By Guest Blogger Michaela Hamilton, Executive Editor of Kensington Publishing
Murder! Mayhem! Danger! Action! What makes a thriller exciting? All of those elements—plus a certain magic called storytelling. At Kensington we are proud to offer commercial fiction at its best. We welcome the chance to present new authors to the suspense community. Most of our submissions come through literary agents who understand the types of books that work best for us. Serial-killer thrillers, political thrillers, romantic suspense, paranormal suspense, international intrigue and espionage, and cute cozy mysteries are some of the genres that we are eager to consider.
Kensington supports organizations such as Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, Sisters in Crime, Malice Domestic, American Society of Journalists and Authors, and other groups devoted to helping writers realize their publishing dreams. Conferences such as ThrillerFest and Bouchercon give writers the chance to interact with editors, agents, fans, and fellow authors. Local writers’ conferences offer excellent opportunities as well. Through workshops, panels, pitch sessions, parties, and just-plain hanging out together, writers have a chance to make contact with professionals who share their passion for high-level suspense.
If you are a first-time author, you’ll need to polish your pitch so you can make your book sound irresistible in less than thirty seconds. It’s useful to position your book in terms of successful books or films. “Grisham meets Ludlum on Wall Street” was one of the best positioning lines I’ve ever heard. I couldn’t wait to read that novel!
Think of the reader who will buy your book in a bookstore. What other titles will that reader have on his or her bookshelf? Sure, your writing is highly original. But publishers need to be able to identify a market for it. Is it hard-boiled or cozy? Deeply psychological or more adventure-driven? Are you writing for male or female readers, or both? Be clear about your audience so that an editor or agent can quickly grasp your book’s potential.
At Kensington we welcome queries from authors via email. The submissions guidelines are posted on our website, www.kensingtonbooks.com. Your query should clearly position your book as to category and audience. Give a one-paragraph plot overview and one-paragraph bio, including your membership in writers’ organizations, attendance of conferences, and your personal marketing plan for your book.
So bring on the serial killers and their victims; the greedy schemers and the clever clue-followers; the forensic experts, the detectives, the heroes and villains who make us turn pages with joy. The world of book-lovers opens its doors to writers who can thrill us, page after page.
And speaking of page-turners: here’s a contest you won’t want to miss. Kensington will give away five free ARC’s (Advance Reader’s Copies) of SERIAL, the sensational new thriller from New York Times bestselling author John Lutz, due in bookstores in August. To enter, send us your tweet telling us why you’d like to be among the first people to read SERIAL. Five winners will be chosen at random. Tweet us at @kensingtonbooks with the #serial hashtag.