Posted On October 17, 2012 by Print This Post

Avon Romance Editor Lucia Macro’s Top Five Pet Peeves

We’re celebrating Avon Romance this week with two posts from Avon editor Lucia Macro. Today she shares her Top Five Pet Peeves with us – editorially speaking, that is. If you’re considering submitting (see guidelines below), TAKE NOTE!

Ok, as promised, here are my pet editorial peeves. I get asked about these a lot. I’m not sure if by sharing them you’ll get any insight into my editorial soul, but it’s always interesting for me to have to think about this kind of stuff, because it reminds me to tame my own subjectivity.

1)      Stop overthinking!  Because here is what I’m not thinking about:   your formatting (just double space and have page numbers and we’re good to go); shifting pov (if it’s jarring, it’s wrong; if it’s not jarring, I don’t care); your font (just don’t use this); the number of times your characters have sexytimes (make it right for the plot);  the ‘dark moment’ (I don’t even know what that means);  what your betareader (don’t know what that means either) says.

2)      What I do care about: is your book entertaining me—either dramatic/entertaining or humourous/entertaining?  Do I like your characters? Do I want to be the heroine and marry the hero? Did you create a world I want to jump into? Is it your story, or someone else’s—did all your friends plus your mom tell you what to do? Because I can tell.

3)      Do your characters talk and dress like real people? Seriously folks, 50 year old women do not talk and dress like the mother in the Andy Hardy movies. That was 1939. Now, 50 year old women listen to Sirius radio and wear cute clothes. Also, 20 year olds talk and dress like 20 year olds. And not 20 year olds from that same 1939 movie. Listen to the people around you and make them sound just like that.

4)      Please don’t hurt the pets or children.

5)      Your editor is not your enemy. Honest. I don’t want your book to sound like every other book. I don’t want your cover to suck. I don’t want to have your sales circle the drain like a Scrubbing Bubble. I don’t fill every page with my editing. I am not a frustrated writer myself. I want your book to work, to look great, to sell like crazy. I promise.


Now that Lucia has shared her pet peeves with us, do you have any questions for her?

Join us Friday when Theresa Stevens returns with her regular column.


Bio: Lucia Macro is a Vice-President/Executive Editor for Morrow/Avon Books, whose career path began with an English degree and a vague sense that she could type very quickly. An article told this budding CosmoGirl that she could “…work in a publishing house! Meet sexy, smoldering authors who will woo you with wine and words!” She ended up as the assistant to a textbook editor. After a few years she wised up, took a job in the romance department of Berkley, and never looked back.

Lucia has worked at Harlequin, where she was the head of the Desire line, and presently edits many New York Times bestsellers and Rita Award winners. In 2006 she was the honored recipient of the Vivian Stephens Career Achievement Award. In addition, she is part of the team that created both the Morrow Paperback and Avon Impulse imprints and is constantly on the lookout for the next bestseller.

 Avon Romance Submission Guidelines:


Q) Do you think all the fun has gone out of romance novels?

A) Sometimes we do, too!

Toss away your ideas of what Avon is all about, and read here for how to write for

Avon Romance and Avon Impulse.

You desire: books that are super-sexy and romantic.

We need: The stories you want to read—and write—but can’t always find.

We publish: Digital original and mass market original romance. We want you to be our next star!

What might get you noticed:

  • Fabulously sexy heroes who let nothing get in the way of getting what they want—the heroine of course—and giving her everything she needs.
  • Heroines unafraid to take chances in life…and in love. She’s smart and she’s never afraid to stand up for herself.
  • You choose the setting, just make sure it’s utterly romantic! We want to be able to immerse ourselves in the wonderful world that you’ve created.
  • “Series Wanted!” Readers always cry out for more when you’ve given them characters to believe in…so give us more, too, and you’ll get our attention.
  • Dark and dramatic? Bring it on! We all love to laugh, but we’re also interested in stories that explore the many twists and turns of true love.

A few necessary facts:

  • Avon Books (print): should be 80-95,000 words in length
  • Avon Impulse (digital first): We are seeking full length novels of approximately 50-60,000 words.
  • Formatting choices are up to you. If we can read it, you can submit it.
  • No need to submit to a specific editor. If a specific editor has requested your manuscript, please let us know and we’ll get it to her.
  • No need to submit to specific imprint, either; you’ll work with the same editorial team.
  • You should receive an answer either way in about three months.
  • You don’t need an agent.

Be Creative! Be innovative! And don’t hesitate to submit to Avon today.

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26 Responses to “Avon Romance Editor Lucia Macro’s Top Five Pet Peeves”

  1. Hi Lucia,

    Thanks for joining us today! Loved your pet peeves. Sometimes I think we (writers) are our own worst enemy. Now that I’ve gone through the editorial process with two books, I can see that many of the “rules” we learn are not those of publishers but of writers trying to make sense of it all.

    I have a confession to make – I broke your pet peeve #4 in my debut, but it was a truly heroic moment for Scrapper. 🙂

    Thanks for all your great advice this week.


    Posted by Tracey Devlyn | October 17, 2012, 5:29 am
  2. Hi Lucia, I’m so glad I subscribe to Romance University (one of the most useful writers’ blogs around, by the way), otherwise I would never have read your posts re submitting to Avon. I have waited to hear your pet peeves before submitting, and am relieved to find my MS escapes all of them – except possibly number 2! I don’t know if my story will entertain you…but unless I submit, I’ll never find out, so here goes! Thanks again for your article.

    Posted by Helena Fairfax | October 17, 2012, 6:23 am
  3. Morning Lucia!

    I think all of us as writers really over think. A lot. I’ve seen entire discussion boards related to the correct font to use for a submission – and no, comic sans wasn’t an option….=) neither was using it in a pretty purple!

    Above, it says Series Wanted! Is Avon more interested in series featuring the same character? Or series featuring different characters that are all entwined, by say living in the same town or employed by the same company?

    Thanks for posting with us today!


    Posted by Carrie Spencer | October 17, 2012, 8:14 am
    • I’m open to reading series where different characters are intertwined somehow. For Avon Impulse I’m also open to serialized novels, ones we can publish very quickly–every week for 4 weeks for example.

      Posted by Lucia Macro | October 17, 2012, 10:23 am
  4. Hi Lucia,

    Great post!

    My comment from your previous post disappeard like a scrubbing bubble circling down the drain (still grinning about that visual) so I’m posting it again.

    Avon publishes my three favorite (and I mean love-them-with-a-passion favorite) romance authors– Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Lisa Kleypas and Julia Quinn. So, you guys definitely have it right.

    I was wondering if Avon had an interest in romances with culturally diverse characters. I write Bollywood Romances with Indian hero/heroines. The stories are set primarily in America but there’s a fair amount of globetrotting going on.

    Do you see a market for that?

    Thanks again for the wonderfully informative posts,


    Posted by Sonali Dev | October 17, 2012, 8:20 am
  5. Hi Lucia,

    Dark moments confuse me too. Is it a fight between them or a horrible secret revealed?

    Mary Jo

    Posted by Mary Jo Burke | October 17, 2012, 8:51 am
  6. I love this post! I’m one of those over-thinkers, but armed with a list like this I feel empowered! At least I know what NOT to do! (Or five things not to do, anyway. I’m sure there are more items you could list!)

    Posted by Becke Davis (Becke Martin) | October 17, 2012, 10:08 am
  7. Great post. I like your no-nonsenseness, if that’s a word. No-Nonsensability?

    I’ve only had one editor in my short writing career and wondered how other editors worked. After the contract stuff, how do you discuss revision issues? You said you don’t like to give a lot of editorial input, so I was just curious.

    Posted by Larissa Reinhart | October 17, 2012, 10:18 am
    • Actually, I do give editorial input. 🙂 I promise!

      What I don’t do is try to make the book mine. My job is to provide feedback, give direction, and work with you to polish your ms. It’s also to make sure your voice shines through on every page.

      Usually, when a ms comes in, I read, I make notes, and then the author and I have a conversation (written or verbal or both) about how to make the book better. Each situation is different, but I try not to over-edit, which makes a book sound flat and over-worked.

      I hope that makes sense.

      Posted by Lucia Macro | October 17, 2012, 10:27 am
  8. Love this- and found myself guilty of stressing about many of these things. 😀 Thanks for the reality check!

    Posted by Kelly Wolf | October 17, 2012, 10:32 am
  9. Thank you for relieving some of my stress about submitting. I loved both posts and learned a lot.

    Posted by Stephanie Berget | October 17, 2012, 11:02 am
  10. Hi Lucia,

    Thanks for a great post! I love your approach!

    I have a couple of novels I’d be interested in submitting to you. I’ve looked at the submission guidelines on the website, which are good and clear regarding content, but I can’t see exactly how much of a novel you are interested in receiving, and to whom, or where it should be sent.

    Have I missed something?

    Posted by Jane Linfoot | October 17, 2012, 11:05 am
  11. I love points 1-3, but this line was my favorite:

    “Is it your story, or someone else’s—did all your friends plus your mom tell you what to do? Because I can tell.”

    If overthinking was an Olympic sport, I’d have three gold medals by now. Thanks for the reminder.

    Posted by Roxanne | October 17, 2012, 12:51 pm
  12. Hi Lucia,

    I’m sure Avon receives a boatload of submissions. Can you share with us the most common reasons why a manuscript gets rejected?

    Terrific information. I’m suddenly anxious to finish ms #2. Thanks for joining us again!

    Posted by Jennifer Tanner | October 17, 2012, 2:56 pm
    • OK, I’m going to start by saying each situation is different. Sometimes the writing just doesn’t sustain its energy–the ms starts out interesting and after three chapters or so it runs out of steam. Another reason is that the characters don’t come alive. For myself (and I’m not speaking for the other editors), I’d rather a ms that’s a little rough around the edges but full of energy then perfect but kind of lifeless.

      Posted by Lucia Macro | October 18, 2012, 11:06 am
  13. Thank you so much taking part of your time to share with us, Ms. Marco. I’ve learned a lot from your post and the comments. Have a wonderful week.
    Happy reading,

    Posted by Aliyah Burke | October 17, 2012, 7:44 pm
  14. That quote about 50 year old women? Priceless! That’s why “old” movies today are movies from the 70s and 80s, not the 1940s. Not even sure what we should call those, cinematic relics?

    Posted by PatriciaW | October 18, 2012, 10:19 am
    • Oh, but I love movies of the 30s and 40s. The dialogue is spectacular–witty, filled with nuance…but very of that time. I long for dialogue that has the same level of verbal strength but is of =our= time.

      I also learned how to write cover copy by watching trailers for those movies. Thank God for TCM.

      Posted by Lucia Macro | October 18, 2012, 11:09 am
  15. Lucia – Thank you so much for both of your blogs, and for responding to our questions about Avon. I learned a lot!

    Posted by Becke Davis (Becke Martin) | October 18, 2012, 3:37 pm
  16. Hi Lucia!
    I can’t believe I just went to google and found you after all these years! Remember the NERWA and Concord? Lucia, I’m writing to sell now. I just finished YA. Would you look at it?
    I’m in North Carolina now but miss New England like crazy.

    Posted by Judy Garwood | January 27, 2013, 12:50 pm
  17. Hi Lucia,

    I enjoyed reading your post. I have just one question. I submitted a manuscript to Avon in June. In early October, having heard nothing, I sent a query, but received no reply. Perhaps I sent it to the wrong place. Is there a proper place to query regarding my manuscript?

    Thanks in advance for your help!

    Julie L. Hayes

    Posted by Julie L Hayes | October 26, 2013, 9:05 am


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