The Tales of a Contemporary Romance Writer

I also edit, critique, and blog. So, please be nosy and look around.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Talkin' Tuesday with Piper Deena!

It's a rainy Tuesday Morning in the Northeast of the USA. The weather is mild today. A cool but warm 52 degrees, 10-15 degrees higher than normal. My fat cat, Schnitzel, is laying at my feet purring his rusty pleasure for me. My youngest, and most tenacious, is sitting next me while waiting for the bus. His jittery body convulsing from the excitement the holidays are soon to bring. Sleep has been getting fewer and fewer hours for Jack, and his constant chatter is even heard in my sleep. Ohhh, to be 7 again with the expectations Christmas brings! 
Today I have the wonderful, Piper Deena. She's the Executive Editor for Lyrical Press and a friend who understands my quirkiness. She's going to be talkin' about the Dos and Don'ts of the writing world along with the terrifying slush pile. Please give a round of applause for Piper Deena!

Any writer who’s been serious about publication for longer than a week has researched submission guidelines, query Dos and Don'ts, how to write a synopsis, and countless blogs/industry essays on What Editors (or agents) Want.

Seems like we always see the same old advice: Mechanically clean (as error-free as possible), great hook, intense conflict, interesting premise, believable plot.
But what do industry professionals really want to see in their submissions Inbox?
Well, I’ve been reviewing submissions at Lyrical Press for about 3 ½ years now, and I’ve nabbed some of my favorite roster authors directly from that cold subs or “slush” pile. And I see all the feedback from the other LPI editors on the cold submissions we receive. Just because it’s Tuesday (and almost Christmas), I’ll share the inside scoop.

When we read a query letter, we really like it to be mechanically clean (bodes well for the manuscript being in good shape as well), letting us know the book has a great hook, intense conflict, an interesting premise, and a believable plot.
Sound familiar?

We also want to see the writer has learned about deep 3rd point of view (doesn’t headhop—we don’t “do” omniscience at LPI). We love it if the synopsis makes sense (although most of us won’t lose interest in a submission solely based on a poorly written synop), we want to see the author has a grasp on how to punctuate grammar (if not, it means loads of work for the editor, and I’ll be frank: We have plenty of work already. We do not need to saddle ourselves with doing for some author what everybody should’ve learned to do by 5th grade. Period.), and this may sound trite, but we like to see an author who can follow submission guidelines. If the writer can’t get those few bulleted points on our website right, how can we expect them to do what we ask during the much more complicated process of editing, galley reviews, etc?

Now, I’d like to expand a little on the “hook” portion of the query. Spend some time with your critique partners working on this. Go to a bookstore and read the back covers of other books, browse Amazon or other book/ebook retailers and read those book blurb/cover copy bits, of books in your genre. Get a feel for what you want your blurb to sound like, and in particular, work on a tag line. Tag lines sell books. The tag is the first thing a potential reader sees after your cover art, so grab those readers by the curiosity and don’t let them go. Same deal with potential editors or agents. Come up with something quirky, chilling, humorous, sexy—imagine your book as the feature product a trailer at the movies. What would the guy with the big, deep voice say about your book? Think hard on this, and make it something that’ll get the theater patrons to look up from their popcorn buckets and pause digging for Junior Mints, to watch that trailer.

Last, but not least, please, for the love of all things written, do not finish composing your book and immediately submit it. The book isn’t finished until you’ve done revisions and had a few CPs go through it. (This goes for published authors with an established editor relationship as well—the suckiest task for an editor is reject or issue an R&R to one of her authors)

Favorite tag line from all of my own books is for A Fireman for Christmas (

Every fireman knows the value of a controlled burn.

One of my CPs helped me come up with this one, and I’m forever in her debt. It integrates the word “fireman”, which connects back to the book title, and the mention of “control” indicates there’s been a flame going on for a long time (in this case on the hero’s part as well as the Heroine, though neither knows), the Heroine has plans for lighting and fueling a fire the hero won’t be able to ignore, and I think it also foreshadows a bit of optimism that something good is going to come of this controlled burn… Romancer readers, if nothing else, value that optimism/happy ending.

Piper Denna
Romance is sexy!

Piper Deena is sharing her holiday story with us today. What a sexy cover! *purrs in approval* 

 One more Christmas lusting after her older brother’s best friend? Timi might lose her mind. Fed up with family holidays, she rents a cabin for one, planning a Christmas escape her drawings. But after numerous sketches turn out to be her rendition of Clay in the Hottest Firemen Calendar poster, she realizes location is just a technicality.

Fireman Clay can’t imagine spending Christmas without Timi around to ogle. Hearing she’s holed up in a lovers’ retreat, he can’t resist seeking her out. This year, he’s determined to start a fire and claim the gift he’s always wanted.

Come visit next week when the 12 Days of Christmas begins! Monday I'll have Wendy Ely visiting. Monday night I'll be live on the Coffee Time Romance Chat at 9 pm EST with many other Lyrical Press authors. Tuesday Em Perova will be on Talkin' Tuesday with a free book give away! Autumn Piper will be stopping in on Thursday the 15th and Diane Escalera will be here on Friday. WOW, what a week coming up!

Have a Sparkling Day!
Rebecca Rose

1 comment:

  1. Sounds pretty hot! I'm more of a mystery buff than a romance fan, but htis sounds so intriguing . . .