We kicked off 2023 by opening submissions for Harlequin’s Romance Includes You Mentorship on January 1 and we received an outstanding response. From story acquisitions to book promotions (including our recent Valentine’s promo shown in the image above), Harlequin aims to offer a rich variety of content and ensure readers see themselves in the books we publish.
Here’s the latest update on our initiatives and progress on increasing diversity and representation reflected in Harlequin books.
Reaching out to the writing community
- Harlequin received over 160 story submissions in January for the 2023 Romance Includes You Mentorship – a fantastic response from the writing community! We called for submissions from debut romance writers in underrepresented communities and will offer a publishing contract for the top submission. Submissions are being reviewed this winter and the results announced in May.
- This outreach program helps Harlequin find new voices in romantic fiction and increase diverse representation among published romance authors and stories.
Publishing more diverse voices and stories
- Through writers’ conferences, events and submission calls, we continue to reach out to authors with Harlequin’s interest in publishing more diverse voices and stories for readers. We are making progress attracting a diverse community of authors to Harlequin – in fact, about one-third of authors whose first Harlequin titles were released in 2022 are members of underrepresented communities.
- We know there’s much more to do. We are excited to introduce readers to new authors and will continue working to increase representation in our publishing program.
Harlequin for Libraries
- When romance fans need their fix, many head to their local public library. Harlequin publicity manager, Lisa Wray, runs a webinar series that introduces librarians to the wide variety of romance stories Harlequin offers. “Librarians know romance is popular with readers and they’re keen to know about upcoming titles, bestselling authors, and stories whose characters reflect the diverse communities they serve,” said Lisa.
- In January, two virtual events spotlighted Carina Adores, a Harlequin imprint featuring trope-based romance novels with LGBTQ+ characters, for 63 librarians and 20 Indie booksellers who attended.
Helping readers discover Harlequin Books
- As we work to publish more stories by authors in underrepresented communities, Harlequin also aims to promote books inclusively so that readers see themselves reflected in the stories we publish.
- For example, the Harlequin Ever After blog offers fun and engaging content that promotes books by a diverse community of authors. Two February stories to check out are a fun collection of Galentine’s Day Friendship Reads and LaQuette’s romance recommendations honoring Black History Month.