The following “tip sheet” is meant to provide the author with a general sense of what BSB is looking for in LesbianGayBiTransQueer genre fiction manuscripts. These criteria are not meant to be absolutes – guidelines are just that – a jumping off place for an approach to a work.
BSB publishes a broad range of LGBTQ romances from classic "romantic journey" works to fast-moving novels of romantic suspense or edgy erotic romances.
Within the broad category of romance there are multiple distinct sub-genres which are distinguished by a variable emphasis on erotic content, centrality of plot and setting, and characterization.
These works are longer and more complex than the Matinee Romances with stronger subplots, more fully-developed secondary characters, and more in-depth exploration of theme.
Classic Romance 60,000 – 90,000 words
A romance encapsulates the drama, conflict, angst, sexual tension, and magic of two LGBTQ protagonists falling in love. By the end of the novel, the couple will commit to one another. Almost any plot line is fine if the approach is fresh and appealing. Story content is closely centered on the developing romance and deepening emotions of the two LGBTQ protagonists. In classic romances, love is almost always a catalyst for personal growth, so this is an important characteristic of the works we publish. We seek stories with strong characters, well-developed settings, interesting secondary characters, and great entertainment value. Meaningful themes are welcome, however authors should avoid preachy material.
In BSB romances, sexual tension and build up is important, and love scenes can be anything from pleasantly sensual to hot and somewhat edgy. Graphic detail is not compulsory, but BSB readers appreciate “on-the-page” love scenes that are character-appropriate as part of the developing love relationship.
Fated Love by Radclyffe
Forever Found by JLee Meyer
Course of Action by Gun Brooke
Adventure/Action Romance 60,000 - 90,000 words
60-70% romance—40-30% adventure
With darker elements and a stronger emphasis on plot, the adventure romance couples the story of a developing romance between two LGBTQ protagonists with a strong adventure sub-plot. The adventure element must not overshadow the romance, however it is central to the story. Adventure romances typically feature exotic or unusual settings, including historical settings, and some kind of quest that should reach a fruitful conclusion by the end of the book. As this is first and foremost a romance, physical consummation and a happy ending for the love story is essential. We seek a style of prose that is well paced and fast moving but does not sacrifice depth. Sex scenes can range from standard fare to very edgy, so long as they are character-appropriate and do not feel contrived. We want a page turner plot that serves up pace, conflict, climaxes, reversals, drama, risk and high stakes.
Whitewater Rendezvous by Kim Baldwin
The Spanish Pearl by Catherine Friend
More Than Paradise by Jennifer Fulton
Contemporary Romance 55,000 - 80,000 words
BSB contemporary romances are sharp, modern, LGBTQ-positive tales with engaging main characters aged 18-35 whose experiences and issues young people can identify with. The story should include a romance, but we can live without the classic "walk into the sunset" so long as the ending is not a downer or in some way less than positive about the LGBTQ identity of the main character(s). We're very open to ideas in this category. The main character(s) may be young women who are still exploring their sexual identities, or may already identify as lesbian. Neither of the two main characters is male and heterosexuality is not a focus. Humor is a plus. Sex scenes can range from standard fare to edgy, and some bisexuality / heterosexuality may be implied or discussed, but explicit heterosexual scenes are not of interest to BSB readers.
Chance by Grace Lennox
Running With the Wind by Nell Stark
Erotic Romance 55,000 - 90,000 words
40-50% erotic—30-40% romantic—20% plot/other content
BSB erotic romances are about turning the reader on as well as warming her heart. The erotic dance between the two main characters within the context of their developing love is central. Explicit sex scenes are a characteristic of this sub-genre and authors may explore edgier sexual themes than we normally see in romances. Erotic romances may include sex scenes between LGBTQ protagonists who are not the main characters, and may include a main character having sex with a character other than the one they will fall in love with. Romance and love and commitment are important, and we would like to see a happy ending in which the two main characters commit to one another, but the primary requirement in this category is a hot story.
Stories may take place in varied settings and include a variety of thematic elements. The plot, and any additional minor characters, must serve the erotic aims of the story and should not distract the reader. Plot elements may include:
shadowland by Radclyffe
Wild Abandon by Ronica Black
Naked Heart by Jennifer Fulton
Romantic Intrigue/Thriller 60,000 - 90,000 words
60-70% romance—40-30% intrigue
An intrigue romance couples the story of a developing romance between two LGBTQ characters with a strong intrigue/crime/thriller/mystery sub-plot. The mystery element must not overshadow the romance, however it is central to the story and must be resolved by the end of the book. Because these stories are romances, first and foremost, physical consummation and a happy ending for the love story is essential. Works in this category often feature a main protagonist who faces serious and real challenges / danger and acts in an heroic manner. We seek entertaining, compelling, fast moving stories that do not sacrifice depth and emotion. Sex scenes can range from standard fare to very edgy, so long as they are character-appropriate. We want a page turner that serves up pace, conflict, climaxes, reversals, drama, risk and high stakes.
Dark Valentine by Jennifer Fulton
Paranormal Romance 60,000 - 90,000 words
Unique, imaginative, sensual/erotic romance with a paranormal aspect, these works are not speculative fiction; the paranormal theme must be strong and sharply executed but should not overshadow the romance. There is plenty of room in this sub-genre for complex compelling plots and edgy unusual content. Paths well-trodden, such as vampires, ghosts, psychics, shape-shifters etc are appropriate so long as you bring something fresh and stylish to your story. Because these stories are romances, sexual tension and physical consummation are essential ingredients. The ending should not be a downer, and should include a commitment between the two main LGBTQ characters. Sex scenes can range from standard fare to very hot and edgy, so long as they are character-appropriate. We are looking for strong, original, evocative writing and an eerie sensibility.
Dark Dreamer by Jennifer Fulton
everafter by Nell Stark & Trinity Tam
ACTION / ADVENTURE
70-80% action/adventure—20-30% romance/sex
In this category, we find LGBTQ works in which the action / adventure plot dominates the story. A wide range of plots and settings are acceptable, including historical settings. A strong romance/love interest plot element is desirable, however a permanent commitment is not required. We are looking for a plot that serves up pace, conflict, climaxes, reversals, drama, risk and high stakes, and a hero caught in a high drama/high stakes situation.
The 100th Generation by Justine Saracen
Honor Reclaimed by Radclyffe
We are looking for LGBTQ crime writing with one or more central LGBTQ characters of a standard readers seek in quality mainstream works. BSB crime authors have distinctive, individual voices and write stories that feature strong compelling heroes, well crafted plots, interesting themes, and a high degree of execution and polish. Most works in our crime sub-categories include sexual content, and we are flexible on whether the hero ends up in love or just in bed. We do not, however, want a romance dressed up as a mystery.
Within the crime list, we are interested in a broad spectrum of sub-genres, including:
Police Procedural/Hard-boiled/Noir; Spy Anti-hero; Message Mystery; Crime Drama; Forensic; Special Occupations; Psychological Thriller; Courtroom Drama; Caper; Private Eye; Amateur Intrigue; Political Thriller.
70-80% intrigue/thriller—20-30% romance/sex
The LGBTQ thriller is a well plotted story featuring a strong LGBTQ protagonist, or protagonists. The thriller premise and plot account for most of the content, however a romance or love interest plot should be a significant but not necessarily dominant element. Explicit sex scenes may be included, but must serve the plot. The ending should fall within the broad conventions of the wider genre – in other words, the story should reach a climax that ties loose ends and resolves the hero’s quest. If there is a romantic sub-plot, it does not have to end in a commitment between the characters, although many readers may prefer that it does. Psychological thrillers would be included in this category, also works of intrigue involving amateurs who stumble into a crime situation. The range of styles and sub-genres this category could embrace is broad.
First Instinct by JLee Meyer
In Too Deep by Ronica Black
The Devil Inside by Ali Vali
This category includes LGBTQ detectives and private investigators as heroes, and may also include an amateur investigator if the plot is truly a mystery plot. There are many sub-categories within the mystery genre, and we will consider works from any of them. We seek compelling, entertaining stories that are stylishly written and well researched.
In mysteries the who-and-why-dunnit of a crime, most often a murder, is the central plot element and the hero is on a quest to solve this crime. We seek strong, believable, charismatic, sexy LGBTQ detectives /investigators who are good at their jobs. They may have a romance or love interest and explicit sex scenes may be included, if appropriate, but more subtle sensual scenes are also acceptable. If a romance sub-plot is included, it must not become the central story element.
Blind Curves by Diane & Jacob Anderson-Minshall
Grave Silence by Rose Beecham
Combust the Sun by Andrews & Austin
SPECULATIVE FICTION [Sci-fi/Fantasy/Horror]
Includes science fiction, fantasy and general speculative works: all special worlds welcome. The LGBTQ story is focused first and foremost on the science fiction/fantasy premise and plot. There is usually a romantic sub-plot, however the romance may or may not develop into an ongoing relationship. Explicit scenes of lovemaking may be included, but are not essential. The ending should fall within the broad conventions of the wider sci-fi / fantasy genres – in other words, almost anything goes. A happy ending is optional for the romantic sub-plot.
The Temple at Landfall by Jane Fletcher
Sword of the Guardian by Merry Shannon
Tristaine Rises by Cate Culpepper
Rebel's Quest by Gun Brooke