PDA

View Full Version : Writing guidelines Harlequin vs. Mills and Boon



Monet
04-16-2006, 06:59 PM
When checking guidelines for the different imprints, if you look on the Harlequin site for the (for example) Harlequin American Romance it states that it is to go to the Toronto Editorial Office, addressed to Associate Senior Editor: Kathleen Scheibling.

But if you look on the Mills and Boon site (which is the UK sister site for Harlequin Publishing) the guidelines for Harlequin American Romance states that it is to go to the New York office, addressed to Paula Eykelhof


Does it matter which guidelines I follow? Mills and Boon or Harlequin?

Cathy C
04-16-2006, 07:20 PM
I guess I don't know when the M&B website was last updated. The shift to the Toronto office for submissions is fairly new--just happened last year during all of the "restructuring" of the lines. I'd follow the eHarlequin guidelines if you're submitting for the American line.

Monet
04-16-2006, 10:45 PM
Thanks, Cathy

Crinklish
04-17-2006, 11:46 PM
I'm a Harlequin editor in the New York office, and Paula Eykelhoff is based in Toronto anyway, which suggests that the M&B site needs updating. Send to Kathleen.

Cathy C
04-18-2006, 12:21 AM
Thanks for the update, Crinklish! :Hug2:

icerose
04-18-2006, 04:20 AM
Thanks from me too. I am getting ready to submit a romance to Harlequin as well and was also confused.

My biggest problem though is I don't know where my romance will fit. It has two romance for one girl but is very important and takes place over a few years, so I was thinking of the everlasting line.

But still they have the one romance thing. This particular book can't have just one romance because the focus is that her first love dies and she gains a new one.

I guess I will find out when I submit. :)

Sara

Crinklish
04-18-2006, 10:34 PM
Thanks from me too. I am getting ready to submit a romance to Harlequin as well and was also confused.

My biggest problem though is I don't know where my romance will fit. It has two romance for one girl but is very important and takes place over a few years, so I was thinking of the everlasting line.

But still they have the one romance thing. This particular book can't have just one romance because the focus is that her first love dies and she gains a new one.

I guess I will find out when I submit. :)

Sara
One thought is to cut way back on the first love and make more of it the heroine's backstory--start the main action of the book at the point where she's lost the first guy, and then the plot becomes the story of her finding the second.

icerose
04-19-2006, 01:42 AM
One thought is to cut way back on the first love and make more of it the heroine's backstory--start the main action of the book at the point where she's lost the first guy, and then the plot becomes the story of her finding the second.

Right now they share equal parts in the story. Would it be more feasable to cut it into two books? The problem is the first one would end with his death or near his death and that isn't exactly a happy ending. Or I could end it with their lives happy together then begin the second with his death.

Do you think either of these would work better?

Thanks

Cathy C
04-19-2006, 02:23 AM
But the question you have to ask yourself, Icerose, is WHY do they share the story? What purpose does the first man have to the overall romance plot (which is ultimately the heroine's relationship with the SECOND man?) Backstory doesn't always have to make it into the text of the book. I have written passages that could have been a hundred pages extra for each book I've written that simply doesn't apply to the actual plot. It's necessary, but only to ME.

What might seem really important to turning her into the person who will be attracted to the PRIMARY hero (i.e., the HEA one), can be dealt with in a paragraph or two. Why not start the book at the funeral of her first love? Then you've got ample opportunity to develop the backstory in bits and pieces while she tries to go on with her life and eventually meets the hero.

Just a thought... :)

icerose
04-19-2006, 02:32 AM
Thanks Cathy,

I guess its one of those things that have to be read. I felt it was important that the audience know Matt and see their romance and what she lost so that she could understand her struggle with her new love, also he comes back as a ghost at the end of the story.

This of course is all in my opinion and I am rather close to the story so my opinion is biased.

I will definitely think it over, I do feel that it is very important to the story as it stands, but I am not closed to suggestions or change. :)

Sara

icerose
04-19-2006, 02:56 AM
Having read over your suggestions several times now, Cathy, you are quite right. It will take a lot of work to re-write the first 200 pages if not the entire book, but it could greatly improve the salability of it. Thus far 9 agents have read it and have said "It's great, I just don't know how to market it."

I had hoped to find a publisher that would accept an unorthidox romance with two romance lines, but it seems I will be better off change it to fit the orthidox romances.

Cathy C
04-19-2006, 03:04 AM
Oh, you can do two romance lines, but not with only three people... :ROFL: (unless all three are involved in the romance, but then you're in to the M/M/F lines, which are smaller markets, and that's not the sort of book you're writing.)

Of course, it's YOUR book, and you get to make the decision of what you want it to be. I'm not going to try to tell you that it's impossible to sell it as is, because properly done, ANYTHING can be sold. But it's harder. Sometimes, compromises have to be made to make it commercially saleable in today's market. But you're also perfectly justified to leave it as is and wait for the market to change.

Your choice. :)

icerose
04-19-2006, 03:12 AM
Yeah, definitely not my market. I don't want to just wait for the market to change, chances are it will move further away from my writing into more risque things than closer.

My goal is to be the best writer I can be and if that means altering my stories into a more marketable form and pushing my abilities further than I had expect, well than that is what needs to be done.

Having backstory sprinkled through out would still allow me to have this great and trying time with Matt and losing her own father and his sister. Also it would give me more time to get to know John, her second love, and what he is like before he meets Tracy.

Dark Sim
04-20-2006, 07:44 AM
I was wondering - would it not go down too well if a man submitted material to either one of these publishers? Would they either think that it's really meant more for women authors? And would it be bad for one's career (eg, becoming the first male Silhouette Bombshell novelist)?

I wasn't planning to submit anything in particular, but I was simply trying to imagine what would happen in the event that I did consider something like this. Bad career move? Or could it be a stepping stone at all to allow me onto bigger and brighter things? Or would Harlequin/ Mills & Boon novelists find themselves typecast and stuck within a particular genre once they've broken into it in the first place?

Cathy C
04-20-2006, 06:40 PM
I guess I don't understand your question, Marlowesnoopstein. Are you asking if it's wrong for a MAN to write for Harlequin? If so, then the answer is no. It's not a bad career move and, in fact, can be a TERRIFIC career move if your goal is to continue to write in romance. H/S (Harlequin/Silhouette) is one of the primary romance publishers and you'll be taken quite seriously.


But if your goal is to write in other genres, then why START in romance? Don't presume for a moment that it's somehow easier to get pubbed in romance. Actually, the reverse is true, because a good romance is a double-arc novel, which many people can't do. In some ways, it's much HARDER to get started in romance.

Dark Sim
04-20-2006, 07:23 PM
I guess I don't understand your question, Marlowesnoopstein. Are you asking if it's wrong for a MAN to write for Harlequin? If so, then the answer is no. It's not a bad career move and, in fact, can be a TERRIFIC career move if your goal is to continue to write in romance. H/S (Harlequin/Silhouette) is one of the primary romance publishers and you'll be taken quite seriously.


But if your goal is to write in other genres, then why START in romance? Don't presume for a moment that it's somehow easier to get pubbed in romance. Actually, the reverse is true, because a good romance is a double-arc novel, which many people can't do. In some ways, it's much HARDER to get started in romance.

First, Marlowe will do, thanks.

I was wondering not whether it would be wrong for a man to write for Harlequin, but how others (both female authors within that genre, and male authors outside that genre) would view it. Just as a man could be a secretary or a nurse, it's less usual to see one than a woman, and others (both sexes) could still look down upon that person who has chosen that occupation.

I guess I was wondering if it might be like a man going to a hen party. Maybe there's nothing wrong as such, but wouldn't both the women there(and the men at the bachelor party) wonder why the man is going there (unless he is either trying to pick up chicks or is gay - and even then that might still be the wrong time for the man to be going there if he understands the purpose of both the hen and bachelor party).

Now I know that not all romance writers are female, but the majority are. And as far as a series like, say, Silhouette Bombshell by Harlequin, I think all their authors are female.

Part of what I was saying is that, while I would prefer to write in other genres, I wouldn't rule out romance. I certainly don't think it's easier to get published there than in other genres. But what I was concerned is that, supposing I wrote, as my first novel, a thriller, then as my second novel a romance, but only the second novel was picked up by a publisher. Would I then be stuck in that romance genre if, let's say I was popular enough that the publishers wanted more of the same, or would I ever be able to get out again and write what I originally wanted to write?

icerose
04-20-2006, 07:54 PM
Is Steven King stuck writing only horror?

There are plenty of males who write romance, most of which so they don't feel stuck, create pen names like Steven King for their various genres.

I really don't see how it could work against you and you are only STUCK if you don't write anything but romance, and that would be entirely a choice, at least I feel.

Some male writers who write romance and others assume a female penname so they do not have to worry about their reception with the market.

I do not know how this affects the salability of the novel, someone more experienced would have to answer that one.

MMo
04-20-2006, 08:22 PM
I was wondering - (...) And would it be bad for one's career (eg, becoming the first male Silhouette Bombshell novelist)?


You wouldn't be.

Mo

ElleF
04-22-2006, 05:15 PM
That's right, you wouldn't be the first.

I recently read The Big Burn by Terry Watkins. Jan 2006 Bombshell. Terry is a man. You can read his bio under the author menu at eHarlequin.com.

Elle

http://members.aol.com/ellefredrix/

Cathy C
04-22-2006, 05:35 PM
Doesn't Ken Casper (K.N. Casper) also write Bombshells? I know he's one of the NASCAR debut authors, and has been writing for H/S for many years. Tony Kariyianni (writing with wife Lori as Tori Carrington) are also long-standing romance authors. There are lots and LOTS more. You wouldn't be breaking any new ground, Marlowe. And you'd be in fine company. Romance readers aren't any more prejudiced to a man writing, than science fiction readers are to a woman writing, or horror, or anything else. If the book is good, readers don't care what race/sex/creed/nationality/orientation the author is. :)

Dark Sim
04-22-2006, 07:51 PM
I know Romance is the best selling genre, but if Harlequin are putting out a batch of novels every month, how many people in general actually read all of them? Aren't there too many to keep up with? Wouldn't it be almost like the equivalent of a daily, daytime soap compared to, say, a weekly serial or again, to a movie - ie, too much of it just over-saturates the market and maybe dilutes the product? Or do people still buy anyway?

Have any Harlequin novels ever made any general bestseller lists, or does romance have a best seller list of its own? Would these Harlequin novels ever get noticed by anyone else who aren't particularly into romance? Or is it just a niche market, albeit a big one?

Cathy C
04-23-2006, 05:10 AM
Yay! :hooray: Easy to answer questions!



I know Romance is the best selling genre, but if Harlequin are putting out a batch of novels every month, how many people in general actually read all of them?


LOTS! Now, mind you--category romances (do you understand what a category romance is versus a single title? I don't want to presume) are down from what they used to be, but they still easily sell tens of thousands of copies. Yes, EVERY single book by Harlequin!


Aren't there too many to keep up with?

Nope. Certain people like certain categories, and go back faithfully every single month.



Wouldn't it be almost like the equivalent of a daily, daytime soap compared to, say, a weekly serial or again, to a movie - ie, too much of it just over-saturates the market and maybe dilutes the product?


:ROFL: Um . . . and there are HOW many soap operas on television every weekday? No, there's no saturation. Romance sales account for over 50% of all fiction sold in the United States. According to Publishers Weekly magazine, the primary trade magazine for the industry, in 2004 (I couldn't find stats for 2005) the total the public spent on NEW books was $19 billion. Yes, that's BILLION. So, of that, $9.5 BILLION was spent on romance novels. No worries about saturation! People love to read, and won't be stopping any time soon.


Or do people still buy anyway?


Yep. The worse the economy is, the more people buy books--particularly paperback books. It's a cheap way to spend a few hours of recreation time.



Have any Harlequin novels ever made any general bestseller lists, or does
romance have a best seller list of its own?

Yes, and yes. Romance Writers of America (the premier romance author organization) keeps track of the various lists their members make (not all romance authors are members, but a good number of them are. RWA membership is about 9,000 right now.) Here is a link (https://www.rwanational.org/eweb/DynamicPage.aspx?Site=RWA&WebKey=0074fa7b-7e83-4ccd-bfbe-9b577daef931) to the lists people have made, including the New York Times Bestseller List, USA Today list, Publisher's Weekly, Waldenbooks, etc. There is also the Nielsen BookScan list, which tracks actual point of sale (cash register rings) to the public, which is a specifically romance list.


Would these Harlequin novels ever get noticed by anyone else who aren't particularly into romance?

Yep. How do you think Nora Roberts/J.D. Robb became such a large name? Or Sherrilyn Kenyon/Kinley MacGregor, Catherine Coulter, etc., etc. Many, MANY "big" names on the hardback shelves started as Harlequin authors.



Or is it just a niche market, albeit a big one?

That too. But any genre other than mainstream is a "niche". Western, Science Fiction/Fantasy, Horror, etc. They're all niche markets.

:)