Monday, July 25, 2011

Editors are Calling For Projects, But Where Are The Authors?

I always find it interesting when I hear authors say they have no idea what the editors are looking for. Why interesting? Because they have been tellling you. If you have attended conferences, read their blogs, read interviews they did with other writers or articles they have written, they have indeed told you. What they haven't told you is what to write.

I am bringing this up today for one reason. To let all of you know that when I do open submissions fully in September, if you have these projects, you might want to start polishing those bad boys.

Last year (that's right, last year), following Nationals in Orlando, I mentioned tha I had a ton of editors telling me they were looking for Contemporary romances. No, these were not light stories with a bunch of characters with baggage, but stories that had depth. They wanted contemporary romances that read with the depth of character and plot development that strong historicals had. Of course, at that time, I also mentioned that there were several agents claiming that editors just weren't buying contemporaries. I pointed out though, that IMHO the issue was more of a factor that editors were only seeing stories that wouldn't work, not that they weren't buying.

This year, in New York, what did I hear? We are still begging for Contemporary romances. They still haven't found the stories. And, again, the stories they want are those with some depth to them. Not stories that just add multiple, plot-device-like sub plots just to keep the story going. They want powerful contemporaries.

And guess what, I am still looking for the projects as well.

What else are they calling for (as well as me here at Greyhaus)? I am actively acquiring all of the Harlequin lines and especially the contemporary romances for the Mills and Boon line.

What am I not overly eager to see right ow? Please note, I am not saying I won't look at the projects, nor am I saying I am closed to submissions.
  • Historicals, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Romantic Suspense - Many of the publishers have a very full stable right now of very strong writers. If you want to jump into these categories, you better be over-the top amazing.
  • Romantic Comedy - I hate to break this to you, but we know exactly what all of you writers did. Once you hear "chick-lit" was dead, you put the projects aside and then brought them back out, dusted them off and called them "romantic comedies". Um, yeah! I will say, I have heard a couple of editors and agents throw out Chick Lit again as a potential genre but in all honesty, I don't think they are ready for them.
The point is, there are many of us out there telling you what we want. If you hear us proclaiming things like this online, you should get a hint. We ARE interested. Don't be shy.



  1. British author Elle Amberley has a contemporary romance coming out. You want depth, she has plenty.

  2. With the popularity of the paranormal and romantic suspense sub-genres I was beginning to think that contemporary romances were on their way out. I'm thrilled to hear that's not the case. Especially since I've just written one, and have started another. I'm polishing up the first one and will be querying soon.

    Scott, your post made my day!

  3. Interesting... I wonder if this first novel of mine could fall in the "contemporary romance" category. I hope to have it in some semblance of readiness for the public eye by September, and, Scott, I have to warn you: you'll be one of the first query victims *cackles evilly*.

  4. I cannot do any version of HEA. A 'maybe they will work it out', a 'what will happen next?'. a 'oh, that's sweet, I am so happy for them.' But HEA rings so phony to me. Counsel me.

  5. I'm really happy to read your take on contemporaries, Scott. It's tough out here amid the feys and shifters and vampires and legions of supernatural whatevers when you've got a story about two adult humans who are a little weary but basically sane, and just have a few things to sort out for themselves on their way to together. I think part of the market that falls between book club lit and romance has been left behind with the explosion of paranormal in particular. Hopefully, there's an editor or two with the foresight to give new authors of the contemporary romances that appeal to those readers a chance to publish.