Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Ask Treva, part 2 of 2--veinglory

QUESTION: A lot of epubs ask for "out of the box" in their submissions guidelines, but I don't feel their books are so much "out of the box" as "in a slightly different box". The "give us something different" instruction feels more confusing than useful when it comes to submitting something to an erotic romance epub. I guess my question would just be to hear Treva's take on this.

Related, I read somewhere recently, a blogger commenting on how Loose Id's focus had changed. This had affected what the writer could submit to them. Could Treva maybe comment on how Loose Id has evolved in terms of what kind of stories they are publishing now vs. when they first got started?

TREVA: Publishers are so unreasonable, aren’t they? My general advice for authors who are new to us is to submit something that Loose Id readers would recognize – not necessarily a formulaic story, because we try to avoid them, but something with characters and a hook the readers would immediately understand and be tempted to buy. Then make that familiar theme better and bigger and bolder in your story. In particular, make all of it your own. That way our readers will look for more from you next time. Established authors might take a few more risks once readers know and trust them.

With that said, every once in awhile we come across something so unusual and yet so powerful, we’re willing to give it a try. I would emphasize the “every once in awhile” part of that last sentence. It’s also possible an author thinks that their idea is totally off the wall but it’s just what Loose Id is looking for. The worst that can happen if you send it to us is that we will give it thought and tell you why it would or wouldn’t work for us.

Loose Id’s focus hasn’t so much changed as sharpened. We wanted hot romance and well-written stories from the start. We still want and always will want well-written stories. We may push the edge more with m/m and ménage, but we continue to want stories focusing on believable characters and their relationships. I will say that m/f romances require more intensity before LI will accept them. Readers can buy m/f romances in many places. A Loose Id romance has to be special …but intense m/f erotic romance is a hit with our market.

QUESTION: I'm wondering what Treva is seeing coming across her desk. She sees what writers are writing, and she hears directly from readers. What really is selling well? Is paranormal romance giving way to romantic suspense, or is it stronger than ever? Are readers tired of vampires, or can they still not get enough? She has inside scoop we can't see well from out here.

TREVA: I know mainstream is pushing romantic suspense lately but so far that hasn’t done remarkably well for our readership unless it’s paired with something else the readers enjoy like I/R, m/m or BDSM – and, of course, includes hot sex. Romantic suspense with a plot that allows development of an explosively hot sexual relationship isn’t easy to come up with.

Vampires, unless they are unusual, don’t seem to do much for our readers. I think possibly contemporary is making some inroads on paranormal but what readers are mostly looking for right now are larger-than-life characters with larger-than-life erotic romance. Even if they are in the “ordinary” contemporary world, the characters aren’t ordinary, nor is the love and sex.

Treva Harte: Editor Bio
Treva Harte became co-owner and Editor-in-Chief of Loose Id in 2004. She holds a English Literature from University of Arizona (high honors), a M.A. in English Literature from University of Virginia and a J.D. from University of Virginia. She is a member of the Virginia and D.C. bars. From 1988 until 2008 she specialized in intellectual property law as a Trademark Examining Attorney for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

Treva is multi-published with several e-publishers in print and e-book format, a member of RWA and PAN, and winner of the CAPA 2003 award in the "Erotic Fantasy Romance" category.


Anonymous said...

I just wanted to say hi to Treva because I think she rocks. ;-)

Thanks for doing these question/answer blog posts, Trev. I think they're really interesting, and really helpful to the authors.


Anonymous said...

I will note from the other side of the submissions pile that Loose Id does and always has considered submissions that are out of the box. They accepted my first m/m series before they even opened for business to the buying public, at a time when almost all romance epubs refused to consider m/m (and some had guidelines explicitly refusing it because they thought women weren't interested in m/m). Since then they've accepted manuscripts from me that pushed other boundaries (one of which now looks pretty tame by current market standards, but very much wasn't at the time I submitted the outline to my editor).

That's not because they were actively seeking boundary-pushing stories, because they weren't (at least, not the boundaries I was busy ignoring). The key is writing something that's a solid story with a good plot/character development reason for the boundary-pushing.

Treva Harte said...

And we appreciate your m/m submission, Jules. It started us on a very profitable course of action. I had no idea how many readers would enjoy it -- I didn't even know I would -- until you submitted the ms. to us.

Treva Harte said...

Oh. Hmm. Apparently technology confounded me again when I tried to answer the first time. Anyhow, Jill, I'm happy to answer questions. It will be from my perspective (and possibly from Loose Id's) and other epubs may have totally different responses.

veinglory said...

I hope anyone out there with more questions will send them on in to me at veinglory at gmail. Or if you are not worried about confidentiality just post them in a comment.