Hot Books for Fall: Spotlight on SourceBooks, Deb Werksman, Executive Editor
SourceBooks is a small publishing house located in Naperville, Illinois. This year marks the beginning of SourceBooks entry into the world of romance publishing. The new line is called “Casablanca” and will offer “15 to 20 titles per season, in a mixture of mass market and trade paperback formats.”
Deb Werksman is the executive editor for SourceBooks and the head of the Casablanca line. She’s offered up the vision behind SourceBooks and the future books about which we readers should be excited.
Q: Can you share with us the vision of the new Sourcebooks Romance imprint? What are the types of books that are being published under that imprint?
Our vision is to publish single-title romance in all the subgenres–"paranormal, romantic suspense, contemporary, historical and erotic romance. We're looking for new authors as well as established ones, books that have something unusual about them, or could transcend the genre, and we're out to create long, successful careers with our authors.
Q: What books are you looking for or is there a sub-genre you think that readers are hungry for that the market is not yet meeting to its fullest?
It looks to me as though the subgenres move through cycles. Paranormal is hot right now, but it's getting overpublished, which means it'll be harder for new authors to break out. Romantic suspense is strong, too. Historical seems to be steady, and I'm hearing that contemporary may be ready to cycle up again. I'm thinking of my list almost like a stock portfolio, making sure it's balanced across the subgenres and sticking to my criteria. I think a book can be successful coming out of any subgenre if it has a strong enough hook.
Q: Is there one piece of advice that you would give to authors?
If I can give only one :-) I'd say, make sure your book has a REALLY strong hook–"your editor is going to have to be able to talk about it in one or two sentences and that has to make someone want to read it.
Q: What type of packaging are you using for your books? I.e., covers that are selling; marketing strategies that readers should be aware of? What type of reader are you marketing to?
We're putting the handsome hero on the cover, most of the time! That seems to be working best, but we're also designing with freshness in mind–"we want our books to stand out in the category. I think the marketing strategy that everything hinges on is to have that incredibly strong hook for the book. Then, whether it's web marketing, ARCs to booksellers and librarians, advertisements or reviews, it's going to get people to want to pick up that book.
We're marketing to a 25+ urban/suburban reader–"a on the upscale side–"she's smart, she's educated, she's powerful in her own life, so she's looking for a heroine she can relate to and a world being created. She's reading for entertainment, but it has to be intelligent and fresh.
Q: What does the fall/winter lineup have to offer readers?
We're incredibly excited about No Regrets by Michele Ann Young, a Regency featuring a heroine who's fat and wears glasses, and feels incredibly unattractive. She has no idea that the hero is absolutely driven wild by her body–"he can barely keep his hands to himself!
Also incredibly exciting is Laurie Brown's time travel, Hundreds of Years to Reform a Rake, in which a modern career woman is pulled back in time to the Regency period and into the arms of an unscrupulous rake!
Finally, we're bringing back some of Georgette Heyer's classics, in trade paper formats, which we think her readers are going to love. The first one is Cotillion, and there'll be more next year.
Q: What should we be on the look out for in the future?
Next spring we'll have a feisty witch and drop-dead gorgeous vampire couple in “50 Ways to Hex Your Lover”, a werewolf from the Scottish Highlands in “Call of the Highland Moon”, and a Navy SEAL hero in “SEALed with a Kiss”, plus the first in the Cat Star Chronicles series: “SLAVE,” which features an intergalactic trader heroine and a hero who's the last of his kind, from a planet where the people have a feline gene. That makes him sensuous, gorgeous, and he has some VERY interesting equipment!
And next fall we'll have a great macho hero who turns out to be the nurturing one in the relationship in Romeo, Romeo by debut author Robin Kaye, plus romantic suspense, some poignant contemporaries, and more historicals.