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
3. Chick Lit
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 abingdonpress.com.
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.