Friday, November 11, 2005

Market News. . . .

Mavis Allen, the new editor of Harlequin's African-American
line is taking questions for one week over at the Harlequin site. (Go
to the community section.) Seems like they're looking for
contemporaries and women's fiction but their submissions guidelines
should be up shortly.

The big news, of course, is that erotica/romantica is HUGE, and will be
for a few years. Many Ellora’s Cave authors have been picked up by NY Mass
Market paperback houses (which I will refer to from now on simply as
“New York”) and all the major NY houses are launching erotica lines --
including Harlequin. Now, the difference is that some of them are
going for pure
erotica, rather than a romance with explicit sex sub-stories (which is the
Romantica that Ellora’s Cave -- “EC” -- are publishing). Harlequin’s
erotica line submission guidelines read very much as if this is all they’re
interested in, too, and last year in New York, they emphasized it.
However, I sat in on their publisher’s panel and this question was
raised. Their answer has changed from last year and is now yes, they
will look at Romantica, and HEA stories.

Harlequin will continue to publish their category lines -- I doubt they’ll
ever go away as they’re beloved by readers and the backbone of the
Harlequin enterprise. However, Harlequin are also adapting to the changing
industry; they’re moving to cater for the much wider “women’s fiction” demand
that they see developing. This means stronger, more mainstream stories,
breakout-level novels, and beautiful packaging: I picked up a couple of
their mainstream/single title books off the freebie tables. These books
look nothing like their category novels; they have fabulous covers and
different formats -- more about formats in a minute.

Here are the single-title lines that Harlequin are publishing, or about to

Luna -- mainstream fantasy -- can have romantic elements, but very muted.
Can’t recall if they take unagented submissions.)

HQN -- Mainstream romance -- romance can be 50% of book, but STORY is
master. Any historical books will probably end up here -- more about this
later, too. Non-agented authors can query directly) MIRA -- VERY
mainstream -- romance is muted. Thrillers, suspense, mysteries.
STORY is everything. MIRA will remain agented submissions only)

Next -- Stories about 50+ women. This is a new line, and will be published
in the “tall” format (again, more on formats in a minute). It’s not
specifically romance, but can be; the focus is on stories about woman who
reach the “second” phase of their life -- hence “Next”. I noticed this
morning that the NEXT guidelines are up on their website.

Red Dress -- chick lit.
Their erotica line -- and I’m afraid the name has slipped me -- does someone
else remember it? No guidelines on the site yet, but I think I’ve given
you the major elements already. Oh, and no specific word count, but if you
hit anywhere between 80K and 100K you’ll be fine (that was direct from
Tracy Farrell).

Couple more things about Harlequin specifically, then I’ll get on to the
more general stuff.

1. Formats: The Vice President of Harlequin said that LUNA is published
in the trade paperback size, and this has garnered a lot of criticism from
readers. So Harlequin will be re-issuing some of their more popular LUNA
titles in MMPB size over the next couple of years. However, as the whole
point of issuing in trade paperback is to make LUNA look different from
their category and romance lines, LUNA will continue to be issued in trade
paperback in the future while they reassess if the MMPB format is really the
way to go.

There is a new format, called a “tall” format, that they will be using for
the NEXT line. Very interesting look. It’s about 4” by 8” high. The NEXT
titles will be issued simultaneously in the tall and MMPB formats. The
advantage of the Tall format is that the same MMPB page can be reproduced
with a slightly larger font size and a larger leading (space between lines).
Many readers will find the Tall format easier to read. However, it’s not
exactly pocket-sized, so it’s somewhat of a experiment at this stage, as
convenience and “pocketability” was one of the issues the LUNA readers
complained about.

2. Harlequin are moving all their single-title style historical romance
titles (except for the odd contractual obligation) over to HQN. MIRA will
become very mainstream and contemporary; thrillers, mysteries and romantic
suspense (again, with the emphasis on SUSPENSE). They will be moving
95% of their category historical romances over to Mills & Boon Historical;
that means you’ll have to submit to the London office. Harlequin Historicals
will continue to publish but at a vastly reduced rate; they were
talking about only one or two titles a month.

Which brings me to historicals in general; Across the board, the market is
pretty moribund, and has been for a few years. Harlequin’s reorganization
seems to indicate that the slump will linger for a while. Medievals are
pretty much dead in the water -- and I can confirm that; at the bookfair,
all my romantic suspense walked off the table. I couldn’t give away the
medieval historical. While historicals won’t die altogether, this is a very
depressed market, so if you’re writing historicals, be aware that you’ve got
diminished chances of publication right now.

However, from the bits of gossip and throw away comments I garnered
(some of them at 3 in the morning), I’m sensing that there’s a sea change
coming; I can’t give you a timetable, but I think historicals are
about to surge
back again. BUT!! -- just like bell-bottoms came back into fashion but with
a modern twist; so too will historicals return with a different look.
Some of the NY houses are looking for historicals with a difference;
settings, different eras. Harlequin now consider WWI and WWII to be
fair game (at last!!!), which by default means that fabulous settings like
the Roaring Twenties and the Depression are also open. Other houses are
looking for non-traditional settings and eras, like the Napoleonic Wars (but
NOT as a traditional regency -- set it in France, say, and have the hero go to
war). Also consider non-traditional settings; middle/eastern Europe, the
middle East (a very rich history there). I’d mention Australia, but I want
that one for myself; I’ve been waiting fifteen years for the opportunity to
set a book in my own country, so hands off!! kidding.>

Again, if you’re writing historicals or want to, don’t go for the same old,
same old. Skim through history and look for something different. I
guarantee it’ll get you more editorial attention than Regencies, Medievals,
and Victorian historicals set in England.

Romantic Suspense, just in case you’re not already aware of this, is BIG.
Every single NY house has a RS line of some sort, and they’re hungry for
more. Just a word of warning; everyone (editors and readers) are getting
sick of the hero being in intelligence/police work and swooping in to rescue
the heroine. Think outside the box. Research “suspense” and figure out
different ways to deliver the same nail-biting ride.

If you would rather write for the small presses, you have absolute freedom.
(By “small press” I’m including POD and electronic publishers of all styles,
as well as the traditional style of small press.) They’re always hungry for
more story, different stories, and hybrid stories that are a mix of one or
more subgenres. Fantasy and paranormal are huge in the small presses,
where as you have only one, maybe two, major NY outlets. Erotica mixed with
anything is HOT, and there’s a ton of new erotica publishers out there.

The good news for small press is that it’s reaching a new acceptance; at
the bookfair, the small press authors were in the same grand ballroom as the
NY authors (this is a first for RT). And I felt sorry for the SIM author
next to me; I think she sold a small handful of books (can’t swear to it --
I was too busy talking to readers); whereas my table, with 9 small press
titles, had constant traffic. I sold a total of 47 books; a new record for
me, and no-one -- *no-one* -- wrinkled their nose and gave a book back
to me when they realized it wasn’t published in New York. Another very major

A New York Report by Tracy Cooper-Posey

Message: 10
Date: Tue, 3 May 2005 20:59:13 -0700 (PDT)
From: Gevell
Subject: RSW: More Market News . . ..

RSW: More Market News

I promised to let you know about Harlequin's new African-American
romance line as soon as I knew more. Editor Mavis Allen is hosting a
Q&A this week only on to answer questions about the
line. You can check it out at: Some of the
things she's shared so far: The new program will launch July 2006.
The plan is to publish six women's fiction trade titles and twelve
mass market paperback romance titles in the first year of the
program. Both the hero and the heroine should be African-American.
Ms. Allen is interested in a variety of tones and styles, but all
stories should be contemporary. Guidelines will be posted on the
eharlequin site shortly. The program doesn't have a name yet. Visit
the chat to get more information and updates.

Dorchester is acquiring books for a series of 90,000 - 100,000-word
contemporary multicultural romances. Submissions should be sent to
the attention of Monica Harris-Mindolovich.

Doing the editor shuffle:

Louisa Edwards, assistant editor, has been added to the list of
acquiring editors at Berkley/Jove.

Micaela Bombard, editorial assistant, and Jessica McDonnell,
editorial assistant, have been removed from the list of acquiring
editors at Dorchester. Linda Sawicki, editorial assistant, and Tricia
Philips, editorial assistant, have been added to the list of
acquiring editors

Adam Wilson, editorial assistant, has been added to the list of
acquiring editors for Silhouette Romance.

Diana Ventimiglia, editorial assistant, has been added to the list of
acquiring editors for Silhouette Desire and Silhouette Intimate

Charles Griemsman, editorial assistant, has been added to the list of
acquiring editors for Silhouette Special Edition and Silhouette

Adrienne MacIntosh, editorial assistant, has been added to the list
of acquiring editors for Harlequin Enterprises – Internet Content
and MIRA Books.

Adam Wilson, editorial assistant, has been added to the list of
acquiring editors for LUNA Books.

Natasha Panza, editorial assistant, has been added to the list of
acquiring editors at Tor/Forge.

Emily Rodmell, editorial assistant, has been added to the list of
acquiring editors for Steeple Hill Love Inspired and Love Inspired


Wax Romantic is holding its first Short
Story contest. The editors are looking for 1,000 to 3,000 word
romances. Stories must be fully developed, complete with a beginning,
middle, and end including a "happily-ever-after" for your hero and
heroine. They're interested in entries in all romance - related
categories or sub-genres. All entries should be submitted via email
to with CONTEST ENTRY in the subject line of your
email. The body of your email should contain your name, your email
address, the title of your short story, and the word count first,
then your story should follow this information. NO HTML. The deadline
for entries is August 10, 2005. Winners will be announced in the
September 2005 issue of Wax Romantic. For complete details of the
contest please visit Wax Romantic's website

Writer's Digest Magazine is accepting entries for its 74th Annual WD
Writing Competition. The dealine is May 16, 2005. The categories:
Inspirational Writing, Memoir/Personal Essay, Magazine Feature
Article, Genre Short Story, Mainstream/Literary Short Story, Rhyming
Poetry, Non-rhyming poetry, Stage Play, Television/Movie Script,
Children's Fiction. The
Grand Prize is $2,500 cash and an all-expense paid trip to New York
City to meet with editors and agents. The first-place winner in each
category receives $1,000 cash, a manuscript critique and marketing
advice from a Writer's Digest editor or Advisory Board
member, commentary from an agent and $100 worth of Writer's Digest
Books. The second-place winner in each category receives $500 cash
and $100 worth of Writer's Digest Books. The third-place winner in
each category receives $250 cash and $100 worth of Writer's Digest
Books. For complete rules and entry forms, or to submit your entry
online, visit


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