September 2011


The difference between perseverance and obstinacy is that one comes from a strong will, and the other comes from a strong won’t.” Henry Ward Beecher


Spotlight on Avalon

 Lia Brown, Editor, presented this spotlight. Avalon is a small, family owned business that publishes hardcover editions primarily for the library market. They publish 60 books a year. They release 10 titles every other month —  four contemporary romance, two historical romance, two westerns, and two mysteries. The books are also available through Amazon and Barnes and  The books are “very clean, very family friendly, cute and fun.” 

The company is small – only four people and Lia is the only editor. Avalon is very open to new authors. They do not require an agent. They publish many first-time authors. In 2010, nine of the authors they published were first-timers. They’re open to a wide variety of ideas in romance, as long as they fit within the guidelines for Avalon, which are primarily that there can be no sex or even hint of sex in their romances, but there must be romantic tension. The couple has to have an intellectual connection, and an emotional connection. They allow “hell” and “damn” in mysteries and westerns but never in romance. They do get letters from readers if there is any swearing in romance. Wine with dinner is okay. They like books in series. Check out the writer’s guidelines for more information.   

Their books are reviewed by Publishers Weekly and Booklist. Libraries subscribe to the series, so you’ll find them in many libraries. Thorndike reprints many titles in large print, which is additional money for the author. They are planning to release books as ebooks in the very near future, including backlist. 

Word count between 45,000 and 75,000 words. Most of their contemporary romances are between 50,000 and 60,000 words, while historicals and mysteries usually run 65,000 to 70,000. They publish all kinds of historical periods. She would love something from the turn of the century or the Russian revolution. But nothing past World War I right now.Snail mail submissions only unless she requests you send something to her via email. Submit three chapters and a synopsis. 

If you want to know more about Lia, you can read an interview with her here.


Musa Publishing launches on Saturday, October 1 with its first three releases, one of which is my new western historical romance, West With the Wind. Follow their Twitter feed @musapublishing for prizes and more grand opening fun. And check out their great line up of historical and contemporary romance, fantasy, science fiction, suspense and more.






Spotlight on Ellora’s Cave 

Kelly Collins, Editor in Chief; Raelene Gorlinsky, publisher; and Grace Bradley, Editor presented the Spotlight. Ellora’s Cave  has been in business 11 years. They launched in November 2000 as one of the first e-publishers. Their headquarters is in Akron, Ohio. They have an editorial staff of about 20 freelance editors. They are a digital-first publisher, selling from the Ellora’s Cave website and all third-party e-book venders. Most of the books do eventually go into print, anywhere from six months to two years after the e-release. 

Grace spoke about what Ellora’s Cave is looking for. They publish romantica, a term they have trademarked for erotic romance – romance stories with a lot of erotic scenes, with a happy-for-now or happily-ever-after ending. They also publish exotica – character driven erotica. They also have Blush – a line of mainstream, non-erotic romance. That used to be published under Cerridwen Press, but this has been rolled into Ellora’s Cave. They publish all sub-genres – sci-fi, paranormal, westerns, historical, gay and lesbian, BDSM. Gen-Edge is a new imprint geared toward college-age readers, with college-age characters. Branded is a line of romantica that features married couples and sex after marriage. This could be couples rediscovering their passion.

 They started two new lines in 2011. Shivers is erotic horror. They want “sexy and scary.” They’re open to all kinds of horror – psychological, blood and guts, slasher, paranormal – anything goes as long as it’s scary. Kink is another new line about fetishes. This will be considered on a book by book basis. There are some fetishes they probably don’t want to get into, but they are open to a very wide range of kink. These books have to have an emotionally satisfying ending. 

They have some theme series open to submissions right now. Oh Canada is looking for books set in and featuring Canadians. The deadline for these books is the end of November, but they may extend this if the books remain popular. They’d like novellas, 18,000 to 45,000 words. 

EC for Men is a new line for male readers, focused more on sex than romance. Stories should be between 7,000 and 30,000 words, written from a male POV and exploring male fantasies. 

Their most popular genres are paranormal, male-male, BDSM, menage, science fiction and westerns. Grace would love to see a witch story, as well as series set in small, Southern towns. Raelene loves menage and paranormal, as well as books with external conflict. Kelly would like some female-female stories. See Ellora’s Cave’s writer’s guidelines for more information.


I have a new website for my historical romances. It’s an easy way to find information about all the books in one place, as well as historical research articles I’ve written. Check it out: Romance of the West.


As always, feel free to pass along the information in this blog to others. All I ask is that you give me credit and include a link to this site. Thank you. Cindi Myers



Forget all the rules. Forget about being published. Write for yourself and celebrate writing.”
Melinda Haynes


This week I’m summarizing the Spotlight on Harlequin Single Titles. Harlequin publishes single titles romance, women’s fiction, fantasy and erotica in trade paper, mass market and hardcover in its HQN, Mira, Luna and Spice imprints, and stories for teens in Harlequin Teen.  

Presenting the workshop were Margaret Marbury, vice president of Single Title Editorial, from the New York Office; Valerie Gray, Executive Editor of Mira and Spice in Toronto; Tara Parsons, Senior Editor of HQN and Luna in New York and Natashya Wilson, Senior Editor of Harlequin Teen.

 Ms. Marbury started by emphasizing the importance of the relationship between the author and the editor with Harlequin. Harlequin Single Title plans a one to three-year publication strategy from the author. The sales force works to get the print books in every kind of book seller and they also do digital editions of every book.  She would love to see books set in the recent past, as well as more “really fantastic historical fiction” stories. She also loves humor in books, emanating from amazing, funny characters. 

Natashya Wilson spoke about Harlequin Teen. They publish commercial, single title young adult fiction line with a target audience of girls 13 to 18. They do primarily trade titles with the occasional hardcover. They publish contemporary and historical, fantasy, paranormal and steam punk. They are looking for an “authentic, strong teen voice.” They have published a lot of debut authors, as well as successful adult novelists’ first books for teens. She accepts agented authors only unless you pitch to her at a conference and she requests your manuscript. 

Tara Parsons talked about HQN. She mentioned the many NYT bestselling authors on the HQN list such as Linda Lael Miller, Kristan Higgins and Gena Showalter. They are moving some of the Spice authors into HQN, so they publish everything from historicals to contemporary, to super sexy to paranormal and romantic suspense. Luna is evolving to add science fiction, urban fantasy,  and dark fantasy as well as continuing to publish high fantasy. They’re also open to horror, futuristic and dystopian stories. The books should have a strong female protagonist.  HQN and Luna only accept agented submissions, but they will accept query letters only from unagented authors. While there is some crossover between Mira and HQN, if your story has a strong romance at its core, it’s more suitable for HQN. Tara is on the lookout for romantic suspense and paranormal romance and for Luna she’d love to find a science fiction author like Patricia Briggs. 

Valerie Gray spoke about Mira Books. Mira publishes contemporary and historical romance, thrillers and commercial women’s fiction. They publish a wide variety and types of stories. They’re willing to experiment with different types of stories. This year one of the big initiatives in Mira is to grow their trade paperback program, particularly in commercial women’s fiction. Margaret defined commercial women’s fiction as “women’s fiction with a broad audience.” It should be fresh and new, high concept or universal to a large number of women. They don’t want “quiet” books – quiet to her means small.  Their books are almost all set in North America, which doesn’t mean they aren’t open to other settings, but the manuscripts they get are primarily North American set. They are publishing debut authors as well as established authors. Valerie would also love to see some humorous and more historical fiction. Mira accepts agented submissions only.


My historical romance, Educating Abbie, has been nominated for a Bookie Award. Check it out (and cast your vote!) here.


Only two more weeks until the release of my new historical romance, West With the Wind. You can pre-order your copy now here.  And while you’re at it, check out my other historical titles. They’re all available for the new, lower price of $4.99 each.


White Cat Magazine pays five cents a word for short stories for its new web publication. While the focus of the magazine is primarily on suspense stories,  they’re open to short stories in all genres except erotica. Short stories should be no more than 2,500 words. They pay a flat rate of $25 for flash fiction to 1,000 words. Find all the guidelines here.

As always, feel free to share the information in this blog. Forward it to friends, reprint it in newsletters, etc. All I ask is that you give me credit for the information and include a link to this blog. Thank you!

‘I have been successful probably because I have always realized that I knew nothing about writing and have merely tried to tell an interesting story entertainingly.’

Edgar Rice Burroughs

 This week I’m reporting on the Spotlight on Tor/Forge books from the Romance Writers of America convention in New York City.

Tor and Forge are two imprints of Tom Doherty books, a division of Macmillan. Tor publishes primarily science fiction and fantasy while Forge publishes “everything else.”

The following editors spoke at the workshop: 

Melissa Ann Singer, Senior Editor at Tor. She edits everything from science fiction/fantasy to thrillers to women’s fiction – “whatever catches my eye.” In historicals, she likes ancient civilization, Tudor and Stuart, and World War I to present day. In science fiction she likes space opera. She likes female characters “with a smart mouth.” She’d also like to see an immigrant story that doesn’t go through Ellis Island. This includes both modern and historical immigrant stories.

Stacy Hague-Hill, Editor. She works primarily on urban fantasy, some epic fantasy and some science fiction. She is drawn to books with strong characters. She would really like “a horse book.”  For instance, she’d love women’s fiction set in a stables or racetrack.  She likes a darker edge with paranormal romance and urban fantasy. She likes romantic elements in all genres, including mystery.

Kristen Sevick,  Associate Editor primarily for Forge. She edits mystery, thrillers, women’s fiction and romantic suspense and historicals. She is interested in historical women’s fiction. She’d like to see “a story with a ghost ship.”

Whitney Ross, Assistant Editor at Tor. She edits YA, Sci fi, urban fantasy, fantasy, some romance and historicals. She likes books that are “not entirely dark” with hopeful endings.

Melissa Frain, Associate Editor works on YA, paranormal romance and urban fantasy. In YA, she likes character-based novels for 15 to 17 year olds. Romantic elements are a plus. She’d love a great YA historical. Most of Tor’s YA features paranormal elements, but that doesn’t mean they wouldn’t be open to other types of stories.

The workshop started with the editors showing off some of the books soon to be published by Tor/Forge. These included YA, urban fantasy, fantasy, alternative history, paranormal, mystery, historical and mainstream books. Titles were a mix of reprints, new authors, established authors and even one author who originally self-published her work electronically and was picked up by Tor.

Production Assistant Heather Waters talked about their community-building websites. Macmillan has three genre sites:, devoted to Science Fiction and Fantasy is the site for Romance  focuses on Mystery and Suspense

These are sites for readers to come and talk about books in their favorite genre. They feature short stories and daily reads. All of these sites pay authors for short stories and for blog posts. Liz Eddlestein is the acquisitions editor for Heroes and Heartbreakers, the romance website. They are open to romantic short stories in any sub-genre. See the guidelines here. The guidelines for submitting stories and posts to each site are listed on the site.  

Tor does accept submissions from unagented authors, as well as agented authors. Submission guidelines are here.

They review unsolicited submissions regularly in meetings, so if you send to one editor and it isn’t right for them, they’ll pass the submissions.


Inspired Publishing is a new ePublisher that specializes in heartfelt romance. Inspired wants to see emotional and entertaining love stories that inspire—books that will make you laugh, make you cry, make you sigh. Romance that packs a punch. Inspired Publishing currently offers authors a  royalty rate of 50%.

Inspired Publishing is looking for new authors! Any submission made between now and October 30th, 2011 will automatically be submitted in their Kick Off! contest. The author of the winning manuscript will receive a publishing contract featuring a special one-time 60% royalty rate and a $50 Visa gift card. Runners-up will receive the offer of a contract featuring the special 60% royalty rate. Please visit the website for contest rules.

Inspired Publishing is also looking for submissions for their upcoming Escape line of short stories, 10-20K in length. Current themes include Weathering the Storm and Seasons. More info available here.


I have a new historical romance out next month. Here’s a peak at the cover:

 West With the Wind follows widow Mariah Tate (and her faithful dog, Worthy) on their journey to California is a wagon train led by veteran guide Campbell Jefferson. Mariah may be the only woman who’s ever made Camp think of settling down,but his desire to protect her wars with her need to keep secrets. The past comes back to haunt the lovers when they find more than gold waiting for them at the end of the trail. Available from Musa Publishing October 1, 2011  You can pre-order the book now for only $4.99


From the latest Publisher’s Marketplace:

Cindi Myers’s THE WOMAN WHO LOVED JESSE JAMES, the story of the little-known wife who stood beside James from his early years until his death, to Deborah Smith at Bell Bridge Books, for publication in Fall 2012 (World).


As always, feel free to pass along the information from this blog to others. Reprint it, forward it and link to it. All that I ask is that you give me credit. Thanks!  Cindi Myers.

Don’t try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It’s the one and only thing you have to offer. ~ Barbara Kingsolver


This week I’m reporting on the Spotlight on Sourcebooks from the Romance Writers of America annual Convention in New York City.

Dominique Raccah, Publisher of Sourcebooks presented the workshop on this publisher. Sourcebooks is largest women-owned book-publishing company in the Country. Based in Chicago, they’ve been around since 1977.  They do print books followed by digital releases. They publish 6-8 mass market romances a month. They publish in a lot of different categories. They began in nonfiction and have expanded to fiction.  They publish children’s, historical novels, women’s fiction and romance. They try a lot of things and if something doesn’t work, they’ll try something else. “We’re fearless.”

 They’re looking for “great stories, fresh ideas, and people who really want to do this for a living.” They have had ten NYT bestsellers in 2011 and a number of USA Today bestselling authors. She talked about the many things a publisher does – cover design, editing, marketing and sales. For instance, at Sourcebooks each book has an average of 17 cover concepts before they choose the final cover.

 Danielle Jackson, lead publicist for Sourcebooks Casablanca (Sourcebooks’ romance imprint) spoke about their marketing efforts. Thirty percent of the company is focused on promotion and marketing. They do digital promotion, newsletters, social networking, review copies, blog tours, giveaways, Twitter and Facebook, postcards, flyers, print ads in RT. They have an author toolkit to help authors with marketing. The Sourcebook authors do a group blog.

Sean Murray, sales director spoke about the sales process at Sourcebooks. They have in-house one-on-one relationships with all the major book retailers, both bookstores and stores such as Target and Walmart. They also have specialty teams for libraries and international markets. They also have 114 regional sales reps to call on regional independents. They have a major meeting of all the sales team twice a year and local groups meet twice  month. They pay for placement in stores. They work directly with major ebook retailers as well.

 Deb Werksman, the Editorial Manager of Casablanca and Leah Hultenschmidt, Senior Editor or Casablance and the YA imprint, Fire  They like to buy multiple books and build author careers. “We know it can take three or four books to build an author’s careers.” They try to help authors build a brand.  The market is very competitive, so it’s important to find a way for books to stand out. They’re looking for authors with a track record, authors with out of print classic backlist for Casablanca Classics, as well as debut authors.

 The editors are looking for a heroine the reader can relate to, a hero she can fall in love with, a world the reader can fall into and a hook the editor can relate to others in two to three sentences. They’re also looking for an author’s career arc and how to build a brand.  They are open to paranormal, historicals prior to 1900 and contemporary romance. They also publish historical fiction, women’s fiction and YA.

 The Fire young adult imprint is looking for books 60,000 to 90,000 words, characters 15 to 19. “Make sure you have that voice for a teen, because you really can’t fake that.” Credible world-building, from dystopian to contemporary high school. A strong marketing hook. Romance is good, but doesn’t have to be the main focus of the story.

 They take agented and unagented submissions. Submission guidelines are on the website. According to Deb “only about one in every 50 submissions actually follows the guidelines.”


I’m speaking and signing this weekend at the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers’ Colorado Gold Conference. The booksigning on Friday night at the Renaissance Hotel is open to the public, so if you’re in town, feel free to stop by and say hello. And if you’re attending the conference, please say hi!


As always, feel free to share the information in this blog with others. All I ask is that you provide a link to the blog and give me credit as the author. Thank you. Cindi Myers