Inside the Acquisition Boardroom: Rachel Harris’ My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century, by Editor Stacy Cantor Abrams

At Entangled, the editors take our acquisition choices extremely seriously. A lot of time and dedication is put into each book we publish, so we want to make sure the ones we choose have the best possible chances at success. In this monthly feature, scheduled on each book’s release date, we’ll take you inside the decision-making process as the editors explain why they felt their book was a “YES.”

Rachel Harris had me at her title.

Everyone says you judge a book by its cover, but really, you often don’t even see the cover unless the title draws you in first: on a spine in a bookstore, mentioned in a blog post or tweet, in a browse through a web retailer. And I was immediately intrigued to know more about a book–and an author–with a clever, tongue-in-cheek title like My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century.

Turns out, Rachel’s story was as fun and funny as advertised. The writing was effortless and flowed so quickly that I’d read half of it before I thought to check the percentage on my e-reader. I loved the exotic location of Italy (in part, admittedly, because I’d recently taken my honeymoon to Florence–never say publishing isn’t a small part luck!) and knew readers would love seeing a teen’s-eye view of history, art, dating, and parties in the sixteenth century. The romance was swoon-worthy (yes, I think I used that word) but still clean (this is the sixteenth century, after all!), meaning the story would hold appeal for both younger and older teens alike. And it fit the bill of “high concept,” meaning I could pitch it in a sentence: teen time travels to the sixteenth century, falls in love, and has to uncover how to return in time for her sixteenth birthday. Sold!

But probably the aspect of this book that truly convinced me one hundred percent was the author, Rachel Harris. Even before her debut novel had been acquired, she was a publishing rock star. Blogging, tweeting, keeping herself relevant in the YA community with book reviews and her weekly “Swoon Thursdays.” I knew she’d be an equal partner—if not more than that—in the often-grueling process of spreading the word about her book, which is something a publisher is always going to look for in a successful partnership. So I hope with this post, I’ve come a small way toward repaying that favor. ☺

Happy book birthday, Rachel!

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