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Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Market updates from RWA

Forwarded with permission with a thank you to author Cynthia Sterling:
[CynthiaSterling] Market News for Week of August 3, 2008

Hello, everyone. I'm home from the Romance Writers of America national
convention in San Francisco. The mood this year was decidedly upbeat. While
the economy may be having troubles, sales of romance are up in most areas. I
guess people have figured out that even if they can't afford to take a
vacation, a romance novel is inexpensive and satisfying entertainment.

Over the next few weeks I'll share the news from the conference, and will
summarize the various publisher Spotlights. It would have been physically
impossible to attend all the spotlights, so I've ordered the whole
conference CD to allow me to share those I couldn't attend. The CD takes
about 8 weeks to arrive but trust me, eventually you will have all the


I'll start today with my own publisher, Harlequin Books. They report that
category romance sales are swinging up, with foreign sales increasing as
well. And they're looking for new authors. This is Harlequin's 60th
Anniversary year, so look for special events and promotions in all the

Harlequin has three acquisition offices, in New York, Toronto and London.
Approximately 1200 authors write for Harlequin. Harlequin books are
published in 29 languages on 6 continents. More information on the company
and guidelines for the lines mentioned below may be found at . (For writer's guidelines, scroll to the very
bottom of the page and click on Writing Guidelines.)

Harlequin American celebrates its 25th anniversary as a line this year.
Senior Editor Kathleen Schiebling spoke about this line, which features
"romances about the pursuit of love and family." American books must have a
family element. These books are known for their strong sense of place. They
may be set in small towns or big cities. Secondary characters play a big
part but can't take over the story. The tone of the books in this line
ranges from light comedy to serious drama. Popular themes include blended
families and babies and pregnancies. Readers of this line love book set in
the American west featuring ranchers, cowboys, and rodeo riders. The heroes
in American romances have a strong desire for family. 55,000 - 60,000 words.
4 books a month. Submit to Kathleen in Harlequin's Toronto office.

Senior Editor Patience Smith spoke about Silhouette Romantic Suspense. SRS
books focus on the romance of two people thrust into extraordinary
circumstances. These are larger-than-life stories which include elements of
suspense and danger, but the emphasis is always on the love story. Examples
of movies with this type of story are The Thomas Crowne Affair and The Big
Easy. Romantic Suspense books "pack a punch from the very beginning and
carry through to the end." Popular character types and themes include
brides, babies, westerns, military and law enforcement. SRS editors love
international settings. While characters may have psychic abilities, they
don't want any other paranormal elements. These stories are also 55,000 to
60,000 words. 4 books a month. Send your submissions to Patience, Shayna
Smith or Natasha Wilson in Harlequin's New York office.

Senior Editor Kimberley Young was not at the conference, so Linda Fildew
provided the details for the Harlequin Romance line. Harlequin Romance has
roots in the original Mills and Boon romances. These 50,000 to 55,000 word
stories "capture the initial rush of falling in love." The focus is on the
hero and heroine. A happy ending is required, but that doesn't have to mean
a wedding or marriage proposal at the end of the book. Sex is allowed in
these books, but it shouldn't be explicit. Characters should be
"contemporary and realistic, but classically romantic." The stories must
have emotional depth. Examples of movies with the type of stories they're
looking for are Love, Actually; The Holiday and Knocked Up. Heroes in
Romance books are contemporary and strong, not weak. They're someone you'd
like to have as a friend. The hero should be a modern man. He can be
slightly larger than life, a bit of a fantasy figure. Conflict should drive
the relationship, but the plot of the book can't override the romance. Don't
include too many secondary characters. These books have a global appeal, so
international settings are welcome. They publish 6 books a month. Send the
first three chapters and a synopsis to Kimberley Young or Meg Lewis in
Harlequin's London office.

Silhouette Desire books are "powerful, passionate and provocative." These
stories are pure romantic escapism. The hero of a Desire is powerful and
wealthy, an alpha male who may be arrogant and entitled, direct but not
cruel. He's not too sensitive or weak. The heroine is strong-willed and
smart, but capable of making mistakes, especially when it comes to love.
These stories are more conflict-driven than character-driven. They are
dramatic and intense. Popular themes are revenge, reunions, secret babies
and marriages of convenience, office romances and new dads. The editors
aren't interested in suspense, paranormal or character-driven stories. The
stories should contain a moderate to high level or sensuality and one love
scene is required. 50,000 words. 6 books a month. Submit to Melissa
Jeglinski or Shayna Smith in the New York office.

Kimani Press is one of the newest additions to the Harlequin family. Kimani
publishes a wide variety of books featuring African-American stories, from
YA in Kimani Tru to the traditional romance of Arabesque. Senior Editor
Kelly Martin shared details of Kimani Romance, which publishes 4 books a
month. These 55,000 - 60,000 word stories vary from drama, to humor,
romantic suspense and some interracial romances. This year there is an
increased focus on mini-series within the line featuring families or themes.
According to Kelly, there are four hallmarks of a Kimani Romance: 1)
contemporary settings and characters. These books feature the experiences of
today's women. 2) high sensuality, but always tasteful. 3) the heroes are
successful good guys. Heroines are career women committed to bettering their
lives. 4) intense focus on the romantic relationship. Submit your work to
Kelly in the New York office.

Harlequin Superromance publishes 6 books a month, 60,000-65,000 words.
Senior Editor Wanda Ottewell is looking for "gripping, believable romance
with emotional depth and complexity and believable and sustainable
conflict." She cautioned that bickering and sniping is not conflicts.
Conflict should arise out of the beliefs each character holds, beliefs that
derive from their life experiences. Opposing beliefs and conflicting goals
make for strong, believable conflicts. In order for the romance to work,
both the hero and heroine must make compromises. Superromance books are page
turners known for compelling emotion. All tones are welcome, including
humor, suspense, family drama and adventure. Families and babies are popular
themes. The focus of the story is always on the central romance. Secondary
characters and subplots are welcome, but all characters must be
well-developed. Submit the first three chapters and a synopsis to Victoria
Curran or Wanda Ottewell in the Toronto office.

Next week, I'll conclude my look at Harlequin's category romance lines.

Editorial changes to note:

Suzanne Clark is now editor at Harlequin Historical, replacing Joanne Carr.

At Harlequin Presents, Senior Editor Bryony Green is on maternity leave.
Joanne Carr is now editing at Presents, and Jenny Hutton has replaced Joanne
Carr at Presents.

Valerie Gray replaces Margaret Marbury as executive editor at MIRA books.
Margaret Marbury is now Editorial Director for Harlequin's Single Title
Program, replacing Dianne Moggy, who has been named Vice President, Overseas
editorial strategy and development.

MIRA books editor Miranda Stecyk is now Miranda Indrigo
MIRA books and Spice editor Susan Pezzack is now Susan Swinwood

Kerry Donovan is now an acquiring editor at NAL

Peter Borland has been named Editorial Director at Atria Books.

Rosalind Greenberg has been named the new Novel Acquisitions Editor for all
lines of Five Star, taking over those and all editorial oversight duties
from John Helfers.

Cindi Myers
A Soldier Comes Home, Super Romance, June 2008
At Her Pleasure, Blaze, September 2008 ,

posted by Tawny Taylor at 2:18 PM |


Commented by Anonymous jan springer:

Great info, Tawny! Glad you had a nice trip. :-)



3:12 PM 

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