The story I am writing exists, written in absolutely perfect fashion, some place, in the air. All I must do is find it, and copy it. ~Jules Renard, “Diary,” February 1895

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Are you looking for an agent? Would you like agents to fight over the chance to represent you and your work? Okay, maybe not fight, but how about agents bidding to be the one to represent you? Your dream could come true in the second annual Baker’s Dozen Agent Auction, sponsored by the blog Miss Snark’s First Victim. Here’s how it works. You pay $8 and submit your log line and the first 250 words of a completed manuscript. Editors and agents critique the work and agents can bid on how many pages they’d like to read. Submissions for adult fiction open October 18. Be sure you follow all the rules.

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Amazon is adding a science fiction/fantasy/horror imprint to its publishing program. Called 47 North, the imprint is launching with 15 titles — a mix of new and reprint material from previously publishe and new authors. All titles will be published in Kindle, print and audio formats.

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If you like western historical romance, check out my new website, Romance of the West. There you can read articles about western history and check out all my historical romance releases. All of the books are now available in Kindle format, as well as Adobe, ePub and other ebook formats. And they have new, lower prices. Check out the excerpts of each book as well.

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This week I’m reporting on the final spotlight from the Romance Writers of America conference in New York City, the Spotlight on Harlequin Series.  

Diane Moggy started the session by welcoming everyone to the Spotlight that covered Harlequin, Love Inspired and Kimani Books. She emphasized the importance of an element of unpredictability in your work for Harlequin. You must deliver a romantic story that takes your reader on an unpredictable, cliche-free, compelling emotional journey.

 Kathleen Scheibling, Senior Editor, talked about why authors should write for Harlequin:

1. Harlequin is the global leader in romance publishing. “When you sell a book to Harlequin, you sell a book to the world.” Harlequin publishes in 111 countries in 31 languages.

2.  Harlequin does extensive author training on using social media such as Facebook and Twitter, blogging, building web sites, developing author brands, etc.

3. Harlequin editors have a personal commitment to your books and to you. Editors work closely with authors to develop craft and writing skills.

Harlequin is always looking for new authors for all their series lines. Last year they signed 44 new authors.

Harlequin publishes all their books simultaneously in paper and digital formats.

Melissa Endlich, Sr. editor of Love Inspired talked about what Harlequin wants to see in submissions. Series romance has 17 lines. But all have 6 things in common:

  1. Emotion —  Stories and characters should evoke strong emotion from readers, whether laughter or tears.
  2. Relevance – Stories are for today’s women and address the concerns of modern women.
  3. Variety – each series offers a variety of stories within that series. It’s not all cowboys and babies. Read the lines to see  what they’re publishing.
  4. Happy Ending – each and every book promises a happily-ever-after.
  5. Unique Voice – every author has a unique voice. Be aware which series is best for your voice. Know your voice and where it fits best.
  6. Unpredictability – This was a word they repeated over and over during the presentation. Despite what some people think, the books are not all the same or written to a formula.

Several editors talked about recently published books in different lines that contain the unpredictable elements they love.  The editors gave examples for various lines.

For Desire  — am amnesiac hero who appears vulnerable but is the classic Alpha male. For Superromance – a co-workers to lovers story where the characters make unexpected choices and take the reader on a very emotional journey.

For Love Inspired Historical – a story that takes place in Colonial America where the heroine turns out to be a spy. The story also deals with slavery, which is an unexpected plot element. 

For Romantic Suspense the editor had two examples. The first was a story where the hero starts the book as a homeless man and another where the hero is a man the heroine thought was dead, but she doesn’t know who he is right away. The story also deals with child abuse, an unexpected element.

For Harlequin Presents – a continuity series that deals with a dark family scandal with a deeply conflicted hero.

For Kimani Press – a man who was formerly portrayed in another book as a womanizing cheater was made the hero of a follow-up book. Also, the book features unpredictable timing when it comes to revealing information, such as revealing a big secret in the beginning of the book instead of later in the story.

For Nocturne – the line by its nature is very broad and unpredictable with everything from vampire sheiks to gargoyles. But even then authors find ways to add twists, such as a story with a werewolf who can make herself invisible. This heroine is also on the run with two children, which is different for Nocturne.

For Special Edition — A secret baby book where the heroine doesn’t know she’s had a child.  She’s been in a coma and the hero is taking care of the baby and she doesn’t know right away that it’s her baby.

 You can find all the guidelines for the various series lines at Harlequin.com  

 Beginning November 7 Harlequin will be hosting a week-long “So You Think You Can Write” online conference in North America. Participation is free. I will keep you posted about this.     

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

 

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