Okay, so I’m hopping on the Thursday Thirteen bandwagon because I work soooo much better when I’m not winging it *g*.  Soooo, without further ado, here we go for the day!

As you may or may not know, I’m the Editorial Director at Liquid Silver Books, but I also help out with acquisitions when needed (or when I’m trying to avoid writing *g*)

Thirteen Things I Wish I Didn’t See in Aquisitions

1.  Incorrectly formatted manuscripts.  By this I mean stuff that is submitted with NO paragraph breaks.  Yup, just one loooooong paragraph.  Sometimes the whole book looks like that.  Sigh.  Yeah, I know, formatting shouldn’t matter, it should be the content of the work, but at some point it needs to be fixed, and I’m NOT having my editorial staff do it!

2.  Submissions that don’t even begin to touch our core readership.  We’ve had inspirationals…yes, inspirationals…submitted.  Now I’ve got no prob with that kind of book, but it’s obviously not a good fit with a company that publishes EROTIC romance.

3.  Misspellings.  Run spell check before you submit, for God’s sake!

4.  Characters who are cardboard.  Erotic romance, by it’s nature, tends to be shorter than “big” books.  Why?  IMO, it’s because the characters are usually in bed early, so the sexual tension and romance arcs you see in traditional “big” books is accelerated.  Soooo, it’s hideously important that the hero, heroine, and secondary characters are well developed almost from the get-go.  The reader should empathise with them from almost the first scene, and care about why they’re ready to do the nasty almost from page one.

5.  Submissions that are obviously not critiqued.  Let’s be honest, most of the folks cold-subbing stuff to online houses are new writers.  Yeah, there are some out there who decided that their book was damned good even if NY turned it down repeatedly, and in lots of cases, they’re right on target.  But there are the other folks, those who want to “try out” writing, and once they’ve whipped through a 20K word novella, they send it out to every publisher under the sun.  Without ever having anyone else read it.  And even if they did, not listening to any feedback.  I can’t say this enough.  Get your stuff read before you sub.  Even if it’s by the chick in the cubicle next to you.  And LISTEN to her comments!

6.  Use your word processor’s Grammar Checker.  There are these two little punctuation marks that drive most people over the edge.  Commas and semi-colons.  MS Word’s Grammar Checker is usually pretty damned good about picking up on their usage.  Believe in it.  I’d rather have you over-comma than not use any at all!

7.  “My Book is Perfect” syndrome.  This falls into the editing realm as well, but no book is perfect (not even mine *g*).  The aquisitions folks and your editor are folks who have read countless books and know what/where the market is.  We see the sales figures, watch the trends, and buy appropriately.  Now, if a book is just plain fan-freakin-tastic, then screw trends, we’ll buy it anyway *g*, but you get my drift.  When it comes to edits, your editor IS NOT on a mission to change your voice (they wouldn’t have lasted this long if they were).  They’re there to polish your work…hopefully to the point where the very last thing a reader/reviewer is thinking…”wait, that’s not right, I read that her eyes were blue on page 3″ Or “No one actually talks like that”

8.    To caveat on #7…nasty letters telling the acquisitions manager how absolutely wrong they were to reject your book.  I don’t know about other places, but we tend to send out pretty detailed “r” correspondence (unless you’re subbing in the wrong genre), and having you argue with us doesn’t exactly make us want to read your next work.

9.  Subbing to multiple places at the same time.  If you are going to do that, please let us know.  And if another pub accepts, then pull it off the table.  Granted Liquid Silver is pretty good about getting back to you in a jiff, but if someone beats us to the punch, then please have the courtesy to keep us in the loop.

10.  Not letting us know your book has been previously pubbed.  While getting books from other pubs is a bennie (previously edited/proofed=less work for everyone), we need to know that from the beginning for two reasons…first, we need to make sure your rights are free and clear before we touch it (bad ju-ju w/other pubs) and second, because we need to let our readers know that it’s been republished before they buy it.  You KNOW how pissed you get when you buy a book by a NY author in Walden’s that’s been “repackaged” and you don’t realize it until you’ve plunked down your $7.

11.  Disappearing off the face of the earth when you’ve promised revisions (prior to contract).  If you pub with someone else, YAY for you! (and I DO mean that *g*)  Please let us know!!  We keep our “pending” books in a queue that we revisit on a regular basis.  That’s time we can better spend elsewhere and stop bugging the crap out of you.

12.  No synopsis on partials.  Yes, I know synopses are a pain in the ass, but they’re necessary, especially on partials.  Maybe we love your writing style, but we aren’t sure if the book is going to be erotic enough.  Giving us more (via the synopsis) will tell us if the necessary plot arc is there, in addition to showing us the sustained erotic emphasis.

13.  Okay, I’m tired now *g*.  Bet those are twelve things you never wanted to know!  LOL