Today I’m making a couple of changes in the kinds of books I’m looking for. Those of you who are writing romance, cozy mystery, or female-driven suspense, listen up.
Right now I’m specifically seeking previously published authors who are unrepresented but would like to expand and grow their career beyond what they’ve been able to do on their own.
Important: As always, I’m also interested in unpublished authors, but I don’t want to see any first drafts and it’s unlikely that your very first book will be right for me. I’m looking for writers who have been working on the craft, have shown their manuscripts to objective readers and received positive feedback, and are familiar with the workings of publishing through reading blogs and attending conferences.
So what’s new?
First, in the past I wasn’t accepting cozy mysteries but I’d like to start looking at them. If you query me, please be sure to put “Query – Cozy Mystery” in the subject line of your email.
Second, I’ll be focusing more on fiction that appeals to women. This could be almost any genre, but the book needs to have at least one strong female main character, and a plot that doesn’t have “primarily of interest to men” written all over it. Of course, this is going to be subjective but use your best judgment to determine where your manuscript fits. To those of you who will inevitably ask why: 1) Because I am, after all, female, and would like to represent books I can enjoy reading multiple times since that’s usually what I end up doing; and 2) the CBA fiction market is driven by female consumers, so there are solid business reasons for narrowing my focus. (My colleagues Greg Johnson and Caleb Seeling enjoy male-oriented fiction so feel free to query them.)
Third, I’ve decided to start looking at manuscripts specifically for four romance lines: Barbour’s Heartsongs Presents, Harlequin’s Love Inspired, Summerside’s Love Finds You, and HarperCollins’ Avon Inspire. If you’re going query me for these lines, you MUST be familiar with them, their word counts, and their specific requirements, and you must indicate as much in your query letter. Read their websites and go to the bookstore to look at their books. Following are some details:
→ 45,000 to 50,000 words.
→ Primarily romance with traditional settings or cozy mysteries with romance and inspirational subplots. Historicals must be prior to WWII, contemporaries are modern-day. (Nothing between WWII and modern day.)
→ No chick lit, mom lit, or romantic suspense.
Steeple Hill Love Inspired:
→ Love Inspired is looking for character-driven romance with a Christian worldview (55-60,000 words)
→ Love Inspired Suspense is looking for riveting romantic suspense with a Christian worldview (55-60,000 words)
→ Love Inspired Historical is looking for Westerns, Americana (e.g., non-western settings.), European historical eras (e.g., Regency, and Victorian England, 18th century Scotland, etc.), 20th century (turn of the century through World War II) and biblical fiction. Also interested in stories featuring missionaries abroad in exotic locations during various historical periods. Historicals should be 70-75,000 words long.
→ The “Love Finds You®” series features inspirational romance novels set in actual cities and towns across the United States.
→ Full-length novels, word count of around 80,000.
→ The stories may be historical or contemporary.
→ Historical and contemporary romance, chick lit, romantic suspense, African American Christian fiction, historical women’s fiction with romantic elements.
→ Only considering published authors.
→ 60,000-90,000 words
From their website: “These stories and their characters are primarily Christian, and promote traditional values and beliefs. They also are first and foremost stories of the heart, romantic novels about learning to trust; to open ourselves to love, not only to the men in our lives, but ultimately to God. Set in America, both contemporary and historical settings will be considered, as will romantic suspense and romantic comedy. There should be no alcohol, drug use, or premarital sex for the main characters. For non-Christian characters, these subjects can be explored but primarily to show their destructive nature and how a virtuous life is the better path. Foul language should be avoided at all costs.”
→ Any questions?
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