Now that you’re navigating Swoon successfully, you might be wondering… how the heck do they actually go about selecting books to publish? Don’t worry, good old (but not actually old) TK is here to help!
Swoon is broken into “Seasons”
Swoon Reads breaks their selection cycles into “seasons”. There are typically 3 selection seasons per year. Traditionally, there is one in mid-winter (January 31), late spring (May 31) and fall (September 30). These aren’t always the exact dates, but it’s been pretty close for the past few years.
For example the last few seasons have had the following deadlines:
Season 6: Sept 30, 2015
Season 7: Jan 31, 2016
Season 8: May 31, 2016
Season 9: Nov 30, 2016 (which differed from previous fall dates of Sept 30)
Season 10: Jan 31, 2017
Season 11: June 5, 2017
Typically Swoon only looks at the most recent books submitted in the most recent season. BUT they have reached back into a previous seasons’ books before (See: This is How We Fall Apart, submitted Season 10, selected Season 11).
I think they only do this if a book didn’t get much attention in the season they selected, but got more attention and caught THEIR attention later. I don’t believe swoon has ever gone back TWO seasons for a book. Someone correct me if I’m wrong.
How do I know which season a book was submitted in?
Currently, the answer is, you can’t! Swoon doesn’t have submitted dates listed on books. However, there are some sneaky ways to find an approximate date. The best ways to figure out when a book was submitted are:
- Look at the first comment on that book. I like to comment on my own book the first day I submit it. That way the date is locked down and I can reference it later. Most people don’t do this though, so the first comment will usually be around a few days to two weeks after they submit.
- Stalk the author’s profile. If it’s their first submitted book, they’ll earn the “storyteller” badge on the day they added the book. If it’s not their first book, see number 1.
- Be an excellent SwoonStalker (like me!). Track which book is the last book submitted during a season. I think the last book submitted during season 9 was “Rosicrucian” and I know the last book submitted for season 10 was “You Can Call me Awesome.” The last book of Season 11 was Castle in the Crooked Wood.
I typically only read books from the current season in order to be most useful to the authors aiming to get picked during that season. If there are some super stellar books that I never finished from the previous season, I may go back and read them. However, that typically isn’t the case. I’m a pretty fast reader and I finish the books I really want to read on time.
What is Read Month?
Swoon has a “read month” after every submission deadline. This is the month where the staff monitors the reads, ratings and comments of all of the books submitted prior to the cutoff. I also assume that this is the time where they read the books that they are considering as well.
So if you’re REAAAAALLY wanting a manuscript to be chosen, make sure you comment, rate, shout from the rooftops (or your twitter/blog/etc) about how much you loved that book during (or before) read month. By the end of read month, the staff already has their minds made up for that season, so commenting after that is only helpful for the author (which is still very helpful, but not for selection purposes).
For example: Season 11, the deadline was June 5, and the staff announced that read month ends July 8 in this blog post.
How does the staff actually go about selecting manuscripts?
In a recent blog post, this was re-asked to the Swoon Staff and they kindly clarified. In the blog post they explained that in order to get noticed by a member of the staff you need ONE of the following things:
- A super awesome concept that makes one of the staff go “oh, I want to check that out!”
- A REALLY good comment (or a few) talking about how much the reader(s) loved your book.
- Great ratings from a lot of people
- A trending status
These things will get you noticed, but may not necessarily get you selected. There are many books from previous seasons that had TONS of great comments and ratings, but weren’t selected.
REMEMBER: Swoon Reads is still a publishing house, NOT a popularity contest. This means that the members of the staff are ultimately the ones who make the decisions of what books will sell – and ultimately make their business succeed. In the past, they HAVE picked a story with as low as 4 ratings and 8 comments before. So popularity isn’t everything, even though it does help.
How do I know if I’m being “noticed”?
The members of the staff will add your books to their lists! The main members of the staff that can add you (as far as I know – I don’t actually know everything) are:
Lauren Scobell – Director of SwoonReads
Holly West – Editor of SwoonReads
Kat Brzozowski – Editor of SwoonReads
I have also been told that there are other secret staff profiles. But obviously, they’re good about being secret. I mean, if I was on the staff, I’d have a bunch of secret profiles with silly names and even sillier photos while I sneakily read prospective books. How fun would that be?
How does the staff downselect to the “chosen few”?
This information I only know from their blog posts. Apparently, they only “select” a book after all of the main staff members have read it and agreed to publish it. I think the “main” staff includes the director, the editors and even Jean Feiwel (Senior VP and Publisher of Feiwel and Friends, which owns SwoonReads). There are probably more people, but I’m not sure who they are (sorry if I left you out!!). So in order to get selected, you pretty much have to get a “thumbs up” from everyone on the Swoon Staff. Seems fair to me!
When Will I Find out if I got Picked!?!?
This is the main question on everyone’s mind after read month is over. How long will it take to find out who was picked?
Well, if they picked you, it sounds like it can take anywhere from the day after read month, to a few weeks after read month to contact you. The selected are contacted via email and requested to set up a time to call the staff of swoon and chat about their book (aka chat about their upcoming book deal!!!) I’ve learned these tidbits from blog posts/twitter posts from previously selected authors after the announcement had been made.
If you don’t get that coveted email within a few (probably 3-4) weeks after read month, I’m sorry, but you were most likely not chosen this season. Been there, done that! It’s a sad feeling, but as writers, we persevere!
Unfortunately, the selected are not allowed to post to ANY of their social media account about being selected until after the formal announcement. They actually don’t even get to know who the other selected authors are until the formal announcement! My guess is that Swoon does this because there are A LOT of contracts and paperwork that need to be signed before anything is official. Making book deals is a BIG DEAL after all!!
Which brings me to my last question…
When do the rest of us find out who was selected?
For the past few selections, the selected have been announced anywhere from 2-3 months (typically more like 3) after the season deadline. For Season 10 (deadline Jan 31, 2017), the announcement was on April 26, 2017. So, for Season 11 (deadline Jun 5, 2017), the announcement will likely be made toward the end of August 2017 or beginning of September 2017. So when August rolls around, just keep checking Swoon’s blog and twitter to see if they’ve announced anything. And even though at this point you know you’re not one of the selected few, hopefully Swoon picked the other books that you were rooting for all along!
As always, please let me know if you have any questions! I love chatting with people via this blog or via twitter! (@TheRealGalagirl). Happy SwoonStalking!!!