Keli Gwyn
What I Learned at the Barbour Spotlight

Rebecca Germany faced a room filled with eager writers at the Barbour Spotlight, which took place during the recent ACFW conference. She shared lots of helpful information. I took notes so I could pass it on to those of you interested in learning more about Barbour.

(Note: I listened closely, but If I’ve presented any misinformation, please let me know.)

Me with Becky Germany. Don't you love her warm smile?

About Barbour and Becky

Barbour Publishing is privately owned and has been in business 30 years.

Becky is the only fiction editor at this time. She’s been with Barbour since 1993.

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Acquisitions Information

They work primarily with agented authors and those previously published by Barbour.

Becky will not be making any acquisitions until after the first of the year.

They don’t have any openings for new titles until the fall of 2013.

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Fiction Focus

Becky said, “We sell romance best.” Their fiction focus is historical romance.

They’re not seeking women’s fiction but will consider it if it has a romantic element.

They are open to a wide variety of settings and like stories set in small towns.

The most popular time period is the late 1800s during the Westward expansion.

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Novella Collections

Barbour will be continuing their 4-in-1 novella collections.

They will be looking for Christmas novella collections, but perhaps fewer than this year.

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Heartsongs Presents Update

Heartsongs Presents may continue, despite earlier reports that Barbour was going to discontinue the line. The Heartsongs Presents website is online once again.

Barbour plans to continue publishing their Romancing America titles, which are repackaged Heartsong Presents titles.

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New Destination Romances Line

Many of the questions for Becky dealt with this new line, which my debut novel’s part of.

This line includes contemporary and historical romances. A single book will be released each month in 2012, historicals in the odd months and contemporaries in the even ones.

The word count for a historical or contemporary in this line is 80,000 words.

The Bride books are historical. They don’t necessary have to include a wedding, but there must be a proposal and an understanding that a wedding is to take place.

The Wedding books are contemporary. They must mention a wedding taking place but don’t necessarily have to include an actual wedding scene.

To learn about the first six books to be released in 2012, you can read my post about them.

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Sales and Marketing

Barbour wants their authors to have a satisfying career with their house.

They don’t want “one book wonders” and would prefer to see an author have a book come out every six months in order to keep the author’s name out there.

A first print run is generally 10,000 copies, but they’d prefer to see a book sell 20,000. That number is what’s deemed a success and helps justify keeping an author.

They work with design agencies to create eye-catching, professional-looking covers and  give their authors quite a bit of say in cover design.

They do all they can to help promote their books, including getting their books picked up by major booksellers. They send galleys to prominent book reviewers.

They expect an author to help with promotion. Becky mentioned having a website and a Facebook profile as well as seeking influencers who will help generate interest in a book.

• • •

I found the information Becky shared very helpful and hope you have, too.

Was anything I learned in the spotlight surprising to you?

What questions would you ask about Barbour if you could talk with Becky?

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Keli Gwyn
Highlights of the 2011 ACFW Conference

The conference rocked for many reasons. I’ll list a few highlights in no particular order.

• I got to see many of my writer friends, several of whom I met in person for the first time.

• I got to meet my acquisitions editor at Barbour Publishing, Rebecca Germany, and was impressed by how nice she is. Doesn’t Becky have a warm smile?

• I attended my first publisher’s party where I met many of my Barbour buddies. What a great group. Barbour treated 45 of us to a one-hour cruise aboard the riverboat Tom Sawyer. We munched out on yummy appetizers as we traversed the Mississippi.

• I enjoyed the wonderful worship times led by the talented Rachel Hauck.

• I saw the Gateway Arch in person, and it’s even more impressive than I’d imagined.

• I’m a California gal who’d never seen the Mississippi River and got to stick my toe in it.

• I was able to spend one-on-one time with my critique partner Jody Hedlund, something I’d not done before. I enjoyed the opportunity to deepen our friendship.

• I visited the museum under the Gateway Arch and had a blast learning more about the Lewis and Clark expedition and browsing in the mercantile, where I found several great reference books. So glad I had extra room in my suitcase. 🙂

• I traveled to St. Louis with a dear writer friend from “back home” and roomed with her as well. Lacie Nezbeth, a new writer, is a sweetheart, and I enjoyed our time together.

• I rejoiced with many people who received good news during the conference. My friend, agency mate, and Barbour buddy, Erica Vetsch, was one of them. She learned on the final day of the conference that Barbour’s recently released collection of novellas, A Log Cabin Christmas, made the New York Times Best Seller List. She, along with the eight other contributors, had a big reason to celebrate. It wasn’t easy to contain my excitement.

• I went to dinner with my awesome agent, Rachelle Gardner, and some of my agency mates, spent some one-on-one time with Rachelle talking about my writing, and rejoiced when she was named the 2011 ACFW Agent of the Year.

• • •

• I took many more pictures, which I shared in three albums on Facebook. One includes pictures of people I saw, one sights in St. Louis, and one shots taken at the Barbour party.

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Keli Gwyn
St. Louis Bound

At o’dark thirty Wednesday morning I’ll head to the Sacramento airport to catch my flight to St. Louis, Missouri to attend the American Christian Fiction Writers Conference.

Hyatt Regency St. Louis at The Arch

To say I’m excited would be an understatement. I’m looking forward to seeing many of my writing buddies and my agent as well as meeting my editor and publishing house pals.

I don’t travel with a laptop, so I’ll be offline for several days. If you have some terrific news while I’m away, I check email on my phone periodically, so you can let me know that way.

I look forward to reconnecting when I return home, but this is my final pre-flight post.

Have a great week, and if you’re conference-bound, I’ll see you in St. Louis!

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Keli Gwyn
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