Step 1 Find your series
- Read the submission guidelines at Submittable.com. Using the guidelines for each series, you can determine the best fit for your story with a couple of steps.
- Exclude any series that are obviously a bad fit. For example, if your story is set in 2020, you can cross Harlequin Historical off your list.
- Once you’ve narrowed your search, match your manuscript to a series using these elements: word length, sensuality level, hooks, story elements, characters and setting (including time period). If there’s a series you really love but one or two elements are off, you can always revise!
- Read recent books from the line you’re targeting. This will give you a better idea of how Harlequin handles the big-picture elements, like structure, plot, point of view, character and conflict. Plus, reading fiction is the best kind of research!
Step 2 Prepare your submission
- Write a cover letter. This is your opportunity to hook us; tell us why we should acquire your book. Each series Submittable page will give you an idea of the hooks we’re looking for—call them out in your cover letter to show us why your book is a great fit!
- Write a story synopsis. This is an outline or summary of your story, with plot outline, character development and story/conflict resolution. See the guidelines for your chosen series to determine the expected synopsis length.
- Prepare your manuscript file. This should be a Word document attached to your Submittable form. Don’t worry about getting the formatting wrong; we’re just looking for something that’s easy to read. If you’re not sure, double-spaced 12-pt Times New Roman is always safe.
- Proofread all submission materials for errors, including your cover letter, synopsis and manuscript. Your work doesn’t have to have to be professionally edited, but you should give everything a once-over, just as you would a job application. And if you’ve got a great friend who can read things over with fresh eyes, even better!
Step 3 Submit!
- Using the Submittable page for your chosen series, fill out the form and upload your synopsis and manuscript. Once you’re done, click Submit—it’s that easy!
- If it is your first time submitting a manuscript, you’ll need to create a Submittable account – it’s free.
- Some Submittable tips:
- Browse the Submittable page early in your process to see what information is required.
- Prepare your submission materials before you fill out the Submittable form.
- Make sure your files are in .doc or .docx format.
- If you’re having trouble clicking Submit, check that all the required fields in the form are complete.
Step 4 Waiting for a response
- Did you receive an email saying your submission status has changed to “In-Progress”? See our FAQ to find out what that means.
- If you’re still waiting for a response several weeks after the recommended 12-week wait period, follow up through Submittable. If it’s been a long time since you submitted, or if you haven’t heard back from us after you follow up, we apologize! We receive a lot of submissions, and we want to give each one the time it deserves. We know it can be tough to wait—if you’re unhappy, we understand if you need to withdraw your submission. And we have no claim on it just because you submitted to us—you’re absolutely free to submit your story elsewhere!
- Keep writing! If we love the story you submitted, we’ll be excited to see what’s next!
- Join the Harlequin Writing Community and connect with other published and aspiring romance authors.
Step 5 Moving forward after submission
- If you receive a rejection…
- Try not to take it personally—there are so many reasons for rejection, and most of them have to do with the manuscript simply not being the best fit for the series you targeted.
- Don’t think that’s the end of your manuscript! If we provided feedback, sit with it and see how you feel about the suggestions. If you didn’t receive feedback, look at the series’ guidelines and see what might have made it a mismatch. That same story might be a great fit somewhere else.
- It’s okay to take a break from the manuscript so you can come back to it with fresh thoughts. Try working on another project—sometimes the best way to move on is to start something new!
- If you receive a request for a full manuscript…
- If you’ve already got the full, send it! If you sent us the first three chapters because it’s all you had, get writing. While we don’t expect a full manuscript the following day after we ask, it’s best to send it sooner rather than later, as editorial needs change over time.
- If you receive a request to revise and resubmit…
- Congratulations! This is an exciting step—it means the editor sees a lot of potential in your work.
- Please don’t revise and resubmit until specifically asked to do so. If we provide feedback but don’t ask you to resubmit, it means that even with the revisions, it’s unlikely the manuscript will be a great fit for the series.
- If we want to acquire your manuscript…
- Celebrate! We’re always excited to welcome new authors into the Harlequin family.