Seeking inspirational romance writers

Janet Grant

Blogger: Janet Kobobel Grant

I’ve been thinking about a hole in my current client list that’s in need of being filled. I’d like to represent more authors who want to write pure romance–contemporary romance, romantic suspense, and historical romance.

So let’s call this week’s blog my Want Ad.

I’m looking for:

  • stellar writing.
  • intriguing ideas.
  • strong characterization.
  • manuscripts that fit within the guidelines, including word count, of such Love Inspired and Barbour’s romance lines. Here’s a sample of Love Inspired’s guidelines.
  • the standard romance formula (hero and heroine meet in the first chapter, alternating POV, etc.).
  • suited to the inspirational market.

If you have such a proposal and manuscript or know someone who does, here’s how submissions will work:

  • I will accept submissions for two weeks (through October 11). Submissions will close after that date.
  • Send your proposal (maximum synopsis–5 pages, single-spaced) and the first three manuscript chapters in one document attached to an email submitted to
  • Use the subject line “romance blog submission” in your email.
  • Include in your submission your bio and your social media involvement (that means number of friends, blog page views, Twitter followers, etc).

I will respond within 8 weeks after submissions close.


I look forward to seeing what you’ve got!

On an unrelated topic, for those of you who might recall the blog post I wrote on whether offering digital books for free made sense, I had a recent conversation with individuals in a publisher’s marketing division that has given me whiplash. They generously shared charts, graphs, and details about how their free digital marketing functions, and the statistics are downright impressive. This department has worked the analytics masterfully. I found myself wishing other publishers devoted the same attention to what works and why. So you may consider this is my official recognition that, when it comes to this publisher, I was flat-out wrong. AndΒ  happy to be so.

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  1. Good morning, Obi Janet,

    Hmmm, well I’d have flipped out, squealed and broken into hives over this exactly 15 days and 2 hours ago, now I’m grinning. And clapping and hopping in my seat, like a spoiled child at the circus.
    I’ve always had a hard time with people who left cryptic notes that said stuff like “I know you know what I know you know about that person that I know you know we know…”, but I’m going to go against my non-iron-clad, tough-as-wet-kelp personal ethics and say something.
    And I know you’ll know I’m winking like I’ve got a glob of dirt in my contact.
    “Too late, I’ve got something in the mail already.”

    Mwah! Hugs!

    Yes, I wanna cry.

  2. Kate says:

    I have been so blessed by this website! I can hardly put into words how much I have learned by visiting here daily. For example, I honestly did not know that a true romance novel is marked by the hero and heroine meeting in the first chapter and has alternating points of view. Thank you so much for helping me grow as a reader and a writer.

  3. Norma Horton says:

    Janet, I’d love more information about the “free” statistics. They go totally against my grain, but I’m a student so I can learn. Can you share any specific information? The more detailed the better. Or feel free to route your response through Mary or directly through the e-mail on file with your office.

    Thank you from the dry-eyed side of things,

    • Janet Grant says:

      Norma, I can’t share specifics because the publisher’s information is proprietary. I can say I went into the meeting a skeptic who was trying to be open-minded. We were saw graphs that showed how free functioned for a number of our clients, and I was gobsmacked. The results are stunningly clear that, if handled wisely, free is indeed an effective way to sell books. I was dry-eyed at the beginning of the conversation but a misty-eyed convert by the end.
      This doesn’t mean, across the board, free works. You have to know how to make it work, and this publisher does.

      • Norma Horton says:

        Thanks for your prompt reply, Janet. I guess my aversion to “free” is triggered by the self-published (not a shot, BTW) suthors who blanket twitter with “FREE CHAPTER!” and “FREE PAGES!” as opposed to free samples as part of a well-orchestrated publisher’s marketing campaign.

        I fully appreciate the necessary confidentiality.


  4. Sarah Thomas says:

    Can’t wait to hear how this plays out! I hope you do a post in about 10 weeks listing how many proposals you got, how many actually fit the criteria, how many manuscripts you requested, how many offers you made, etc. This is super interesting!

    • Yes! A post about the deluge will be quite really interesting, won’t it? It would be a rather revealing study on just how well all the criteria were followed and how things played out.

    • Janet Grant says:

      Thanks, for the suggestion, Sarah. I’ll keep this in mind as I work my way through the submissions and decide if it makes for a strong blog.
      I’ve never put out a call for proposals; I’m eager to see what happens as a result.

  5. Jeanne T says:

    Bummer. I wish I had a romance ready for you. πŸ™‚ Writing in a different genre excludes me from this. πŸ™‚ I’m with Sarah though, I’d love to hear how it plays out!

    Your comments about the free e-books has me curious. I hope you can share more on that at some point, too. πŸ™‚

  6. Oh my word, I really, really, REALLY want to send a fake one in, just to make you thankful for all the good ones you’ll be getting…wrestles self away from a rapid descent into flaming silliness.

    Or not…

  7. How thoughtful of you, Janet, to quantify exactly what you are looking for! Hoping you find lots of great authors this way! And yes, would enjoy a follow-up post, like Sarah suggested, on how many queries you got, how many you took on, etc. I know there are so many excellent writers out there just waiting for their chance to get in the door.

  8. Oh, Janet, what exciting yet discouraging news! Thank you for sharing your current need, but alas, I don’t have a romance manuscript ready. My just-completed ms is on submission after several requests at conference, and it is a contemporary-historical hybrid with a touch of romance. But I really enjoyed the historical part, and after my conference experience, I’m thinking I need to amp up the romance. My concern is that it would be considered a change of genre. But I have an idea that thrills me, one with some personal connection and probable marketing outlets…. Ach, the trials of an unagented writer with few consultants. Think I need to talk to my CP.

  9. Janet, I love your heart and your continued commitment to writers and the industry we love!

  10. What an exciting thing for romance writers who regularly read this blog! πŸ™‚ I hope you find exactly what you’re looking for. And as others have said, I’d love to see a follow-up post about the results!

  11. I love it! A wanted ad blog post! Alas I am sad this is not my genre. But if you’re looking for dual time period novels. I’m your girl! πŸ™‚

    Good luck with your search! Hope you find just the right ones!

  12. Prayers and good thoughts for all who submit their work. I eagerly await the results.

  13. Such an exciting opportunity is enough to drag me out of ‘lurkdom’. Now I just have to decide which story is most likely to appeal and push myself to take the big submission step. Am I the only one who struggles with that?

    • Janet Grant says:

      Carol, submitting is sort of like asking someone for a date. It’s one thing to flirt with an individual, it’s quite another to ask the question.

      • Love that analogy! A couple years ago there was an article in Psychology Today that suggested if a gal is thinking of asking a guy out, she should be pretty certain of his interest first. If I don’t push the analogy too far, I suppose I could consider your invitation to submit as being interest. πŸ™‚

  14. rachel says:

    this is so neat πŸ™‚

    i’ve read so many blogs where people bemoan not knowing what an agent is looking for. well, as of today, they can firmly see that this agent knows EXACTLY what she is looking for: specifics and details and all. i, like those readers above, would love to see if a new Books and Such client is signed as a result of this πŸ™‚

  15. How fun to get a glimpse at your Want Ad.
    This might seem like a silly question, but I’ll ask anyway. Do you require that the submitted manuscript be complete (finished)? If I remember right, there’s a preference for unpublished authors to submit proposals on completed manuscripts.
    My WIP, although finished, needs more revision and is being considered by another awesome agent. This person told me that it leans more toward Historical rather than a genre romance.
    Is genre romance more what you’re looking for?

    • Janet Grant says:

      Jenni, I am looking for genre romance. I’d prefer a complete manuscript. It’s hard to make a decision based on an incomplete since the novel could fall apart before it reaches the finish line.

  16. Mart Ramirez says:

    What a great opportunity! Two of my favorite publishers :-)Hope you find some gems.

  17. Mary L Ball says:

    I failed, my manuscript is an Inspirational Romance, but the characters can’t get together in the first chapter. I know-a big rule breaker. The MC has other issues he’s fighting with and has to sort out before his lady comes on the scene.

    Mary Ball
    Stone of Destiny

  18. Wow…how exciting!! Wonderful way to start the week!

    After the August OCW Conference and meeting with several editors and agents, I was advised to re-write one of my manuscripts for the romance- love-inspired genre! However, it’s not yet a finished manuscript, so guess I’ll miss out on this “call!” πŸ™

    I finally realized I LOVE ROMANCE…have several ideas for possible novels outlined, but no word count yet!

    Will pray that you find what you’re looking for!

  19. Wow, it’s great that you’re looking for romance submissions. Hopefully, that means the market for that is expanding – and publishers want more books.

    As far as free books go, I’ve heard that when some authors indie publish, they do a 3-book series. The first book is free and then the sales pick up for the other 2? Not sure if it works for sure, but, it’s what I’ve heard.

    • Janet Grant says:

      Cecelia, I don’t know that the romance market is picking up; it’s running steady. I just have been thinking that I don’t have many clients who are writing romance, and I wanted to shore up my client list in that genre.
      Regarding independently published books selling more copies because the first in a series is offered as free, that works for some indie authors. But I also hear from self-pubbed authors that free doesn’t sell that many copies for them. Instead, it’s a way to garner more reviews. Obviously results vary depending on the “driver,” as the car ads say.

  20. Thank you for this information and opportunity, Janet. I have something in the works I feel would fit in this category. I do have one question, though. Is it necessary to have alternating POV’s or is that optional?

    Thanks again.

  21. Erica Vetsch says:

    I love this! I contracted with my agent as the result of a similar blog post she put out about three years ago. I hope you get lots of wonderful submissions and have a hard time choosing because they are all so very good. πŸ™‚

  22. Jeannie says:

    I wish I’d seen this before I put my angel romance story up on Amazon!
    Good luck! I know you’ll get lots of submissions!

  23. Mary Tatem says:

    Oh, I wish my proposal was ready. Still in in the planning stage. Story question and all that!

  24. Forgive me, Janet, but I have another question. Is it acceptable for the story to be set in a more exotic location with no family members around, but mentioned and included in the plot?

  25. Janet, I don’t write romance. I write inspirational (Christian)fiction. Is anyone at Books & Such accepting submissions in that genre, even manuscripts that have already been self-published? I self-published my first novel, Never Alone, last year. It’s available on and Barnes & I’d like to reach a larger audience, simply because I believe a lot of people in the world need to be encouraged that as they go through the storms of life they can always rely on the Storm Walker, Jesus Christ, to guide them. I’m currently working on the sequel to Never Alone, called Strong Tower.

    • Janet Grant says:

      Christine, we Books & Such agents are always on the lookout for projects that excite us and make us fall in love with reading all over again. In my blog post, I chose to hone in on romance writing because that’s an area on my client list that needs shoring up. You may submit your material to us via regardless what you write (that we represent). Guidelines are available on our website under “Submissions.”

  26. Hi, Janet. I was directed to this site by a fellow writer in an ACFW critique group. How exciting! I do have a romance in the polishing stage, but it was turned down by Shana Smith of Love Inspired. She said it was too suspenseful for LI and not suspenseful enough for LIS. It’s also a bit over their limit at just under 65K.Would I be wasting you time by sending a proposal?

  27. I generally like to obey the rules and do my research. While looking for Barbour’s guidelines for romance, this is all I found; “We no longer accept unsolicited submissions unless they are submitted through professional literary agencies.”

    Are the Love Inspired guidelines universal?

    • Janet Grant says:

      Cherry, no, Love Inspired guidelines aren’t universal. As a matter of fact, Barbour isn’t as strict about writers following the standard romance formula. But, to be on the safe side, you can’t go wrong by using Love Inspired’s guidelines.However, you could veer outside of acceptable boundaries if you got creative with how the story was told. So I’d suggest following the LI parameters.

  28. And here I just spent the past few days, polishing my submission for my current romantic suspense. How’s that for opportunity and preparedness meeting?

    Thank you for putting out this call. I look forward to seeing if we’re a good fit. All the best on your author search. Sending now!

    Ashley Ludwig

  29. Shakira says:

    Dear Ms. Grant
    My name is Shakira Wilkerson and I am an new writer in inspirational romance novels. I just wanted to know more about how to published my books. Also I am looking an literary manager or an agent and I was wondering if you will be so kind to assist with me the information. I believe that in my novels there are messages that I will like to give to God people. Thank you.