Query help and a submissions call

Sorry for the late post, folks. Life is quite hectic around here these days. Not only are the Mancinis finally wrapping up home renovations, but my retired mother just moved in with us, and the kids are about to finish another glorious school year meaning we are busy lining up summer activities and beginning an whole new schedule juggling process.

Oh, yeah, and I finally graduated with my MS in Publishing!! Hellz yeah. (I know I’ve said that a few times, but it hasn’t gotten old yet!)

Today I’m going to slip behind the purple velvety curtain and share the spotlight with a dear friend of mine who is so amazing, so incredibly sexy, so brilliantly funny… Okay. It’s me. Today, I’m coming here as the real me: Marci Boudreaux Clark, Content/Developmental and Acquisitions editor for Lyrical Press, an imprint of Kensington Publishing Corp.

As an acquisitions editor, I see a lot of queries come in that aren’t ready to be seen by an editor. There are three pretty common mistakes that make me decline a manuscript.The thing is, these three things can be easily corrected by the author if s/he only took the time and effort to correct them.

If you are an author submitting books and getting rejected, take a step back and see if any of these apply to you.

  1. When writing your synopsis/query, know who your audience is. Don’t write a query focusing on a crime story if you are submitting to a romance imprint. If your book focuses on crime with little to no romance, it isn’t a romance book and shouldn’t be subbed to a romance imprint. If your book is a romance with crime, don’t write your query focused on the crime. Romance is about the characters and their relationships, tell me about that.
  2. Make it clean. If the author can’t write one cohesive page, I’m going to assume s/he can’t write 100+ cohesive pages. If all I see in a query is bad grammar and misspellings, it’s not going to convince me to read the synopsis, let alone the manuscript. Edit your query before sending it so you can offer the editor the very best representation of your work possible.
  3. Don’t submit your book until it has been through a beta reader/editor. Or three. And I don’t mean someone who will tell you how great your story is. Give it to someone who will tell you the parts that need work, who will point out holes in your plot, and who will tell you when your characters actions/words/motives don’t add up. And then give it to someone else to do the same. Why? Because if you have a fantastic story but halfway through there’s a big plot hole or you alter the history, I might…MIGHT…ask you to rewrite and resubmit. Or, I might just pass on it. It really depends on how big the hole is and how many inconsistencies I find. Those are things that should be found and pointed out by beta readers so they never make it to the acquisitions editor.

So what makes for a great query/synopsis?  For me, I want one that grabs my attention right from the start. Give me emotions and depth, not skimming over the top of the water. Give me something to sink my teeth into.

Right now I am looking for contemporary romance with strong characters, story, and emotions. I will take anything from sweet to super hot and any couples combinations. I prefer third person past tense, but will consider first person if the story and writing is solid.

The biggest thing I am looking for in a submission is one that will make me feel something. I like to laugh, cry, and scream at my books. I’m emotional and I like books that make me emotional, even if that emotion is anger or frustration (because of the great story, not the bad writing, please!).

I will consider anything over 25K including series and stand-alone. Please note that paranormal isn’t my thing and I’m not crazy about historicals. I don’t have anything against those genres, it’s simply my personal reading preference. However, if your story (read: romance/characterization) is strong enough, I’ll consider any genre.

So, if you’ve done all of the things listed above and you feel like your manuscript is ready, e-mail your query, synopsis, and completed manuscript to marci (dot) clark (dot) editing (at) gmail (dot) com and let me know you saw my submission call on Love, Lust & Laptops so I know that you took the time to knock out those three things that will make me decline you right away. Please include the following, as listed on the Kensington site, with your query:

  • Legal name
  • Pseudonym (if applicable)
  • Contact phone
  • Publishing history (if applicable)
  • Working title (include series name if applicable)
  • Word count
  • Genre(s)
  • Blurb (no more than three paragraphs, please)

Happy writing!


6 thoughts on “Query help and a submissions call

  1. Hey, there Ms. Acq. Ed. Congratulations on the job.

    When I did acquisitions, all of the things you just mentioned were what I looked at also. And I know that this kind of advice has been out there for a while, so I have no clue why aspiring authors don’t listen and make sure that they turn in the best writing they can. Sigh.

    I hope you receive that next “big” best-selling book in your subs call. Much success in your new career.


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