If you write young adult or children’s stories or pen historical romance novels, check out my interview with Dawn Carrington, editor in chief of Vinspire Publishing because on June 1st they’ll be opening up unagented submissions…
This Writer’s Life (TWL)-Can you tell us when Vinspire Publishing launched and the types of books you publish?
Dawn Carrington (DC)-We opened on February 14, 2004. We accept historical romance, young adult, middle grade, children’s books, and inspirational romance.
TWL-Let’s focus on the historical novels ? What do you look for in stories? Is there anything that will garner an immediate, no .this isn’t for us that writers should be aware of?
DC-We want to be swept away by the historical aspect of the story, to feel like we’re there. Authors can look to television shows like Downton Abbey and When Calls the Heart for examples of the type of historical fiction that interests us.
In regards to an immediate no, we are a family-friendly publisher so we don’t accept any books with profanity, excessive violence, or sex nor will we accept any book that uses derogatory slang or includes discussions of bodily functions.
TWL-What do you feel makes a good story no matter the genre?
DC-One that hooks us from the beginning, immerses us in the setting, and makes us fall in love with the characters.
TWL-You’ve moved in young adult and middle grade novels? What sort of books do you publish and what’s the main criteria for getting published in this genre?
DC-We publish any subgenre in young adult except for science fiction. We love books that really take the teens on a journey of discovery, ones that let us get to know the characters and really feel for their situation.
We don’t have one standard that will automatically makes us accept a book as a book might hook us with the setting but lose us with the characters. We want the authors to understand teenagers so that it comes across on the page. We also want the teenagers’ journeys to be realistic for that setting and, at the end of the story, we want to feel that the young adult has changed and grown throughout it.
TWL-Is there any particular story you’d love to see but have yet to find?
DC-Several! We’d love to see a sweeping, historical romance set aboard the Titanic or the Lusitania as well as love stories set in Europe.
We want Christian romances and young adult romances with diverse characters of various ethnicities. We’d love to see interracial romances and adventurous middle grade stories like 7 Riddles to Nowhere by A.J. Cattapan and The Mystery of the Painted Book by KS Mitchell.
TWL-If you had to give three tips for writers who want to get published with Vinspire, what would they be?
DC- I couldn’t narrow it down to just three because there’s so much I’d like to tell writers who submit to us.
- Know what we publish and what is allowed in our books. If your book doesn’t fit the genres we’re seeking, don’t submit it anyway, and certainly don’t submit a book laced with profanity with the intention of changing it if it gets accepted. Change it first then submit it.
- When we post submission calls, it’s because we’re actively looking for those types of books. We guarantee your book will be read if it fits the genres we’re seeking. That is the ideal time to get your book in front of our editors. But we only accept unagented submissions once a year. If you submit without an agent outside of that time frame, it will be deleted unread.
- Know your genre inside and out. If this is your first time writing historical romance, study the time period, ask questions, and do your research. If you’re building a fantasy world, make sure readers will understand it.
- Don’t go overboard on the number of characters you include in your book. We understand that some stories require more characters, but if you’re writing a mystery, you don’t necessarily need ten different suspects. In other words, don’t confuse us.
- Hook us from the beginning of the story with a great opening line and keep the momentum going.
- Don’t overload us with information about your characters or the setting. Instead, work it into the story. Don’t tell us your characters’ backgrounds when you can show it to us instead.
- Make sure your manuscript is as polished as it can be by removing overused adverbs, unnecessary dialogue tags, useless words like so, that, and just, and use active verbs as much as you can.
TWL-You accept agented submissions only but do have open submission calls for certain genres. Right now that’s romances with mature heroes and heroines. Any tips for writing a book with those requirements? What do you want and not want to see when you read a submission?
DC-We’d love to see stories with mature adults navigating online dating as well as reunited love stories. We’re not necessarily looking for suspense or mystery with these types of romances because we want the focus to be on falling in love or reigniting a spark.
The possibilities are endless with these types of books. Think about the relationships of Charles and Caroline Ingalls of Little House on the Prairie, John and Olivia Walton of The Waltons, Michaela Quinn and Byron Sully on Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman, Randall and Beth on This is Us, and Henry & Elizabeth McCord on Madam Secretary. These shows proved and are proving that a mature couple could have just as much romance as a younger one.
There are some really good movie examples for the romance alone such as You’ve Got Mail, Grumpy Old Men, Must Love Dogs, Sense and Sensibility, The American President, and On Golden Pond. Some of those movies do include scenes that would not work in our books, but the love stories were epic.
TWL-Can you give us a clue as to any other genres that might become open submissions in say the next year?
DC-On June 1st, we will be opening to young adult, middle grade, children’s, historical romance, and Amish romances.