“Writing gives you the illusion of control, and  then you realize it’s just an illusion, that people are going to bring their own stuff into it.”   David Sedaris


Senior Aquisitions Editor David Long of Bethany House present this look at inspirational publisher Bethany House. Bethany House began publishing romance fiction in 1979, with Janette Oke’s “Love Comes Softly.” They currently publish more than 40 novels a year, 90 percent of which are aimed at women, and 90 percent of those are romances. They publish in many sub-genres, though they are best known for their historical romances. Stories ranges from sweet and light “Little House on the Prairie” type stories, to darker themed tales with more action and adventure. They welcome humor in their books. They want plot-driven stories with strong characters, not necessarily issue-driven stories. Most of the books are set in America, and most take place prior to 1900, though they will consider stories that take place through World War II.  Early twentieth century stories are become more popular, and they do some stories that take place in Biblical times.

 They are actively seeking more romantic suspense stories for their list. Long defined these as “strong romantic stories with elements of suspense.” They also welcome historical romantic suspense. They also publish women’s fiction, which may or may not include romance. Next summer they’re putting out their first contemporary romance. 

They also publish a number of very popular “bonnet books” that take place in religious communities such as the Amish and Mennonites.

Another area where they’re open to submissions is Christian fantasy. These stories are aimed primarily at the YA market and have romantic elements. They also publish some straight suspense titles.

They don’t want vampires, werewolves, shape-shifters, and aren’t interested in Apocalyptic stories or tales of spiritual warfare. No angels or demons.

The two most common reasons they reject a manuscript are no strong voice and lack of originality. Most submissions come from agents, but if you pitch to them at a conference and they request a manuscript, send a query and a couple of chapters. Their books all come in at around 85,000 words.


Harper Collins and Create Space are holding a contest for women’s fiction writers. The prize is a critique by women’s fiction novelist Claudia Carroll and a copy of her new novel, Will You Still Love Me, Tomorrow?

Send your novel’s pitch to Pitch.Competition@harpercollins.co.uk. Claudia will choose the strongest pitch and invite the author to send in their opening chapters. Pitches should be no longer than 225 words, but you might want to consider splitting it up into a short (25 words) and a long section (200). Entrants can submit as many entries as they like, but only one pitch per novel. Closing date for entry is August 1.

As  always, feel free to pass along the info in this blog to others. Forward it, link it, reprint it — all I ask is that you give me credit and include the link to this page. Thank you. Cindi