Friday, July 13, 2007

RWA National Convention - Harlequin Spotlight Talk

Where have we been!?! Attending the workshops and networking, obviously! There is a wealth of knowledge to be shared at this conference…and I’m about to share the wealth with you.

First up was the Harlequin single title spotlight. An editor from each line talked about what they offer and what they are looking for. Here are my notes ::

MIRA – Literary, not romance, focused. Looking for thriller (can never find enough) and historical fiction. They only accept submissions from agents.

HQN – The home of big romances. Editor Tara Parsons suggests looking at the current list of authors/titles and using that to explain how you would fit into their marketing plan. E.g. My book is similar to _____________ and would appeal to her readers, but is different because ___________. They will look at queries, but prefer agented submissions.

LUNA – Urban and otherworld fantasy, open to sci-fi if the story has a strong female protagonist. Agented submissions.

SPICE – publishes 6 titles a year, looks at their books as sex with a story about the heroine. Doesn’t need a happily ever after, or even a romance. Editor Susan Swinwood prefers to see a full of 90-130 K, but will consider a partial. SPICE Briefs should launch soon. She was hit with over 400 submissions for the e-books of 5-15 K words. The ebooks will be available from eHarlequin and other ebook retailers. She would like to one day do a print anthology of the best sellers, but nothing like that is in the works yet.

Trends in the marketplace
Paranormal expansion beyond vampires and werewolves
Erotic fiction
Different formats and lengths

It took two hours for the Harlequin Series Spotlight. Each line took a turn explaining how they defined themselves, what they were looking for…and discussion word count. Everyone had questions about word count. Please, can we put this one to bed? Use your computer count. Get it in the ball park. It all works out in the edit. ‘nuf said.

Here’s the basics every writer needs to know to sell to HQ series.

Desire – 50K – escapist, guilty pleasure read. Powerful, passionate, and provocative. The hero is very successful, the pursuer. Set the scene with international vacations and luxurious parties. The stories need to be sensual, but need not be overtly sexual. Only one love scene is required. Conflict needs to move the plot, not just the characters. They are looking for career authors to produce three titles a year.

American – 60K – signed two new authors this year, and found them in the slush pile. Western settings are popular, but branch out of Texas. Open to a range of ages in the hero and heroine. “The only thing standing between you and publication is sending in your manuscript.”

Romance – 50K – interested in cosmopolitan settings, stories must remain couple focused.

Silhouette Romantic Suspense – 55-60K – love stories with a hint of suspense. Be sure to get to the heart of the romance and conflict in the first few pages. Must be driven by the love story. Subtle paranormal elements OK (ESP). Two new authors in the last two months.

SuperRomance – 60-65K – Holding a writing contest which runs through Halloween. 1st chapter, sunopsis, conflict moment. Want all stories to focus on interesting conflicts.

Nocturne – 70-75K – dark, very sexy, complex paranormal world. Mission oriented, life and death situations. Strong level of sensuality. They like werewolves, vampires, shapeshifters, demons. They do not like a light voice or a heroine who is stronger than the hero. Lately, they’ve seen people try and stretch the plot too thin to try and work one book into a series. DON’T.

Presents Collections – 50K – (These are the Modern Extra books Trish, Ally, Nicola & I write). Quarterly, Presents releases six book groupings. Think of these books as Presents younger sister. (This worried some people in the room who thought it was YA…but no, not Presents daughter, just her kid sister) The heroine has an urban outlook and lifestyle. The hero is uncompromising and confident, yet he hasn’t quite reached the pinnacle of his success. Sparky, sensual, smouldering, with a hint of humour.

They took a break here…and so am I. The wrist is healing, but needs a break. More later!!



1 comment:

  1. Hi Jenna and thank you so much for the updates - especially the Harlequin spotlight. Brilliant!
    One point - the SuperRomance contest. Of course I leapt to the e-Harlequin site to find out more, but the contest is only open to residents of the US and Canada.

    But there is an online open pitching contest for SuperRomance!Closing date 08 August 07.

    Excellent. Thanks again and LOL Ray-Anne