Monday, 2 March 2015

Totally Bound Publishing

Totally Bound Editor-in-Chief Rebecca Douglas and Senior Editor, Sarah Smeaton are here today to give us the insider scoop on what it's like to be on the editorial team for the Home of Erotic on for the gossip and do leave questions and comments - they'll love that! And if you missed their first visit to the Brit Babes blog, click here.

Welcome, Totally Bound!

What is your favourite part about being a Totally Bound editor?

Sarah: I think it’s when you get that submission in that just screams, ‘take me!’ that makes it so worthwhile. It’s when you have a submission that is so instantly amazing you know from the very first few lines that it’s right for Totally Bound and is going to be a big hit with the readers. That’s when I get excited. So yes, I love getting fresh and different submissions in, but I also really appreciate seeing them through right up to when the versions are made, and thinking how much enjoyment people will have reading them. The whole editing process is massive, so when it’s finally out there it’s a great feeling knowing the manuscript is as shiny as it can be—and when it’s for a lovely author who really cares about their writing it’s all the better.

What are the most common mistakes made by new authors?

Rebecca: What frustrates me most about new submissions are the little errors that could have been avoided with one read through–mixing up digits and numbers, using ampersands instead of writing out ‘and’ in sentences, changing the character’s name halfway through. It immediately means that the plot and narrative voice need to be above par as I’ve already been put off by what I see as lack of care.

I’d say the most common mistakes, though, are changing POVs too frequently, or without clear indication to the reader that the POV has changed, meaning it’s very difficult to engage in the plot or with the characters. Another one that crops up a lot is a mix in tenses. Obviously we’re editors for a reason, and we can help with grammar and past perfect and misuse of apostrophes (pet peeve!) but if the manuscript switches from present tense to past, it’s really tricky to stay with the plot. I’m also frustrated by info-dumping, or too much ‘telling’. There are ways to show readers your characters without reciting their vital statistics and their family history. The same applies in scenes–if the character is making a cup of tea, we can assume that he boiled the kettle, fetched a mug, the tea bag, the spoon, the milk, closed the refrigerator… If it’s not there for a reason, take it out. It’s boring. J

If you could choose a new genre, what story would you personally like to see from aspiring authors?

Sarah: I would love the next big genre to be one that really encourages each and every story to throw something new at the reader. MF BDSM stories are great, and I know that in this genre there are some of the most popular stories in Erotic Romance, but I think it can sometimes be all too easy to slip into the tried and tested storylines. A genre that really encourages diversity would make me one even happier editor lady. Something like superheroes I think is so current and really has so many different avenues that you can take it down that the reader can’t help but get sucked in. And who doesn’t love a superhero with the chance to escape to a whole different world?

What is your favourite genre to edit within erotic romance?

Rebecca: I can say that I’ve probably edited every sub-genre of Erotic Romance that Totally Bound offer, and with my current group of authors I edit a lot of MM Wereshifter, MF BDSM and multicultural stories. It’s difficult to choose a favourite, as there are books I’ve absolutely loved across the genres, and enjoying the genre doesn’t necessarily mean that the book will be a winner! It’s more the voice that I’m drawn to, but I don’t think you can go wrong with a little bit of a shifter J

How do you think Fifty Shades of Grey has affected the erotic romance industry?

Sarah: Fifty Shades, in my opinion, has made Erotic Romance ‘acceptable’ in the main public eye. I think beforehand, no matter how good the story, how complex the characters or how in-depth the plot, unfortunately Erotic Romance fiction was just branded as being on the wrong side of ‘dirty’. The stigma with this has definitely been shaken, and I think that’s really encouraged the everyday woman, the working mums, the students, the full-time career ladies, just about anyone to pick up the pen and submit books. Nobody is out of reach now, and I think that’s great as it’s meant a diverse range of people have given authorship a shot, creating a huge assorted range of submissions.

Have you seen a change in the genre of submissions lately?

Rebecca: There’s been a steady mix of MF and MM submissions, and contemporary romance, BDSM, and paranormal are always popular. We’ve started to see more trans books coming through, and I think this could become very popular, and also more historical titles.

What do you have pipped for the next big thing in erotic romance?

Sarah: Well now, it’s so difficult to tell where things will go. I think the tried and tested genres of Shifters, BDSM and Cowboys are definitely going to be sticking around for some time yet. If you ask me, I think the pushing of boundaries and merging of different genres is going to become ever more important and popular. BDSM is great and I think will always draw in a big crowd, but the shock factor for the everyday reader has subsided, so something else is needed to amp it up a little. The emergence of genre combination, for example BDSM and Biker stories or Shifter and Crime/Thrillers are definitely going to become more prevalent in my opinion. This really does make the opportunities endless, and I think that is what is going to be so appealing to readers and authors alike.

Does TB have any big submission calls coming soon?

Rebecca: We send out regular submission calls and are still accepting submissions to our What’s his Passion?, What’s her Secret? and Totally Five Star imprints. I’m particularly excited about our codebreaker/spy call, and am hopeful we’ll get some hot superhero stories to satisfy everyone’s inner fangirl (or boy!) You can find some of our submission calls below, and check out our publisher site for new calls:

Thank you so much Sarah and Rebecca for taking time out of your busy editing schedule to drop by and share your thoughts. Four Brit Babes know you well, Emmy Ellis - who is not only a Totally Bound author but also their Art Director - Lucy Felthouse, Victoria Blisse and Lily Harlem.


  1. Great blog ! Keep up the great work ladies !

  2. Fantastic blog, really interesting :)

  3. Wow - fab blog thanks ladies! I've had a story brewing for Totally Bound for a while now - just trying to perfect it, isn't that right Lily! So will be re-reading this many times...
    Really fantastic advice x x x

  4. Great blog- really want to write for you guys- anyone got more hours in the day they could lend me?? xxx