Event report

Conference 2011 - Taking your romance mainstream

Report published 22 September 2011

Jenny Hutton and Anna Baggaley from MIRA Books : Taking your romance mainstream.

Jenny and Anna told a large audience that MIRA is looking for new voices who can bring something unique to a crowded market.

Some series writers do cross over to single titles – and may even write for both – but writers need the skills to build a bigger world if they want to step into single titles.

Conflict remains the key to the captivating story – a struggle where the outcome is in doubt, bad things happening to good people, friction, tension or – to put it simply - two dogs fighting over one bone.

As for hot single title trends….

Bonkbusters are back – think Jilly Cooper and Jackie Collins.

Paranormals have not gone away – think Charlaine Harris and Sherrilyn Kenyon – with strong sexy alpha males and a sense of the forbidden.

Despite the predictions – chic lit is not dead. However, twenty-first century chick lit has to go beyond chocolate and shopping. Forget Bridgit Jones – re-invent the genre with funny, feel good, escapist fiction.

MIRA is looking for new eras for historicals. Tudors are a possibility – or any time period if you can create a believable world – perhaps a mix of factual history with a topping of fiction.

An emerging genre is timeslip – with a protagonist travelling back in time or two interlinked stories – one in the past and one in the present. MIRA are keen for both adult and young adult timeslip.

Relationship novels which are not necessarily a romance are of interest to them, especially multi-generational books – or multiple books featuring the same world and characters.

Moral dilemma stories, such as the books of Jodi Picoult would interest them. You can define these books as asking “How far would you go for someone you love?”

And Young Adult remains a growth area. YA books are often paranormal or fantasy, sci-fi dystopia or even magical. But they can also be simple coming of age stories.

Jenny and Anna’s message was that they are looking for targeted submission from writers who are willing to work long and hard to hone their craft to the right voice for single title books.

Written by Janet Gover

It's a fact

In 1991, founding RNA member Barbara Cartland was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire.