Yesterday I mentioned that my Samhain editor left, rather suddenly, leaving me feeling a bit stranded. Well, I came home to find an email from another editor there asking me to resubmit Summer's Song...so I will, this weekend, and continue to cross my finger that it finds a home.
In other, rather cool news, I was Googling myself yesterday (c'mon, you do it too, don't you?) and I found a comment referencing One Night in Boston in a blog post over at Dear Author. Actually, the post itself is interesting; check it out:
"One thing I heard out of RWA 2008 was the difficulty in selling the big straight contemporary.
What I hear from alot of authors is that it is hard to sell a contemporary without a hook, like suspense or paranormal. What I heard from readers is that they can’t find enough good straight contemps (without hooks like suspense and paranormal). I have loved the contemporaries that I have read recently such as Susan Mallery and Kristan Higgins. Lisa Kleypas’ contemporaries for St. Martin’s Press seem to be successful (both made the New York Times). Deirdre Martin who writes the hockey books for Berkley and Rachel Gibson who writes for Avon also have had good success, if not the NYT List, they both have made the USA Today list.
Jennifer Crusie is an iconic name in romance fiction as well, hitting the New York Times with Bet Me. One of the most popular romance authors of modern time is Susan Elizabeth Philips. There appears to be a disconnect between what the readers want and what authors are telling me is not selling.
The above mentioned successful contemporary authors have a wide range of themes/feels to them. For example, SEP and Lisa Kleypas are more angst driven. Jennifer Crusie, Kristan Higgins, and Susan Mallery are more family-centric, but not very morose with nice levels of emotion and humor. Deirdre Martin writes the most women-y fiction of the two and Rachel Gibson perhaps relies more on humor than any of the other authors.
There are also the popular such as Susan Wiggs, Jodi Thomas, Debbie Macomber, and Sherryl Woods who write a different sort of contemporary women’s fiction. One editor described them as light women’s fiction or gentle fiction...
...From chatting with a couple of editors, they are definitely open to publishing more contemporaries but they are having trouble finding manuscripts that appeal to them. On the retail end, it seems that readers aren’t buying enough contemporaries to encourage editors to take more chances. There is an abundance of paranormals and a decent number of romantic suspense books but there are few straight contemporaries.
Is it because contemporaries have a greater sense of realism even if the hero is a billionaire that it is too hard to be swept away? Is the thirst for contemporaries adequately filled by Harlequin and Silhouette categories? Is it because the books feature primarily working woman as heroines and they are less appealing? Are older readers more likely to buy contemporaries than younger readers?
If you read contemporaries, what are you looking for? What would make you pick up a contemporary? Is there a certain look on a cover that signals “contemporary”? If you don’t read contemporaries, why not? What would make you read one? If you are a writer of contemporaries, what insights do you have? (feel free to comment anonymously if you like).
And if you scroll down through the first few comments, you'll see someone named "Fiordiligi" who wrote "Two of the best contemporaries I’ve come upon this year were published with Samhain. #1 was One Night in Boston from Allie Boniface (she recently published another contemporary with them), and Larissa Ione’s Snowbound..."
How cool is that??!