Sourcebooks Spotlight at RWA

I’ll post a few more of the recaps from RWA Nationals in the next few days. But every year there are a few publishing houses and editors that make the writer think ‘awesome. I totally want to work there moments.’ This year I had that one with Sourcebooks. Not that the book in question is ready for them, but it was totally fun to talk to Mary Altman. (She’s judging the FRW contest for New Adult as well, so either way I’ll talk to her again through email.) I have also met Deb Werksman and she’s coming on my chapter’s cruise.  So I thought I’d start my recaps with what I learned at the spotlight.


Deb Werksman talked about the company and they publish 8 to 10 romance novels a month and are the largest women’s owned publishing house. They print up 350 books a year.

They have quite a few imprints.

Sourcebooks is 27 years old now and have been featured in the news. They do offer print editions and have New York Best sellers, USA Today, RITA Awards, Reader’s Choice awards, and other great awards. Their authors showed up to represent the company.

For marketing, they are in various books and used three debut authors as examples and how they marketed the books.

Dominique Raccah, the owner, spoke. She spoke about how she serves authors and creates authors dreams occur. Every author’s path is different, but the debut author needs to ask the question, where is the reader for your book?

They used examples.

“Once Upon a Time” related to stories, but then we went into questions. They also said they were ‘aggressively acquiring.’

For Paranormal, Deb Werksman said that vampires live on. But it’s hard to break out a new author in a vampire author. What works better is shape shifter. It’s alot about the world building and story telling. Deb Werksman believes many people see this as multicultural romance and more people are in diverse families or go from small to big city. Paranormal world purpose needs a hook.

Cat Clyne spoke about paranormal romantic suspense. Cover ops, Dallas Police SWAT team are shifters, and stuff like that is what she’s buying.

Science Fiction romance, they will buy.

Erotic Romance needs a balanced engaging love story that pushes the boundaries. The key is the love story and the sexy contemporary that borders sexy is the best.

Mary Altman asks about the hooks with something that says the story sounds amazing and second, the sex must be part of the story that drives it along.

For Young Adult, the owner spoke about the growing field. It’s an extraordinary growth. Romance is up 27% , children are up 60%, and YA sales are higher. Nanette and Audry acquire for YA Romance. Nanette Pollard Morgan. Audrey Pool also acquires. They take everything and love contemporary thriller YA at the moment. Mystery with a woman’s focus. Paranormal also does well with YA. They love different books where they play with twists.

Regency and Austenesque romances is a strong on the list of Austen fiction.

What are looking for in historical? Regency, Victorian and Georgian England. Scottish, a man in a kilt, sells! Time Travel can go to any time period. She’s hoping Medieval will resurge. In the library market do better than sourcebooks for American Revolution Civil War, or America 1900 in general. They do refer the book to the other imprint. However American westerns do great.

For Downton Abby fans, they have published a new author. Television and film need books. If people can visualize, then they can read it.

Women’s Fiction with Happily Ever After is loved by Deb Werksman but she refers the darker women’s fictions to someone else.

They are open to new series and don’t like to pigeon hole authors.

Marketing and PR is essential when 3500 books are published everyday. They passed sell sheets. And they introduced many people.

All books get three levels of editing. Old fashioned approach to editing but innovating the marketing.

Aggressive women and Dominique spoke about she was going to conferences where there are 5000 men and 100 women at Apple’s party last week. Ecommerce is coming and 25% of all future sales are expected to be on as direct e sales.

An author stood up and said they were amazing and phenomenal! Another said she has been published with other big five and refuses to ever leave Sourcebooks. The marketing plan is 5 to 10 pages for every book. Another who just one the BLP award, national reader choice and she refuses to leave.

There are no sales and marketing people in the room when the acquisition takes place because the editors themselves should know the marketing angle.

For New Adult, they are looking at voice with a strong hook. It has to cross boundaries, issue driven, but also easy banter. It’s all about the authentic voice where you are figuring out life. For sourcebooks it has to have a romance. It can be third person or first person.

Editorial Criteria must be met. Heroine the reader can relate to, hero the reader will, the world can be escape in, the hook can be summed up in two sentences, and an author has a career arc to build her brand.

Also the author should know how long it takes them to write a book for market planning.


The idea for these blogs come from Cindy Myers because I love her recaps for years!!!


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