Writing a romance novel?
The story centers on the emotional conflicts between two people who become romantically involved; any other plot or external conflict is secondary.
A romance is a human story of connection showcasing one of our most basic needs—the need for companionship.
The romance genre now features people with careers, independent natures, and life goals. Romance is the highest-selling genre of fiction. All other genres can be found within the blanket of romance—mystery, suspense, science fiction, fantasy, horror (gothic and modern), history (recent and ancient past as well as Regency and Scottish Highlands), Christian or spiritual, and every age group from YA to New Adult to Adult.
An experienced romance novel editor can help you keep the emotional conflict going until the end if you’ve allowed them to unite prematurely. A romance editor analyzes the presentation of human courtship and helps you see where it follows natural patterns (believable) or where it goes out of order (not believable) so your reader falls in love alongside your characters.
BETH BRUNO‘s affiliation with the CT Authors and Publishers Association gives her access to literary agents and publishers in and around New York City. Several of the authors whose manuscripts she has edited have been published in the mainstream, thanks to her referrals on their behalf. Others have published their work independently, either in print, as e-books or as audio books. Among the 400+ manuscripts she has edited, she has particular interest in: mystery/suspense, historical fiction, women’s fiction, memoir, psychology, romance, sci-fi, contemporary, self-help, how-to, and both fiction and non-fiction for young adult (YA) readers.
Not My Mother’s Wedding by Maureen Chapdelaine and Kate Brennan
The Fire in Me by Naomi Beukes-Meyer
Postcards and Pearls-Life Lessons from Solo Moments on the Road by Gina Greenlee
More Than Desire by Jasmin Thien
If Memory Serves by Tanya Goodwin
Flight of the Half Moon by James Duey
It’s Simple by Michelle Richardson
“Beth was perfect for the job. She knew my genre well and gave me lots of feedback that was relevant and appropriate for what I was trying to do. She knew my market and readers. She went the extra mile to ensure that my book was the best it could be.”
THEODORA BRYANT enjoys working on romance novels because she knows the story is going to have a happy ending, or at the least an upbeat, optimistic ending. If not, well, then, she and the author will refocus the ending until it gets there.
Romance novels are some of the most complicated stories she works on; there are usually two levels of story, sometimes three going on: the characters’ love story arc, the driving plot of what brought the two together, and often the background theme: a different planetary system, historical settings (Elizabethan — facts must be correct!), a specific event time period (the Battle of Gettysburg — facts must be correct!), or perhaps it’s a paranormal work—that which lies beyond normal experience or scientific explanation—and in those, she and the author must make sure the readers shed their disbelief, root for the lovers, and get a happy ending.
She understands that in the real world seemingly gone mad with wars and mob protests and civil strife everywhere, romance novels (of any sub-category, and there are as many in romance as in any other genre) are an oasis of delight, even when the characters are fighting (what would a romance be without a break up and make up?). In women’s fiction, there will be struggles with family, divorce, death, siblings, work; but the point is always to make life work, to come out stronger, to see the good in what’s around us.
As editorial director of her own publishing house from 1992-2000, Theodora published almost 100 titles, garnering several awards in “Best Of” categories. Almost half of the titles were bought for paperback reprints, and two were optioned for TV/movies. She has been a member of the Book Editing Associates network since 2001. During that time her authors have garnered “Book of the Year” in science fiction, “Finalist” and “Winner” awards in romance works, and “Winner” in mystery. Her authors often receive outstanding reviews from Kirkus and Publisher’s Weekly.
She’s reviewed, evaluated, and edited thousands of manuscripts through the years; her work has received the highest marks from her authors for the amount of extra effort she puts into helping them achieve the best results with crafting and perfecting their novels. Combining that with her many years studying the world Amazon created for authors, how to make sure her authors know how to get on the “Top 100 Paid on Kindle,” and her knowledge of how agents and editors work in the traditional market, makes her one of the best “edges” you can have for success
- Detailed written critique/evaluation of your manuscript that asks questions, points out conflicts, confused timelines, characterization difficulties, etc., in the manuscript itself so the guide is always there for you to follow as you rework it.
- Mentor you with creative ideas, and guide you through the whole gamut of what’s what in the publishing industry (i.e., whether traditional or self-publishing is best for you).
- Hands on content edit (aka copy-edit, aka line edit), structural/stylistic edit of your manuscript, doing everything to get your manuscript ready for a traditional agent, a traditional editor, a self-publishing company, or ready for submission to an e-publisher.
- Work with you on a query and/or synopsis when the manuscript is ready for publication, should you want that.
“Over the last two years, Theodora has edited six manuscripts for me and is currently editing my seventh. The Last Marine was a finalist for Colorado RWA’s Award of Excellence, a double finalist for the HOLT Medallion Award, and took first place for the Book Buyer’s Best—achievements I couldn’t have managed without her skilled editing.”
“Just how good is Theodora and just how much does she care? By the time I got through the editing process with her, I got the feeling she knew the characters better than I did. “
CARLY CANTOR is a published author and publishing industry veteran who worked for several years as an acquisitions editor at a New York publisher where she acquired and edited numerous hardcover and trade paperback titles every year on a variety of nonfiction subjects, mostly in the areas of current events, how-to, and pop culture. She is currently a meticulous, hands-on independent editor who “becomes one” with every project, paying close attention to both the big picture and the small details. Her extensive experience includes critiquing and development editing of fiction and nonfiction projects.
Carly edits fiction with an appreciation for how the brain works and for the fact that readers like to pick up clues while they read, as they do in real life, and figure things out rather than be told how to interpret what characters are thinking and feeling. She pays attention to pacing, descriptive detail (applying the Goldilocks rule at all times: not too much, not too little, just right), narrative arc, character development, dialogue, and general writing issues.
One novelist said of her, “I have been guided by a number of different editors throughout my career. Without any hesitation, I can say that [she] is the best editor I have ever worked with.”
Romance and women’s fiction/nonfiction:
The Art of Sensual Female Dominance—by Claudia Varrin
Erotic Surrender—by Claudia Varrin
How to Seduce a Man and Keep Him Seduced—by Laurie Sue Brockway
Daughters— by Florence Osmund
The Secret (of Happiness)—by Demosthenes Armeniades
“Did You Say Something, Susan?”: How Any Woman Can Gain Confidence With Assertive Communication—by Dr. Paulette Dale
Ninjitsu for Women—by Ashida Kim
The Single Woman’s Travel Guide—by Jackie Simenauer and Doris Walfield
A Woman’s Book of Yoga—by Dr. Machelle Seibel and Hari Kaur
“Carly was the perfect fit for my project. She did a fantastic job. She was thorough and insightful in her comments on my manuscript. Carly was always easy to reach, helpful, and delivered her critique in advance of the deadline. Working with Carly and the network was a great experience and I would highly recommend both.”
Co-Author of Red Shoes Diaries – Erotic Romance
Award-Winning Ghostwriter, Author, Book Editor
STACEY DONOVAN is a ten-time published book author of both fiction and non-fiction. DIVE, Her first, critically acclaimed novel was published in 1995 (Penguin) and reissued in 2015 (Open Road Media). THE ART OF LONELINESS, a sexy novella, is currently available on Kindle. Co-authored by Donovan, the four-book series based on Zalman King’s RED SHOE DIARIES is also available.
Donovan has edited or ghostwritten dozens of published books for her clients, many of which have received critical acclaim: Two became New York Times Bestsellers (Mystery); another won International Thrillers Awards First Novel Finalist (Thriller); another won Independent Publisher Book Awards (IPPY) 2017 Silver Medal Award (Memoir), Foreword Reviews 2017 INDIES Book of the Year (Memoir), and Stories of Mighty Women Top Biographies 2016; another won Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) 2017 Ben Franklin Award, Bill Fisher Best First Book (Fiction)
Editing, writing, submission, and author promotion services include:
- Detailed critique/evaluation of your manuscript
- Developmental/structural/stylistic edit of your manuscript
- Complete revision of your manuscript
- Collaborate with you in a mentoring capacity as you edit your manuscript
- Collaborate with you on a query and/or synopsis when the manuscript is ready for publication
- Determine with you which literary agent would be suitable for representation
- Determine with you whether to pursue mainstream, small, or self-publishing
- Consultation on your initial and/or ongoing social media strategy
“Stacey is a consummate professional. She provided specific and clear suggestions for strengthening plot, character development and style. I applaud her ability to deliver a no-holds-barred critique with the tact and sensitivity that left me feeling inspired to go back and work to make my manuscript better.”
Fiction Editor and Proofreader
CAROLINE HILEY specializes in copyediting novels, particularly in the romance and women’s fiction categories. She works with both traditional publishers and independent authors. Whether for stand-alone titles or series, she focuses on consistency, accuracy, and clarity, so that authors can successfully connect with their readers (while avoiding any embarrassing bloopers). Because she writes fiction and nonfiction herself, she knows the creative process from both sides and understands how editing can help or hinder.
Caroline thoroughly grooms a manuscript, checking spelling, grammar, punctuation, formatting, and style; tracking character traits and story timeline; confirming proper names, dates, places, and other technical or historical elements; flagging any spots that may raise a question in the reader’s mind. Authors then accept or reject the revisions, and move on to the next stage in their story’s progression.
In addition to copyediting, Caroline offers substantive editing (also called line editing), a more detailed work-through of a manuscript without the full immersion that goes with developmental editing. For authors seeking guidance for their own revisions, she also offers manuscript evaluation.
Selected romance titles:
The Big Sugarbush, by Ana B. Good. Lesbian romantic comedy.
The Waking Dream, by Sage Steadman. Coming-of-age novella.
The Strawberry Field, by Barbara Jean Ruther. Contemporary romance.
The Boy, by Lara Santoro. Literary romance.
The Christmas Spirit, by Elisabeth Fairchild. Regency romance.
“Caroline improved my work far beyond my expectations.”
“Caroline was, from the initial contact, prompt, professional and awesome. Her editing of my manuscript exceeded my expectations and produced a clean polished finished product.”
Anna Howard is the author of eight well-reviewed and award-winning novels that feature female protagonists and romance elements and has helped many others with their manuscripts. After working in public schools for many years, she has now been a part of the publishing industry for fifteen years and provides a creative and supportive environment.
- Developmental, substantive and content editing
- Formatting and guidance on the submission process
- Query letters and synopses
- Self-publishing advice for independent authors
Publishing credits include:
- Water at the Blue Earth, young adult historical fiction (Roberts Rinehart)
- A Ceiling of Stars, middle grade contemporary fiction (American Girl)
- Nowhere, Now Here, middle grade contemporary fiction (American Girl)
- The Magic of Ordinary Days, adult historical fiction (Viking Penguin)
- Under a Stand Still Moon, young adult historical fiction (Brown Barn Books)
- Call Me the Canyon, young adult historical fiction (Brown Barn Books)
- Nicki, contemporary middle grade fiction (American Girl)
- Thanks to Nicki, contemporary middle grade fiction (American Girl)
She has seen one of her novels made into film (for Hallmark Hall of Fame Productions on CBS) and has won numerous literary awards. She believes that even in today’s tough publishing climate, it is still possible for new writers to enter the business and succeed. Second to writing her own novels, she loves to mentor others to help them achieve their goals. She knows firsthand how writers benefit from the help and support of other writers and/or editors.
“My novel had lingered in the offices of editors at the Big Six for years. Ana’s editing was timely and skillful and showed an understanding of my work. I used 95% of her suggestions and cut 200 pages from a 600 page manuscript. End result is a book with a clean, compelling narrative that has been called ‘a gripping read’. Reader reviews of my book at Amazon and Goodreads have been very gratifying and allowed me to enter the top 100 for science-fiction/fantasy. Kirkus Reviews selected Prophets of the Ghost Ants as one of their ‘Best.’ I would recommend Ana Howard’s services to any author whose work needs an edit. Cost of the service was more than fair and the end result was priceless.” —Clark T. Carlton
KELLY LYNNE is the proud “auntie” to over 150 published novels, novellas and short stories, which have sold to Kensington Publishing, Carina Press, Cerridwen Press, Awe-Struck Publishing, Samhain Publishing, Wings ePress, Bradley Publishing, Damnation Books, and The Wild Rose Press as well as author self-published titles. These books have gone on to earn high praise from reviewers and readers, as well as multiple awards and contest wins. As an editor for The Wild Rose Press, she edited contemporary western and light paranormal romances, with heat ratings from sweet to spicy. Outside of romance, her fiction fortes include sci-fi, fantasy, speculative fiction, young adult, and stories of psychic or supernatural phenomena.
Kelly has published over 100 non-fiction articles, four short stories, and two novels. She knows the hoops authors are expected to jump through and helps authors polish their submission packets. Query letters, synopses and professional quality formatting are as important as a well-polished manuscript.
Sandra Bunino – Marooned with the Millionaire, Sara’s Smile [unavailable]
Patti Ann Colt – Echo Falls series: The Daddy Spell, The Sweetheart Dance, Kiss Me Goodnight, Christmas Magic, Boo & Lindy’s Matchmaking Adventure, A Winter Romance; Copper Canyon series: Cowboy’s Heart, Cowboy’s Sweetheart; Other: The Rock Star’s Sheriff
C.E. Hansen- – It’s a Crime
Michelle Howard – No Reason to Run
Isabel L. Martens – Best Laid Plans
C.L. Ullman – The Vetted Cowboy
Lily Vega – Going All In
Lorelie Brown – Jazz Baby, Catch Me, Wayward One
Diane Drew – Scandalous
Carrie Lofty – Sundial What a Scoundrel Wants, Scoundrel’s Kiss, Song of Seduction
Judith Ashley – Sacred Women’s Circle series: Lily, Elizabeth, Diana, Ashley, Hunter, Gabriella; Love & Magick Anthology: Sarah’s Ankh, By the Light of the Silvery Moon
Kate Baray – Spirited Legacy
Karla Brandenburg – Mist series: Mist on the Meadow, Gathering Mist, Rising Mist; Northwest Suburbs series: Living Canvas, Cookie Therapy; Other: Heart for Rent with an Option; Epitaph series: Epitaph, The Twins, The Mirror
B.C. Burgess – Mystic series: Descension, Impassion, Deception
Stacey Coverstone – Secrets of Seacliff House
Nadia Kim – Reflection
Isabel L. Martens – Nightflyers
Diana McCollum – Love & Magick Anthology: The Crystal Witch, Ghost of a Chance
Lesley Mitchum – Storm Crossed
Sarah Raplee – Blindsight, Love & Magick Anthology: The Golddigger, Enchanted Protector
Susanne Saville – Wicked Beloved
CAROLINE T has been editing popular fiction for over 20 years and has 400+ novels under her belt. Her ability to see the big picture, combined with an in-depth knowledge of today’s publishing market, makes her an invaluable partner in the editing and publishing process.
A former in-house editor at Pocket Books-a division of Simon & Schuster, the premier New York City publisher of commercial and trade fiction-an outside editor for Harper Collins/Avon, and a reader for The Literary Guild and The Rhapsody Book Club, Caroline’s particular expertise is fiction for women: she edits all sub-genres of Romance (including NA Romance), as well as Suspense, Thrillers, Mysteries and general Womens Fiction. Carla Neggers, Karen Robards and Andrea Kane-three New York Times, Publishers Weekly, and USA Today bestselling authors-had books edited by Caroline.
Caroline’s editorial services are geared towards unpublished writers looking to self-publish or break into traditional book publishing, as well as established authors interested in changing genres. Largest percentage of clients have written commercial fiction for women. Some Literary Fiction and Young/New Adult. Projects are edited for content: character development, pacing, point of view, structural integrity, marketability and story. In addition, clients are offered consultations on career tracking, market conditions and general publishing know-how.
Copyediting and Proofreading Services
New Authors, First-Time Authors, Self-Publishing Authors, DIY Authors, Query Reviews, Publisher Submissions, Permissions Assistance
As an editor, Marie is vigorous yet hands-off: she will find errors and inconsistencies with a sharp eye but lets the work stand for itself. She won’t change anyone’s work into her own. She finds each author’s unique qualities and makes those resonate. Besides offering an objective critique, Marie provides advice on presentation. This can involve discussions on formatting the manuscript as well as crafting query letters for agent and publisher submissions, book marketing, and self-publishing.
Marie has passed the rigorous proofreading test of this editing network, so you can trust that her edits will also clear up any typographical errors in your book. Marie knows how to identify inconsistencies in structure as well as style and spelling of key terms. She is fluent in Chicago Manual of Style as well as AP Style. She will adapt to your project’s own particular style and make sure it is consistent.
Marie offers formatting and layout services, and offers feedback on covers, design decisions, and marketing materials. She often blogs with her self-published authors to help promote their work.
Romance titles (selected)
Ashley Raquel, The Scarpello Carnival, Independent 2018.
Peekaboo Collins, Monogamy with Treats. Independent 2017.
Kristine Rudolph, The Myth of Jake. Scribl, 2016.
Kari Pilgrim, Half of No, Graywolf Prize 2014.
Jessica Gould, Shallow Foundations. Independent 2014.
S. Stephens, Between Right and Wrong. Outskirts Press 2013.
Tessa Saks, What is Love? Independent 2013.