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Hot Books for Fall: Spotlight on Dorchester

I have a real affection for Dorchester because it takes a lot of risks. In a market in which we readers complain of homogeneity, Dorchester is providing variety. There is its new Shomi line of which Driven by Eve Kenin is a keeper. In October, the first of CL Wilson’s epic fantasy romance cross breed will be released. Ned, the DH, read the two CL Wilson books in two weeks. That’s akin to saying that he devoured them. This month, a WWII romance novel which Jayne read and reviewed (to be posted later today) is available for purchase. As Jayne says, Perfidia by Elspeth McKendrick doesn’t skimp on the historical details nor does it lack a strong romance. If you are looking for something different, Dorchester is the publisher for you.

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To give a brief history on our company, Dorchester Publishing has been involved in the publishing of mass market books since 1971, making Dorchester the oldest independent mass market publisher in America. From our founding, we have strived to bring the best fiction to millions of fans. Although mostly known for romance, Dorchester also publishes world-class horror, thrillers and Westerns titles, as well as the award-winning Hard Case Crime line of pulp-style mysteries, and recently added Science Fiction and Fantasy titles from the award-winning Wildside Press.

Dorchester's size and independence give us the opportunity to react quickly to the new interests of the reading public and find and develop fresh types of Romances, Horror, Westerns, and Thrillers to appeal to today’s fans. In 1994, we reacted to the market and created a new imprint, Love Spell, to handle the newer types of romance. It became the perfect complement to our traditional Leisure imprint. In 2003 we added Thrillers and created the Smooch imprint for Young Adult titles. And in the summer of 2004, we launched Making It for chick-lit inspired novels. Most Recently, Dorchester launched its SHOMI line, which focuses on speculative fiction action romance.

Each of Dorchester's employees has a real passion for the book industry. There is an incredible rapport among the staff and authors often comment that we feel like a family. This is true because the Dorchester staff feels passionately about the books we publish and strives to interact personally with each author we publish.

Dorchester also has a history of publishing new, fresh fiction. Dorchester began publishing paranormal and futuristic romance in the mid 1990s and we are proud to have launched the careers of many paranormal authors, including #1 New York Times bestselling author Christine Feehan. As a company we believe we're not only in the business of publishing books, but also in the business of growing careers. We believe firmly in investing in an author and helping them to grow.

Dorchester acquires the work many first-time authors both with and without agents. We are willing to take chances on projects that might not neatly fit into other publisher's categories. If we really love it, we'll find a place for it– or create one, as was the case with our Shomi imprint!

Currently Dorchester is acquiring the following types of romance:

  • Historical –" we generally prefer the book take place prior to 1900
  • Futuristic –" should involve building a world that is unique and yet accessible and believable for the reader
  • Paranormal –" use your imagination!
  • Contemporary/Romantic Comedies –" fun and whimsical these books incorporate a sense of humor with a modern-day couple caught in a zany situation
  • Chick Lit –" these books should have a strong sense of humor, but the focus of the book should be the romance between the hero and heroine
  • Romantic Suspense –" blends the action of a page-turning thriller with a highly charged and sensual romance
  • African American Romance –" the hero and heroine should both be of African American heritage and neither should be involved in another relationship at the time of the couple's first meeting. Other than that, the author can use their imagination to have the couple involved in a contemporary drama, mystery, adventure or suspense. The story can be sexy or sweet, but the couple must end up together at the story's end.
  • Shomi –" blends elements of many different genres, including action, adventure, and speculative fiction, thriller, but retains the heart of a romance novel with a hero and heroine that end up together at the book's end.
  • If your romance doesn't neatly fit into any of these categories, you can still submit it anyway–"we're always looking for something new!

At Dorchester we like to say we're little but we're loud. We are a small house with a big presence. We have great distribution, we receive a great deal of media attention for our unique books and many of our authors are both award winning and bestselling authors. Please visit www.dorchesterpub.com to learn more about us.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

15 Comments

  1. Nicole
    Sep 09, 2007 @ 22:21:23

    But where are the ebooks?!?!

    I do really like how Dorchester takes chances. I love Marjorie Liu, for example. And can’t wait for the CL Wilson books.

    but really, I want ebooks!

  2. Ann Aguirre
    Sep 10, 2007 @ 08:11:35

    Yep, ebooks would help a lot.

  3. LinM
    Sep 10, 2007 @ 10:14:34

    What – “Lord of the Fading Lands” will not be available in digital format? Sigh – I would definitely try this book in digital format. I’m not as sure about print.

  4. sherry thomas
    Sep 10, 2007 @ 16:15:33

    And where is the list of books that come w/ other publisher’s highlights?

    There are really lazy people like me who want to get all my info w/o leaving DA!

  5. Ann Bruce
    Sep 10, 2007 @ 18:57:32

    There are really lazy people like me who want to get all my info w/o leaving DA!

    Hehe. I know the feeling. The extra couple of mouse clicks takes energy.

  6. Kaz Augustin
    Sep 10, 2007 @ 19:49:20

    I don’t know that Dorchester is a great choice for geek-girls. I went to their Submissions page and it hasn’t changed.

    TIME TRAVEL. Beware of philosophizing about the meaning of time, and how the past affects the present. No time machines, please.

    Yeah, ‘cos we all know that…what? Romance readers can’t understand philosophy? And no time machines. Why not? Why not a kick-ass geeky engineer who tinkers with machines on her off-time? Someone who thinks she’s not attractive, but whose intelligence and compassion attracts the love of her life who happens to live in a different era?

    FUTURISTIC: Avoid science-fiction-type hardware, technology, etc. The greatest challenge of a futuristic is building a world that is unique and yet accessible to the reader.

    “Science-fiction-type hardware” isn’t accessible? Someone tell Lois McMaster Bujold, quick! She’s obviously been scamming us with the Vorkosigan saga for years now.

    Forgive me, but this sounds like Dorchester is deliberately dumbing down two sub-genres which, in the right hands, can fly! Or, if that’s Dorchester, maybe that should be, levitate mysteriously through touching some charmed device.

  7. Charlene Teglia
    Sep 10, 2007 @ 20:10:59

    Kaz, you’re cracking me up. I actually wrote a time-travel romantic short about a scientist who appropriates parts and funds to build herself a time machine. Smart women need love, too. *g*

    I took the guidelines to mean not focusing on technology at the expense of the characters and the story. Which Bujold never does.

  8. Ann Bruce
    Sep 10, 2007 @ 20:47:22

    FUTURISTIC: Avoid science-fiction-type hardware, technology, etc. The greatest challenge of a futuristic is building a world that is unique and yet accessible to the reader.

    Sounds like Dorchester would reject William Gibson.

  9. Marianne Mancusi
    Sep 10, 2007 @ 21:08:01

    Kaz, I’d take those guidelines with a grain of salt…I think they’re very outdated as to what editors are currently looking for. I’ve done 4 time travel books with Dorchester and 2 of them have had time machines in them. And they don’t shy away from complicated plots. Look at Liz Maverick’s Wired, for example. And next spring we’ll have Michele Lang’s Netherwood, which is hardcore sci-fi…and very Neuromancer’esque.

    I’d say Dorch is a PERFECT place for a geek girl writer. Chris Keeslar, one of the editors, LOVES that stuff. He gets it, too, and never asks that it be dumbed down – if anything, he wants them smarter. When I passed in the first draft of Moongazer, he teased me, calling it Sci-fi Lite, and made me add a ton of explanation of the technology behind the story, etc.

    They also say in those guidelines, if I remember right, that they strongly prefer third person. Also wrong. (To the dismay of some of the people here, I’m sure, lol.)

    Dorchester is an awesome publisher to write for. They give you so much freedom to really write the books YOU want to write. Even if they’re weird. Perhaps ESPECIALLY if they’re weird.

    Marianne

  10. Marianne Mancusi
    Sep 10, 2007 @ 21:09:13

    PS They’d only reject William Gibson because Case and Molly don’t get their HEA. ;-)

  11. Kaz Augustin
    Sep 11, 2007 @ 02:00:26

    Marianne, thanks for the reply! Y’know, I’ve revisited the site several times, obviously under the misapprehension that they’d keep the Submissions info on par with editorial demands, and ever hopeful for a crack in the “fie on metal-coated things” policy, ‘cos personally, me lurv teh metal-coated things. Maybe that’s why I come across so grumpy…lotsa visits, same ole news.

    But you bring sunshine into my chromy shiny world! Just for that, I shall spend some money on Dorch books, including yours, and stop being such a petty little embargo-er. Thank you.

  12. Angela
    Sep 11, 2007 @ 14:14:11

    Well…lol…they say they prefer historicals prior to 1900, but published Morag/Elspeth’s historicals set in the 1930s and 1940s? Yeah…I think Dorchester’s page is outdated. But I do love them for taking chances(Marjorie M. Liu! Jade Lee!) and hope more writers turn to them instead of writing to “the market” in order to get published.

  13. Marianne Mancusi
    Sep 11, 2007 @ 14:38:09

    Thanks Kaz!! And I’ll do my part by putting a bug in Dorchester’s ear to update those guidelines. I’d hate to know they were missing good submissions just because authors are assuming they need to follow certain rules. After all, I can’t think of a publisher more into breaking the rules than Dorchester!

  14. Leah
    Sep 12, 2007 @ 13:00:55

    Thanks for bringing the guideline issue to our attention. We’re going to go back and see what we can do to make some of the wording a little clearer. Marianne’s right – we definitely like to see refreshing, out-of-the-box kinds of romances. It’s one of the main reasons we created the Shomi line. To address some specifics:

    We do *prefer* that historical romance is set before 1900. Time and again, this is what is proven to work best in the market. But we’re willing to make exceptions when the book itself is extraordinarily exceptional. This is one of the benefits of having an agent – they know our personal preferences and what project is worth breaking the rules.

    Futuristics and time-travels – It’s definitely true that the descriptions we currently have posted could be better worded. The basic point here is that we’re much more interested in the characters and their developing relationship than paragraphs upon paragraphs of straight description about their technology or the world they inhabit. Of course you need *some* description to understand and feel fully engaged in the story, but it shouldn’t be the focus of the book.

    I hope this helps clear things up a bit.

    And for those looking for a preview, here are some projects I’ve worked on that I’m particularly excited about:

    Available now:

    IMMORTALS: THE GATHERING by Jennifer Ashley – The concluding book of the series arc, but not the last we’ve seen of these characters (she hints mysteriously…)

    UNDERCOVER IN HIGH HEELS by Gemma Halliday – This is the third book of the series, which the USA Network is currently developing for a TV show

    Eve Kenin’s DRIVEN, of course, which Jane has so kindly linked to at the top of the page

    Coming in October:

    WARRIOR’S BRIDE by Gerri Russell – This is the second novel from last year’s American Title Contest winner. With rave reviews from Jayne Ann Krentz, Debbie Macomber and Sabrina Jeffries, this steamy Scottish historical is definitely one to check out.

    Coming in November:
    UNLUCKY by Jana DeLeon – A riotous mystery romance in which the unluckiest woman in the world tries to help a federal agent take down a wanted criminal. Like Jana’s debut, Rumble on the Bayou, this features a great bayou flavor and lots of quirky characters.

    FORECAST by Jane Tara – A contemporary debut novel that I like to describe as Alice Hoffman’s Practical Magic meets Jane Austen’s Emma.

  15. Melvin Osborne
    Jan 13, 2008 @ 14:43:22

    I am interested in the Hard Copy of Zane Grey Novels, These books are the red and gold hard covers. I have about 50 of these and would be interested in the full set. Thanks so much

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