What Makes a Single Title?

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Recently Michelle Grajkowski read my manuscript Something to Talk About (AKA The Story I Love) and remarked for it to be a single title, it needs to be bigger.

I understand what she’s saying. Something else has to be at stake. But what?

I was going to use Virgin River and Nora’s wedding books as examples, but that’s not enough like my story, since they are technically part of a series.

My critique partner and I were talking about this on Saturday and she said maybe adding an issue, like animal rights or add an abused woman or something like that, but it would change the whole tone of my story.

What says Single Title to you? What makes them stand out from Harlequin/Silhouette titles? What can I do to save the book that I love?

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5 comments:

MicheleKS said...

For me single-title means being able to have characters with complex pasts and working those pasts into the current story, more characters to put into the story itself, and more plot and character threads to explore. I think if you're doing a straight single-title/no suspense then you want to look at the characters and their relationships with one another. I think you want to probe into their pasts and feelings and also their connection to the plot of the book.

Hope your book works out well.

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

What Michele said. :)

I was actually going to say that I don't think there's any one single factor that makes a story single title (when Carly Phillips went big because of Kelly Ripa, I started reading her books and thought they were just long category romances--which doesn't mean "not good.").

But I do think that adding subplots, especially ones that intertwine with the main plot, and relationships beyond the H and h help make the story "bigger." Category novels tend to focus intently on the romance and the two main characters, with secondary characters less well fleshed out, by necessity. But real life is rarely that way.

Dunno if that helps one iota...

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

(What I mean about the Carly Phillips books is that someone clearly thought they were "bigger" though they didn't feel that way to me, which reflects back to my first point, that there isn't any one thing. I think I ended my paragraph too early. :( )

Cece Writer said...

Funny, I have a friend who got a similar rejection from an editor.

I'll be honest. I don't read a lot of "straight" romance in part because I want a bigger story. I'm trying to think of the last few books I read--one was a thriller and almost completely plot driven. One was southern lit fic and a really big book. The other was a southern mystery with a side of romance but mostly about the heroines journey (job, family issues, love, family mystery, and home remodelling).

That said, sometimes, a book is just what it is. If you can put a sub-plot in and make it feel natural, great--ideally it'll play on someone's character arc so it's not all internal but I do agree with what Michele said. If not, the plot will just look shoe-horned :(

Amie

MJFredrick said...

I kinda hoped I did all that. Maybe if I reread now after having some distance, I can see what's missing better.

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I'm a mom, a wife, a teacher and a writer. I have five cats and a dog to keep me company. I love bookstores and libraries and Netflix - movies are my greatest weakness.
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