Thursday, March 19, 2009

My book and Authonomy

Right, I've taken my courage in my hands and uploaded the first three chapters of my first novel - rejected by at least 20 agents - to Authonomy, the HarperCollins website for authors and readers.

I had put it in a metaphorical drawer but having read about Authonomy in my latest writing magazine, I decided I had nothing to lose. Except all confidence when people say horrid things about it.

I had a Mills & Boon night last night. They celebrated their centenary last year and to mark the fact there were a couple of programmes on television before Christmas, and I finally got round to watching them. The first was a drama, set in three locations and time zones: at the beginning of M&B, with a new author in the seventies, and an up-to-date college tutor who lectured about the books.

This was followed by a 'How to write for Mills & Boon' documentary in which a well-known literary novelist, Stella Duffy, tried her hand at meeting the criteria set out for would-be M&B authors. She managed to wangle a trip to Tuscany for a writing course specifically for prospective M&B authors. I'd have done it for half what they probably paid her!

It was fascinating. Out of the 2,000 - 3,000 manuscripts M&B receive each year, they take on about 20 authors, and they sell millions of books worldwide. (Actually now I think about it, that's not bad odds. Comparatively.) Did you know M&B had an erotic imprint with graphic sex? And even the Romance imprint allows fairly raunchy sex.

Divorce, sex outside marriage and independent women are all allowed but the story guidelines are still fairly rigid.

Basically the hero still has to be strong Alpha male, probably arrogant and rich, who finally succumbs to the feisty female.

Just like real life then.

But that's the point. It was always intended as escapism for the masses. Making books available at a price the working man could afford was Mr Boon's intention. And that has to be admired.

8 comments:

McBöbø said...

Well Hulla is feisty, and I did succumb to her, so I guess that MUST make me an Alpha male.

At last, someone understands me, even if it is only M&B.

Good luck with Authonomy.

Scriptor Senex said...

Authonomy sounds fascinating and such a good idea. Wish you every success with it.

mutleythedog said...

You have to register which I will do tommorrow... I have about 60,000 words on my Alloted span blog...

Rose said...

First of all, I agree you are a saint, Liz (referring to the night at Zac's). Secondly, this just shows you're not a failure! John Grisham was rejected by at least 50 publishers before getting a book published, and now anything he writes becomes an automatic bestseller, good or not!

I think I told you this already...if I did, don't mind me, I'm always repeating myself:)

Oh, and I was going to identify your yellow flower for you from your walk, but I see someone already did. Not that I knew what it was, but I saw it the same day on another UK post. I have trouble remembering the names of my own flowers:)

jay said...

Interesting! I've often thought about trying my hand at a Mills and Boon. I know it would be a challenge, because they're not as easy as they look - just like writing for magazines. To write to a formula is restricting. But the rewards would be great, if you could get accepted.

I'm off to check out Authonomy!

Furtheron said...

Good luck with Authonomy

Jannie Funster said...

Well, that's 20 times closer to a yes!

keep going, the only fail is not trying.

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