Because there haven’t been enough blizzards in NYC this winter, I thought it’d be a good idea to travel to Chicago this week.  We did get in a great meeting with the great team at Levy, the folks who help get books into Target and Wal-Mart, before the snow started flying.  Truly, there’s nowhere we won’t go–even into the middle of a historic blizzard–to get books into people’s hands.  😉

Heck, we’ll even give away books for free.  This month sees the release of on of our YA line’s most hotly anticipated sequel, HAUNTED by Joy Preble.  A ghostly Russian czarina, a menacing mermaid, and a girl torn between her hot lifeguard boyfriend and the immortal warrior teaching her about powers she didn’t think were possible–HAUNTED is out in bookstores now.  And DREAMING ANASTASIA, the first of the series, is currently available as a free ebook.  You can find it wherever ebooks are sold in any format you prefer.



Whose Twitter posts most inspire you?  Today’s the last day to cast your vote for the Shorty Awards, celebrating the best people and organizations on Twitter.  Official categories include Author–@TeresaMedeiros, anyone? How the heck is she not in the top list?–Actor, Actress, Politician, and a number of others.  There are also a bunch of community-based categories.  And Sourcebooks’ own @draccah is a serious contender in the Publishing category.

To cast your vote, Tweet the following:

I nominate @TwitterUser for a Shorty Award in #Category because…

Or fill out the form here.

In the spirit of the new year and getting off to your best beginning yet, I’ll be critiquing opening paragraphs over on the Casa Author blog today.  Pop by and show me what you’ve got!

I’m posting over at the Casablanca Authors blog today on this month’s theme of scary things.  Submission info, turnaround time, sex advice (for your writing, of course!), market trends and more.  Come visit!  I’ll hang around through the weekend to respond to comments posted there.

Be part of the publishing process.  We need help deciding a cover direction for YA release STUPID FAST, a seriously funny debut by Geoff Herbach.  Tell us which one you like best here and you could win an advance copy of one of our most highly anticipated books for the spring.

Need help polishing your manuscript?  Joy Preble, author of DREAMING ANASTASIA, is taking part in a charity auction to raise money for the Family Violence Prevention Fund.  Bid on a critique for 10 pages of your work here. And scout out the rest of the listings for critiques from agent Nathan Bransford and Flux editor Brian Farrey, signed ARCs and loads of other great stuff.

It’s liiiive–oh, wait, wrong book.  The iDrakula app is up at iTunes–and it’s free.  Check it out and you can get the ebook for only $1.99.  Great deal and an adorable icon.

With all the slew of terrific submissions I’ve been getting lately, I’ve been bringing quite a few projects into our weekly acquisitions meeting.  At that meeting, all the editors present the titles they want to make an offer for, weighing  pros and cons.  Most of the final decision rests with our publisher and editorial director, but everyone’s allowed to chime in with an opinion.  And it’s important to stress that the group is all editors–not sales or marketing, though we obviously have to keep marketing and sales points in mind whenever we acquire.

But before we even get to the meeting, there’s a whole process of filling out title information so everyone coming to the meeting get a sense of the project.  For each title brought to the meeting, we have to include:

  • A brief, engaging description (about 1o0-150 words)
  • A short author bio with hometown and any award wins/special recognitions
  • main selling points and marketing hooks
  • author sales history (if any)
  • comparison titles and sales figures

Some genius agents are used to dealing with the acquisitions board process and put all this info right in their cover letter.  God, I love them.  They make it so easy to cut and paste.

But we accept agented and unagented material, so now even if you’re submitting on your own, you know exactly how to present your project in a way to make the editor love you forever.

And if you’ve already submitted but haven’t included the above info, no worries, you’re grandfathered in–I’ve got you covered!

I am having such a blast working on a number of the young adult projects on our Spring 2011 list for the Sourcebooks Fire imprint.  But our list for Fall is looking mighty slim.  So I’m on the hunt-down–looking to acquire good stuff fairly quickly.

The YA market right now is incredibly competitive, so it’s imperative to have a hook to grab booksellers/media/readers in 2-3 sentences.  Having an author with a track record or built-in fan base is also immensely helpful.  The book needs a riveting plot with a fresh premise. I want to be completely absorbed in the world–whether it’s summer in the Hamptons, a dystopian future or 1880s London.

Right now only truly objective criterion is the word count: 60,000-90,000.  I’m open to just about any setting and genre.  The main protagonist should be older teens, and the book should have strong crossover potential to the adult market.

Submissions can be emailed to me at leah.hultenschmidt [at]  Please attach the ms and synopsis as separate Word documents and note in the subject line: YA – [Title].