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kristie911
10-28-2005, 11:18 AM
I've been querying agents for about six months and I've racked up about 30 rejections (the first ones weren't so great...I'm new to the game and I'm finally learning). I thought maybe I would try the Harlequin imprints but my manuscript is 108,000 words (page count...word count is actually 95,000) which is obviously too long for most of the Harlequin lines.

I sat down and cut the heck out of the thing until it was around 80,000 words including cutting off the entire ending which is okay except it feels like it ends too quickly now...but that's probably because I liked the original ending better.

So here's my dilemma...should I try querying Harlequin with the new mss even though I feel like I'm not being true to my characters and letting the book run its course? Or is trying to get it published more important? I really like this book and I don't want to give up on it yet...I think my characters deserve it! :)

I guess I'm just looking for opinions or thoughts...thanks!

Susan Gable
10-28-2005, 04:27 PM
I've been querying agents for about six months and I've racked up about 30 rejections (the first ones weren't so great...I'm new to the game and I'm finally learning). I thought maybe I would try the Harlequin imprints but my manuscript is 108,000 words (page count...word count is actually 95,000) which is obviously too long for most of the Harlequin lines.

I sat down and cut the heck out of the thing until it was around 80,000 words including cutting off the entire ending which is okay except it feels like it ends too quickly now...but that's probably because I liked the original ending better.

So here's my dilemma...should I try querying Harlequin with the new mss even though I feel like I'm not being true to my characters and letting the book run its course? Or is trying to get it published more important? I really like this book and I don't want to give up on it yet...I think my characters deserve it! :)

I guess I'm just looking for opinions or thoughts...thanks!

If you don't know enough about the various Harlequin lines, and your concept of making it fit for one of the lines is simply chopping it down to meet the proper word count, then odds are you're just setting yourself up for more rejections. Each line has its own focus and tone - or else they wouldn't have so many different lines.

If you consider trying to sell it to HQ as "selling out," then I don't know that an HQ line is going to be a good fit for you, anyway. Do consider that when an editor buys a book, they don't want to just buy A book. They're looking for an author to continue in the line, to write more books. They want to build a readership for you in that one line.

HQN is their new mainstream/single title imprint (IMPRINT, not a line.) - they don't accept unagented mss, but they WILL accept a query letter. If you can make it a strong one, you've got a shot at getting a request for your ms that way.

Also, have you tried making use of contests? Contests in the romance world can be another way of getting your ms's opening in front of an editor. Look carefully at who the final judges are when considering which contests to enter. Of course, contests are a crap-shoot even with the best written entries because what one judge likes may not be the same thing that another judge likes.

Do you have another book in the works? It may be time to just set this one aside for now, and get something else out there for agents to look at. At a later date, you can revisit this ms. Hook an agent with another book, and they just may find a home for this one, too. :)

Susan G.

kristie911
10-28-2005, 08:59 PM
I've done a fair amount of research into several of the Harlequin lines (I've spent way too much of the summer reading Harlequin books! lol) and I think my book might be a fit...enough to give it a try but it was so far over the word count that I knew it wasn't even worth it, they'd probably never even look once they saw that. That's why I tried chopping it up but I just feel like that's not the right thing to do.

I do have the second in the series done...techinically they are both stand-alone. And a separate one in progress. I just keep hearing "get it out there, don't give up" and some say "walk away from it". It's all so discouraging and confusing! :)

Thanks Susan!

DeniseK
10-28-2005, 09:04 PM
I'm confused. You say you like to read Harlequin romances. And as far as I know, being published by them is legitimate. So why is the title of this thread, "selling out?"

Don't get me wrong, I am neutral on the subject, I just happened to run across this and it struck me as odd to read what was posted after reading the thread title.

kristie911
10-28-2005, 09:11 PM
I just feel like hacking up my book just to try and fit their word count requirements isn't being true to my original story. To make the word count, I had to completely cut out nearly a hundred pages of the ending...an ending I liked. I'm torn because I would like to submit to them but on the other hand I don't know if I'm happy with the story anymore.

I think I'll just put it away and maybe write something from the ground up to submit to them. I have a lot of other stories rattling around in my head!

veinglory
10-28-2005, 09:12 PM
I think she maens that changing her book to meet an arbitrary word count is 'selling out'.

Well if you like the longer version submit to a different publisher? There are many majpr romance publishers and some take larger manuscripts.

pepperlandgirl
10-28-2005, 09:14 PM
I can't speak for the OP, but perhaps she feels she is 'selling out" because instead of trying to publish the book she wrote, she sliced and diced it until it was seen as publishable by someone else...

I wouldn't worry about cutting out words. is it your first novel? I think most first-time novels, or even early novels, could benefit from some cutting and tightening of the story.

DeniseK
10-28-2005, 09:20 PM
Ok, I see what you mean.

Has anyone read your manuscript and given you feedback? Are you confident that it's the best it can be, and that it will suffer if you lose those 100 papes? Then I would take veinglory's advice and find a publisher who accepts longer manuscripts. But I'd make sure first that cutting wouldn't make the book better. You have to be brutally honest with yourself and be willing to kill your darlings.

But I wouldn't put it away and stop trying to get it out there. When I hear writers say this, I can't understand what in the heck they are thinking. Nobody can read a book in a drawer, it's difficult. :hi:

Don't be afraid to keep trying and trying and trying. Good luck!

Susan Gable
10-28-2005, 10:14 PM
I just keep hearing "get it out there, don't give up" and some say "walk away from it". It's all so discouraging and confusing! :)
!

LOL - I'm sorry to say it doesn't get a whole lot better, either. Confused is like a permanent state for writers, I think. <G>

Just when you think you have it all figured out, something goes and changes on you - like how they're closing the Harlequin and Silhoutte Romance lines and merging them into a new one, but one that will be based out of the UK.

Just when people had Duets figured out (The romantic comedy line) they changed it into Flipsides, which were a different kind of comedy, and then they closed Flipsides as well. <G> So, like I said, just when you think you have it figured out, it changes.

That's why I try to tell writers to take advice with a grain of salt. What works for one person may not be what works for you.

And I wasn't saying walk away from your story. Walk away from it is what I did with my very first ms - and it SHOULD have been walked away from. <G> That ms, while I learned a lot writing it, and it does have some special things that I like, it was soooooo "not ready for prime time. " <G>

Putting a ms on the back burner is something else. Like I said, you might hook an agent with something new. You got 30 agent rejections on it so far - I'd say you've done the rounds with it as far as the romance agents go. It's not like you've only sent it out to 2 or 3. Also, remember, you might be able to use the contest circuit as a backdoor to an editor.

If it really compromises the story by cutting it so much, then I'd say, yes, you're doing the story a disservice by chopping at it so much. If the cutting has made for a leaner, cleaner, faster-paced story, then you've done a good thing, and you should find those word count lines that might be a good fit for it.

What lines are you considering?

Susan G.

Cathy C
10-28-2005, 11:18 PM
Keep in mind, kristie, that all of the editors over at HS buy for all of the lines. So, just because you target a Blaze editor, they might think your ms. is better suited to Bombshell or somewhere else, where the word count might be more tolerable of your larger size. I wouldn't arbitrarily cut a story EVER just to suit a line, because you never know if you might be the ONE AND ONLY exception to the rule. True, there are a lot of other publishers (there's a sticky at the top of the Romance Forum with names and links to their guidelines.) But Susan is right -- if you think you're doing the story a disservice, then don't do it. Take the time to find the right publisher/line for the story rather than offer a lesser product just because you feel you HAVE to sell it now.

Good luck with it!

For example, THIS could be fun to add clues.