Dreamspun Beyond - Open Call for Submissions

Dreamspun Beyond - Open Call for Submissions
Sunday March 10, 2019

LOVE SEES NO DIFFERENCE

These contemporary category romance novels feature paranormal themes, settings, and characters to create compelling otherworldly romance that’s a step beyond reality and far too appealing and romantic to miss. See the bottom of this entry for quick links!

COMPOSITION RULES

  • Word count of 50,000-60,000.
  • Point of view and overall tense must be third person, alternating perspective, past tense unless preapproved by the acquisitions editor. Perspective may switch from section to section or chapter to chapter. First-person POV may be considered for standout stories if the overall tone and feel is clearly adult and the story’s angst level is low. Past tense is required—no present tense accepted for this line.

TROPES

Dreamspun Beyond stories are light-hearted contemporary romances with paranormal elements. From “modern day with a hint of magic” to “fantastical paranormal societies” fits the bill. Just remember: the whirlwind romance comes first, world-building second!

Some examples of ideal themes and paranormal archetypes:

  • Angels and Demons
  • Magical Realism
  • Vampires
  • Werewolves and other Shapeshifters
  • Warlocks and Mages
  • Family/pack dynamics
  • Stranger in a strange world
  • Forbidden love
  • Enemies to lovers
  • Kings/rulers and their subjects
  • Alpha males
  • Characters with mystique (“unattainable” hero)

PLOT

  • Romance, romance, romance! While steeped in the contemporary paranormal world, the primary plot line must feature your heroes falling in love and working for that happy ending. We’re looking for original contemporary stories featuring classic romance themes within a paranormal context. 
  • Choose a setting and make it sing! Your story can take place anywhere in the world and should connect logically to the heroes and plotlines.
  • Each volume should be a complete arc. No cliffhangers!
  • Each volume within a grouped series must focus on a new set of lead characters.
  • Dreamspun Beyond stories are contemporary romance. No historical or futuristic.

TONE

  • Tone can range from light and sweet to humorous to lightly dramatic. The story should sweep readers up in an exciting journey away from their everyday lives.
  • We want to feel the emotions, and there is an aspect of risk and danger in the paranormal worlds, but go easy on the angst! We’re looking for surmountable obstacles, not tragedies and painful backgrounds. Love does conquer all!
  • Focus on the internal emotional conflicts and the sensual tension between your heroes, then bring in pressure from the outside. Let readers feel the thrill of finding love and working for that happily ever after. 

CHARACTERS

  • Heroes must be likeable, featuring only fixable flaws and appealing characteristics.
  • At least one hero must be part of the paranormal world, bringing his conflicts and challenges with him. 
  • Dreamspun Beyond features male/male stories exclusively. No female lead characters or ménage relationship dynamics.

SEXUAL CONTENT

  • Sexual content should be restricted to two to three significant events of any heat level up to explicit. Please note that sex for sex’s sake, kink, BDSM, etc. are not appropriate. We reserve the right to request sex scenes be scaled back or removed to preserve the tone of the line.
  • Dreamspun Beyond books should be considered “sexy romance,” which means showing the full arc of the relationship. Rather than a “sweet romance,” where the story may close the door on the intimacy or fade to black, Dreamspun Beyond stories welcome the reader into the couple’s growing relationship. That said, your scenes can be as general or specific as fits your style. We’re not looking for an erotic handbook here, just an authentic peek inside the forming relationship.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

All Dreamspun Beyond novels will feature a specific cover format that is not negotiable, including the House Line design, color elements, and use of photorealistic images.

Dedications, acknowledgments, and/or author’s notes are restricted to a single page for all desired elements combined.

For examples of the nuances we consider ideal for Dreamspun Desires and for recommendations on which books to research, check out the Dreamspun Content Guidelines

ADVANCES AND CONTRACT TERMS

  • All Dreamspun Beyond novels are contracted in print and digital formats, which are released simultaneously. A $500-$1,000 advance is paid in a single payment upon receipt of the signed contract. Once the advance is satisfied, novel digital royalty rates are 40% to 60% (based on copies sold). Novel paperback royalty rates are 30%.
  • Copyright remains with the author.
  • Electronic contracts are exchanged via email.

TO PROPOSE A STORY IDEA

In lieu of a complete manuscript, you can send in a well-developed story idea for consideration. Mail story proposals to our Dreamspun Acquisitions Editor Sue Brown-Moore (sue@dreamspinnerpress.com). Please include “Proposal: Dreamspun Beyond” in the subject line. We will acknowledge all proposals by e-mail within five to seven days.

In the body of the e-mail, please include:

  • Your legal name, pseudonym if applicable, and contact e-mail address.
  • Working title, additional series information if applicable.
  • Genre and target length for the manuscript.
  • General story description in two paragraphs.
  • Writing credentials.

Attach to the e-mail:

  • A complete story summary or synopsis. This summary must include all major plot points, the decisions the characters make that move the plot forward, and how the story ends.
  • Please fill out this Dreamspun “Goals Motivations Conflicts” Chart for each of the story’s heroes and include them with your submission. See this example for details. 

That will give us an early look at the planned tone and details of your storyline so we can provide guidance during your writing process. Sue (or her designate) will reply to discuss your proposal and set a possible submission deadline. See “Tips for a successful submission” below for proposal tips.

Some additional notes on proposals:

  • We require a draft of at least 5,000 words, preferably from the beginning of your story, as the second step of the proposal process. From that story sample, we may give you a thumbs up, we might provide feedback, or we might decline the idea. If your draft chapters are approved, we will set up a submission deadline for the full manuscript to judge the overall story themes, tone, and appropriateness for the line. 
  • We strongly recommend studying our Dreamspun Content Guidelines document to determine if your story idea will be a good fit for the line. Tone and tropes are extremely important, as we are looking for a specific story feel. 

TIPS FOR A SUCCESSFUL SUBMISSION

The Dreamspun Beyond line features a specific type of romance (category style), and we are looking for strong, developed, unique voices in the gay romance genre. Here are some tips to keep in mind as you write your story and prepare your proposal or submission:

  • Read a few of our recent Dreamspun Beyond releases (3-4) to get a feel for our style of category romance. Adapt or pen your story appropriately. If clicking the link above leads to an error page, try this link and sort by “Latest.”
  • See suggestions in our Dreamspun Content Guidelines
  • Be flexible about taking story feedback. We will make suggestions throughout the proposal and submission process, so if you prefer a hands-off style of collaboration, this is not the line for you.
  • (For story proposals, rather than full submissions) Have draft chapters ready to send if we like your proposal. This will get your story back into the review queue faster.
  • Choose traditional paranormal themes and tropes but feature high-profile or swoon-worthy characters. Our category romances are contemporary romantic fantasy in the literal sense—we’re looking for the archetypes readers dream of and drool over, thrown together in an unlikely, whirlwind romance. Light-heartedness and humor are encouraged.
  • Strive for a clear three-act story structure. We want to see these characters meet, fall in love, and overcome adversity.
  • Ground your story with solid goals, motivations, and conflicts. We want to feel how character traits push and pull at one another.
  • The drama in the plot arc should be relationship-focused, even as external events help drive the characters’ choices. We prefer a believable mix of emotional internal conflicts and external pressure over characters reacting solely to external story elements. Balance is key.
  • Your characters should meet on page within the first 5,000 words, and sooner is better. Got an idea for a perfect first-page meet cute? Great, let’s see it! For second-chance romance, we understand they’ll already know one another, but we want to see that spark of reunion quickly.
  • Avoid any implication of cheating in your story! This makes certain tropes—like escorts and porn stars—challenging to pen, but it is doable. Be wary of showing the lead characters engaged in sexual activity with other (secondary) characters. The depiction of sex for money should be treated professionally, and any other background setup that requires sex with a secondary character should be referred to off-page and happen before the story starts.

FORMATTING YOUR SUBMISSION

Please follow these simple formatting guidelines. 

  • Submissions will be accepted in .docx, .doc, .rtf, .odt, and .txt formats. Please note that the Apple Pages program and Wordperfect are both incompatible with our editorial systems; .doc and .docx files exported from these programs exhibit critical compatibility errors. Authors will need to make program accommodations. 
  • Standard 12 pt Times New Roman, 1 inch margins, .5 indent for the first line of each paragraph. 1.5 line spaces between lines. No tabs or spacing to indent, please! Page numbers in the upper right corner, author name in the upper left corner with the title of the work following. Example: Jane Smith / The Apple of His Eye
  • All submissions must be spellchecked and edited for American English grammar and spelling. Regional words and slang are acceptable when appropriate.
  • Dreamspinner Press edits using The Chicago Manual of Style as its primary reference. Editing your work to these standards prior to submission will greatly facilitate the publication process.

TO SUBMIT A FULL MANUSCRIPT

For full details about our submissions process, please download our Submissions Process Guide

Completed works will receive priority review and qualify for earlier calendar placement, as well as the opportunity to move up the calendar and be considered for targeted marketing.

Mail full story submissions to submissions@dreamspinnerpress.com. Please include “Submission: Dreamspun Beyond” in the subject line. We will acknowledge all submissions by email within five to seven days.

In the body of the email, please include:

  • Your legal name, pseudonym if applicable, and contact email address.
  • Working title, series name if applicable.
  • Genre and manuscript length.
  • General story description in two paragraphs.
  • Writing credentials.

Attach to the email:

  • A complete story summary or synopsis. This summary must include all major plot points, the decisions the characters make that move the plot forward, and how the story ends. 
  • Please fill out a Dreamspun “Goals Motivations Conflicts” Chart for each of the story’s heroes and include them with your submission. 
  • The manuscript. Dreamspun lines will not accept previously published material. No simultaneous submissions, please.

OTHER QUESTIONS?

QUICK REFERENCE

Dreamspun Beyond House Line PDF 

Dreamspun Content Guidelines

Dreamspun “Goals Motivations Conflicts” Chart and this example

Submissions Process Guide