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Welcome To SORMAG's Blog

Sunday, August 26, 2007


Come inside and meet:
Monica Harris - Dorchester African American
Stacy Boyd - Harlequin


RhondaN said...

Hello to both Monica Harris and Stacy Boyd.

I have several questions:

1. Do you both attend non-virtual writer’s conferences? Other than RWA which conferences would you suggest for an aspiring writer?

2. If you could recommend a writer’s contest to an unpublished author, which would it be?

3. Do you judge writer’s contest? If yes have you ever acquired a novel from a writer’s contest?

Thanks in advance.

RhondaN said...

Question for Monica Harris -

Is Dorchester thinking about expanding their line/imprints to include inspirational or Christian romance?


RhondaN said...

Question for both Monica Harris and Stacy Boyd

Do you read submissions from the slush pile or should an aspiring author really try to get an agent or pitch at a conference?

The Paperback Diva said...

Greetings to Monica and Stacy,
Could you tell us what makes a manuscript jump out at you? How much are you planning to work with an author if they have an idea you like, but you feel it needs work?


The Paperback Diva said...

Stacy and Monica,

Another question-- do you prefer large conferences or small, local ones? What are some of the conferences you plan to attend in the next few months?


Stacy Boyd said...

Hello, everyone. Thank you all for stopping by to meet me and Monica. You’ve got some great questions for starting off our discussion.

I do attend non-virtual writer’s conferences. My focus is usually on romance conferences, but in the past few years, as Harlequin has expanded their offerings to include literary fiction, erotica and thrillers, I’ve been to some general writer’s conferences, as well. My best advice for choosing a conference is to take a look at the publishing professionals (published authors, agents, and editors) who will be attending. If what they write/publish is what you’d like to write and publish then that’s probably a good conference for you.

I have judged many writing contests, but I have only bought one manuscript from a contest. I spoke with that writer because of her work in the contest. She sold a different book to me first, and after revisions she sold the contest work to me, too. My advice in choosing contests would be to select one that includes a critique, so you can get some feedback on what needs to change in your novel.

Concerning the slush pile…it’s large! I work mostly with Feature and Custom Publishing these days, where we do projects with multi-published authors (e.g., NASCAR, anthologies, twelve-book series and reissues) so I don’t read as much from the slush pile as I once did. However, I have found a few authors in the past by reading slush manuscripts. For Harlequin and Silhouette’s series romance lines, you do not need an agent to get on an editor’s desk.

Manuscripts really jump out at me when the author has a strong voice and a good story. I have been known to help with several sets of revisions to get a novel where it needs to be—but only if it has that spark and the author is willing and able to make changes.

I’ve had a wonderful time at both large and small conferences. And I’ve found new authors at both types. Over the next few months, I only have one event on my conference calendar after this one: the NYC RWA chapter’s Golden Apple reception in September.

Monica Harris said...

Thank you for attending this online conference. I find this to be a really valuable way to get information about the whys and wherefores of publishing.

I have attended few conferences in recent years but I intend to raise my presence in 2008-2009. I enjoy online conferences because writers have the opportunity to ask questions whenever they think of them and I have the opportunity to reach many who may not have had the option to travel to a conference site.

Over the years, I've had the opportunity to work with several authors -- first-timers and multipublished -- and I have bought books from those with and without an agent. The slush pile is large but I can usually judge a promising story (promising for a specific publishing house or imprint) in the first few pages. An agent usually knows if the manuscript will be a good fit for the editor or the house and can save a lot of time for you. Dorchester's focus is now "classic romance", however, if an inspirational story is appropriate for the list, it will be seriously considered.

I love a good romance, so I'm often encouraged by the energy and the emotional depth of the story; all authors need editorial revision so I'm not looking for perfection. I am very willing to work with an author who will work hard and understands that all I want to do is help make the manuscript the best it can be. If I like the author's voice but the work isn't quite ready for publication, I often ask them to send me the next work.

One of my first authors for Dorchester was a contest winner; it's a good sign that she knows the genre and can create fans of her work.


Anonymous said...

Monica and Stacy-

Do you find it easier to work with authors that have self-published already? Or do find there is no distinction?

Anna said...

Hello Monica and Stacy-

What is the typical timeframe from submission of manuscript to published book?


Anonymous said...

Hi, Stacey,

I have a few questions about Harlequin-Silhouette lines.

Are there changes planned for Harlequin American Romance or Silhouette Special Edition? Other lines have had changes, so I wondered about these two.

How is Silhouette's Nocturne line doing? The Raintree trilogy seems to be in demand; is the line meeting expectations?

Thanks for being here, Stacey!


Stacy Boyd said...

I have worked with authors who have self-published, been published successfully at other major houses or who have never been published before. Most writers I work with are eager to take on the work of revisions and new projects, no matter what their publishing history.

The timeframe for a book, from submission to published novel, can take anywhere from several months to several years. There are so many factors involved it’s hard to list them all. A few of the bigger ones: format (trade, e-book, mass market paperback), extent of revisions and edits to the novel, scheduling amidst open spots and competition, art and copy issues, and coordinating a release with a special event or holiday. Once you’ve sold a book, your editor and/or publisher can give you a better idea of what to expect as a timeline.


Stacy Boyd said...

There are no changes in the works for Harlequin American Romance, as far as I know. As for Silhouette Special Edition, they will be cutting back slightly on their page counts. Most of the stories are already hitting the desired counts, so I wouldn’t consider that a big change to the line.

Silhouette Nocturne is doing well. The Raintree trilogy has been a wonderful success for the line and proves that readers are looking for the kinds of stories Nocturne authors provide.

Thanks for your interest in the series lines, Trisha. If you want to know more about the books each line offers or the lines’ submission guidelines, you can check them out at www.eharlequin.com.


Bob Medak said...

I seem to be late as usual.

Monica and Stacy,

Thank you for a bevy of useful information.

If you come back by and happen to read this, I have only one question.

What is the best way for an unpublished author to break into the publishing world?


Trisha said...

Thanks, Stacey!


Stacy Boyd said...

Breaking into publishing takes a little luck, the right timing, some talent and a lot of hard work. If you write a good book, and then write more good books, you’ll be on your way. Research the publishing houses that publish the books you love, research agents who represent authors you love, and query them about those good books you wrote. Good luck!

Thanks to everyone for stopping by. I hope my answers were useful.


Dyanne said...

To Stacy and Monica,

Do you mind if the information you shared here is filtered down to my RWA chapter?


Anonymous said...

I like self published authors only because they've learned many of the hard lessons of publishing through first hand experience. So long as the author understands being a part of a publishing program may be a completely different experience than they expect, I welcome their presence.

As I work off-site for Dorchester, it sometimes take longer for me to get material but I try to get feedback within three months.

Please feel free to use this information for RWA purposes.


Anonymous said...

Monica and Stacy,

I've gotten here late, but hopefully not too late. I've heard so much about the slush pile, and what I'm wondering is, let's say a writer doesn't get any response at all, form or otherwise. Is it reasonable to assume that the story was rejected?

Thanks for your information and help.
Night To Dawn

Sean D. Young said...

Question for both Monica and Stacy,

Do you think traditional romance will come back? What I mean is the sweet romance that does have sexual tension and love scences, but not the kind that is as graphic as others.

I've been hearing that editors only want the funky, urban and erotica type stories.

Thanks for any feedback you can give.

Sean D. Young

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