It’s a Digital Love Affair

Posted on Apr 28, 2014 by   17 Comments | Posted in Blog · Uncategorized

Interview with Editor

Sue Grimshaw from

Penguin- Random House

Publishing Groupsu

Please welcome Sue to our blog. She is here to give our readers a new perspective from the other side.

Please tell us a little bit about you, such as why did you become an editor?

Thanks for having me here today.  My journey to the publishing side was a little different from the norm.  I started my career as a book buyer for Borders Group, then moved over to the publishing world just as readers changed their reading preference to digital books – perfect timing if I may say so myself!

Please tell us about the publisher you represent. 

Penguin-Random House is one of the big six New York publishing houses, located in the heart of the Big Apple, 55th & Broadway. In 2012 we merged with Penguin Publishing, Random House owning the majority share of the joint venture.  The company is the largest general- interest trade book publisher in the world, owned by Bertelsmann (a German private media corporation).  The company is involved in many forms of entertainment but book publishing is the heart and soul of the organization and you can certainly tell upon entering the building – bookshelves line the foyer from top to bottom with books we’ve published over the years — it really is a glorious sight to see.  I am employed in the digital division where I acquire primarily for the Loveswept and Flirt imprints, although I do dabble with the Ballantine Bantam Dell imprints a tad.

Describe the genre of the most recent release, and is the only genre you represent? 

I acquire predominantly romance – including all sub-genres and New Adult.

Do you have any rejection stories to share? Like a manuscript you passed on that turned into a best seller?

Not yet – I’ve reviewed many proposals and there are a few that we have passed on that have been acquired by other publishers.  But, no big best sellers have slipped past us yet.

What is your weekly routine like?

Busy – Monday’s are primarily to see what’s going on for the week, prepare social media with pre-posts and such  – Tuesday’s are meetings and follow up with marketing, copyedits, production, creative – you name it, we’re involved in everything.  In a typical day I am reading through proposals, reviewing acquisitions, editing revisions and so on. I have weekly meetings with authors, my publisher and the digital team as well – the days turn  into nights, although I try to make room for a yoga class or bike ride early in the evening.

Who first introduced you to the love of reading?

I have always enjoyed reading, but I learned to love it and the romance category when I was hired at Borders – that is when I realized what a phenomenal genre it is.

For authors or prospective authors: what influences your decision to read a submission: the query letter; synopsis; an agent’s submission; etc.

Usually it is based on the query letter & synopsis – I start there but I always read through everything before I make my decision . . . although I may not read the entire manuscript I’ll give it a good look.

What is the biggest no no you see in submissions that makes you reject them?

There isn’t really one thing I can point to – what makes me want to read a book is the authors voice, what keeps me reading are the characters.

What do you see ahead in your career?

I really enjoy what I’m doing and since I’m fairly new to this end of the business I’d like to continue with the success we’ve had and hopefully procure a few more. I enjoy the acquisition process and love working with the authors helping them prepare their stories to be the best book possible for our customers, the romance readers – it’s fun to hear their (readers) feedback and when you really hit the mark and they love the book there is nothing better than that.

Will you share some encouraging words for authors still struggling for that first contract? 

Don’t lose your passion – continue to write, if you can write what readers are reading – great – if not, write what you enjoy as ‘this too shall change’.  Readers are very cyclical in their tastes and even though they may not be reading the genre you’re writing they will be in a year or so, that’s just how it works.

How can we find your submission guidelines?


The Random House Publishing Group is excited to launch three new digital imprints, alongside the existing digital imprint LOVESWEPT, that will feed today’s savvy readers by bringing the best, the boldest, and the newest voices directly to them.

To the already-existing LOVESWEPT imprint for romance and women’s fiction, RHPG will add the following digital-only imprints:  ALIBI, for mystery/suspense readers; HYDRA, for sci-fi/fantasy enthusiasts; and FLIRT, for the rapidly-growing college-age New Adult audiences.  In addition, this digital-only program will seek out the best and brightest names in the next generation of authors, enabling us to cultivate a team of writers in the publishing world’s most prolific and lively genres.  The format will allow us to publish more quickly and to nimbly embrace what’s new in each genre, delivering exciting, fresh, and varied new works every month directly to the digital devices of today’s most eager readers.   Dedicated to affordable, accessible, and accomplished genre fiction, these four imprints will have unprecedented potential, both in terms of breadth and scope.

Further details and submission guidelines


Category Specialist and Editor at Large – Sue Grimshaw actively acquires for the Penguin-Random House Publishing Group-Ballantine Bantam Dell, Loveswept and Flirt. Previously Sue was employed as Romance Buyer for Borders and Waldenbooks stores for almost sixteen years. Sue works with: New York Times bestselling authors – Virna DePaul, Tracy Wolff, Tina Wainscott and Mira Lyn Kelly; USA Today bestselling authors Stacey Kennedy, Tina Leonard and Bronwen Evans and many more talented writers in the genre! Sue is a previous recipient of the prestigious Vivian Stephens Industry Award from the Romance Writers of America. Other honors include the Melinda Helfer Award from the Romantic Times organization. Sue is one of the most knowledgeable people in the industry and truly enjoys sharing her knowledge of the Romance genre.



17 Responses to "It’s a Digital Love Affair"

  1. Comment by Renee Vincent
    April 28, 2014 7:00 pm

    Thanks Sue! I always enjoy your interviews. Your candid, yet knowledgeable advice is always helpful and much appreciated! Hope to see you again at another conference.

  2. Comment by Vonnie Davis
    April 28, 2014 7:22 pm

    Sue is my editor at Love Swept. Lucky me. She is full of energy, strong advice and encouragement. A writer couldn’t ask for more.

  3. Comment by CJ Burright
    April 28, 2014 11:10 pm

    Thanks so much for giving us a glimpse into your world! It’s exciting that Penguin-Random House has three new digital imprints for authors to submit to and readers to discover. 🙂

  4. Comment by Debra Elise
    April 29, 2014 12:44 am

    Enjoyed the interview Sue. Thank you for giving us look into the life of an editor!

    • Comment by Sue
      April 29, 2014 9:27 am

      Hi ladies – thanks Nancy for having me — nice to meet you Debra & I must say it is an interesting job!! Happy Romance – Sg

  5. Comment by Rhenna Morgan
    April 29, 2014 11:00 am

    Okay…the “predominately romance” comment made me fall a little in love with you, Sue. 🙂 I’m such a die-hard romance reader–it’s nice to find other people who love it as much as I do.

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