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EllenG
02-16-2006, 01:57 AM
Hi All. This began in the Writing Novels board, with a question about oddball characters. I have another question that belongs here. I know that all romance publishers have content guidelines and rules for the storyline. Does each major publisher have their own set of guidelines, and how much to they differ from each other? Is a historical novel basically the same for most publishers, allowing for minor differences?

Cathy C
02-16-2006, 02:24 AM
Actually, I'm afraid your knowledge is faulty. Other than a few of the category lines and some inspirational publishers, no romance publishers have guidelines for content or storylines. Now, certain lines or imprints focus on certain elements--like paranormal romances or contemporary, historical and such--but beyond that, there really aren't any rules about what a line will buy. If an editor likes a story, they'll find a place for it.

Yes, historical is historical, but romance has a different definition of the term than other genres. An historical (it looks strange, but "an" is the proper word before "historical") only qualifies if it's pre-1910, provided that it's not set from the period 1830-1900 in the American West (which would turn it into a western romance). Historical romances are noted for fine attention to detail, both about current events of the time, and protocols for dating and marriage. One period that has been specifically cut out of history in romances is the Regency Era of Victorian England, from 1811-1901. Regency romances, or Regency-set (those not specifically set in England) stories are much stricter about language, names, events and such.

Do you have a specific question about historicals, or was it just whether you can approach various publishers with the same manuscript? If just whether you can approach, the answer is yes.

Good luck!

Sassenach
02-16-2006, 03:18 AM
events of the time, and protocols for dating and marriage. One period that has been specifically cut out of history in romances is the Regency Era of Victorian England, from 1811-1901. Regency romances, or Regency-set (those not specifically set in England) stories are much stricter about language, names, events and such.



The Regency era predates the Victorian.

EllenG
02-16-2006, 03:38 AM
Cathy, this is good news! I had heard that there were strict rules such as, the couple must meet early in the book, overcome difficulties, and live happily ever after. Also, that it should be from the woman's POV. I am happy to hear that each publisher does not have their own list too! Yes this current book is western historical. Thanks! :) Ellen

Cathy C
02-16-2006, 04:10 AM
Well, Happily Ever After (HEA) IS a rule -- but of the genre, not of any particular publisher. Either the H/h (Hero/heroine) have to wind up together in a permanent relationship that the reader anticipates will last beyond the back cover, or there has to be a strong potential for that to occur (like in a series.) Now, if there's no HEA, then the book would probably fall under the broader "women's fiction" category. Still perfectly saleable, but not as a "romance." Does that make sense?

Meet early? Nah. They can meet wherever makes sense for the book. It HELPS if they meet early, because it starts the dynamic, but sometimes the story doesn't work if they do.

Overcoming obstacles also depends on the plot. It's a good idea for a strong plot, because you have the opportunity to show depth of character in HOW they overcome adversity. But it's not a rule.

As for POV, female is traditional, but more books are being written from the male perspective. The important thing when writing from the male POV (or from BOTH POVs) is staying true to the voice of the gender. Some female writers can't pull off the male perspective and make it sound realistic. Others can. If you do, great. The publishers will love it! :)

EllenG
02-16-2006, 04:25 PM
Thanks for clarifying these things, Cathy. If I can get my courage up I will post something in Sharing Your Work. I do feel comfortable with the male POV, although a woman who read my earlier book asked me why I would ever write it that way. This worried me. Actually it was about 60 per cent the guy's POV, the rest was from the female POV. I think when we do get comments from others we need to consider them, but only up to a point. If they are not editors or writers, less so. :)
Ellen

Susan Gable
02-16-2006, 05:48 PM
Thanks for clarifying these things, Cathy. If I can get my courage up I will post something in Sharing Your Work. I do feel comfortable with the male POV, although a woman who read my earlier book asked me why I would ever write it that way. This worried me. Actually it was about 60 per cent the guy's POV, the rest was from the female POV. I think when we do get comments from others we need to consider them, but only up to a point. If they are not editors or writers, less so. :)
Ellen

Ellen, I use both hero and heroine's POV in my stories. I like them that way. I want to know what's going on with both main characters. :)

Where are you in Northern Jersey? I'm originally a Northern Jersey girl myself. (I grew up in Sussex County, taught school in Morris County for years. Went to Douglass College.)

Susan G.

Sakamonda
02-16-2006, 06:19 PM
The English Regency period is VERY different from the Victorian period, in more ways than one. This brief time period was known for its more relaxed social attitude towards love and sex compared to eras immediately before and after (Victorian era was very uptight about love and sex).

The Regency term itself corresponds to the time in England when the Prince Regent (later King George IV), assumed control of the kingdom as Parliament's appointed regent in place of his father, George III, who was still alive but had gone insane. This period historically was 1811-1820, but is often expanded to include the longer time period between the Georgian and Victorian (approx. 1805-1837). Regency novels typically take place between 1805-1825, and will often include specific reference to the Napoleonic wars, detailed use of slang, customs, and clothing of the period, etc. The period was also a time of class upheaval as influenced by the French Revolution and Napoleon; many members of the aristocracy were going broke, and trying hard to hold onto their position as the middle classes rose up and grew richer and more influential. Many Regency novels involve a woman from the middle classes getting involved with an aristocrat, and all the conflict that arises as a result.

Below is Wikipedia's entry on Regency novels.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regency_novel

It should be noted that the Regency romance novel originated with Jane Austen, written during the Regency period itself. Ms. Austen essentially created the Romance genre---we all owe her thanks!!

Sonarbabe
02-17-2006, 01:35 AM
Okay, I have a publisher's question as well, but it doesn't follow the above posts. This may be a bonehead question, but when submitting to Dorchester, they say to address it to the Editorial Assistant and that person will make sure that my material will get to the appropriate person. Wonderful! Now, what is the name of this Editorial Assistant? I've looked all over Dorchester's website and I can't find it. More importantly, when I write the query letter, who am I addressing it to? Dear Sir or Ma'am is probably the quickest way for me to get my material tossed into the trash. Can anyone pretty please with a brownie on top help me with this?

Crinklish
02-17-2006, 01:39 AM
I'd also like to point out that there's a distinction, in the romance market, between a true "Regency romance," which features lots of Regency-period language, minimal sex, and can almost be a considered a novel of manners, with the "Regency-set historical," a single-title romance set in the period, but much laxer in terms of how graphic the sensuality can be, as well as less stringent about accuracy of period language & syntax. (Which is not to say that their history is inaccurate, but that you'll see less Regency slang and "Oh, la, sir!" than you might in a true Regency.)

Susan Gable
02-17-2006, 01:55 AM
Okay, I have a publisher's question as well, but it doesn't follow the above posts. This may be a bonehead question, but when submitting to Dorchester, they say to address it to the Editorial Assistant and that person will make sure that my material will get to the appropriate person. Wonderful! Now, what is the name of this Editorial Assistant? I've looked all over Dorchester's website and I can't find it. More importantly, when I write the query letter, who am I addressing it to? Dear Sir or Ma'am is probably the quickest way for me to get my material tossed into the trash. Can anyone pretty please with a brownie on top help me with this?

Just hand over the brownies and nobody gets hurt! I'm PMSing, I don't know the answer to the question, but I want the BROWNIES!!!! :e2cookie:

This is when it's okay to call the publisher's office. Just say you are preparing a romance submission, and you'd like the name of the editorial assitant to whom it should be addressed. Get them to spell it for you. It's not nice to misspell the name, either. <G>

Susan G.

katee
02-17-2006, 03:10 AM
Just hand over the brownies and nobody gets hurt! I'm PMSing, I don't know the answer to the question, but I want the BROWNIES!!!! :e2cookie:
Hehe, if it's brownies you're after, I have a recipe that takes 1 minute to put together and 4 minutes to cook in the microwave ... but they wouldn't last the week it'd take to post them to you ;)

Hmmm, lucky I'm at work now (where there's a microwave, but no cocoa) otherwise I'd make some ... you've got me in the mood ...