What are some upcoming trends for the next year?
I’m seeing a lot of romantic comedies coming across my desk. Some of them are more comedy than romance, which I think will be interesting to watch in terms of whether it brings new fans to the genre. Looking at the romance coverage of an outlet like the New York Times and its inclusion of such books as Luck of the Draw by Kate Clayborn and The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang makes it clear that a different market is catching on to what romance readers have always known: There’s something here for everyone. I also think the industry in general is going to see the entrepreneurship of the last several years continue. This means more self-publishing, hybrid authors, smaller publishing houses, and longtime industry insiders breaking off from large corporations to hang up their own shingles.
What book/genre/topic would you like to see cross your transom?
I’d love to see more historical fiction—think less Tudors and more 20th century (though not necessarily World War II). I think people are very interested in looking at the recent past and the lessons and parallels to be drawn to today’s world. And while I am always interested in historical fiction set in non–U.S. locales, I think there’s a lot of U.S. history that’s yet to be explored.
How do you work with self-published authors?
At Kensington, we’ve worked with self-published authors in several different ways. A number of authors on our list write books for us while also continuing to self-publish on their own. We’ll work together to make sure our schedules and content complement each other rather than being in competition. We are also working with romance author Marie Force, who continues to self-publish e-books in her ongoing series while we publish print editions of the new books as well as her backlist.
What do you want to change about publishing?
Oh boy, there’s a loaded question. For one thing, I wish more people inside and outside of the industry understood how the business side of publishing worked. I think it would lead to better decisions being made all around as well as a fuller understanding of why things are the way they are. I think it would also make it easier to make changes to improve the industry in some much-needed ways—whether that’s in how bookstores operate, how publishers acquire, or how readers find and purchase books.
What’s unique about your corner of the publishing industry?
Being at a relatively small publisher that is at the same time in the center of the commercial publishing business means having your finger in a lot of pies. Kensington publishes everything except children’s and YA, so I work on nearly every genre. My list has everything from short mystery novellas (like Lynn Cahoon’s A Deadly Brew) to wide-ranging nonfiction (next year’s The Vagina Bible by Dr. Jen Gunter). I get to see how all areas of the industry are doing.
Esi Sogah is a senior editor at Kensington Publishing, based in New York City, which she joined in 2013 after nearly eight years at William Morrow & Avon Books. She turned her love of reading and an obsession with grammar into working with authors such as Lynn Cahoon, Kate Clayborn, Casey Barrett, and Alyssa Cole. When not reading or editing, you can find her at a Broadway show or on Twitter at @esisogah.