- 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, http://www.romanceatrandom.com/, 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?
Sue Grimshaw ∙ Category Specialist & Editor at Large∙ Random House Publishing Group