Posted On March 28, 2013 by Print This Post

Editor Lucia Macro Presents: Avon Mythbusters

Romance University is excited to welcome back Avon Romance Editor LUCIA MACRO. Think you know all about Avon? Don’t be too sure about that! Read on…

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I’m so happy to be back at Romance University. I’m also fresh off my flight from Portland, OR, home to some great food, great scenery, urban chickens, and the most wonderfully comprehensive recycling program in the United States, so when I was reminded that it was time for me to write a post for Romance University I had a moment where my brain just froze. But after a bit of thinking, I accepted my mission!

First, at the risk of sounding like a commercial, I’d love for anyone who’s interested in Avon to check out our revamped website. The changes are subtle, but I think they make a nice difference. What is most fun is there’s now a place for you to share what you’re writing—and yes, we will be lurking! Just click on the “share your book” tab and begin… http://www.avonromance.com/

Next, I wanted to address a few myths that have been kicking around lately, which I hope will lead to some lively discussion. So, here goes…

Myth #1: Avon no longer buys new authors for print. This just isn’t true! I’ve recently acquired a new author, Cara Connelly, whose debut THE WEDDING FAVOR is coming out in print early in 2014. Jennifer McQuiston’s debut, WHAT HAPPENS IN SCOTLAND, only recently hit the stores. . What is true is we are actively seeking new authors both for Avon Books and Avon Impulse.
scotland book cover
Myth #2: Avon only wants “x.” And “x” usually = historical romances. This just isn’t true either. Yes, we’re known for historical romance, but we’re seeking all types of romances—contemporary, paranormals, ‘new adult,’ and, yes, historical romance. What I really do want to see are super sexy heroes—the kind who make you swoon. Remember, it’s all in his kiss!

Myth #3: If you write for Impulse you’ll never make a print deal at Avon. Not so! I could be disingenuous and say, “Oh, but all Impulse titles have short print runs.” But that’s not the point. What is the point: Candis Terry and Sophie Barnes have already made the leap onto the mass market list. And the goal is to strategize and figure out the strongest way to get your books out to the most readers.
candis terry
Myth #4: Avon Books have to be funny. I’ve been fighting this one for years! Of course they can be funny, witty, and sparkling…or dark, dangerous, mysterious, emotional, and powerful.

Myth #5: Your editor lives for disappointment. Nothing makes me happier than your book succeeding! I want your book to look gorgeous, sell tons, and earn money. I acquire books because I believe in them and believe in the talent of those who write them.

OK, let the questions begin!

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Do you have any questions about Avon Books or Avon Impulse? Now’s your chance to get to the heart of the matter. Lucia – fresh back from her cross-country trip – will respond to your questions and comments. One lucky commenter will win an Avon tote bag and a selection of recent Avon releases!

On Monday, author Terri L. Austin discusses “Making Your Characters Leap Off the Page.”

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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.

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23 Responses to “Editor Lucia Macro Presents: Avon Mythbusters”

  1. Hi Lucia! Thanks for stopping by Romance U.

    I’ve long trusted Avon for good Regency romance, but I must admit that when I want to read other genres of romance (and historicals set outside the Regency), I usually turn to other publishers! So my question is: what are some specific things on each Avon editor’s wish lists? What do you all see out there that you love to read and would love to acquire, and what is not out there that you would love Avon to champion and nurture? What types of voices do you fall in love with? What tropes?

    I am asking really, really, really specific questions because of that habit of just assuming all the editors just want Regency romance! 🙂

    Posted by Gigi Young | March 29, 2013, 1:19 am
    • My cry to this is “But I edit Rachel Gibson!” We’re working on bios that where each author talks about what they’re looking for, but those aren’t quite finished yet. But I can tell you here we’re seeking “New Adult,” and all sorts of contemporary romance as well as our beloved historicals and paranormals. Suspense seems to work well for Impulse–check out Lena Diaz.
      I also edit Lori Wilde–Texas, Cowboys, etc. :)! And check out new author Jennifer Ryan, who is one of my Avon Impulse rising stars–super sexy heroes.
      I hope this gives you an idea of the breadth we’re seeking.

      Posted by Lucia Macro | March 29, 2013, 11:03 am
  2. Morning Lucia!

    Thanks for a great post – especially after your long trip! =)

    Tell us a bit about how to submit to Avon – do we need an agent?

    carrie

    Posted by Carrie Spencer | March 29, 2013, 7:39 am
  3. Hi Lucia,

    I’m guilty of the just historical romance tag. Do you have some insight into the print vs e-book? Is it a competition or will both thrive together?

    Mary Jo

    Posted by Mary Jo Burke | March 29, 2013, 8:52 am
    • I don’t see this as a competition, as see it as opportunity. Honest! The more ways books can be published the more fun we all have.

      We’ve published some debut authors in Impulse who’ve done very nicely indeed–in historicals look at Sophie Barnes’s HOW MISS RUTHERFORD GOT HER GROOVE BACK. In contemporary look at authors like Candis Terry or Jennifer Ryan. These are just a few examples, too.

      Impulse has opened the door for so many new voices, which I think is so cool. And our mass market program continues to be strong.

      What’s important is fans are reading–and in both formats. What’s exciting is that in Impulse we can get the books to the readers so quickly, which is great for everyone.

      Posted by Lucia Macro | March 29, 2013, 11:08 am
  4. Thanks for a VERY informative post, Lucia! I guess I’m not the average Avon reader, since I’m a fairly recent convert to historical romance but I’ve always liked contemporary. I’ve read all Rachel Gibson’s and Lori Wilde’s books and whenever I see a new Avon contemporary – like Candis Terry’s upcoming release – I order it right away. Thanks to some historical-addicted friends, I also read everything Eloisa James writes, and I’m trying to catch up on other historical authors I’ve missed.

    My problem these days is finding time to read all the books I buy. I have my granddaughter here every day so now I read at night and on binges every weekend. My to-be-read pile never seems to go down, but at least I can always find a good book to read!

    Posted by Becke Martin Davis | March 29, 2013, 11:31 am
    • I hear you! I now have a rule that if I buy a physical book I have to give one away–I just have no more room. And my Nook broke!

      My background is in contemporary romance–long ago I was the head of Silhouette (now Harlequin) Desire. I came to Avon so I could work on historicals, too. It’s been a wild ride.

      Posted by Lucia Macro | March 29, 2013, 11:43 am
  5. Lucia – Harlequin, Silhouette and Mills & Boon were my introduction to romance. Before I discovered them, I mainly read mysteries and romantic suspense. I used to subscribe to Desire back in the day, along with several other lines. Luckily they were fast reads, but since I always kept my favorites my bookshelves filled up very quickly!

    I share books with friends and family but I still have a LOT of books on my “keeper” shelves. If my Nook breaks I’m in trouble, because I have a whole other to-be-read pile there!

    Posted by Becke Martin Davis | March 29, 2013, 11:47 am
  6. Lucia, thanks for the great post. I’ve been a longtime Avon reader and fan–way before I understood the difference between a publisher, agent and editor. 🙂

    Question: What about historical thrillers w/romantic elements? Do you have any interest or authors writing in this area?

    Thanks!

    Posted by Tracey Devlyn | March 29, 2013, 11:48 am
    • Well, that might not be classified as a “romance,” but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a place for it. I also edit commercial fiction, historical novels like WATERMARK (it’s a few years old but I still love it)and THE MIDWIFE OF HOPE RIVER. And, truly, one reader’s ‘historical thriller with romantic elements’ is another person’s romance. 🙂

      Right now the common element I see in self-published, print-published,historical, contemps, etc etc are super sexy heroes and vibrant heroines with lots of opinions.

      Posted by Lucia Macro | March 29, 2013, 12:14 pm
  7. Great post! My question: what are you dying to read? And what are you sick of reading?

    Posted by Nicole Zoltack | March 29, 2013, 12:42 pm
    • Yikes! I’m not really sick of anything–I’m a pretty broad reader. Right now I’m reading is A BRIEF HISTORY OF MONTMARAY, which is a YA novel, so I guess you’d call it “extracurricular reading!” It’s set before WWII, which is a time period I’m fascinated by. In terms of submitted manuscripts, I just don’t want to see any dopey heroines–I haven’t encountered any in a while though.

      Posted by Lucia Macro | March 29, 2013, 2:13 pm
  8. Welcome back, Lucia!

    I’m a WWII history geek. Right now, I’m reading “Operation Mincemeat”, a non-fiction book about British intelligence during the war. I’ve always wondered why there weren’t more historical romances from that era. Are historicals outside of the regency period hard sells?

    Also, can you tell us a bit about the New Adult genre? I read an article in the Huffington Post about New Adult which left me confused.

    Here’s the link if you’re interested. http://huff.to/110CgMQ

    Thank you for joining us again!

    Posted by Jennifer Tanner | March 29, 2013, 3:36 pm
    • One thing I know about romance, it never stands still. There’s change in the air and who knows, we might both get our wish for those WWII romances! There are many historical novels set in that time period so we can console ourselves with them in the meantime.

      Ah, the Regency–so familiar in so many ways and yet so far away…which allows us to really indulge in romantic fantasy. I think it’s that combination that makes the time period so delightfully appealing. And, so far, it does remain the most popular historical setting with readers.

      But speaking of popular–New Adult. (And, yes, I wish I could call it something else…but it does seem to work, doesn’t it?) Younger heroines (early 20s) and heroes (same), both experiencing their first really passionate love. Sexier than YA, and often a bit grittier than we are used to seeing (some of these characters face real issues!). Sometimes the guys have a glamourous element (can you say Rock Star?) but not always.

      What’s interesting is back in the dim mists of time when I worked at Harlequin the heroines especially were often in their 20s. So, the more things change…

      Posted by Lucia Macro | March 29, 2013, 7:08 pm
  9. Lucia – Could you tell us a little about Avon’s K.I.S.S. and Teal promotion? I believe it’s over now, but a lot of books on my keeper shelf have that blurb on the cover.

    Posted by Becke Martin Davis | March 29, 2013, 5:26 pm
    • Kiss and Teal was a promotion we were very proud of–we joined forces with the Ovarian Cancer Society of America. (I hope I have the 100% right name–if I don’t, I apologize.) During the promotion we had authors speaking about ovarian cancer and we supported the charity itself. But our biggest goal was to increase awareness of the disease and its warning signs.

      Posted by Lucia Macro | March 29, 2013, 6:57 pm
  10. It seems like books are getting shorter and shorter. Avon romances use to be close to 500 pages, now I read some that are barely 300. Is this due to cost constraints or are readers requesting shorter stories?

    Posted by Kim | March 29, 2013, 6:42 pm
    • I’ve been at Avon since the 90s and the books were almost always around 384 printed pages. You can tell I’ve at this a lonnnnggg time if I know that right off the bat!

      I always say that books need to be as long as the books need to be–our standard mass market word count is approximately 80-90,000 words. I’m sure some books run longer, and some a bit shorter. It’s up to the author and to the needs of the plot. Some of our Impulse titles do run shorter–we can publish works of all lengths easily in the digital format. But again, it’s up to the needs of the plot itself.

      Posted by Lucia Macro | March 29, 2013, 6:54 pm
  11. So I’m off for a while, but keep the questions coming! I’ll check in on Monday and I promise I’ll answer them then…but for now I have to go find myself some Easter ham. Thank you all; this has been fun!

    Posted by Lucia Macro | March 29, 2013, 7:10 pm
  12. Happy Easter, Lucia! Thank you so much for spending the day with us!

    Posted by Becke Martin Davis | March 29, 2013, 9:34 pm

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