I received a comment on Authonomy that has brought up an issue so big that its pressed the TRC alarm button. I’m posting the comment up here, not to bash the reviewer, but because she is right in a sense, and I probably will meet with this problem, yet at the same time, I want to know what you guys think about this issue in general.
“I enjoyed reading this, but there is one serious issue which I think you’re going to have a problem with. And that is that you strayed from the formula that most publishers demand when printing a regency romance. Romance publishers are very strict when it comes to these stories, everything from word count to the number of chapters is taken into consideration. But there is also the issue of the ‘romance’ formula which almost everything bestselling author takes into consideration. The problem with your book is that your heroine is not a courtesan, but a whore. And no regency romance publishing company will touch a book where the heroine is a whore. In the majority of regency romance in print today, the heroine is almost always a virgin. And if she is not a virgin, than she is a widow. This formula has worked and made money, and publishers are very reluctant to change it. I know this because I have worked with publishers in this genre before (in editorial, not writing). So, while I enjoyed the writing, I think it would be very difficult for this to ever achieve publication. I think there is one way in which you could make this story work, but it would involve a major rewrite. From your writing, I can see that you have a passion for this genre and the time, and I really hope you take what I have said constructively, because you deserve to do well. I’m going to shelve this on that basis. L.x”
To take this review into consideration means to do a major rewrite of chapter one. In other words, it means bye bye to the brothel scene, which, to me, is like–THE scene in TRC. Without this scene, TRC will just not be the same. Maybe I’m making too much of this, but consider, it was due to this single scene that I created this story. Let me elaborate: Years before I had this image in my head of a gentleman entering a brothel to wisk a prostitute away into a life of affluence. Long afterwards, from this scene alone, through a series of “What If’s,” my story was created. Also, it means that I have to change Amanda to a courtesan who lives in a pretty townhouse. As my editor said, when I sent her an email, stating my alarm, she wrote: “If you changed the fact that she was a prostitute, you have an entirely different book.” She also went on saying that I shouldn’t allow rules to keep me from writing what I want.
I also wrote to Noelle stating my concern and she told me: “The [romance] formula is changing. As long as the characters don’t sleep with others AFTER they met, you should be fine. Lots of authors are trying different things, even the historical authors.”
But the reviewer is right. I will face problems. But I’ll try my luck.