Spotlight On: Revell Books
Editor Andrea Doering said Revell is the oldest publishing house in North America. Though acquired by Baker Publishing a decade ago, the imprint kept its own entity and voice. They publish about 30 fiction titles a year, covering the main commercial genres of historical, suspense, romance, contemporary, Amish, and some YA. E-books make up about 20 percent of Revell’s sales.
Revell has four acquisitions editors, each acquiring all genres (except speculative). They meet every two weeks to choose projects for the publication committee, which includes representatives from sales, marketing, editorial, and publishing. It will take about four weeks to present an offer, with publication 18-24 months beyond.
Revell does not accept proposals from unagented writers except through conferences or the Writers’ Edge manuscript service. A platform is not pivotal so long as the writer understands his or her job is not done when the book is turned in. Editors want to know novelists are aware of readers. What other authors might your reader be interested in between your books?
Doering (right) said they try to respond to proposals within two months. If you are unpublished, they require a full manuscript. If you’ve been previously published, the first three chapters are often enough. She checks the sample pages first. If they capture her, she’ll read the rest of the proposal.
They do sign a few new authors and prefer novels ranging from 85,000 to 90,000 words. They usually contract several books at a time, either a series or multiple stand-alones. Most novels will be in third person, though first person can be used in contemporary—even multiple first person.
Revell is a conservative house. They’re not looking for controversial issues. Most of their readers prefer to leave the current world behind and not let it intrude. Themes of returning home are popular, such as rekindling an old flame or retrieving something that was lost. Happy endings are preferred.
They are specifically looking for historicals in a broad range of eras. They are not seeking medievals as these are usually set in Europe, and international stories tend to sell 33 percent less than American-based. Exceptions include Regencies and World War II. Novels set in the American west in the mid 1880s are a current sweet spot.
They’re also seeking romantic suspense, which is selling better than other contemporary genres.
The marketing standard is about a dollar per book they expect to sell. For a series, marketing dollars may be front-loaded to the first book.
When asked what she reads in her free time, Andrea replied that it depends. She reads a wide range of books, preferring a happy ending.