Interview with Pocket editor Lauren McKenna

 I had the great pleasure of talking to Lauren McKenna about Pocket Books and the Sonnet line of historicals.  Lauren is an Associate Editor at Pocket and acquires for their womenís fiction program, and also some areas of non-fiction books.  

Lauren asks that you send in three chapters and synopsis with your query.  However, it is the chapters that will make her decide whether to request more of your work. The very cool thing about Lauren is she will always read your submission in its entirety.  She does about half of her reading at home and half at the office.  I asked what is the biggest problem she sees with submissions today, and she said greater than fifty percent are written poorly.  I asked her to elaborate on that.  She indicated that the writing does not capture her interest, it is not exciting, and not fresh.  It is boring, simplistic writing that she has no interest in.  This from a woman who said, the thing that is most fun about being an editor is that she loves to read!

Turnaround time is on par with the rest of the industry (read, Ďnot speedyí) however, the agented pile moves faster than the unagented pile. Pocket is very proud of their informative rejection letters. They try to indicate whether they liked the writing or not, and are quite complete.  They will indicate if they are interested in seeing any more of your work.  If Lauren is interested in someoneís writing, but knows she cannot buy the submission, she will try and guide the writer toward more marketable stories.  The writing is always first with Lauren.  She said that several times during the interview, so you know itís the truth. 

Historicals are her favorite type of romance and her favorite settings are old England, old Scotland, and Medieval.    Her favorite hero is dark and brooding, and she likes her heroines strong and feisty  (Writers note: these types of fav hero/heroine are definitely not exclusive to Pocket).          

Pocket is actively looking for many types of romance -- contemporary, suspense, historical, and multi-cultural.  They have three lines: Pocket, Pocket Star, and Sonnet.  Pocket is the original imprint and has three slots per month, mainly reprints.  This line covers fiction, contemporary womenís fiction, and contemporary romance.  Pocket Star was developed to provide a larger platform to headline authors emerging from Pocketís mid-list.  Sonnet was launched last year as a venue for Pocketís up and coming, historical romance authors.  Two titles per month are released, all are historical romance, and this includes time travel and paranormal.

Pocket/ Simon & Schuster is a stellar house with a fine reputation in the publishing industry.  Their website is www.simonsays.com and their mail address is 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020.  Good luck.

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