Three Lies that Romance Acquisition Editors Tell
Have you ever been to a writer’s conference or a seminar and listened to acquisition editors talk about what kind of manuscripts they’re looking for? I have, perhaps one too many times, judging from my current level of cynicism. If you haven’t been, surely you’ve come across those requests for manuscripts at the end of a book or social media, you know, the ones that say “Such and such editor from such and such house is looking for such and such kind of stories?”
I see dozens of requests like these every day. I hear them when I go to the conferences as well. Yeah, I’m the snarky witch sitting in the back row, usually snickering when the acquisition editors tell us that they’re looking for diverse reads, strong heroines and quality fiction. Ha! I know better.
Acquisition editors are not really looking for diversity. Instead, they’re looking for market share. Which means that they’d like to publish fiction that will expand their presence in the market. And since the demographics are changing, that means that they’re desperate to find ways of integrating a more “diverse” readership into their markets.
The concept of “diversity” is thus an economic necessity and a survival strategy for the industry. Which means that if you’re a minority author you will not be published in an effort to promote diversity in the genre. You will be published based on your ability to bring new readership to the industry and sell your book. That’s the truth that nobody wants to speak aloud.
Acquisitions editors are not looking for strong heroines either. In fact, if I’d gotten a buck every time an editor has told me that what sells a book in romance is the hero, not the heroine, I’d be rich. They’re looking for heroes that knock their readership’s socks off. As one editor once told me, “we are selling romance, not women’s fiction.” Silly me. I always thought romance was the most popular manifestation of women’s fiction.
And finally acquisition editors are not looking for quality romance fiction. They’re looking for fiction that sells. Quality is incidental. It is true that there are a lot of quality romances out there. Thank the universe for that. But to an acquisition’s editor, a “good” book is one that sells. Period.
I’m all for making an honest buck. I understand the industry’s drive to survive. I just wish that acquisition editors would tell the truth so that writers could make their creative decisions based on facts and not lies. This is especially relevant for newbies who don’t know how the industry works. At the end of the day it’s all about the business, expanding market share and increasing sales. The rest is all PC rhetoric and wishful thinking, pretty words and lots of hoopla.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Amazon Bestselling author Anna del Mar writes hot, smart romances that soothe the soul, challenge the mind, and satisfy the heart. Her stories focus on strong heroines struggling to find their place in the world and the brave, sexy, kickass heroes who defy their limits to protect the women they love. A Georgetown University graduate, Anna enjoys traveling, hiking, skiing, and the sea. Writing is her addiction, her drug of choice, and what she wants to do all the time. The extraordinary men and women she met during her years as a Navy wife inspire the fabulous heroes and heroines at the center of her stories. When she stays put—which doesn’t happen very often—she splits her time between Colorado and Florida, where she lives with her indulgent husband and a very opinionated cat.
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