Through the ever-so-helpful grapevine, I learned about SilkWords, a forthcoming romance site whose purpose will be to sell, via subscription, “choose your own adventure” type romance stories:
Your romantic adventure awaits you. This site will be filled with high quality stories with choices for you to make and exciting endings to experience. Who will you meet? What will you do together? The possibilities are limitless.
Sounds pretty neat! The CYOA approach sounds like a combination of video games and intimate adventures*!
Readers can sign up to read romances in a variety of subgenres, but given the newness of this venture I sense a great opportunity for authors of science fiction romance. One reason is that SFR frequently involves action-adventure elements. Action-adventure lends itself very well to the CYOA format. Plus, Silk Words would be another way and medium to showcase sci-fi romance.
I reached out to Silk Words staff, which includes editor Sharon Lynn Fisher, for more information about the kinds of stories they're seeking. Here are the submission guidelines:
SilkWords Submission Guidelines
SilkWords is a new way to read fiction. Our target market is women who love romance and who will enjoy interacting with a story by making choices that lead to different endings.
SilkWords is a subscription-based model, offering access to all stories on the web site for one monthly fee. We plan to offer a wide variety of subgenres and heat levels and will publish new stories every week, so we are able to work with your schedule.
We want stories with rich characters/settings that hook readers (in the first couple of pages) so they become invested early on and are compelled to make choices to reach the ending. We also want readers to enjoy the story so much they come back multiple times to explore different choices.
The majority of choices presented to the reader should be significant (i.e. a choice between two potential partners, two locations, two perspectives, etc.). We are flexible about the number and type of story branches; first and foremost we are looking for very high quality stories the reader becomes invested in.
This is romance, so at least one ending should be “happily ever after” or “happy for now.” The exception to this rule is erotica (as opposed to erotica romance), which traditionally doesn’t require an HEA. For Silk Words we prefer that erotica stories have at least one upbeat or hopeful ending.
The length of the story with all of the various branches should be between 15,000 and 20,000 words.
The base pay for a story is $500, which is negotiable based on author experience, with an incentive pay program that pays $3 for every new subscription the story generates. Authors also receive a bio page on the site, where you can promote your other work.
At SilkWords we provide compensation, marketing, and editorial expertise, as well as an opportunity for both new and experienced authors to help redefine the romance (and fiction) industry.
Please send the beginning of your story, including the first choice point and a paragraph or two beyond, plus all the proposed choice points. The writing sample should be at least 1,000 words.
If we like your proposal, we’ll ask to see the completed story (and may provide feedback to help you fit the story to our needs and format).
* Use standard manuscript format (.doc or .rtf): Double-spaced, paragraph indent, Times New Roman, 1-inch margins.
* Include title, author name, and page number in the header for each page.
* Include a cover page with name (and pseudonym, if applicable), email address, mailing address, and phone number.
Send your proposal to the submissions editor: slf "at" sharonlynnfisher DOT com. Include “Silk Words proposal” in the subject line.
We look forward to reading your submission!
Staff emphasized a few additional points:
* It's very important to follow the proposal formatting requirements
*Authors can submit romance stories of all heat levels, erotic romance, and erotica
* Silk Words seeks to offer a mix of non-erotic and erotic romance
* Erotica stories must have at least one upbeat/hopeful ending
* SilkWords considers conflict/tension and character development (goal, motivation, conflict) to be essential story components
I'd like to emphasize the fact that Silk Words will consider sci-fi romances with a sweet or non-erotic heat level. I know it's been a challenge for these types of stories (for authors to place them and for readers to find them), but Silk Words can potentially help bridge that gap.
I also found Silk Words' Twitter account--Silk_Words. This tweet expresses an interest in acquiring stories featuring People of Color characters!
SilkWords is also on Facebook.
If you'd like to help spread the word, feel free to share this post as well as the submission guidelines!