Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A Visit with Editor Sarah Long from Bethany House Publishers

One of the benefits of going on Tracie Peterson's Winter Writers' Retreat was that she invited her editors, Dave and Sarah Long to spend a day and a half with us. We submitted ahead of time and then either Dave or Sarah offered to have appointments with us at the retreat.

My writing pal, Jeri Odell, and I had one of the earlier appointments with Sarah, so we didn’t have time to get nervous. Sometimes meeting editors has that effect on me. Typically I come to the table with a stomach ache. But Sarah Long made it easy to chat with her. She’s smiley, bubbly, and she finds something positive in every manuscript she reads.

Jeri and I had submitted a project on which we are both writing about two characters who are soon to be mothers-in-law. They hate each other at first, as each woman is from a different part of the country, and they feel they have nothing in common – except their love for their children.
Sarah Long and me------->

Sarah told us that she read to distinct voices (good!) and that she thought our story was actually “too real.” Jeri and I decided that was good too, although it took some internalizing for us to come to that conclusion. Everyone has a mother or mother-in-law and, as Christians, we love and respect those who are part of our families – even through marriage. Even so, humorous events can arise.

While Sarah spoke with us about our submission, she laughed a little (another good sign, since we have comedic scenes in the manuscript). But at the end of the day, she just didn’t feel it was a good fit for Bethany House. (Bummer!) You see, ours isn’t a romance, it’s not historical, and it’s not really a mystery and those are the categories, which Bethany House is seeking.

Jeri asked Sarah about contemporary romance – where the romance drives the story, and Sarah agreed to look at it. After all these years of fighting romance and only turning out plot-driven romance, Bethany House has jumped on the band wagon. They are seeking contemporary romance. Hallelujah! Now there’s something I know how to write!

So what's the scariest editorial appointment you ever had a writer's conference or retreat?


Liz Tolsma said...

Scariest editor appointment? All of them! I hate them and I get so nervous. The best one I ever had? One where I, on the spur of the moment, walked up to an editor and pitched an idea. She'll be getting the full ms for that one in a few weeks!!!

Deb said...

Wow! What great news. Thanks for sharing your experience with this fine house. I've been hoping to pitch something to them for years but never seemed to have anything that'd interest them.

Muchas gracias, Andrea!

Jaime Wright said...

The scariest?? EVERY meeting. Ugh. I panic and I'm normally confident. I always feel like I'm facing a dog ready to rip me apart. Which is so WRONG becuase they're such nice people just ... blunt lol

So glad you got connections with BHP! Sounds like it was a great retreat and I'm a little jealous, Andrea ;)

JoyAveryMelville said...

Andrea- Great post!
I enjoyed it very much.
I also enjoyed your pictures.
What a great visit you must have had. Blessings and Joyfully yours,