Kwela would like to invite authors to submit romance manuscripts written according to the following guidelines:
Typical format of a Kwela romance
• 30 000 words
• Roughly 10 chapters
Typical style of a Kwela romance
• Think Mills & Boon
• The story must be set in South Africa, preferably a big city like Johannesburg
• The story is told from the main female character’s perspective
• The story is told in the third person
• Both hero and heroine should be black South Africans.
The main female character (heroine)
The heroine is:
• an independent, spunky, smart woman;
• financially independent;
• in her mid-twenties to early thirties;
• extremely self-motivated;
• determined to achieve success; and
• committed to overcoming past hardships.
The heroine feels:
• financially responsible for her family.
The heroine has:
• a strong spiritual base;
• at least two girlfriends on whom she can rely for moral & emotional support; and
• a modern outlook on life and on the role of woman in society.
The heroine likes to:
• visit local hotspots to see who’s who and to be seen.
The heroine should:
• experience personal growth and self-discovery; and
• realise her own worth and inner strength.
The main male character (hero)
The hero is:
• slightly older than the heroine (late thirties to early forties)
• successful in his career
• more traditional in his outlook on life than the heroine (cause of tension).
The main plot-line:
• revolves around the heroine & hero’s struggle to build a romantic relationship
• outside forces (at work or in their communities) try to keep them apart
• their own conflicting beliefs about modern society and the role of women also threaten to keep them apart
Keep sub-plots to a minimum:
• Only those that influence internal growth in the heroine should be developed.
Romantic tension should be built up until a satisfying conclusion is reached between the heroine & hero:
• i.e. when all obstacles between them have been overcome and love triumphs.
One or two intimate scenes should be included (though only between the heroine and the hero – no other boyfriends/lovers).
Your target readers:
• All those thousands of people who love Mills & Boon!
• Upwardly mobile black female readers.
• In terms of typical South African readers, think of those who currently read True Love
• Age groups: from teenagers to 50+, i.e. quite a broad group
In order to be able to write for these readers, the writer needs to get to know them, so:
a) go and buy some magazines;
b) look at the current issues that are addressed in the magazines; and
c) get a sense of the aspirations and socio-economical status of this group.
In short, the reader is:
• proudly black, dynamic, ambitious, enlightened, mature and sexy
• seeks empowerment through self-development, relationship advice, career guidance and spiritual inspiration
• respects and honours her cultural traditions
• aspires to live a successful, fulfilling and dynamic life in a country that continuously presents her with interesting challenges and opportunities
• generates her own income and seeks financial security and independence, to realise her desires and enjoy her many choices as a consumer
Guidelines towards a structure
Introduce the heroine to the reader by placing her in her own day-to-day environment and allowing her to interact with either family or her girlfriends or both. Think of this as an introductory chapter. Give some description of the heroine but not too much. It might be a good idea to introduce the hero briefly in this chapter.
Expand on the “normal” life of the heroine. Give some indication of the direction the plot will take, i.e. introduce a new element to her life (hero or new circumstances).
If the hero has not been introduced in chapter 2, now is the time to bring him to introduce him – though chapter 1 is often best. This is also the time to indicate the reasons for the conflict that will develop between him and the heroine.
Chapter 4 – 8
Develop the physical & emotional tension between the heroine & hero, as well as the conflict between them, caused by both outside forces and inner beliefs.
Final build-up to the climax, which should be a confrontation between the heroine & hero: conflicting viewpoints have to be faced and dealt with.
Immediate aftermath of the confrontation and final romantic union.
• No disillusionments for readers
• No death of either hero / heroine
• No death of their ideals
Authors of manuscripts that are to be published have a choice as to how they’d like to be renumerated. We can offer either a flat fee of R12 000 (ex VAT) payable on publication of the manuscript, or we can pay a royalty fee on net receipts which would be deemed standard in the South African publishing industry .
Format of manuscripts
Please send your completed manuscript to email@example.com
. The manuscript should be in one document (in Word), and be clearly legible.