Wednesday, July 16, 2008

New Fiction Line

During ICRS I had lunch with veteran editor and all-around wonderful gal Barbara Scott, who told me about the new fiction line at Abingdon Press. Abingdon was established in 1789 as an imprint of the United Methodist Church. They've done a lot of nonfiction, and now they're really geared up and excited to launch this fiction line.

Barbara Scott has been hired as Senior Acquisitions Editor for fiction. Barbara has been in publishing and writing for many years herself. She started out as a newspaper reporter and magazine writer. Later she served as acquisitions editor for Honor Books. In the mid 90s she co-wrote with Carrie Younce two Peretti-type thrillers published by Thomas Nelson--Sedona Storm and Secrets of the Gathering Darkness. She later moved to Zondervan to serve as acquisitions editor for Zonderkidz and the new young adult line.

Barbara says Abingdon has a "solid, realistic five-year plan" for developing their fiction line. They want to publish 18-20 fiction titles a year by the end of five years. Their first year, which launches with the first release in the fall of 2009, will see 4-5 titles published. Right now Barbara is looking for:

1. Contemporary women's fiction
2. Romance
3. Chick Lit
4. Suspense
5. Historical

For the first year launch she is not looking for adventure, sci-fi, fantasy or apocalyptic. This is a realistic plan to start a new line with the basic genres. "Depending on how things go," she says, they may publish the other genres in the future.

Barbara is an eclectic reader. She wants "to publish books I'd like to read and work with authors I enjoy." She's not interested in running after someone just because he/she is a "big name" in the industry. She is "excited about building new authors who have worked and worked on their craft but haven't yet been able to break in." She is looking for "honesty and authentic emotion" in her books. She doesn't want contemporary fiction that's "mostly depressing." She wants hope in the end. As to the spiritual thread, it needs to be "organic" to the story. It doesn't need to be overly strong. "Nobody has to get saved in the book."

Authors interested in submitting to Abingdon must have a finished manuscript to present if asked for it. Barbara will be going through the normal channels for submission--either meeting her at a writers conference or submitting through an agent. Or--readers of this blog can email Barbara directly, saying you read this post and would like to submit--even if you don't have an agent. If Barbara becomes too inundated and needs to pull back from this generous offer, I will amend this post with that news. Barbara's email address is her first name initial and full last name at

My personal advice if you choose to submit: Don't go for overly long books at this point. Although we didn't discuss length, I would suggest 80-100 thousand words. If Barbara wants to amend that, she'll leave a comment.


Gina Conroy said...

I had a great time interviewing you on Monday. Thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule!

Rebecca LuElla Miller said...

From my perspective, a new fiction line is good news. I can only hope they decide to include fantasy soon, soon.


Merrie Destefano said...

Thanks so much for this info! I'm sure a lot of writers are excited. And I'm with Becky. I'm looking forward to the day the door opens for Abingdon to include fantasy. (And sci-fi.)

Floss Craig said...

I'm one of those "new authors who have worked and worked on their craft but haven't yet been able to break in."

Thank you for passing on Barbara's offer through your blog.

Sean said...

Thank you, Brandilyn!

Barbara Scott said...

Brandilyn, thanks for your posting alerting authors to our new fiction program at Abingdon Press. This is a special opportunity for fans of your blog to break into publishing. When they email me, they just need to mention they read about it here.

Although we're not looking for fantasy/allegory at this time, we will certainly consider it in the future. Also, I'm open to action/adventure for Spring of 2009. Sci-fi, apocalyptic, and supernatural are not on our menu. There are lots of great houses publishing in those genres.

Thanks again, Brandilyn. You're the best!!!

Barbara Scott
Sr. Acquisitions Editor - Fiction
Abingdon Press

Ed J. Horton said...

Brandilyn and Barbara,

Thanks so much for sharing this information. In this day of needing an agent or previous book publication credits in order to be noticed, this is indeed a wonderful opportunity.

Now perhaps I'll take several deep breaths, think logically, and pull out a manuscript I set aside several months ago. At the time, it was as polished as I knew how to make it. But I always have lingering questions. Is it good enough? Can it really be ready?

I'll re-read it, hopefully with a bit more objectivity than when I watch my daughter play basketball, to see how it feels now.

Thanks again for looking out for us wannabes.

Jennifer AlLee said...

Thanks so much, Brandilyn & Barbara, for this great information. It's always exciting when a solid publisher decides to expand. Good news for readers and writers!

Jennifer AlLee said...

Question: I just sent a query to Ms. Scott but got this back in my box:

"Your message to: [her address] was blocked by our Spam Firewall. The email you sent with the following subject has NOT BEEN DELIVERED"

I sent it twice from two different addresses - hotmail and my website address. Both came back the same way.

Any idea how to stop getting stopped by the firewall?


Barbara Scott said...

Jennifer, I'm glad you posted a comment. For some reason the Abingdon system blocks all hotmail addresses. I know. I have one. You can send your query to and I'll receive it. I hope that helps others who may be having the same problem.


Jennifer AlLee said...

Thanks so much for your quick response, Barbara! It's on its way :+}

John Robinson said...

Thanks so much, Brandilyn! Good info!

Rebecca LuElla Miller said...

It's also encouraging to hear that Abingdon will be considering fantasy in the future. I'm so happy to hear about this endeavor.

Brandilyn, thanks for your part in getting the word out.


Kara said...

Brandilyn and Barbara,

Thank you so much for making this very generous offer (especially for us, as yet, unrepresented writers).

I have to admit I'm very excited to see my genre on the list of 'sought after' areas - not just for me but for the many other fabulous unpublished writers I know are writing in those genres.

All the best with your new line Barbara.


Kara said...

Hi there,

The Abingdon system looks like it's also blocking Gmail addresses so if you're querying from one it would probably pay to send it to Barbara's hotmail address above as well :)


Inspire said...

Dear Brandilyn and Barbara,

This is exciting news. I hope you don't mind a couple of questions. Will the books be trade paperback or mass market? Will they be placed in bookstores such as Borders, and Barnes & Noble?

Barbara Scott said...

Great questions, Inspire. The books will be trade paper (5-1/2" x 8-1/2") and we will work to get placement in Barnes & Noble, Borders, etc., as well as Christian bookstores. We have a terrific sales rep working with us who calls on the general trade accounts. Hope that helps!


pat jeanne said...

Thank you to both Brandilyn and Barbara for providing writers with this opportunity to see their work in print.

Inspire said...

I sent Barbara an email as well. It was blocked. I have a Comcast account. So anyone with Comcast, try using her other email address.

Barbara Scott said...

If anyone receives an "undeliverable" message from Abingdon Press, would you please forward it to my home email address? I'll then work with our IT department to resolve the problem.


Anita Mae said...

Brandilyn, thanks for making my day!

Barbara, you sound like a terrific editor to work with. Thank you for letting us send direct to you like this.

I didn't see your name on the list of editors heading to the ACFW in Sept. It sounds like you'd be a great editor to pitch to seeing as how you're making us so welcome and comfortable here.

Have a God day.

Barbara Scott said...

Anita, I will be at ACFW but they probably haven't had time to upload my info yet. I look forward to meeting with as many of you as I can.

For those of you who have sent queries and attachments to my hotmail account, the Abingdon system is blocking my email as well. The solution? Send your proposal to me by snail mail and mark the envelope: REQUESTED MATERIAL. Here's my address:

Barbara J. Scott
Sr. Acquisitions Editor - Fiction
201 Eighth Avenue South,
P.O. Box 801
Nashville, TN 37202

If I pass on one of your proposals, please don't take it personally. I have a certain amount of slots to fill, and I'm looking for a mix of genres. So keep writing and try again!


Inspire said...

I sent a query to you through you other email. Nothing came back. Could you let me know if you got it? Would you still prefer I send you a proposal via snail mail even if you got my query?

Rita Gerlach

:-)Ronie said...

Brandilyn - thanks for posting this. I've been watching with interest all week. Barbara, you're so kind to open up this invitation--I've told several friends about this.

Everyone--Abingdon's/Barbara's information is up at for the conference. It's great to be able to put a face with a name. :-D