As promised, I wanted to give you a heads up for the things I will be looking for especially when I re-open to submissions. Re-opening date will be right around Memorial Day so wait until you see that opening.
First of all, I will give you a quick hint before diving into the areas of want. I am not a big fan of first person. I just do not think a lot of authors out there can provide the depth of storytelling by using first person. This includes the whole duel perspective stories. I am also not someone who wants to see stories where the author is just intentionally adding hot erotic scenes just to make the story work. If characters are in a relationship and the sex shows up naturally as a part of the building romance, then that is great.
I am going to go big for women's fiction this time. I am really looking for stories that are around 80K-110 K in word count. Stories should focus on seeing the world through a woman's eye and really giving us a perspective on the female psyche. Stories need to focus on one central theme and not be bogged down by an extensive amount of baggage or side stories. Have the characters focus in on one issue and not a ton. Please, stay away from the over-used tropes such as:
- Recently divorced after finding out husband was cheating
- Road trips to figure out their lives
- Taking off to Europe and finding some hot sexy guy
These stories should resonate with anyone reading the story and give the readers something to talk about.
I will also be looking for single title contemporary romances. Again, readers should be able to be connected to the characters and the story MUST focus on the romance and the building of a relationship. I would love to have stories that give us a great summer read.
I would love to see some great NEW ADULT stories that again, focus on real issues. These are stories that high school and new to college people can relate to. Remember, NEW ADULT is about self-discovery during this tough time in life. It is about transition. These are not just YA's with sex. Think women's fiction for this age group.
Multicultural romances and women's fiction are my next items on my #MSWL. I want stories that explore the culture. These stories should give us a taste of the culture, much like a great travel documentary or book. Clash of cultures is great if it gives us a real big dark moment for the characters to have to come to grips with the clashing lifestyles. Consider this definition:
The sense of “culture” used in intercultural communication is that of “worldview.” Culture is a generalization about how a group of people coordinate meaning and action among themselves. ... These habits are often referred to as cultural assumptions and values, and they occur in all groups, not just national societies.
Please note, I am talking about multicultural here not multi racial stories. That is a completely different issue.
If you are looking to write historical, make sure the stories are strong in terms of the sense of history and world building. Regency, Victorian and WW1 and WW2 would be great topics. Remember the romance needs to be the central focus here.
Not really looking hard core for paranormal or romantic suspense.
Finally, as always, if you are interested in writing for a series line such as Harlequin, make sure to read those guidelines, and when submitting, your query letter should demonstrate how your story fits their submission guidelines (not just in word count).