Belle of the (Kingsborough) Ball: Sophie Barnes Waltzes into Print
Most authors will tell you, the publishing world is changing at a lightening-fast pace — especially for an industry notoriously slow to shift. And authors are embracing a multi-platform, “hybrid” approach to publishing — utilizing various combinations of digital-first, self-publishing and traditional publishing to get their words out to readers more effectively.
Today we’re talking with Avon Editorial Director Erika Tsang and author Sophie Barnes, who’s moving from Avon’s digital-first imprint, Avon Impulse, to Avon’s print and digital line with September’s The Trouble With Being a Duke. The duo stopped by to tell us more.
Erika: I’m delighted to introduce everyone to Sophie Barnes, one of Avon’s rising stars. How does it feel, Sophie, to be a multi-platform author?
Sophie: I’m still waiting for it to sink in. Having had one of my Impulse books, How Miss Rutherford Got Her Groove Back, available at Target, I know how wonderful it is to walk into a store and find your book there on the shelf. I’m all for digital, but being fond of paper books, this move has really meant a lot to me. It’s exciting to know that my books will be widely available to readers both digitally and traditionally.
Erika: The Trouble With Being a Duke started out as an idea for a novella for an anthology. How did it become the start of a trilogy instead?
Sophie: Well, after submitting my proposal for the anthology, I received a phone call from my previous editor inquiring if I’d be interested in turning it into a three-part series for print. My answer was, “Absolutely!” Of course, I had to expand on my plot in order to do this, but the idea of using the Kingsborough Ball as the starting point for each book was an intriguing one. The Trouble With Being A Duke is the story that stays true to my original plan for the novella. For the sequels, new characters were invented, and since I wanted to avoid too many plot overlaps between the three books, I decided that this would be easier to achieve if the heroes and heroines were not related to each other. Instead, they’re friends and acquaintances who are tied to each other by secondary characters and by the Kingsborough Ball shooting, at which they are all present.
Erika: Some writers think publishing with a digital-first imprint is different than a traditional imprint. What do you think? Are there differences? What hasn’t changed?
Sophie: The most tangible difference is the ‘bookstore element,’ since I’m hoping to attract those readers who don’t buy their books online. But even with Impulse, it’s not all digital like some might think, it’s print on demand. As far as the writing and publicity goes however, you’re absolutely right: there’s very little difference. I’m working with the same incredible team now as I was before and I could not be happier. My work requirement is still the same of course, although it doesn’t really feel like work at all considering how much I enjoy it.
Erika: Is there anything you’d like to add for aspiring writers?
Sophie: I think it’s important to believe in yourself and your ability to get published, whether digitally or traditionally. And don’t dismiss the digital opportunities for they might lead to print, if that’s what you’re hoping for. In my opinion, it’s best to get your foot in the door as soon as possible. Once that’s done, you can set a new goal for yourself. However, it is hard work — something most people talk about doing but never actually accomplish. So if you’ve actually finished a manuscript, well done! Continue to work at the craft — there’s always room for improvement. After all, writing is a continuous learning experience, so don’t be overly protective of your work, but listen to the advice you receive along the way — changing a scene or two may just be the key to getting published.
Want to head over to The Kingsborough Ball to see what’s The Trouble with Being a Duke? Then check out Sophie Barnes’ latest, available in stores and online now. And for more love stories in the making, visit our Everything Romance Page!