Retreat Bijou, Elizabeth Pelletier of Entangled Publishing

Sensational Saturdays

a blog about whatever is on my mind

This is the last in a three part series about the wonderful jewels I gleaned from the Colorado Romance Writers Retreat. To read the initial post about the CRW retreat you can visit HERE. To read about the amazing Margie Lawson’s Defeating Self Defeating Behaviors you can visit HERE. And to read about coping with contest grief with Ann Brady you can visit HERE.

Have you ever wished you knew exactly what an editor was thinking when they read through the slush pile? Do you want to know what stands out and how you can get your manuscript read? Well, we were lucky enough at the retreat to have our very own editor at our mercy. Liz Pelletier from Entangled Publishing was brave enough to step into the room and answer all our questions. She was frank, she was open and she let us know exactly what we could expect from Entangled when we sent our babies off to the slaughter.

No, that’s the first thing. Entangled is a small press. They are fairly new and they really take the time to look at your query and to try to read through those first five pages. If you are worried that no one even looks at your piece, Liz does. She can’t read everything, but she looks at the query and decides if it should be read in depth by an intern. So how do you get her attention?

She said it was simple. She needed to connect to the story, connect to the characters. And she needed to do it right away. Make your character either likeable, in a situation of adversity, sympathetic or empathetic (put the reader in the character’s shoes).

That’s it. If you do that, right away, Liz will send it on to the next step where they read it and critique it. At least the first thirty pages.

And then what happens? Well a few books get picked up. Most don’t. Why?

  1. The reader couldn’t connect with the character
  2. Lack of voice or too much voice
  3. Too many books just like it
  4. Just don’t love it
If you can hit the character hook, the interesting plot or a twist on an old plot, then you will make it to the next step. As long as they have a place for it. Liz said occasionally it happens that there is a fantastic book, but they just signed someone with a similar plot and they can’t publish two books that are so similar.
At Entangled they work with each author in depth, so they have to really like the book. Liz reads the books she’s responsible for multiple times. She has to love the story or she just won’t want to face it over and over and over again.
Is there anything else you can do to maybe get a leg up with a publisher? Yes. Edit your query and your submission. Then edit them again. Actually read them, don’t just spell check. And if you can, have someone else read them and make sure you didn’t use the wrong there, or two for to. I know you’ve heard this many times, but editors are still getting manuscripts with major editing mistakes. Don’t be a victim!
Be on the internet, be a prescence. We’ve talked about this before, but you should at least have a website and be on some sort of social networking platform. Editors want to know you can market yourself. Or at least that you know you should be doing it!
Google yourself. Check out if someone can find you, or does that stripper with the dog face come up instead. (Hey, it happens!)
Make sure your book is within the parameters for their house. If they don’t do YA, don’t send your YA mystery to them. Check the submission rules and be aware. Every  house is different with different rules. Get in line with the rules and you stand at least a chance. Get out of line and you will be receiving an auto rejection. Next!
I want to thank Liz for her time and consideration. She made me think and even though I’m not sharing everything on my three pages of notes I hope this made you think. Sometimes we take rejection personally, but after listening to Liz I had a new respect for how an editor makes her decisions. Thanks Liz!
Let me know about your experiences with rejections. Did the editor give a reason? Did you listen?
Today’s Halloween Treats book is giveaway is a signed copy of CRW’s very own Alegra Gray’s Nothing But Scandal. Halloween Treats is my treat to you in celebration of my novella Little Red Riding Wolf’s publication on February 18th, 2012 by Passion in Print Press. Leave a comment to enter the drawing for the book and to enter the grand prize drawing on October 31st for three swag bags and B&N gift cards!
Nicole Grueber has won Thursday’s book, Dragon Moon. Send me your address through the contact box and I’ll send you your book. Congratulations!


Filed under channeling success, Sensational Saturday's

10 responses to “Retreat Bijou, Elizabeth Pelletier of Entangled Publishing

  1. It seems so easy, doesn’t it? Just send a good, well-read query letter. Somehow it feels like that’s not enough, somehow.

    • Unfortunetly its not, but the thing to remember is it isn’t always about you. Sometimes it’s the editor who just doesn’t need “X” at this particular moment. It’s about finding the right fit. Just think of all the shoes you need to try on to find the right fit. Then imagine having to send away for each and every pair based on what someone else thought you wanted. That’s what those editors face. Not bad shoes, just not the right ones!

  2. So happy to read your conference posts. They spur me on for my own 4-day conference next weekend. Thanks, Jessica, for the great jewels you’ve mentioned. You are a jewel, yourself. (Tried to write in French but iPad objected.)

    • Too funny that the ipad doesn’t like french. It needs to get out more, for sure!
      Have fun at your conference, and I expect to be reading about all your own new realizations soon. 🙂

  3. GREAT post, Jessie. Yes. I’ve had a PLETHORA of experience with rejections. Two mss, two nifty, tattered binders. The ones that truly rocked my writer’s psyche were those that came after requests for fulls. Especially b/c they had cryptic comments. EXAMPLE: “I didn’t connect with the character as much as I need to in order to market this with the enthusiasm it deserves.”

    No nifty comments in the margins. No Margie Lawson happy faces. No edits on the hard copy (yes, it was that long ago). What? The agent doesn’t drink coffee? No coffee smudges. NOTHING! I rewrote. In the process, I mucked up the first fifty. I was at what Margie calls Unconscious Incompetence — I didn’t know that I didn’t know squat about plot structure. So, I borrowed a quarter to buy a clue and began to study the craft.

    I look back at those early mss now and wince. Both are on my radar for rewrite after I finish my current WIP. The first one? Romantic Suspense with an Identity Crisis? It had a too perfect protag, not-so-hot love scenes, linear plot with no sub-threads to sustain 400 pages, stereotypical antagonists, untwisted cliches, predictable ending, and FAR too much technical detail about the Denver penny stock market. Other than those flaws, it was perfect.

    I am so happy to be on THIS side of the epiphany that put me on the “learning the craft” path. Never stop writing. Never stop learning.

    • At least I know who to go to for Penny Stock advice!
      I know its all worth it. Your current ms is a contest winner and shows all your hard work. We forget sometimes that most specialty jobs take training. For some reason romance writing (and writing in general) feels like something we should be able to jump in and do. And it’s not. It’s far more difficult to write then I ever thought possible. It only took two rejections (or was it three) for me to jump on the editing bandwagon. I knew before I sent the sucker out that it had issues, I just had no idea what to do. Those rejections sent me in a direction that led to Margie Lawson, and I’m thrilled with where I am now. Still editing that first one though!

  4. Editors, like agents, make the process sound simple when the reality is it’s far from simple. I read an article by one agent that said she tries to read at a particular time of day when she’ll be more open and less cranky. She openly admitted that if she looked at queries at X time of day she had a tendecy to pass more often.

    You made excellent points about this being a business that requires hardwork and honing of the craft. I’ve taken two Margie Lawson workshops and will take more :).

    I still haven’t made it to a conference. Thanks for sharing your experiences!

  5. Babs has won the book! Email me through the contact box and I’ll get it off in the snail mail! Congratulations!

  6. Pingback: Say “Yes, and…” | JessicaAspenWrites

  7. Pingback: What does a bestseller look like? « Shelley's Blog

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