Series--Category--Romance

Writing stories about “people” who live in my head isn’t new. I’ve been doing it since I was old enough to put words together. By the time I was nineteen, I was writing reams (literally) of pages about those people. It wasn’t until many years later, when my oldest daughter was in middle school, that I gave serious thought to writing. And I wanted to write for children, specifically middle readers and young adults. Life took a different turn not long after that when my daughter was diagnosed with depression, and writing went by the wayside. But it didn’t stay there. My best friend re-introduced me to romance, and after reading literally hundreds of romance novels, I thought it would be fun to try my hand at it.

It was more than fun. It was almost obsessive. But it took several years to learn the craft and the business, and I’m still learning, even after publishing six books with Harlequin/Silhouette and two more scheduled to be released, one in August this year and the other in January 2010. All of those books are “series” or “category” books.

What’s a series book?

According to RWA (Romance Writers of America),


“Series romances normally have a number on the spine, (ex. # 435 in the Harlequin Superromance or Silhouette Intimate Moments) and are released once a month.”


Series romance is often shorter, ranging from 50,000 to 75,000 words. At present, Harlequin/Silhouette is the only publisher to offer series romance and currently has sixteen different series lines, each with its own special “flavor”. The spectrum runs from Inspirational Romance to the more traditional to Paranormal Romance to the more erotic, so there’s something for every reader and especially every writer!

I truly enjoy writing for Harlequin American Romance, a part of the Home and Hearth theme from Harlequin Enterprises. It encompasses everything I hold dear, with the focus on home, family, community (especially small towns) and the very best of LOVE.

And isn’t love what it’s all about?

5 comments:

Reese Mobley said...

Rox, I've always been amazed at how category writers can write a complete love story is such few words. I applaud you! Is it hard to do? Do you ever find yourself going way over your word count?

Roxann Delaney said...

Reese,

Susan Elizabeth Phillips once said the same thing in a Romantic Times article, so you're in good company!

When I started reading romance again after having not read much for several years (I was "into" Stephen King for quite a while), I read both Single Title and Category. I don't know why I decided to go the Category route, and now I wonder if I could ever write enough to fill up a Single Title!

Is it hard? Probably no harder than longer books. There's a distinct difference between ST and series. Part of it is voice, part is pacing, part is content/subject. Category authors trying to go ST often find their stories rejected because their "voice is too category". I still haven't figured that out.

No, I don't often go over word count, or at least not way over. I do have to keep an eye on it though. But then I started as a seat-of-the-pants writing and ended up plotting in some detail, so that may make a difference.

I went from 50K words with Silhouette Romance to 55K words with Harlequin American, and I admit to worrying that I couldn't do those extra 5K. It was basically an addition of 2 chapters, so not such a big deal, after all. Now it's what I'm used to doing. :)

You'd think writing ST would be easy for me, as wordy as I am. LOL

Joan Vincent said...

Rox,
Reading this I had a "duh" moment. I never had a term for my early work--here it was series/catagory all the time. I find writing series easier than ST. With ST books I usually end up cutting several thousand words when I edit and tighten. Used to worry about being too wordy but why should I with a delete key on my keyboard?

Penny Rader said...

My favorite category romance series is what used to be called Silhouette Intimate Moments. In my "Why Romance?" post a few days ago many of my faves came from that line.

One of my difficulties is trying to figure out how the lines are different so I know where to target a book.

Then again, I'm such a poky writer that by the time I get something written, the PTB (powers that be) change the guidelines.

Roxann Delaney said...

Intimate Moments is now Silhouette Romantic Suspense.

Sharon (Shawna Delacorte) was a great source of info on the difference between Harlequin Intrigue and SRS. It's all in the balance of romance and suspense.

And, oh, yeah, do they ALL love to switch guidelines!