Hi guys, I’m back. I decided to do a follow up on my last journal entry to explain why I think they rejected my manuscript. When I first read my rejection letter, I’ll never forget how I felt. I was heartbroken but remained optimistic about sending them another project. Now that I looked back on it, I realized why they rejected me.
They rejected me for many reasons. One of the reasons being their guidelines. I didn’t bother to look at what exactly they wanted with their particular line. I just went on ahead and sent them anything. This is one tragic mistake I could have easily avoided if I would have just followed directions. In case someone wants a refresher on what exactly they’re looking for, here it is:
LENGTH: 50,000-55,000 (200 to 220 pages)At 55,000 words, Silhouette Desire books are filled to the brim with strong, intense storylines. These sensual love stories immediately involve the reader in the romantic conflict and the quest for a happily-ever-after resolution. The novels should be fast-paced reads, and present the hero and heroine’s conflict by the end of chapter one in order for the reader to understand what obstacles will impact the characters for the remainder of the novel.
The Desire Hero should be powerful, wealthy ---- an alpha male with a sense of arrogance and entitlement. While he may be harsh and direct, he is never physically cruel. He is capable of being saved and it’s up to the heroine to get him there. The Texan hero should own the ranch, not work on it, and the urban hero should be the company CEO, not a handyman.
The Desire heroine is complex and flawed. She is strong-willed and smart though capable of making terrible mistakes when it comes to matters of the heart. This is primarily her story so the book should be from her point-of-view. There is room for the hero’s perspective as long as his thoughts are centered on the heroine and their conflict. Instead of dividing the novel equally between both protagonists’ point-of-view, Desires should be more 60% heroine and 40% hero.
The conflict should be dramatic with such classic plot lines as revenge, secret pregnancies, marriages of convenience and reunion romances. Plots which focus on suspense, paranormal, or character-driven concerns are best directed else where. The story can be set anywhere in the world, but the tone should be true to the author’s voice.
Desire novels are sensual reads and a love scene or scenes are still needed. But there is no set number of pages that needs to be filled. Rather, the level of sensuality must be appropriate to the storyline. Above all, every Silhouette Desire novel must fulfill the promise of a powerful, passionate and provocative read.
I written all of this down to prove a point, the point being that it’s important to follow the guidelines. If you don’t, it’s an automatic rejection letter. Period. If your novel is over 55,000 words (By the way, I heard that they used the computer word count to determine how many pages it is so you better be careful if you’re writing it longhand), send it someplace else. If it has suspense in it, don’t bother sending it to them. Send it over to Harlequin Intrigue (You could read some more of Harlequin Guidelines here) or to Harlequin romantic suspense. If it has paranormal in it, send it to Harlequin Nocturne, not Desire.
Get my point? Good. Moving on.
My manuscript wasn’t rejected because of word count. The word count was two hundred and nine pages. I did pretty good in that department. My manuscript was rejected because of what I had written in it. Or better yet, what I didn’t write in it. Here is a piece of my first draft of ‘An Unlikely Reunion’:
Gloria Wyatt looked around at all pf the faces that came to Tara’s party. It was Tara’s twenty-fourth birthday party and everyone looked like they were having a good time.
“Oh, did you meet Maurice? Isn’t he a sweetheart?” Her mother asked as Gloria continued to look around. She finally looked back at her mother and realized that her mother had said something.
“I’m sorry momma, what did you say?” She asked.
“Maurice, Tara’s boyfriend. Isn’t he sweet? He is such a gentlemen don’t you think?” Her mother asked.
“Yeah, he’s really great,” Gloria said. After her mother went to go get something to eat, Gloria sighed.
“Hey Gloria!” Gloria turned around in order to see her nephew Brandon walk through the door and giving everybody hugs. He gave Gloria’s mother (His Grandmother) a hug before he came to Gloria.
“Give me a hug girl!” He said.
“Hey Brandon! So good to see you.” Gloria smiled and gave Brandon a hug. While they embraced, Gloria saw that there was a woman right behind him.
“Who’s that?” She asked after the hug.
“Oh, this is my girlfriend Maria. Maria, this is my auntie Gloria.”
“Wow! She does look young…and short. Not that there’s anything wrong with it---”
“It’s fine. I get that all the time,” She said, trying not to make Maria feel uncomfortable. Maria nodded her head and then followed Brandon to the living room.
Great! Gloria thought. Everyone has a happy lifestyle except me.
Snoooooooze. Boooooring. There’s no emotion. No conflict. Nothing to keep me interested in this story whatsoever. There’s a lot of dialogue and summary but it isn’t moving the story forward at all. We don’t know who Gloria is or why she’s even at the party in the first place. It makes me wonder if this scene was even relevant to the story I was trying to tell (The rewritten version is much better). They wanted to know Gloria Wyatt (I changed the name to Wright) and why she came to the party in the first place. Who were these people and why are they important to the story? Are they even important to the story or could you delete them and focus on the hero and heroine?
When I went back to it, I decided that I wasn’t going to delete the secondary characters in the novel. As a matter of fact, I decided to turn it into a Harlequin super romance novel instead. Harlequin Superromance is a long contemporary romance novel that’s between 80-85,000 words (They just changed their word count starting in January 2012 from 60-65,000 words to 80-85,000 words which I think is great). With Harlequin Superromance, you’re allowed more freedom to write whatever kind of story you want provided that the romance is the central story of the main plot. One of the main reasons why I decided to write my story to Harlequin Superromance is because I’ve decided to keep the secondary characters in my story and make them beneficial to the overall story I’m trying to write for them.
Anyways, I think I covered the two reasons why I think Harlequin Desire rejected me. Now that I looked back on it, maybe it was a good thing they rejected me. Will I ever write for another book for them in the future?
I don’t know. We’ll have to wait and see. For now, I’m sticking with SuperRomance all the way.