Monday, October 08, 2007

Market Update

Someone asked me recently how the contemporary romance market is doing and based on my recent trip the the NJ RWA Put Your Heart in a Book conference I'm pleased to say quite well.

According to an editor with HQN they are looking specifically for big sexy contemporary romances right now and St. Martin's is also actively looking for contemporary romances for their 2008 list. Which means they would have to be pretty near completion. An editor from Bantam is also actively seeking straight contemporary romances. The only house I spoke to on this front that says they are full with contemporaries at this time was Dorchester.

Of course my advice with contemporaries is that it still has to have a hook. You need to be able to tell your potential reader what your book is about in just a few short sentences and really grab her attention. A typical boy meets girl and falls in love is not going to cut it.

An editor at St. Martin's also told me recently that they would love to find a really great Western historical romance. Great news for lovers of this genre.

In other market news an editor at Berkley is looking for Women's Fiction. I know, I say this with every market update. She describes it best as "book club women's fiction" the kind that women's reading groups often gravitate toward. I've also heard it referred to as "Oprah light." Books that aren't as heavy as those often chosen for the Oprah Book Club, but along the same themes.

An editor buying for one of Random House's SF/Fantasy imprints is looking for urban fantasy with a slightly humorous tone. Those of you writing in that vein should think Jim Butcher of course.

A nonfiction business editor talked with me at length about books geared to women. She said that business books geared to women don't work as well as they would hope. The subject has to be something that is for women and only women. In other words a guide to starting your own business for women doesn't work because the topic isn't that different for men. However, something more psychological, like negotiating for women, that really looks at the differences between men and women, does work.

An editor with Ballantine said she is not looking for funny paranormal romances at this time, but would love to see more steamier, sexier, erotic type romances.

In addition to catching up with editors and agents I haven't seen in quite a while, I took appointments and gave one of the best workshops I think I've ever given. Perfecting Your Pitch. The group was great and many were willing to read their pitches aloud. I had a wonderful time and hope that a number of people learned from me. In fact, I had so much fun I think I’m going to try and carry it over to the blog. So keep an eye out for a new workshop.

--Jessica

12 comments:

Rianee said...

I do remember Shauna Summers saying at Nationals, she was looking for a nice contemporary. She had a ton of paranormals but no big and wonderful contemporaries.

amy m said...

Great news, now I just need to finish writing my contemporary romance! Thanks!

Christie Craig said...

Ohhh, I love hearing this.

Thanks for posting Jessica.

Christie Craig

Tammie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tammie said...

Great news for women's fiction and the news on contemporary romance gives me the push to finsih my current wip!

Chris Redding said...

Jessica,
Everyone in your workshop raved about it.
We enjoyed having you and Kim!
Chris Redding
2007 NJRW
Agent Liaison

Faye Hughes said...

Oooh...thanks for the update, Jessica!

Faye

Erik said...

> According to an editor with HQN they are looking specifically for big sexy contemporary romances right now and St. Martin's is also actively looking for contemporary romances for their 2008 list. Which means they would have to be pretty near completion.

Could you give me some idea what you mean by "big"? I have a good idea and an outline as to how I'd like to take it, but I always believe in brevity.

Aimless Writer said...

Perfecting your Pitch was great. I think I learned a lot. Definately worth repeating here. Can we post our pitches for you to critique?

Sheryl said...

Thanks to what I learned in your workshop, I fine tuned my pitch and received a request. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I was in the workshop and thought it was great. I think the best thing about it was that you were able to hear the pitch then really identify out of the three or four sentences what did and did not work. Very cool and could be applied to query letters as well.

Steph

Deb said...

I'm a little late in catching up on blog reading - but attended your workshop in NJ and learned a ton. It inspired me to rewrite several pitches when I got home. Plus I really enjoyed your delivery. As you know, we all get nervous making pitches and your workshop added a human face to the process. Thanks for your insight and to all the brave writers who read their pitches.