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Written by Gary Crucefix   

Romancing the Web

by Gary Crucefix

Despite the bewildering array of high tech paraphernalia in the 21st Century, Romance fiction remains all the rage.

Romance publisher Harlequin Mills and Boon (HMB) sells millions of books each year. Print runs start at 100,000 in stark contrast to the average 10,000 run for a novel, with many titles breaking the half-million barrier. Other players in the market are Avon Books and Ballantine Publishing Group. Elsewhere on the bookshelf, Hodder Headline imprints retail steamier passions while the more explicit market is dominated by Black Lace (Virgin) and X Libris (Little Brown).

Romance authors on the Net include:
Venessa Grant:
Mary Z. Wolf:
Pam McCutcheon:
Suzette L. Mako:

Don't be surprised to find their pages out-of-date; nonetheless, they yield some useful information and links.

There are many resources for romance writers: Science Fiction Romance:

A Celebration of Regency Romance:

Inkspot resources for romance writers:

Fiction House Romance Resource:

HMB is an excellent moneymaking market to break into. They have the following imprints:
Mills & Boon Presents (50-55,000 words): Contemporary romances with international settings, focusing intensely on hero and heroine, with happy endings assured.

Mills & Boon Medical Romance (50-55,000 words): With modern medical practice providing a background to love stories.

Mills & Boon Historical Romance (75-80,000 words).

Mira (minimum 100,000 words): Individual women's fiction.

Mills & Boon Enchanted: Their US-based Silhouette imprints are Desire, Special Edition, Sensation and Intrigue.

If you would like to submit your work to Harlequin online, you can do so only through Authorlink, using their guidelines and submission form, at: Authorlink is not a group of agents or self-publishers or an editorial service. It does not take commissions for work sold. It is an electronic clearinghouse and marketer for traditional publishers, agents and authors. Authorlink helps professional writers -- whether represented or not -- market their work to editors and agents internationally. They do more than idly list work. They aggressively market to publishers and agents via:

6-8 direct mailings per year to editors and agents
presence at conferences
personal contact
the Internet and other channels.

Authorlink depends upon small listing fees, sponsorships and cooperation to provide this valuable service. The site has been extremely successful in matching qualified writers with literary agencies. On average, agents and editors request 65-75% of their evaluated manuscripts. Of these, 30-36% percent are accepted for literary representation.

A committee of published writers reviews all submissions. There is no reading fee. If approved, your listing will appear in Author Showcase for experienced writers. Those not chosen for Author Showcase but who show considerable promise are automatically listed in their Emerging Writers section for developing talent, unless the writer specifically instructs otherwise. Authorlink reserves the right to refuse any listing. Referrals to writers' support groups are available to anyone who wants additional help. The same work may be re-submitted after editing. Submissions of new work are always welcome. Represented writers are encouraged to participate. Inquiries can be forwarded to either the writer or the agent.

Writers who wish inquiries to be forwarded to them should submit a query letter stating the length of the manuscript and a brief synopsis as well as pertinent biographical information, including publishing credits and professional affiliations.

Equal consideration is given to authors whether they are represented or not. Authorlink does not accept simultaneous submissions. Be sure to include sufficient return postage in a money order or international reply coupons. The upper right hand corner of each page should have the author's last name and page number.

Romance Net - - provides guidelines for aspiring romance authors and editorial guidelines for submitting to the Mills & Boon, Harlequin, Silhouette and MIRA romance series.

One of Random House Inc.'s current operations is Ballantine Publishing Ltd.: The Ballantine Publishing Group offers a unique romantic fiction publishing program. They publish a select number of historical and contemporary romances and choose those books based on quality, not because they adhere to specific guidelines. Ballantine does not publish an individual line or categorize romances titles, and looks for fresh, well-paced works that do not adhere to a strict "formula." Best-selling authors such as Diana Palmer, Mary Jo Putney, Patricia Rice, Bertrice Small, and Phyllis Whitney are published alongside mainstream fiction best sellers like Michael Crichton and Anne Rice.

Ballantine prefers to look at represented submissions, but if you do not have an agent and would like to submit your work for consideration, send a query letter to:

The Ballantine Publishing Group
201 East 50th Street
New York, NY 10022

Or mail to: Include a brief synopsis of plot, setting, and characters and personal information that you feel is relevant. Do not send the manuscript or sample chapters unless requested to do so. Enclose a self-addressed, stamped envelope for a reply, which you should receive within three to four months.

For those of you without Surfboards:
Harlequin Mills & Boon tip-sheets and guidelines are available from:

Harlequin Mills & Boon Editorial Dept.
Eton House, 18-24 Paradise Road
Richmond, Surrey TW9 1SR
Tel: 0181 948 0444

Hodder & Stoughton: Submit 3 chapters (or about 40 pages), a synopsis and character list to:

Carolyn Mays
Hodder & Stoughton General
338 Euston Road
London NW1 3BH
Tel: 0171 873 6000

Headline: Submit 3 chapters (or about 40 pages), a synopsis and character list to:

Jane Morpeth
Headline Book Publishing
338 Euston Road
London NW1 3BH
Tel: 0207 873 6000

Black Lace (Virgin): Send preliminary letter to:

Kerri Sharp, Editor.
Virgin Publishing Ltd.
Thames Wharf Studios, Rainville Road
London W6 9HT
Tel: 0171 386 3300

X Libris (Little Brown): Send preliminary letter to:

Hilary Hale, Editor
Little Brown and Co. (UK)
Brettenham House, Lancaster Place
London WC2E 7EN
Tel: 0207 911 8000
Pan: Submit 3 chapters (or about 40 pages), a synopsis and character list to:

Peter Lavery
Macmillan Publishers Ltd,
25 Eccleston Place
London SW1W 9NF
Tel: 0207 881 8000

Piatkus Books: Submit as above to:

Gill Cormode
Piatkus Books
5 Windmill Street
London W1P 1HF
Tel: 0207 631 0710

Souvenir Press: Prefers an initial letter of inquiry before sending manuscript. Contact:

Tessa Harrow
Souvenir Press Ltd.
43 Great Russell Street
London WC1B 3PA
Tel: 0207 580 9307/8

If you would like copies of Authorlink guidelines and manuscript submission forms or Writers' Guidelines for Mills & Boon, Harlequin, Silhouette and MIRA romance series, e-mail with 'Romance Guidelines' in the subject header. You will receive a reply with the tips and guidelines as e-mail attachments.

Copyright 2000 by Gary Crucefix

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