Scholars Who Write Romance

Thursday, September 30, 2010

If the shoe fits...
I'm currently reading Eloisa James' latest book, "A Kiss at Midnight," sort of a retelling of Cinderella.

So far, I am enjoying this saucy incarnation of a Cinderella who is no door mat. As a girl listening to the fairy tale, I always wished poor Cindy would show some backbone and give her evil stepmother a good kick in the shins.

Reading the book got me thinking about James' other job as a literature professor at Fordham University. And did you know that best-selling author Julia Quinn went to Harvard? That's right. Harvard.

We're obviously dealing with some extremely intelligent women which is not always the image people have of romance writers. 

Check out this 2009 article from USA Today entitled, "Scholarly Writers Empower the Romance Genre."

How Much Can Romance Writers Earn?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

An agent with a well-known agency said recently that it is not unusual for a first-time romance author to get a $2,500 advance. Sometimes, she added, that advance can be upped to $5,000 or $10,000 (not including royalties).

Another romance author tells me she received a $7,000 advance for the first book, $8,000 for the second and $9,000 for the third title in a three-book deal with a major publisher.

Another signed a multi-book deal, with a mid-sized, up-and-coming publisher, which included a $2,000 advance per title.

For more detailed numbers, including royalties, check out this candid discussion of earnings from cozy mystery writer Ellery Adams.

To learn more about advances from the specific publishing houses, click here.

Of course, some of the biggest stars in the genre do very well. Here's a look at some recent deals which show a range of advances:

NYT bestselling author Madeline Hunter's next four historical romances, to Wendy McCurdy at Berkley, in a major deal ($500,000 and up) by Pam Hopkins at Hopkins Literary Associates

#1 NYT bestselling author Julia Quinn's three novels, to Lyssa Keusch at Harper, in a major deal ($500,000 and up), by Steven Axelrod of The Axelrod Agency

RITA-award winning author of Not Quite A Husband, Sherry Thomas's next three Victorian/Edwardian historical romances, moving to Wendy McCurdy at Berkley, in a good deal ($100,000 - $250,000), by Kristin Nelson at Nelson Literary Agency

NYT bestselling author Suzanne Brockmann's FUTURE PERFECT, to Shauna Summers at Ballantine, in a good deal ($100,000 - $250,000), by Steven Axelrod at The Axelrod Agency.

NYT and USA Today bestseller Sarah MacLean's next four Regency romances, to Carrie Feron at Avon, in a significant deal ($251,000 - $499,000), by Alyssa Eisner Henkin at Trident Media Group

2010 RITA nominee for The Virgin's Daughters Jeane Westin's THE QUEEN'S LADY SPY, to Ellen Edwards at NAL, in a nice deal ($1 - $49,000), by Danielle Egan-Miller at Browne & Miller Literary Associates.

Tracy Madison's three holiday books, to Gail Chasan at Silhouette Special Edition, in a nice deal ($1 - $49,000), by Michelle Grajkowski at 3 Seas Literary Agency.

Interesting, no?

UPDATE: I''ve taken the plunge and developed an author website that I actually have to pay for! I hope you'll start visiting me there; that's where I'll be blogging from now on! Come along and have a look! Click here.

A Day with Literary Agent Nephele Tempest

Saturday, September 25, 2010

I just met my first real live agent in the flesh, Nephele Tempest of The Knight Agency. Nephele's workshop was presented by the Washington Romance Writers. She was warm and approachable and did not seem to mind at all when people walked up to ask questions after her talk.

Nephele gave an extremely informative presentation on a number of topics including how to write a synopsis and finding the agent that's right for you. Nephele also gave us some insight into the mood of editors these days. Since I think others will find it as interesting as I did, here goes:
  • Paranormal is still big but some editors are starting to say they don't want to see any more vampires, werewolves or shapeshifters
  • Historicals are picking up (mostly Regencies)
  • Funny contemporary romances are not selling terribly well
  • Women's fiction that does not sound like Chick lit (focusing more on a woman's journey) is selling
  • Erotica still sells but has slowed down and is not moving as briskly as it once was
  •  Escapist anything is very popular
  • Young Adult is huge right now
 Nephele's personal take is that there are not enough books on the market right now geared to high school-aged boys.

UPDATE: I''ve taken the plunge and developed an author website that I actually have to pay for! I hope you'll start visiting me there; that's where I'll be blogging from now on! Come along and have a look! Click here.

Writing With the Stars...Here We Go!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Writing With the Stars competition is about to get under way. I am one of 10 finalists vying for the top be published by Kensington Brava!

The contest is a blend of Dancing With the Stars and American Idol. Each finalist works with a professional, published writer who helps her hone her entries (each round has a writing challenge). An industry professional assesses the entries but - in the end - the viewers/users determine the winner. Online voting begins October 11.

You can check out all of the finalists at RTBookReviews.
Of course, I immediately scoped out the competition. It's such an interesting group of writers from a variety of genres. And I'm trying not to be intimidated by the fact that some of my fellow finalists have already published ebooks with very reputable online publishers. Pretty impressive.

What an incredible opportunity for any aspiring author. I still can't completely believe it.  It wasn't that long ago that I shied away from telling people I was writing a book.

Speaking of impressive...

My mentor for the duration of the contest is the amazing Brava author Mary Wine. Being paired with such a gifted writer has turned out to be an incredible stroke of luck for me.

More on the delightful and generous Ms. Wine in a future post.

Molly Contest Finalist

Saturday, September 4, 2010

My manuscript, "Compromising Willa," just moved into the final round of the 2010 Molly Contest sponsored by the Heart of Denver Romance Writers!

It's a thrill because the Molly is one of the better known chapter contests. The final round judge in the Historical category is Meredith Giordan, Berkley Publishing Group.

I have a special soft spot for "Willa" because it was my first completed manuscript and I absolutely love the hero and heroine. Hopefully, the final round judge will feel the same way!

Writing With the Stars!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

WOW! Can you hear me screaming yet? I've had to keep quiet about some amazing news until it was publicly here it finally is: 

RT BOOK REVIEWS announced on its blog today that my manuscript, "Seducing Charlotte,"  is one of 10 finalists in the Writing With the Stars contest sponsored by RT and Kensington’s Brava imprint.

There will be five rounds of competition. The aspiring authors are paired with Brava authors who will serve as mentors, kind of a "Dancing with the Stars" concept for unpublished writers. We get to work with our mentors and they help us spruce up our entries to make them as strong as possible.

Receiving the phone call from Kensington Associate Editor Megan Records was a surreal experience. I couldn't quite feel my excitement because I couldn't feel anything at all! She was so nice and patient with all of my distracted questions.

I've got some intense competition. Good luck to all of us!

The winning author's manuscript will be published by Kensington.  

Fantastic News From the Golden Gate City

I received an email last night with a list of the 2010 Heart to Heart finalists and my name is on it!

My manuscript, "Seducing Charlotte," is nominated in the Historical category.

The contest is sponsored by the San Francisco chapter of the Romance Writers of America. I had to submit, "that magical scene in which your hero and heroine meet for the first time." Submissions could run a maximum of 15 pages.

It's very exciting because the final round has an excellent set of judges for the Historical category. They include both a print editor and an ePub editor as well as an agent.

Agent: Barbara Poelle, Irene Goodman Literary Agency
Print Editor: Amanda Bergeron, Avon
ePub Editor: Jessica Schulte, Carina Press

Final round winners will be announced on September 30.