Monday, September 20, 2010

Don't Blame The Editors On This One

On Friday, there was a brief discussion that popped up on Contemporary Romance. Let me give you the run down on the conversation first before I expand on this. A comment popped up about how there seemed to be a limited number of contemporary romance coming out in the coming month. I replied and stated that this was why I was so eager to find them. It was interesting that someone replied and commented that the lack of contempory romances out there was due to the editors not buying these stories. This is where the problem arises.

I specifically talked to numerous editors while in Orlando this summer and they all said they were eager to find some contemporary romances. The problem? All the submissions they have seen were far from quality. This is the same thing I have seen on my end as an agent (and was also supported by another agent that chimed in on the conversation on Friday).

This writer is taking the a myth is being created by the simple fact that the stories are not being published. Writers (and many agents that I have heard) seem to think that because editors aren't buying the stories, they don't want them. This is far from the truth. Editors want GOOD stories. They don't want fluff, they don't want poorly written stories, they don't want something that is not marketable. If writers are sending poor quality writing, a rejection does not mean that they aren't buying. It means the story is not up to the quality of what they want. If agents have contemporary romances and are marketing these and getting rejections, the odds are the writing is not necessarily what they are looking for. Why is it that I have only 1 contemporary author in my line up? I simply am not find the stories.

The simple truth is that we want GOOD stories. Not just quirky, not just different. We want GOOD.



  1. Hi Scott,

    I recently read an article/blog post on the matter. The post claimed that the number of "unreadable" stories has multiplied over the last couple of years. I'm curious. Why do you think slush piles have grown to gigantic proportions over the last couple of years?


  2. Honestly, I think the answer stems from the number of places out there promoting the idea that EVERYONE can be published. Many of these sites, and yes, most are e-publishing sites, are simply taking the idea of selp-publishing to a new level.

    For many, they realize the work to selp publish is harder then they thought and now plan on moving to a bigger publisher.

    Again, this is just one theory.


  3. Hi Scott,

    At the start of your very informative post, you said that you were discussing this topic with editors/other agents on "Contemporary Romance." Is this a blog or some type of website for everyone, or is it some secret location for those who are publishing in the romance industry. Thanks!

  4. I'm hoping to see more contemporaries out there, but I admit that I still love reading the older ones by Diana Palmer and Linda Howard and the like. The "younger" writers whose contemporaries I've read seemed to concentrate more on the story than the characters.

    Contemporary or historical, I'm reading for the romance.