/L_Shannon

Amethyst Bound by L. Shannon

Toni is in the high risk recovery business. Because of her unique camouflaging ability, she steals what others say is unstealable. The current theft proves suspiciously easy until the item in question comes to life. The stone amulet draws her into an ancient prophecy and binds her soul to the spirit of a dragon named Amethyst.

As if having an amulet stuck to her chest and a dragon in her head weren’t enough, she soon finds herself on the run from a nasty group of vampire henchmen intent on taking her back to their master. More than her freedom is at stake. The one behind the attacks intends to force Amethyst to fulfill the prophecy and become one of the nine dragons destined to end the world.

Toni’s dark past drove her to total independence but in this battle will she alone be enough? As she battles to hold on to herself and accept Amethyst as part of her life, she learns how to trust others.  She still has a chance to come out on top with the help of a sexy archeologist named Wilson who just happens to specialize in dragons. He won’t leave her alone. But is it love or his lifelong obsession that keeps him at her side?

Toni is in the high risk recovery business. Because of her unique camouflaging ability, she steals what others say is unstealable. The current theft proves suspiciously easy until the item in question comes to life. The stone amulet draws her into an ancient prophecy and binds her soul to the spirit of a dragon named Amethyst.

As if having an amulet stuck to her chest and a dragon in her head weren’t enough, she soon finds herself on the run from a nasty group of vampire henchmen intent on taking her back to their master. More than her freedom is at stake. The one behind the attacks intends to force Amethyst to fulfill the prophecy and become one of the nine dragons destined to end the world.

Toni’s dark past drove her to total independence but in this battle will she alone be enough? As she battles to hold on to herself and accept Amethyst as part of her life, she learns how to trust others.  She still has a chance to come out on top with the help of a sexy archeologist named Wilson who just happens to specialize in dragons. He won’t leave her alone. But is it love or his lifelong obsession that keeps him at her side?

Coming from Carina Press in 2010

Week Eight…2009 Drew to a Close

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Late, this post is late, so late! Today has been a Monday, on so many levels and a few times I’ve been tempted to just shut down the computer and try again tomorrow. I hope no one else had a day like that! But I don’t get paid to give up, so here I am, still chugging along. I have one more item on my to-do list for the day before I actually shut down. Payables for 2009 are being closed down, so all invoices have to be turned in, from freelance editing to expense reports, so I spent some time today devoted to that. I spent all day on email. There seems to be a never-ending supply of that!

Last week seemed like such a short week, but really it was only shortened by one day! You’ve all seen the post on the missing emails now, so I’ll tell you that I spent a portion of several days last week working with the Help Desk to try and locate them. They were fairly convinced that I’d accidentally deleted or misfiled them, so they remotely took control of my computer and went through my email to see if they could find them. It’s weird to have someone else working on your computer remotely. Very odd. Unfortunately, they didn’t find them. Honestly, I’d have been happy to take 100% responsibility for whatever happened to them if only we could find them. I still have my fingers crossed that they’ll magically appear, but that’s looking less likely as the days pass and we don’t recover them.

On a more positive note, the copy editor applicants (and tests) are rolling in, we’re moving quickly through submissions now, and we targeted five more books for acquisition last week in a variety of genres. I think that will be the Carina Press word of the moment: acquisition. It’s all about acquisition right now! Something did come up that made me think it might be interesting for us to do a post on the cost of submissions. I have the blog content planned for the next week, but I’ll try and get that post up in the next few weeks. Someone remind me if I forget!

Coming up this week, I’ll be posting the final acquisition from Christmas week, and also a few more posts introducing the Carina Press team members. Slowly but surely they’re getting those posts in. I may have to nag a few of them, though. On my own to-do list is a lot of correspondence with the editors, setting up our editorial steps and style because these books are ready to be edited! So I’ll be working on mostly editorial this week, because I’ll also be going over the copy editor applications, and sending more tests out. Oh, and I have lots of phone calls scheduled with incoming Carina authors. Wheee! It’s going to be a busy (but productive) week.

Emails between December 15th-24th

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**this post is a sticky. Please scroll down to see the next post/new content.

Due to the vagaries and curses of technology, everything in our submissions and general inquiries main inbox disappeared sometime on Christmas Eve. Like…poofed into cyberspace in a place not to be found. Not the way I hoped to start my holidays, believe me! This was emails sent between December 15th and December 24th only, as all other emails had been moved out of the main inboxes and filed appropriately. I’ve been stressing over this for two weeks, and the Help Desk has made a valiant effort to find the missing emails. They’re still trying and will exhaust every possibility, I’m sure, but in the meantime I don’t want anyone to have to wait longer than necessary for a reply.

So, please accept my apologies for any inconvenience, but if you sent a submission or an inquiry of any kind to the submissions@ or generalinquiries@carinapress.com inboxes between December 15th and December 24th, and haven’t received a personal response (not an autoresponse, but a personal response) please resend your email. When you resend, please note the original date you sent it, if it’s a submission, so I can be sure to move it to the proper place in the queue and be sure it doesn’t add any extra time to your wait.

*it is not necessary to resend any emails that fall outside this time period, even if you haven’t received a personal response!

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