Harlequin rejected Being Aware

Harlequin rejected Being Aware, book 15 in my medieval romance series, with a generic form letter. One problem is they present the form letter as if it’s personal advice, but it’s not. It’s a boilerplate of “typical problems”. For example in one section they said if I wanted to write longer than their 70k-75k range I could go with imprint X and Y. But my book is plunk in the middle of that range. Also, they said I should think about ways in which to make my heroine unique. She’s deaf and a swordfighter. I’m not sure there’s too many of those out there :).

I understand the challenges of sending rejection letters. I’ve run a literary magazine for over 12 years now. And yes, our initial rejection letter is a form letter. We make that clear. But we also offer personalized follow-up for anyone who wants it. If Harlequin only wants to send boilerplates, that’s fine. They just need to make that clear in the letter. Otherwise they’re misleading authors who think they’re getting actual suggestions on how to improve their content.

In my case, really, the issue is I shouldn’t be submitting to them. They say right on their guideline pages that they want extremely Alpha Male heroes – “This is where the alpha hero began! From a rake with a wicked glint in his eye to a gasp-inducing muscled warrior brandishing a dagger or a gorgeous kilted Highlander, there’s a man for everyone! ” – that’s just not what I write in this series. Gasp-inducing muscles? No. My heroes draw my heroines in with their honor. With their dedicated compassion. So I just need to find another publisher to explore, as I play with options.

I’m an ENORMOUS proponent of self publishing and feel it gives you far more money, control, and options. Still, I would like to get one with a publisher just to be able to prove that empirically for these stories. I love testing options, as you guys know :).

Anyway, the book is loading live now, and I’ve lost three months of sales to this experiment. Onward and upward!

Your Harlequin/Mills & Boon Historical Romance Submission

Here is the seemingly boilerplate generic message I received on December 18, 2018 from Harlequin/Mills & Boon for my medieval romance novel Being Aware. I’m curious to see if it identically matches what other authors have received. Note that this novel is 74,146 words. It’s directly in the center of their requested word count range. It features a heroine who is a deaf swordfighter.

My sense is that this is just a boilerplate listing their standard “top tips” for authors.

…..

Dear Lisa

Thank you for submitting Being Aware for our consideration.

We have read your submission with interest; you certainly know how to conjure up the historical period evocatively and authentically. The story is well structured, with charming characters and you have a very natural, fluid writing style. However, whilst we appreciate the care and attention that has gone into the preparation of your submission, regrettably we feel that your story is not sufficiently developed for publication on our Historical list.

We are always looking for new Historical authors, although the standard we require in a first manuscript is very high. Please do not be discouraged by this rejection, however, because we feel that your style and voice show a great deal of potential.

Here are our top tips to make your next submission stand out from the crowd:

1. Break the mould; show us something new by putting your own unique twist on popular storylines. The best way to do this is through your characters – what makes your hero and heroine different from all that have gone before?

2. Focus on the internal emotional conflict of your characters. It’s easy to get carried away conjuring a vivid time period and dramatic plot but this shouldn’t be at the expense of the emotional depth and intensity between the hero and heroine.

3. Use secondary characters to add richness, depth and authenticity to your story but don’t let them take over!

4. The current word length for our Historical series is between 70,000 and 75,000 words. If you feel you have a longer story to tell, you might like to consider whether HQN or Carina Press may be more appropriate.

We are pleased to have had the opportunity to see your work, and thank you for thinking of Harlequin Mills & Boon.

Yours Sincerely,

Editorial Department

Find more writing tips at www.Harlequin.com

book 15 in my medieval adventure series

Hurrah! I have been stuck on writing book 15 in my medieval adventure series since October 2016. I just couldn’t find a new theme I wanted to write about. And then suddenly one came to me. In the past two days I’ve written 25,000 words / 16 Chapters. The story is flowing!

What are you guys up to?

Book 1 in the series is free here:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B006JDEK0I/

Medieval Technology Changes

In medieval times, thousands upon thousands of people made their livelihood by spinning thread. Then in 1391 an intrepid man in Bologna set up a water-powered spinning mill which could spin silk. In short order he put 4,000 people out of work.

We think of changing technology as a modern thing, but the medieval folk had to deal with these issues, too!

Would you rather live in medieval times or now?

Wax Tablets in Medieval Times

Did you know wax tablets were used from 2000BC through to the 1800s for note-taking? They were heavily used in the medieval era. I have a few of my reviews lambasting me for including this “anachronistic” item – which baffles me. The steady, continuous use of the wax tablet is well documented. I’m now updating my book’s initial description, intro pages, and appendices to cover the wax tablet usage in more detail, if there are really people out there who feel strongly that wax tablets weren’t in use for some reason. It just baffles me – I didn’t think this was something I’d have to explain in this level of detail.

Here’s the book, where a character does use a wax tablet …

https://www.amazon.com/Knowing-Yourself-Medieval-Romance-Glastonbury-ebook/dp/B006JDEK0I/

Here’s just one of countless historical images showing people from all time periods using wax tablets –

And a whole article about wax tablet usage in Medieval times –

https://www.bl.uk/eblj/1994articles/pdf/article1.pdf

FREE Finding Peace Today 6/11/17

FREE Finding Peace Today 6/11/17!! Elizabeth can run from her abusive ex-fiancé – But she can’t outrun the pain. Please share the news of the free promo!

I’m going to be at the Worcester Art Festival on Water Street from 12-5 for locals who can come out and say hi. In the meantime, if you guys could randomly check the Amazon ranking of Finding Peace during the day and post that ranking, that’d be a HUGE help. I’m running a BookBub ad today which can launch it high! 🙂

What are you up to today?

https://www.amazon.com/Finding-Peace-Medieval-Romance-Glastonbury-ebook/dp/B008FQZ8JY