In a KWL Podcast first, we checked in with an editor from a major publishing house, Tessa Woodward from HarperCollins. In her eleven years at Harper, specializing in editing romance, women’s fiction, and historical fiction, Tessa has seen the industry go through the parallel changes in the emergence of eBooks and self-publishing. Tune in to hear Tessa and KWL US Manager Christine Munroe chat about:

  • The range of genres Tessa edits: women’s fiction, romance (historical and contemporary), some mystery and non-fiction. She is specifically always looking for great romance, especially historical
  • What the submission process is like at HarperCollins. Avon Impulse has an open submission policy – it’s one of the few remaining imprints that offers that opportunity for authors without literary agents. They receive 100-400 submissions a month
  • What Tessa looks for in a new submission: a great voice
  • She had no background in romance before she started at Avon. How she fell in love with the genre, and the “classic” romance authors she read first in her self-education when she first started: Julia Quinn, Lisa Kleypas, Rachel Gibson, Stephanie Laurens, Susan Elizabeth Phillips. Now, Tessa is a big-time romance book lover who rarely reads outside the genre
  • During a typical workday, Tessa doesn’t have time to do much reading or editing. She reviews covers, marketing and publicity, writes and approves copy, takes editorial calls with authors, and answers a lot of emails
  • Why Tessa doesn’t expect an unpublished author to have a social media platform established when they approach a publishing house
  • Her one big pet peeve when it comes to authors who do have social media already in place
  • When she’s looking at self-published authors interested in a traditional deal, she’s much more interested in the potential of this specific story than eBook sales track record for previous books. She still has to pitch the new book to bookstores, who won’t be very interested in hearing just about eBook sales or free download numbers
  • The main benefits, from Tessa’s point of view, of working with a publisher today. You get an experienced support team who share the publishing burden with you, so that you can focus on writing your next book.
  • Tessa joined HarperCollins 11 years ago, and has seen the industry undergo changes in digital publishing and self-publishing, particularly in romance. She thinks new digital opportunities have opened up the chance for publishers to experiment and publish a lot more books, and a wider range of voices
  • How she feels about hybrid authors – “As long as we’re working together, I think it’s great!” Hybrid authors bring new insights, and can create opportunities for new hybrid marketing models and more


At the end of the episode, Christine checks in with Author Care Coordinator Julia about her top 5 tips for successfully uploading to KWL. You don’t want to miss her advice on ePub validators, metadata mastery, and more.


Tessa WoodwardSenior Editor Tessa Woodward edits a wide array of romance, women’s fiction, and historical fiction. On the romance side, she edits authors across all genres, including the New York Times and USA Today bestsellers Tessa Dare, Jennifer L. Armentrout, Jennifer Bernard, and Maya Rodale. Her women’s fiction titles range from USA Today bestseller Shelley Noble’s beach-set novels, to Molly McAdams’ New York Times bestselling New Adult stories, to Lisa Turner’s psychological mysteries, and the darker, historical ORPHAN #8, a debut from Kim van Alkemade. She is the US editor for international bestseller Paullina Simons. On the nonfiction side, she is publishing THE WORLD OF MR. SELFRIDGE. She is looking for more women’s fiction with strong characters, both historical and contemporary, as well as all genres of romance.

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