Guest Post by Sue Brower
Our guest today is Sue Brower. She is Executive Editor at Zondervan in charge of fiction and thinks she has the best job in the world…she gets paid to read all day! Zondervan is currently looking for completed manuscripts to fill the Zondervan First fiction eBook platform. The ideal stories will primarily have romance-driven plots and vivid, realistic characters. We are also looking for proposals in the Contemporary, Historical, Suspense, and Romance categories for our print program. Sue lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan with her husband Todd, dogs Pepper and Ollie, and cat, Shep.
Lately, I’ve been thinking about how much the book market has changed in just a few short years. Some bad, but mostly good because of all the new opportunities for innovation and creativity in publishing. Traditional publishing (print books sold through retail stores) is holding its own, but now there are so many more vehicles for authors to get published: print, epub-only, self-pub, etc.
A diehard fiction fan, I swore I would never give up my printed books and I didn’t believe that there would come a day when I wouldn’t be able to spend hours in a bookstore just browsing. I love the way books smell; I love the way they feel. Then the company I work for, Zondervan, gave me an IPad so that I could get comfortable with the format and so I could experience books electronically. For a while everything I read was on my IPad; current books, as well as manuscripts I was considering for publication. I thought it was so cool…for at first. Then, a book was being released by my favorite author and I just had to have it in hardcover. It wasn’t enough to have it loaded in perpetuity on my IPad, I wanted to be able to hold the story in my hands. I enjoyed it more, become involved in the fantasy just as the writer intended.
So now, where do I read the majority of my books? I would have to say, that my “disposable” reading is done on the IPad. Novels I want to “experience” are going to be in printed format. If I want to be absorbed in what I am reading, it has to be on a printed page. But boy is it fun to now have millions of titles at my fingertips whenever I want them. E-publishing has done that for me.
What does this mean for the writer? Publishing is about more than just traditional novels. We are now content providers in a variety of formats. As an acquiring editor I can look at publishing short stories, and novellas as well as serializations. I can acquire more new authors and midlist authors. I don’t have to wait a year to release a manuscript—I can do it in three months. What I can’t and won’t do is sacrifice good storytelling and editing.
I am having so much fun playing in this new publishing field. With our new imprint, Zondervan First fiction, we are able to provide readers a quality reading experience from a variety of new and established authors. We will publish original stories in the eBook format for the Christian audience. Authors will have a chance to be edited and published by an established publishing house and readers will be introduced to new voices. What more could you ask for? I would love to hear your comments on ebook publishing and how it has changed the way you approach your writing career. The first title in our Zondervan First program is Love in Three Quarter Time by Dina Sleiman, one of Tamela Hancock Murray’s clients.
Oh, and by the way, we are still printing books for retail sales! While electronic sales are growing exponentially, print still outsells electronic in every category.
For more information on Zondervan First fiction and our submission guidelines, please go to www.zondervanfirst.com.