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Interview with Sourcebooks

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Deb Werksman met Grace Burrowes at the Washington Writers’ Retreat. Werksman had a few minutes between appointments and said “tell me about your books” as she does to every author she meets. Grace shared that she had written 19 unpublished manuscripts, all regency romances. The stories were written about the Duke of Moreland and his 8 surviving children. He is obsessed with the succession is pushing his three surviving sons to marry and have legitimate offspring.

She is a lawyer who specializes in family law, particularly in abuse. She also has a degree in music, grew up on a farm and owns horses.
Grace Burrowes

Deb asked for Grace to send Deb 3-4 of the manuscripts. Grace sent 4. Each one of the stories had something good about them but Deb felt she couldn’t bring them to market until she read the 4th one, which turns out to be “The Soldier.

Deb then called Grace and says “send me four more.” In the next 4, she found “The Heir” and “The Virtuoso.” These stories comprise the three sons of the Duke of Moreland. With the hook, Deb returned to the editorial department and was able to sell the series as “The Duke’s Obsession.

They have signed her for nine books. The next three stories will be about the sisters beginning with the October release of “Lady Sophie’s Christmas Wish.”

The Heir was released in December and was initially passed on by Walmart, but after the PW award naming “The Heir” as the historical romance of the year and armed with other positive reviews, the sales team repitched the book and Walmart picked it up in March. “The Heir” went on to achieve New York Times bestselling status in May, nearly 6 months after its original release.

The are going to be discounting all of Heyer’s books to $1.99 for Heyer’s birthday.

Sourcebooks will also be updating existing published books with buy links for other connected series books and other information for the reader.

I asked Deb and Leah Hultenschmidt what they were looking for and Deb said “fresh” stories. Freshness can be as simple as a different locale. For example, they have three cowboy authors. Carolyn Brown’s books are set in Oklahoma and Texas. Joanne Kennedy stories are in Wyoming, big sky country. CH Amarand’s books take place in small town in ranch country.

Another example is Mary Margaret Daughtride writes Navy Seal books but Sourcebooks has signed Anne Elizabeth who writes West Coast SEALS.

Deb is looking for

  • Contemporary: southern, western, small town, romantic comedy
  • Commercial women’s fiction
  • Selective paranormal
  • Romantic suspense with law enforcement

Leah is looking for

  • Historical paranorals
  • Small town southern contemporaries
  • YA

I asked whether Sourcebooks is going to do a digital first publishing line and Dominique Raccah, the owner of Sourcebooks said that “when the right model comes to her.”

Raccah also said that the new publishing environment allows publishers to get information directly from the readers from everything from what covers they should use to the titles to a purchasing problem. The interchange with readers is a powerful tool for publishers.

Sourcebooks usually develop 17 cover concepts for each book so that they arrive at exactly the right cover for the book. Deb admitted that some books have had 190 titles attached to them before arriving at the right one.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. Abigail
    Jul 02, 2011 @ 00:49:37

    I met Grace this past week in New Orleans, where she was signing books at the ALA Annual Conference. She was lovely and so excited to get back to writing. I have the first two books and I can’t wait to read them!

  2. Need to start saving « Too Many Books
    Jul 02, 2011 @ 02:01:53

    […] 2011 by rocalisa in Tossing it out. Tagged: ebooks, georgette heyer. Leave a Comment According to this post at Dear Author, Sourcebooks is going to be discounting their Georgette Heyer books to US$1.99 for […]

  3. romsfuulynn
    Jul 02, 2011 @ 02:43:46

    August 16 then? Whee!

  4. Loosheesh
    Jul 02, 2011 @ 07:39:17

    Thanks for the heads up on the Georgette Heyer sale!!

  5. Ridley
    Jul 02, 2011 @ 08:26:44

    Historical paranormals

    Really? Isn’t this the biggest dud genre going?

  6. Rhianna
    Jul 02, 2011 @ 10:59:04

    @Ridley: I suppose Historicals readers might not want them. Speaking as a Paranormals lover I’d love to see more set in historical times. I love Historical Paranormals!

  7. Liz Mc
    Jul 02, 2011 @ 12:41:27

    Do editors believe the romance cliche that big cities are EVOL or something? What’s wrong with contemporaries set in coastal (or midwest) cities/suburbs? Lots of us live there, and we read books too.

  8. Emily
    Jul 03, 2011 @ 01:54:21

    I second the contemporary urban/suburban. I get the kitsch factor of the small town setting. I loved Lauren Dane’s chased series and that was set in a small town. However, I would love to read more romances set in in suburbia where I’ve lived my whole life.

  9. Nonny
    Jul 03, 2011 @ 04:58:06

    If you count steampunk along with historical paranormal, it’d seem like the genre is fairly popular.

  10. Catherine
    Jul 04, 2011 @ 12:48:50

    I’m reading THE HEIR right now, and am enthralled. The author’s characterization, her ability to reveal what’s in the hero’s head, is amazing me. I feel a familiarity with the hero. The heroine is also well-developed, and quite guarded, promoting a suspense that is enjoyable, not annoying. I’m a fan of Ms. Burrowes. I love learning that she’d written several novels in order to hone her craft. The covers are gorgeous.

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