The road to publication for erotic romance is no different than any other area of publishing. In other words, if I could wave a magic wand and tell you the one secret that will guarantee success, I would be a millionaire. However there is no magic secret. Unless you consider telling a good story, with a hot romance and lots of searing sex a magic secret.
But I can give you a few tips that might help you at least get an editor to read your work. Here goes:
Read the submission guidelines. Please. And then follow them. No, the publishing house is not going to make an exception for you and publish your straight contemporary just because it is so brilliantly written. The publishing companies know what sells for them and that is what they are looking to acquire. So give it to them, and you’ll have a head start on getting accepted.
Make it hot. Make it erotic. Put in lots of sex. Please. You’d be surprised how many submissions I’ve read where there simply isn’t much sex. Err on the side of putting too much in and you’ll do fine. I’m not kidding. Did I mention you should put a lot of sex in?
Write compelling heroines and heroes. I know. Duh. But while erotic romance is quite a bit about hot sex, it is not all about hot sex. And the number one thing that will make an editor keep reading is interesting characters. Give them complex personalities. Give them wants and desires–and then put obstacles in their way to reaching those desires.
The sex is a balancing act. This is a bit tricky sometimes: you have to have hot sex going as early as possible, and yet what drives romance novels is keeping the hero and heroine apart. Once their desire is consummated, the air goes out of the tires. Think the old TV series Moonlighting after Bruce Willis and Cybil Shepherd got together. So you will need to find ways to keep them couple apart while still getting plenty of sex in. Perhaps it is an arranged marriage and the heroine refuses to go through with it on moral principles–only the prospective groom is just so sexy. Or our heroine is a cop who arrests the hero. Oh wait, that was done already. Remember the movie Out of Sight? J.Lo and George Clooney locked together in the trunk of a car? Hot. Use your imagination. That’s why you’re a writer, right?
Erotic Romance Publishers:
Loose Id I’m not biased or anything, but Loose Id rocks. I edit for them, so I have an inside view and it is a remarkable company in many ways, not the least of which is the care and respect with which we treat every author who submits a book to us. Mostly ebooks, but upon occasion a book will find its way into a print edition. Founded and still run by experienced erotic romance authors, it is a great place for erotic romance writers.
Ellora’s Cave One of the grandmammys of the erotic romance field, a thriving and respected publisher of ebooks.
Places to Learn More:
Erotic Romance E-publisher Comparison Site Check this site out for extensive information about erotic romance publishers. And please note the industry is in flux, as all epublishers work to find the formulas that work for success so be aware that some publishers have recently folded and more may follow.
The Passionate Pen. Jenna Peterson, who writes traditional romance under that name and erotic romance under the name Jess Michaels, maintains this site. It is full of information on romance publishers, agents, and tips for writers, as well as lots of links. I highly recommend it.
That’s it for now. Feel free to email me or leave a comment if you have questions. I’ll write more posts on this topic as I find more information or have more brilliant thoughts.