Swoon Author Jenny Elliott: 5 Reasons to Submit to Swoon Reads
I can’t begin to tell you how glad I am that I submitted my Young Adult romance to Swoon Reads! But you probably already guessed that. I will never forget the elation I felt when I spoke to our fearless leader, Jean Feiwel, and she confirmed that — no, I hadn’t just won a tote of free books — my novel had been chosen for publication. I might still be in shock!
If you know you have a great YA/NA novel that’s ready to greet the world, in my opinion, submitting to Swoon Reads is a no-brainer. In any case, you owe it to fellow reader and writer friends to spread the word about this new imprint and community that is creating something new and wonderful to help discover and reward new talent!
So, here I give you my top five reasons to submit to Swoon Reads…
1. It’s next to impossible for novelists to get bigwigs on the staffs of big publishing houses to look at our work, especially without an agent.
Gaining an agent’s attention is HARD. Gaining the representation of an agent that’s a good fit for you and your work is even harder. The staff at Swoon Reads, on the other hand, is constantly sniffing out talent amongst manuscripts submitted to the site, which so far, if I’ve tallied correctly, have averaged between 200 and 300 at a time. Do the math. Your odds of getting recognized are much higher!
2. Swoon Reads offers quick response times for selected authors, while most agents receive hundreds of queries per day and take months to respond.
Sure, some agent rejections might come within minutes, or you might get lucky and receive a request for material within a week or so. But if an agent wants to consider your full manuscript, as four wanted to with mine, it will likely take months to hear back. Three agents got back to me at the two-month mark. The fourth took three months, and I was anxiously waiting for the yay or nay before submitting to Swoon Reads. All four agents conveyed essentially the same message: “Lots of good stuff here, but I’m going to pass.” Only one agent offered detailed feedback. Another offered a Revise and Resubmit offer, then left the company I queried to start her own agency. The other two agents didn’t elaborate on why they passed on representation. Meanwhile, over a year had passed. Why wait if you don’t have to? I’m sure glad I didn’t wait any longer!
3. You’ll only need to go through the editing process once with Swoon Reads, rather than with both an agent and an editor from a publishing house.
Typically, a novelist will gain agent representation and undergo editing before the agent submits to publishers. Then the editor(s) at a publishing house that picked up the novel will no doubt ask for more edits. I imagine it wouldn’t be a ton of fun to expend creative energy editing a manuscript according to an agent’s taste, only to end up having to overhaul the story again to satisfy an editor’s, possibly differing, tastes. With Swoon Reads, you’ll know what changes are expected upfront.
4. The Swoon Reads publishing process is quick, and Macmillan’s marketing is great.
From what I’ve learned, it typically takes about two years for a novel to be traditionally published. Barely over a year will have passed between the time I submitted my manuscript to Swoon Reads and Save Me pubs. And because of Swoon Reads’ extensive marketing and community aspect, many readers and writers are already eagerly awaiting Swoon Reads authors’ books. Ready-made readers? Priceless…
5. Whether Swoon Reads chooses your novel for publication or not, you’ll get free feedback.
As I touched on before, agents rarely offer feedback, sometimes not even when they request material. It’s not that they’re bad people. They’re busy. And they generally don’t take on many new clients. The best advice I got regarding my writing/story was from editor/author/writer/reader friends, colleagues, and critique partners. I paid for much of that help and training. When you submit to Swoon Reads, you get to exchange honest, helpful feedback with critique partners who are readers and writers who enjoy YA/NA novels, the same as you do. All for free. So submit, read, trade critiques, and spread the word! I always say, “It takes a village.” And Swoon Reads really is the coolest new “village” (community) in the publishing scene!