Saturday, December 19, 2009

Editor Speak

I thought Running Blind would be my last book in the Heroes for Hire miniseries. Yesterday, my editor emailed to approve the proposal and suggested that I 'stretch' the series. She said that she and my senior editor had talked about it and they thought it would be a good idea.

The words she used were....perhaps consider.

Now, I knew I could take that literally and perhaps consider writing up a proposal for a few more Heroes for Hire books. I mean, my darling editor would never force me to write books I didn't want to write.

On the other hand, I'd never actually had an editor suggest I continue a series, so I figured that the suggestion was a gentle nudge in the right direction. The direction my editors wanted me to go, that is.

And that was fine.

I had toyed around with the idea of writing a few more Heroes for Hire books, but this business is tricky. If my editors really liked the concept of the first three books then selling a few more would be relatively easy. If they didn't really like the concept, then the proposal might not make it to contract.

And I really didn't want to write something they didn't want.

That's the hard thing about this business. An author has to balance what she wants to write with what readers want to read and what editors want to buy. It's great when those three things line up, but sometimes we've got great ideas that just won't make it in the market right now.

So, we must study the market and what our targeted publishing house is buying. Then we must adjust our needs as creative beings to suit the market trends.

I know people who would disagree with me on this and who insist that authors should write what they want. I think they are right. To a point. It is good to write what you are passionate about, but if you continue to get feedback from editors that indicates that your book was a good read but didn't quite fit the line, then you might perhaps consider (ha!) figuring out what the editors do want and tailoring your book to fit their needs.

Doing this does not mean selling out or giving in. It simply means being pragmatic about the business. Trends are what they are. What sells sells. It isn't really the editor's choice any more than it is the writer's. A good book that won't sell is a book that the editor cannot buy.

An writer who loves the craft can craft a story that fulfills his creative needs and still meets the market trends.

If you're curious to know what Love Inspired Suspense seems to be buying now, I'd say they're leaning toward very suspenseful and action packed stories. I've seen a trend toward slightly more gritty tales since the new senior editor arrived. She wants very compelling first chapters that immediately grab the reader and give a sense of the danger and suspense that is to come.

That is, of course, simply my assessement as an author, but I think it will hold true for most people submitting to the line.

If you happen upon this blog and have any questions you'd like to ask regarding the Love Inspired Suspense line feel free to email me at

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