” I discovered that rejections are not altogether a bad thing. They teach a writer to rely on his own judgment and to say in his heart of hearts, ‘To hell with you.'”  Saul Bellow

This week I’m taking a look at the Spotlight on Dorchester Books from the Romance Writers of America conference in Washington DC.  

Senior Editor Chris Keeslar presented this Spotlight. He has been with Dorchester for 14 years. Dorchester is one of the last independent publishers of mass market fiction. Dorchester publishes all types of fiction-romance, thrillers, westerns, science fiction, fantasy and horrorAlicia Condon, Leah Hultenschmidt and Chris are the three romance editors at Dorchester.

Imprints include Leisure Books and Lovespell. They distribute Hard Case Crime and Wildside Science Fiction and Fantasy but don’t handle editorial for those imprints. They usually release 6 romances a month–3 hsitoricals, 2 paranormal and one that’s something else. Dorchester is a small company, but has wide distribution in all major outlets. They’ll also expanding into all formats of e-books.

Dorchester is very editorial driven. Being a small house, they can act quickly to move into areas that interest them. Instead of doing what marketing tells them to do, the editors can do what they love. “We’re very passionate about what we do,” Chris said.

They try to promote a family atmosphere with authors and editorial. “The authors are the biggest part of what makes Dorchester great…we just get to be lucky enough to buy them.”

Bestselling authors who have been published by Dorchester include Katie McAllister, Nina Bangs Lindsey Sands, Christine Feehan, Cheryl Wilson and many more. But they are always looking for new authors also to add new voices and ideas. They published 12 first-time authors in 2009. Chris judges a lot of contests and says he thinks this is a great way to get your work in front of an editor. He has bought authors who came to his attention through contests — and they weren’t always the contest winners. Currently, Dorchester is involved with a contest with http://www.TextNovel.com

For more information about Dorchester, how to submit to them and their guidelines, visit their website at http://www.dorchesterpub.com, especially their message boards. For example, at the time of the talk you could submit a query through the message boards directly to the editors.

Http://www.romanticreads.net is Leah’s blog about the romance industry and Dorchester. You can also follow them on Twitter.

They publish historicals, time travel, futuristic, paranormal, thriller, romantic suspense, and romantic comedy. Historicals make up 1/3 to ½ their list. They publish medievals, British, westerns, Native American romance, Regency-set historicals. They have done more exotic time periods and settings such as Egypt. He published a book set in 1930s India. But if you’re writing in a less-popular time period, you need a really strong hook. He’s very open to different settings and time periods.

Dorchester was one of the first places to regularly publish paranormal. They publish all kinds of paranormal romance, in tones from light and quirky to dark. They’ve done superhero books and fantasy romance, gothics — a wide variety. He wondered if anyone has a unicorn romance — he might like to see something like that. He really likes fantasy romance.

They seldom publish straight contemporary romance and the don’t publish straight erotica. They do publish “fairly erotic romance”.

“If you’re thinking ‘my book doesn’t fit in any particular slot’ maybe we’re the people you should come to.” But know your audience and who you’re trying to connect with — have a strong hook.

Dorchester now accepts email submissions. Email the complete manuscript and a synopsis of approximately 3-7 pages. Send to submissions@dorchesterpub.com Manuscripts should be 75,000-90,000 words. Response time is 6-8 months. Chris admitted he can take longer. Dorchester accepts both agented and unagented submissions.

If you’re a midlist author published elsewhere, Dorchester would like to see something new from you that you haven’t tried elsewhere.

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ePublisher Breathless Press is looking for Valentine’s Day themed stories for a contest. Deadline to enter is December 1 and there is no entry fee. Two winners will receive a publishing contract, a video trailer and a blog tour to promote their work. Enter in the following categories: 

Flirts: under 1,000 words

Temptations: 1,500 – 5,000 words

Novelette: 5,000 – 10,000 words

Novella: 10,000 – 50/60,000 words

Novel: 50/60,000-100,000 words

Send query to: acquisitions @ breathlesspress.com

For more info, go to http://www.breathlesspress.com/valentines

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My new release, Her Christmas Wish, will be available from eHarlequin.com beginning November 1 — in stores the first week in December. This heartwarming, humorous love story would make a great stocking stuffer or a treat for yourself in the busy holiday season. Find out more at http://www.cindimyers.com

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