Sunday, April 22, 2012

April Awesomeness: Entangled's Liz Pelletier "Magical" Workshop

Most of you already know at the end of last month I attended a writer conference put on by my local romance writing chapter. You can click here so see which agents & editors were present. We had quite the stellar group.

Along with Agent Lauren Ruth's query workshop, Liz Pelletier's talk regarding the "magic" of the publishing industry was worth it's weight in gold. I learned more about the business than I thought possible. Liz went through the possess of Entangled Publishing from submission to print. This is a brief summery from my notes:

Entangled Publishing Process:

1.      Query letter
a.       High concept proposal.
b.     Query letter needs to look like the blurb on the back of the book. Often that blurb will be used to sell it to the distribution market.

2.      Request full
a.       Full gets sent to two interns
b.      Two no’s from interns most likely reject.
c.       Sometimes she skips the interns (mostly from agents).
d.      If she likes it she’ll give author a call to talk and discuss the book.

3.      Editor creates APF (Acquisition Proposal Form):
a.       5 reasons the publisher wants to buy the book.
b.      The author name.
c.       Book title.
d.      Price comp.

4.      APF goes to senior editor and the acquisition board meeting.
a.       Discuss the profits or loss.
b.     Editor has 60 seconds to pitch the book. 
b.      Finance officer and senior editor must agree on purchase.

5.     Getting picked for a key title is AWESOME. Key titles are books the publisher puts more money behind because they are believed to have the potential for the most amount of sales.

6.      Book gets acquired. SQUEE!!!

7.      Editing!!! Grrr! 3 passes with editor, 1 pass with Editorial Director, & then Copy editor.

8.      Cover is picked. Entangled's policy is to get a cover that will sell not necessarily represent the book.

9.      Book is entered into the distribution catalogue.

10.  The book is pitched to the sales people for mass distribution (Barnes and Noble, Books a Million, etc). The editor as 60 seconds to pitch the book. The reps will either call out the number of books they want to purchase for their shelves or will say "skip."

11.  Digital only:
a.       Still have to sell to a digital distributor.

12.  Nine months is the fastest the book will release after sale.

Phew! And this is only the bare bones of what she covered. For more in depth notes click here. The biggest gem I got from her workshop was the "60 seconds to pitch" to the publisher & then to the distributors. Just cause the editor wants your book doesn't mean the publisher will acquire it and even if they do, the distribution sales reps also need to sold be as well. Basically your book needs to be insanely off the hook to grab these people's attention.

Not only is your editor working to make your book shine, they're working their tail feathers off trying to sell it to the rest of the world. And did you know the average editor, even at the big 6 in NY, makes about $25,000-35,000 a year salary? Sure, some of the senior editors of the NYT best-seller authors make more, but not that much.

The publishing industry is a complex machine and now I understand why not everybody that writes a book is published. Oh yeah, you can self-pub (nothing wrong with that). There are many success stories there, but if you're a nobody, whose going to go out there and fight to get your book on the shelf or advertised on websites where the potential for buyers?

During the coference I also got a chance to speak with Holly Blanck from St. Martin's Press. Their process to acquiring books is very similar, expect at their acquisition meeting she's pitching a romance, while the editor next to her is pitching a business guide. Pretty crazy, eh?

Hats off to the editors and agents who bust their butts for their authors. You are heroes in my opinion.


  1. What a good idea, to put this info out there for others. I was surprised by how much I learned at the conference. It was worth every penny spent.

    1. Hi Tammy! Yes, I 100% agree with you. This conference rocked!