For this week's spotlight market, we look at Harlequin Series, which accepts submissions directly from potential authors (no agents required!) and provides detailed guidelines for what they're looking for in each specific series.
Harlequin Series: Spotlight Market
Harlequin is such a big name in publishing that even people who don't read or write in the genre know they publish romance novels. As such, many writers may think they need an agent to break into this exclusive market. But they would be wrong.
While some of Harlequin's imprints (like Graydon House, Hanover Square Press, Inkyard Press, HQN Books, MIRA Books, and Park Row Books) require an agented submission, most of their Harlequin Series do not. And Harlequin provides very detailed "key elements" they wish to see in books for each series, including word count, how explicit to get with the romance, whether the hero should be a billionaire alpha male, and other very specific details (while leaving room for creativity).
What They’re Looking For: Each series has very specific "key elements." The best way to review them is to click here to check out their Submittable page. If you scroll down the page (starting with Harlequin DARE), you'll find a dozen series. Click on the "More" link next to the series name to view the full guidelines.
How to Submit: All submissions are sent via the Submittable page for each specific series (just click the big orange "Submit" button beside the specific series). Potential authors will need to include a cover letter with personal/book information and a short book pitch, the first three sample chapters, and three to five page synopsis.
Extra Info: Besides their series, Harlequin does have one imprint that accepts unagented submissions: Carina Press. Click here to check out their Submittable page.
Write and Sell Romance and Women's Fiction!
What is it that separates romance writing or women's fiction from general fiction? Many writers feel they have a romance or women's fiction story and then are shocked when the story is rejected from an editor or agent because it really isn't either of the two genres. Too often, there is a belief that if the story has a romance in it, or it is set in a romantic period of time, then it is a romance. The same holds true for women's fiction. If it has a female protagonist, does it make it women's fiction? In reality, there is much more to each of the genres.
This presentation focuses on understanding the key elements that make romance and women's fiction novels truly strong.