Keli Gwyn
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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.

• • •

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.

• • •

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.

• • •

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.

• • •

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.

• • •

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.

• • •

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?

Keli Gwyn


  • This is great information! I was surprised about Heartsongs Presents. I thought it was discontinued. 🙂 Have a great weekend, Keli!

  • Thanks so much for sharing, Keli! What valuable information from an editor’s perspective!

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Cynthia, one of the many blessings I receive by attending the conference is hearing the publishing pros give us the inside scoop on what’s happening with their houses and with publishing in general.

  • Thank you for the information, Keli! I enjoy many of the Barbour titles that come out. Have a great weekend!

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Brandi, I have some favorite authors among my Barbour buddies, too. Since I love reading historical romances, I like the fact that Barbour specializes in them.

  • Loree Huebner says:

    Great information. Thanks for sharing, Keli.

  • Thanks for sharing the spotlight info, Keli! I attended Revell’s that night, but of course I was curious what everyone else was up to, as well! Some great info in there. Thanks!!

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Valerie, there are so many wonderful spotlights, workshops, and sessions at the conference that it’s tough to choose between them, isn’t it? That’s why I like reading the post-conference recaps on all the blogs and hearing what others learned.

  • Lisa Jordan says:

    Great information, Keli. That’s great about Heartsong Presents. They have some fabulous authors.

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Lisa, HP does have some great authors, don’t they? I’m amazed how many authors got their start there. I was so happy to hear the line is continuing after all.

  • Although it is difficult for an author to project out to 2013, I am sending this link to Christi Corbett as she has a great historical about the Westward movement 🙂 Great information for the many writers who do this genre so well and need to know there are pubs out there with a “heart” 🙂

  • Carla Gade says:

    Keli, you are a doll for posting this info! I was thrilled about the HP news, as now my first novel will come out as scheduled in January after all! I’m wondering if proposals can be submitted before the new year, or if Becky is asking to wait until the new year to send them. I was surprised that they won’t have room for new titles until fall 2013. Is that in all of their lines?

  • Keli Gwyn says:

    Carla, I can’t give you definitive answers, but I’ll tell you what my impressions were as one of those at the spotlight. Although Becky said she can’t acquire anything until after the first of the year, she didn’t say she wasn’t accepting submissions at his time. I’m not sure which lines she was talking about when she mentioned the fall 2013 release dates. I think it was all of them except Heartsongs, which is going though some kind of transition, but don’t quote me on that. 🙂

  • Thanks for sharing this information, Keli! It was so wonderful meeting you in person last weekend! 🙂

  • Thanks for sharing all this info, Keli. I’m gathering up tidbits from the different blogs and living the conference experience vicariously. 😉

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Carol, I’m sorry you weren’t able to attend the conference this year but look forward to meeting you in person when you are able to go.

  • Jill Kemerer says:

    Thanks for sharing your inside knowledge, Keli! I appreciate it! I didn’t realize Barbour mainly focuses on historical, or that they may continue the Heartsong Presents line. Fascinating!