Guest post by Lou Aronica, author of Blue (my review here)
Lou's website, and bio
I’ve been associated with book publishing for a long time. I’m not saying that I interned under Gutenberg, but my first job in the industry was carrying paste-up boards for book covers from one executive’s office to another for approval. Paste-up boards! Carrying! Executives! Anyway, in that time, I’ve seen the book business focus increasingly on pigeonholing authors. If you’re a novelist, where you fit in the store has become more important in some ways than the quality of the story. There’s a certain logic to this: bookstores need to be broken into sections or no one would ever find anything, and the books need to fit into these sections. At the same time, there’s a fundamental flaw with categorizing things this way. Many people might not consider themselves to be romance readers, but they enjoy a good love story. Someone will tell you that she never reads science fiction, but she just loved The Hunger Games. I know very few people who only read one genre of book, but I also know very few people who will explore every section of a bookstore before making a buying decision. This means that putting books in sections excludes much of the potential market (and we don’t even want to talk about the general fiction section in stores because it’s the least browsed fiction section since readers have no idea what they’re going to find there).
This was an issue that vexed me as I considered how to present my new novel Blue to publishers. It’s a father-daughter novel. A large chunk of it is set in a fantasy environment. One of the protagonists is in his forties, another is fourteen, and the third – who happens to be queen of the bedtime story fantasy world the other two protagonists created many years ago – is in her early twenties. Is it a relationship novel? Is it a fantasy novel? Is it a teen fantasy novel? In which section of the store did it belong? If it went into a specific section, how many potential readers was I going to lose? If it went into the dreaded general fiction section, would anyone ever see it?
Fortunately, in the six years it took me to complete Blue, a seismic shift happened in the industry: readers expressed a decided preference for buying books online. This changed everything. While online booksellers break books into categories as much as bricks-and-mortar booksellers do, consumers don’t browse online bookstores the same way. In fact, they really don’t browse online bookstores at all. Instead, they tend to go to those stores with specific titles in mind. For writers, this is liberating. If you’re writing a romantic suspense novel about dogs, or an international thriller featuring shapeshifters, or maybe even a father-daughter novel with a huge element of fantasy, you no longer need to be concerned about where you fit in the store.
Ultimately, I decided to publish Blue myself. Actually, I started an entire publishing program for it called Studio, and I aim to publish a dozen books by other writers in that program this year. The major New York houses still tend to think too much about sections. If someone was going to do the work of inviting different readerships to Blue, I figured that person needed to be me. Several other Fiction Studio authors are in the same position, and we consider this to be a very good thing. Writers should be concerned with writing the most passionate, honest books they can write; they shouldn’t be concerned with categories. In the new bookselling marketplace, writers come out winners, and readers really come out winners.
How often do you hear about something that sounds too good to be true? Well, I am here to offer 10 lucky winners the opportunity of a lifetime.
New York Times bestselling co-author, novelist, and former Publisher of Avon Books and Berkley Books, has created a unique and exciting offer to anyone that is going to follow his upcoming book tour with Pump Up Your Book. His extensive experience in the publishing and editing fields has given him insight into an industry that continues to grow and change daily. Once again, that insight has led him to offer a contest that is truly special in so many ways. Lou will be accepting story pitches from followers of his blog tour. These story pitches must be for short stories pertaining to the fantasy world of his novel, “Blue.” This contest will allow 10 lucky people the opportunity of a lifetime, the chance to have their story published in an upcoming companion anthology to “Blue.” Lou will hand pick the winners, edit their stories, include them in the anthology and give them a pro-rated share of the royalties. How can you pass up an opportunity like this?
Now for the details:
The pitch should include a synopsis of the proposed story and a sample of the submitting author’s fiction writing. Specify the expected length of the story.
The pitch needs to be submitted by
Please email your submission to Lou at
Please email your submission to Lou at
All winners will be notified by email by .