Continuing our look back over the past ten years, below are some interview questions we answered back in 2005.
Vintage Romance Publishing Q&A
Q: Your website delivers that Turner Classics, black-and-white movie feel. Is that what you look for in a submission? Is that the feel Vintage Romance novels deliver?
Our novels which are set in the twentieth century definitely deliver that class movie feel. We’ve been fortunate to sign authors who have majestically captured both the elegance and the trials of those time periods.
Since we began accepting romances set before 1900, we have discovered a world of astounding authors who can take a reader to the Highlands of Scotland or through London’s fog with such clarity that it leaves one breathless.
Q: You provide a very specific list of pet peeves for prospective authors to avoid when submitting. My favorite’s #4, authors who only write and don’t learn all aspects of the biz. Are there are any pet peeves specific to paranormal plotlines we should know about?
Paranormal romances require you to suspend your ordinary beliefs and focus on those things you may not quite understand. That said, if the paranormal element is too confusing, the readers aren’t going to want to continue reading the story. So one of the biggest pet peeves would be to integrate the paranormal into the storyline so that it is practically seamless. Carefully check for any holes in your plot which can occur when you require a reader to step into an extraordinary world.
When we started accepting paranormal, the one thing we didn’t want was an overused storyline. We’re not looking for The Ghosts of Christmas Past or It’s a Wonderful Life type of paranormal.
The story still needs to be set in an historical time period, and one of our biggest pet peeves with the submissions we’ve been receiving, is an author who tries to circumvent the historical time line. While time travel is acceptable, at least eighty percent of the storyline needs to take place in history.
Q: In your guidelines for Perfectly Paranormal submissions, you seem to be hinting at opportunities outside the woman-meets-and-loves-a-vampire/fairy/alien/werecreature/being of the night sort of plot. Am I reading that right? Is Vintage Romance a market for stories where two regular people fall in love surrounded by paranormal circumstances, or a romantic mystery/suspense with paranormal elements?
Vintage Romance is looking for paranormal historical romances like “The Highlander” television show—so immortals, ghosts, etc. The people don’t need to be “regular people.” They can have abilities; however, we are not looking for werewolf/shapeshifter type of stories. We’d love to see a story of ancient Dracula, though.
So actually, the answer to your question would be either one or even a different type of paranormal. We will consider any type of paranormal except for vampires, witches, wizards, or anything which would also fall under the “fantasy” category.
Q: What prompted the decision to go all paperback, and could you explain the significance of landing deals with independent and chain bookstores so early in your company’s history? (If I am not phrasing this question about bookselling correctly, please let me know so you can answer intelligently and I don’t look quite like one of the authors who fall under Pet Peeve #4.)
When we (my two partners and I) started Vintage Romance, we knew we wanted to sell only paperbacks. However, we needed to get our feet in the door first which is why we debuted with e-books. It quickly became apparent that historical romances are still a hot commodity so we moved into paperback a little earlier than expected.
Getting our books into major bookstores has been a definite attraction for authors looking to submit to us. The more we can offer an author, the longer that author will stay with us, and that has always been one of our biggest goals—creating a family with our authors.
Every author wants to hold a paperback in his/her hand, to feel the glossy cover, to flip through the pages, and know those are words he/she has written. It’s an amazing feeling made even more special by browsing through a bookstore and finding that book on a shelf right next to some very well-known authors.
Each and every step Vintage Romance Publishing takes leads us closer to being the best historical romance publishing company in the industry today.
Q: Does the Vintage Heat line also take spicy stories with paranormal elements?
Absolutely. All of our lines are open to paranormal elements.
Q: According to your guidelines, an author must not only submit a query for a great novel but a marketing plan for it as well. Can you recommend any resources for authors ready to learn the specifics of marketing fiction?
One of my favorite books, and I’ve told this to all of our authors, is 1001 Ways to Market Your Books by John Kremer. It’s 750 pages of information you simply can’t find anywhere else.
Another great book is Jumpstart Your Book Sales by Marilyn Ross. She’s an absolutely phenomenal lady who has mastered the art of marketing.
Both of these books, along with websites like www.publicityhound.com and www.bookmarket.com, will give an author extensive information about marketing.
And while we’re on the subject of marketing, please allow me to correct a misconception some authors may have about marketing. We receive many submissions from authors who expect the publisher to do ALL of the marketing and promoting of his/her work. Unfortunately, that is not how the industry operates. Though the publisher may love an authors’ book and want to publish it, the company can’t love it nearly as much as the author does or know as much about it. Therefore, THE AUTHOR is the best person to promote it and, quite frankly, the best marketing tool a publisher can have.
Q: I found multiple references in your website about how important it is that all plot lines be wrapped up and the ending “have a kick.” Can you elaborate on what a reader of a Vintage Romance novel should feel when she reaches “The End”?
The best word I can use is satisfied. We want a reader to close our books and smile, to put it on their shelf in a special place for books they wouldn’t dare part with. A reader who reads a Vintage Romance Publishing novel should want to come back for another book and then another simply based on the quality of the writing and the book itself.
See what Vinspire Publishing is all about in 2014!