Sue Grimshaw’s New Gig–Ballantine, Bantam, Dell

- by Vonna Harper

Straight from Sue Grimshaw’s computer:

Life’s Funny Changes . . .  First of all, I must thank Vella/Vonna (love how you authors have these multiple names, very clever & confusingJ), for inviting me to tell my tale.  Life certainly has its up’s & down’s, 2011 was my year for both.  Vonna thought you’d all be interested in hearing about my new role & how it came about, sooooooo here it goes!

 January 2011, I received a call from a publisher (name withheld so as not to incriminate anyone), asking how I was, would I be ok & so forth.  I thought, wow, how kind of them to contact me to see how I was holding up because as far as I knew things were still fine.  I thought, they must be mis-informed because we’re doing great – ordering books, shipping & selling them, all is good. 

 That afternoon, we had a town hall meeting within our organization, announcing that we were unable to pay our bills, however, employees will be paid, & so forth.  Oh My.  That is when I first realized that indeed bankruptcy was looming.

So, now I’m thinking – oh crap!  I should have been more aggressive & discussed opportunities with said publisher (hindsight & all that).

The next day, another publisher called, asking if I’d be interesting in submitting a proposal for a job.  I said, YES.

 February 13th, evening  – after 3 weeks, I was still working on my proposal for said publisher; I had also been working on my resume, getting it up to snuff & all that.  Sadly, however, I was really working myself into a tizzy worrying about where I’d go, what I’d do, etc. 

 That evening, my husband & I talked about my options & I said, “Why can’t someone hire me to work on the internet, managing their website, doing their social media, & also be willing to train me to acquire & edit books?”  Of course, Bill told me to get my head out of the clouds and we continued to discuss other options.

 February 16th, 2011, bankruptcy was announced . . . statistics show that only 10% ever make it out of that nasty hole, therefore, I knew it was time to make a job change.  I was still working on my resume & proposal, unfortunately, behind schedule.  I was trying really hard to compile my talents, & as I did I thought I had nothing to offer – - – I sell books to readers; I promote them on a blog site & do videos; I travel & speak to authors; I work with publishers to suggest authors for their lists, etc.  On top of it all, the market sucked, book retailers were downsizing & digital retailers wanted someone with an HTML background . . . and, I’m not able to relocate. 

 The ‘tizzy’ was getting the best of me.

 February 17th, call from NYC publisher with a ‘job offer’ — the ‘job offer’ — I swear, to this day, I think there was a microphone in our living room, because when Scott called me, & told me about the job they had available, it was nothing less than what my husband & I had just talked about that Sunday night . . .blessed?  Yes.

Well, you know the rest.  I did have other wonderful offers, but bottom line for me was that I really wanted to become an editor  - – - that was the KEY selling point.

So now, here I am, Category Specialist & Editor At Large, for Ballantine Bantam Dell.  I work from home in Michigan & travel to NYC monthly.  I continue to travel & speak at various RWA chapter groups & reader groups too.  Life is busy, fun & I’m learning soooooooooooooooooooo much!

I totally loved my job as a bookseller – the almost, 16 years I spent with the company was the best.  But life has its’ funny changes & my new role at BBD could not be any better.  I work for an amazing company that has an amazing team that is willing to work together & support one another.  Our goal is to be the best, all of us, not just any one person, we are a team & that ROCKS for me.

I’ve now had 4 months under my belt at BBD, so things are still new.  Our website launched on 6/28,, with the introduction of our new LOVESWEPT line – re-launching 8 titles in August, with new titles monthly – our brand, new title, releasing in November, is called, BECAUSE OF YOU, by Jessica Scott, the first book in her COMING HOME SERIES.  I’m working with our editing team now on line edits – those are interesting . . . BBD is all about quality, so I am getting the best training around.  There is a lot to learn about editing . . .  some of it is intuitive, some is opinion & some is craft.  I’m thrilled to have this opportunity. 

Elisabeth Barrett is another debut author in our LOVESWEPT line – her books publish in 2012.  And there are two more authors who are now accepting contracts, as our list continues to grow.

The LOVESWEPT line is a digital first published imprint, with books ranging from 30K to 90K words, retailing from $2.99 to $4.99.  Like the LOVESWEPT’S of old, the imprint is author focused, meaning that our goal, is to grow these authors into some of the new, big best sellers wihtin our print & digital lines.  We are also reviewing our LOVESWEPT backlist for reissue.   I must say, we’ve been overwhelmed with the positive feedback from our industry —- everyone has a LS that they love & remember, & are as energized as we are to bring back the line, with old favorites & new authors too.

The Romance At Random website is a perfect opportunity for us to create a community of romance readers and exchange ideas about books, promotion, authors, and so on.  Every week, 5 randomly chosen commenter’s win a FREE book, winners are posted on Sunday’s.  I’ve noticed so many of my friends from the Borders True Romance site joining us at Romance At Random, which is extremely gratifying for me.  We are working on all sorts of plans to generate excitement & traffic to the site, in order to offer our readers something unique & special, that they can’t get everywhere else.  Bottom line is that Romance At Random is a romance community for all to come & enjoy.

Future plans are to attend ROMCON in Denver CO, 8/5 – 9 – I think reader events are the way to go – especially with the new digital frontier; then on to New Zealand 8/16!  I’m becoming the world traveler, LOL!

Well, you know the old saying, ‘when life gives you lemons, make lemonade,’ & for me, there is not a truer statement —  I’m proof positive that you can!   Who new a bookseller could one day grow up to be an editor J

Thanks for having me ladies!  So now you’ve heard my saga . . . have one of your own? One of life’s, funny changes?

Happy Romance!

Sue Grimshaw ∙ Category Specialist & Editor at Large∙ Random House Publishing Group

1745 Broadway ∙ New York, NY 10019
(p) 718/406-1854


  1. This is such a wonderful post. Especially since I would absolutely LOVE to have a job like yours one day, Sue! I’m so glad everything worked out for you in the end. :)

  2. Thanks Elle — it’s funny how things happen. Once I realized I had to begin looking for other employment it seemed as though the doors opened up — that is a blessing in itself. Publishing is such an interesting & evolving business which I’m thrilled to be a part of.

  3. Thrilled for you!
    Also, grinning about my own adventure.
    I was a race horse trainer, until that industry began to slip into dino

  4. con’t…Apologies… Still learning this new computer!

    I was happy in my life as a racehorse trainer. I wrote fiction at night, purely for my own pleasure. And then my world changed. The racing industry slipping closer and closer to dinosaur status on the West Coast left me high and dry.
    I began thinking that with four manuscripts lounging in a bottom drawer, perhaps I could actually sell my work one day. I got online, found a local RWA Chapter and attended my first meeting.
    There was a guest speaker after the pot luck lunch. As I listened to her talk about an industry that many people write about, I asked lots of question. This lady was a wealth of information as she taught an entire college course to people wanting to get into this exciting industry.
    Two months later, I stepped into a college for the first time in over twenty years and there began my new career.
    I still write at night. But now I have a good job supporting me while I take on-line writing courses and pursue publication. I’ve won several contests and I’m thinking hard about the next step. My goal is publication in one form or another, before Christmas 2012.

  5. Wow – what an interesting career — see, everyone has been affected by ‘life’s little changes’ :) The good part is we all seem to land on our feet! God’s blessings for sure :)
    Thanks KC!

  6. So glad things worked out for you, Sue. Thanks for sharing your story with us.

  7. Sue, I actually guessed…months before when you hinted that something new was coming…about what you were going to do next. Not the specifics, of course, but the general idea that you’d be editing your own project. It just seemed like an absolute perfect fit for you!

    And Loveswept…oh, Loveswept! How I loved, loved, loved those books! I discovered so many of my favorite authors that way and still have many on my keeper shelf. I can’t wait for Jessica’s book. I’m so glad I’m plugged into social media because I know that I’ll hear as soon as it’s out! I no longer have to keep lists about books I want…I just wait to hear about them again on Twitter, LOL!

    Thanks for visiting with us here at NINC and sharing your new adventure with us!

  8. Sue, you have earned this new wonderful job by being so amazing as a Romance Specialist at Borders. Editors and authors all came to you for ideas and information. I know I did during a huge career issue and you were always there. So I’m not surprised you not only landed on your feet but with a dream job! I have some old Loveswepts I adored too! And I can’t wait to read what’s new as well. Good luck and I’ll see you at RomCon in a few weeks!

  9. Julie – Carly – you ladies are the best! Not only do you write fan-tab-u-lous books, but, you are great people. Thanks for your kind comments — I tell you though, when you’re going thru a career change you begin to doubt your abilities — I’m so glad others did not doubt me :) & Carly – U bet – Romcon here we come!!

  10. Sue, great story, great fairy tale ending. You should work in the romance industry–oh, wait–you do! What a great fitl Congrats on your new job.

  11. Sue–yours is exactly the story we all need to understand that the industry isn’t dying, just metamorphosing into something different, and that if we all think and work hard we can surf right through it. Congrats to you for finding the perfect new place, and to them for having the smarts to go get you. Drinks are on me at RomCon.

  12. LOL – thanks Eileen & I’ll take you up on the ROMCON offer :) Heavens no, the industry is not dying – in fact it is growing, expanding into something much larger with more opportunity than ever before — good things will develop from all of the new technology – it always does, right?

    Thanks everyone for your comments –

  13. Sue, you earned this great new job for being a guardian angel and bookselling goddess for so many of us over the years. I couldn’t be more thrilled for you. (Though, as I told you when you accepted it, I do wish you’d landed at Penguin. *g*)

    As for changes, I’ve reinvented my career so many times over 29 years, I’ve decided that’s just the way of publishing. And even when things get tough, new opportunities will open up because people will always want stories!

    Oh, and I read Jessica’s book early on while she was still in Iraq. I knew it would find a home, but how cool is it that she’s the first new Loveswept author? Great choice!

  14. Sue, what a wonderful story and if you put the scene with your hubs in a book and then got the exact same phone call…an editor would roll her eyes and bounce it as too “convenient”. LOL But we all know life is full of wonderful convenience, contrivance and coincidence.

    Cheers to you in your wonderful new career!


  15. As a loyal patron of Borders for many years, I was sorry to learn of their liquidation. I am hopeful all Borders employees find new jobs that they love. Sue, your story proves my theory that sometimes if we speak our desire and intent, the universe moves in our direction. :-) I’m thrilled for you and so glad you landed a job that will expand your already considerable talents.

    Also wanted to give a shout out to the powers that be at BBD, that decided to bring back the Loveswept line. I was an avid reader and have missed the Loveswepts so much. I think moving to the digital format was a very wise decision and I am looking forward to reading all the new authors and titles. ((hugs)) C.C.

  16. Sue, so many of us have appreciated everything you’ve done over the years to promote romance while you were a bookseller. It was such a thrill to see you realize your dream of being an editor and continue to be so involved in sharing romance with readers. I went to the BBD spotlight in NYC and loved hearing about the Loveswept line’s return. Huge congrats!

  17. I’m so thrilled for you that you found the job you really wanted as things in your world changed. As others have already said, I can’t think of anyone more deserving of having the Cosmic Forces align for them! I will always think of you as THE Book Goddess, without whom I might never have been published!

    Looking forward to crossing paths at RomCon next month!!

    ~ Melissa

  18. They say things happen for a reason, Sue. It looks like everything that you’ve gone through has led you to a great new place. I’m so happy for you and think you are a terrific asset to the romance community!


  19. Sue,

    Mega congrats on your new career; you’ve always been such a strong supporter of romance, and I have every confidence that you will do well at BBD. (Thanks to JoAnn for letting me know about the blog!)

    As for Loveswept’s relaunch, yay! Not only did I love reading them, I also loved writing them. The line was very pro-author and while I may be a bit biased, I think it produced some of the best romance fiction around. Here’s to wishing the relaunch much success!


  20. Maybe 3rd time is a charm for leaving this comment….

    Sue, I was so happy when you did a Tigger-bounce and ended up at Ballantine. I agree with JoAnn: reinvention is the name of *all* the games these days.

    So glad you’re still out there loving romance and spreading that love. :)

  21. So glad you found the job that suits your talents to the ‘T”! I couldn’t imagine the romance industry without Sue Grimshaw in it! :)

  22. Sue,
    I’m so happy that out of the turmoil you landed on your feet with a dream job at a dream publisher. Thanks for supporting romance for all these years. Since we all love romance, you have the perfect happy ending. I wish you all the best.

  23. Sue, I’ve been so happy to see that things are working out for you. Thanks for all you’ve done for the romance genre over the years.


  24. Ever since the first rumors I’ve been concerned about the wonderful people at Borders. I was thrilled when I heard you landed on your feet. I would have been more thrilled had someone bought the stores and kept the staff in place. I’m knocking wood for all of them.

    But I’ve been in this business for–gulp–almost 30 years, and hanging on with the roller coaster ride is the only way to go. Glad you landed in a great place!

  25. Sue, you have been such a force for good in the industry for so long–it’s fabulous to see fortune smile back on you when dark clouds rolled in. I do miss my Borders–and the incredible role you played in all our lives by being there–but what exciting and fun times ahead for you and the many new lives you’ll touch! Congrats–couldn’t have happened to a lovelier person! BBD is very lucky to have you.

  26. Sue, the whole romance community is thrilled about your new job. It would have been criminal not to have you in a pivotal role within the romance genre. All your passion and experience are invaluable to all of us. Kudos to Random House for recognizing that and snapping you up! So glad you are loving your new position.

  27. Sue: When I first heard about Borders bankruptcy, I thought–Oh no! What will happen to Sue?? Then I saw your announcement about your move to BDD, and was thrilled. I’m so happy you stayed in the industry, because you are awesome and such a wonderful supporter of romance. Congratulations and best of luck to you!

    My story of life changing is the day I decided–while sitting at a stoplight–to quit my job and write full time. No, I wasn’t published yet. It was a brave decision (no fall-back income) but one of the best ones I’ve ever made.

  28. Thanks so much for telling your story. I was so sorry to see Border’s go, but so very glad to hear that the much-respected Sue Grimshaw–who has been such a staunch supporter of romance–has landed squarely on her feet. :-)

    Your new job sounds a little bit like heaven. Congratulations.

  29. Sue,
    You have always been such a champion for the romance industry, it makes perfect sense for you to now be in the position of Editor at Large for such a great publisher. Wishing you all the best in your new endevour.

  30. Thanks JoAnn — you’ve always been so kind. Isn’t Jessica awesome — I read her book & knew that romance readers everywhere needed to know Shane — I think they’ll love him!

  31. Bonnie & Cassandra – isn’t that the truth? I swear it was just one of those marvelous things & coincidence it was :)

    Yeah for LOVESWEPT — so thrilled everyone is as excited as I am :)

  32. Thanks Marilyn & Melissa — I’m so excited & lucky to have this opportunity — Melissa, I still remember at Romancing The Rockies when you told me about your series — how funny was that! So glad all has worked out for you too :)

  33. Thanks Leslie – Faye & Kris — I certainly bounced like Tigger for sure — hoping for my former colleagues to find their dreams too — it’s amazing how many people were affected with the Borders closing — almost 11K! God has blessed me indeed . . . I feel like Jabez :)

  34. Kylie, Linda & Jo — you ladies rock! & just because we don’t publish you at RH does not mean I’m not going to read you — I’ll still be buying my monthly new releases like all the other romance readers out there . . . only, like everyone else, I’ve gone digital :)

  35. Thanks Patricia, Jean & Nancy — Random House has been a dream in so many ways & I’m thrilled to be part of their wonderful team.

  36. Jennifer – that was a, may I say, ballsy move! But you’re right – totally worked for you – love your books & will continue to follow you for a long time :) When’s the next historical releasing anyway :) ?

  37. Thanks EC & Tracey & to the whole NINC group — you all have been so welcoming — great blog site you’ve got going here :) Now we need some of you to come on over to R@R, to post & tell us your stories & promote your books too — it is a community site for all romance author brands & we’d love to have you — you know how to reach me :)

    Thanks again & have a great eve – SueG

  38. They say “follow your bliss” and so glad you have been able to do so! Thanks for bringing back Loveswept. What a lovely legacy this new venture has! Cheers!

  39. I’m a bit late getting to your post, but so glad to finally read this and get all the details on your move. There’s nothing more gratifying than landing well, and you’ve obviously made a perfect touchdown. You’ve always been one of my favorite people in this industry–your enthusiasm for all things romance is a constant reminder of why I love my job.

    Congratulations to you, and New Zealand? Wow. Just WOW!I am so jealous! Have a wonderful and safe trip.

  40. And it couldn’t happen to a more lovely person. I’m thrilled for you, Sue, and I’m so happy you were blessed with your dream job. It was wonderful to see you at RomCon and I look forward to our paths crossing many more times. Have a wonderful, wonderful time in New Zealand. Can’t wait to hear all about it. Now … I’m off to Romance at Random!

    Thanks for the great post, Vonna!