Thursday, February 10, 2011

Jill's Publishing Secrets

Thanks so much for having me, Katie! Since the theme is secrets, I thought I’d share a behind-the-scenes look at my publishing experiences. Here are three bite-sized tidbits for all of you busy little bees out there.

1. I’ve never written a book that kept its original title. My debut romantic suspense novel for Bantam Dell was once called Cutback, after a surfing maneuver. I know, it wasn’t catchy. My editor suggested Crash Into Me, which is also the title of an awesome Dave Matthews Band song. She came up with my second title while watching a Gossip Girls episode that featured the song “Dark on Fire” by Turin Brakes. I love her titles.

2. Crash Into Me and Set the Dark on Fire were both chosen as “Red-Hot Reads” for Cosmopolitan magazine. It was very exciting! A sex scene was selected from each book and rewritten to include a bit of plot and story conflict. What appears in the pages of the magazine is called an adaptation, rather than an excerpt. Before the adaptation for Set the Dark on Fire went to print, I was given a copy of the rewritten scene to look over. I noticed the following phrase: his musty scent. Giggling, I sent an email recommending that “musty” be changed to “musky.” The final copy read “smoky.”

3. Another funny thing happened during the copyediting stage of Set the Dark on Fire. Copyeditors do sentence-level corrections and make minor suggestions. I had a male copy editor for that project, which was really interesting. Some of his comments cracked me up. There’s a scene near the beginning of the book, for example, in which the hero and heroine are sprayed by a skunk while hiking. They jump in a creek to wash off and then stretch out to dry on a flat rock. The hero, Luke, is lusting after the heroine, even staring at her armpit, which looks sort of delicious to him. Then he feels embarrassed/perverted for wanting to kiss her there.

The copy editor made a comment about Luke’s mental dialogue. He didn’t seem to think there was anything strange about armpit kissing. Is this proof that men are just dirtier than women? I think it is, my friends.

So there you have it. Three musty, skunky secrets from the armpit of publishing. If you’d like to judge the underarm-sniffing scene for yourself (pervert!), leave a comment for a chance to win a print copy of Set the Dark on Fire. Open to everyone.


Katie Reus said...

That's hilarious about the copy editor! Thanks for blogging with me today, Jill :)

Terry Odell said...

Ah, males are hard-wired differently. There are all sorts of pheromones in sweat glands. But a reader probably isn't going to appreciate a biology lesson in that scene.

Terry's Place
Romance with a Twist--of Mystery

Anne said...

Hi, Jill-

You're a new to me author and if Cosmo thinks your a red hot read, I have to add you to my TBR list.

Funny you should mention arm pits. I don't remember where I read it, but it was non-fiction where this guy or guys were talking about arm pits and the appeal. I just don't get it. When I see pictures of men with their arms over their head, I just ignore looking at that area. (Same thing with feet, why, why???)

It each his own, I guess.

Sarah said...

Great post! Thanks for the laughs :-) Don't think armpit sniffing is all that pervy!

smaccall @

Jill Sorenson said...

Hey Katie! Thanks again for having me. And super big congrats on the Signet/NAL deal!!! I hadn't heard about that. So many exciting things happening for you!!

Jillian said...

Sounds like you're a fun person and able to appreciate the hilarious side of this business!! Love the male perspective. LOL!

Jerri said...

Hello, Jill! Not sure about the armpit thing.

Cynthia Eden said...

I love the titles for your books--definitely catch my attention! :-) I enjoyed hearing your secrets.

Stephanie said...

The armpit scene is definitely strange, but I love the covers.

smccar1 at hotmail dot com

Kaylea Cross said...

Hi Jill! Love the story about the red hot Cosmo reads. My RWA chapter mate, Susan Lyons, was telling me about her same Cosmo experience last night. Must have been a cool feeling!

Lauren Fraser said...

Armpits aren't my thing but I actually know a few people who are really into them. Not sure what that says about the people I hang out with. LOL

Great post. Thanks for the laughs.

Shelley Munro said...

LOL about the male copy editor. I found the bit about the magazine adaption interesting. I didn't realize they rewrote them this much, but now I think about it this makes sense. People would be more likely to get hooked into a book with some plot/background added.

Good luck with your new book :)

flchen1 said...

LOL, Jill! Thanks for sharing those tidbits ;) I think guys are just a whole different creature sometimes :D

Congrats on your latest--sounds like another great read!

Cathy M said...

Loved your post, Jill, and really enjoyed the excerpt. Would love to read your story.

Jill Sorenson said...

Am I the only one who likes sexy armpits? Come on now.

Thanks Cynthia! I love the covers for your new RS series. Rowr.

Kaylea, it was a cool feeling to be in Cosmo. I bought the issues from my local supermarket. Just fun.

Cathy M, thanks for reading the excerpt!!

Diane said...

And who can understand the workings of a man's brain?
This was so funny!
Thanks for the blurb.

Jill Sorenson said...

The random winner is #6 Jillian! Send me your addy at

Thanks everyone!!

Jillian said...

So excited to Win!! Will send my addy posthaste! Jillian

donnas said...

Hi Jill, Great post. Thanks for sharing! Looking forward to reading your books.