Today we’re interviewing Stacy C. Abrams, Editorial Director at Entangled Publishing. Entangled is a growing publishing company, who still accepts submissions from un-agented authors. One of their books is currently on both the USA Best Seller List and The New York Times Bestseller List. Please welcome Stacy Abrams to The Literary Mom. Thanks for being here, Stacy!
Me: Let¹s say you receive a query letter that you love. Can you tell us a little bit about what happens between receiving the query letter and the book being published by Entangled Publishing?
Stacy: First, I’ll request the full manuscript. If after reading it I’m still in love, then I share it with my publisher and managing editor, along with an APF (acquisition proposal form) that details all the reasons why I think the book will succeed in the marketplace, as well as the author’s track record, his/her platform, comparison titles with sales numbers, etc. We discuss the potential acquisition once they’ve had a chance to read it, and once all three of us are on board, we offer a contract and the book is signed up!
Me: I’ve been hearing a lot of buzz about how Entangled is different from other publishing houses and eBook publishers. Can you tell me about those differences?
Stacy: The largest difference about Entangled is that it’s essentially a profit-sharing model in a way that no other publisher really is right now, and this makes for a really exciting and supportive environment for everyone involved. Basically every person who touches your book, be it your editor, publicist, copy editor, designer, typesetter, managing editor, etc. do not make a salary–instead, we all make a royalty based on the sale of your book. It’s a very strong motivator, and it essentially guarantees that everyone working on your book is as passionate about you book as you are, and as willing as possible to do whatever it takes to make your book succeed.
For example, one of my books that publishes in May, PRETTY AMY by Lisa Burstein, is being showcased at next month’s RT convention. Since the book is a teen novel about a horrible prom gone wrong, Lisa decided to dress up in the most hideous prom dress she could find and go around the convention asking attendees to offer her their worst date stories. As her editor, I’ve agreed to also don a hideous prom dress and embarrass myself alongside her, all for the sake of the book’s success. Honestly, I don’t think that’s something I would have done back when I was making a base salary to edit. 🙂
Me: When you¹re reading query letters, what makes one jump out at you? Is there anything specific you’d love to receive a query for?
Stacy: Certain categories are an automatic no for me personally, but I’ll often forward them along to my coworkers if it’s something that might be up their alley (vampires are a good example of this). Other than that, automatic no’s tend to be only if it’s a genre we don’t publish at all, such as erotica or inspirational. In terms of what jumps out at me, it has to be something fresh, something high-concept that only takes a sentence or two to hook me. Right now I’d really love to find strong contemporary stories, mostly for adult but also for teens, that are a fresh take on the genre.
Me: So many publishing houses will only accept queries from agented writers. What made you decide to go in the other direction and accept queries from everybody?
Stacy: We feel there are a lot of strong writers out there, and we didn’t want to close ourselves off from finding new talent. Before I came to Entangled I had never (I mean never!) signed up an author who didn’t have an agent. Since I’ve been at Entangled, I’ve signed up two fantastic authors whose books (one YA and one adult contemporary) come out at the end of 2012 and beginning of 2013, respectively. I’m so glad I didn’t miss out on signing these fantastic authors!
Me: What advice do you have for my readers who are aspiring authors? Is there anything they can do to improve their chances of being picked up by a publisher?
Stacy: I think the best advice I can give is to read a ton and work on honing your craft. Don’t query publishers or agents until you feel you have the absolute best possible work you can. Also, be aware of the marketplace. Follow trends and know what else is out there–both what is selling in general and what each publisher is looking for. And never give up! Just because one publisher or editor passes on your work doesn’t mean you won’t be the perfect fit for someone else.
Thanks Stacy, for being here today! We appreciate it very much!
You can find Entangled’s website here.
Their blog, where they post submission calls, is here.
If you’d like to submit to Entangled, you can find their submission guidelines here.