Has anyone ever submitted to them or been published? Or can recommend any publishers, in print and online? After years of toying with the idea I'm tempted to throw caution to the wind and give it a go...
I remember a couple of students I knew trying this out when we were in grad school, and having talked to them about it, the question I'd ask you is "why Mills and Boon"? From what I gather the form is very proscriptive (they send you a template with more or less what must happen by what point in the book), and they don't pay very well.
If you love Mills and Boon's formula and think you'd get satisfaction out of writing to their house style, go for it... but if you're thinking of it as a good money earner, don't bother is the message I got from them (oh, and it's far harder than it looks - okay so it's not Booker material, but it still requires a degree of technical skill).
They don’t send you a formula! The readers want a certain style when they pick up a M&B but they are not an ‘easy’ book to write. I submitted to them last September and they recently responded asking me to revise what I had done and re-submit which is a big step forward in getting published which is my aim!
Oh, and having been to workshops run by their editors at conferences I would recommend reading a lot of their books in whatever series you fancy writing for. I’m forever at the library getting books out or trawling charity shop bookshelves!
I remember hearing that they were essentially a magazine, so each month maybe 12 novels would come out (for a particular strand of M&B) but once the month was up all the copies would be remaindered and another 12 would be issued. That's why you don't make much money from them as the buying time is so short.
I think if you believe you can write M&B, you can write something better!
That's correct Brilliant Disguise, or at least was. I suspect in this digital age more people are buying ebook versions so they have a little more life in them. Also the books were sold to the international markets and could pick up more money that way. But the 'better' authors sold to these more often. Eg the US market would pick up some but not all of the UK medical or sweet romances.
There used to be some wellknown online romance or romantica publishers but I believe the best known have died off in the last couple of years. You could try reading the romance section of the Absolute Write forum - they'd be up to date. I know very little about the current romance market.
Otherwise there is self-publishing but success there is very rare. Some people do well, most people do meehhhhhhhh.
The thing is with M&B is that they expect you to produce a high volume of books (but most series books are only 50,000 words) so possibly 4 books a year. I know a couple of M&B authors who do this and make a living out of it. Not big money, but then again most authors don’t make a lot of money unless they are writing bestsellers!