I’ve just sent my submission to Harlequin’s UK office and it had me wondering – if this manuscript is successful, what will happen next? It would be great to get an idea of what hoops it has to jump through before it has a chance to be published!
Normally we let editors answer these questions, but this week, someone else wanted to take over instead…!
When I arrived at Romance HQ, as a mere three chapter baby, I had only ever been read by one person – the author who wrote me. So understandably, I was feeling rather nervous about an editor casting their expert eye over the story I had to tell. Manuscripts from a whole range of other authors were sent in everyday from people all over the world, so I knew that I was in for a bit of hefty competition…
Harlequin Mills & Boon sent my author an automatic email through the Submittable page I came through, to let her know that I had made it safely and to expect a response within three months. (Have you seen the Harlequin Submittable page? It’s a very cool way to electronically submit your manuscript!)
At first I got logged into a database so that my progress could be tracked – that way there’s a record of who has read what. This database holds a huge wealth of information, such as if my author has submitted previous manuscripts. After that, I got randomly distributed to an editor – all aspiring authors’ submissions are added to a rota, so each lucky editor can expect a delivery of exciting new submissions (usually about 10 partials) every few weeks. She was very excited to read all of us! I had heard that there’s a lot of anticipation in Romance HQ about finding new talent and potentially acquiring a new author, so I was very anxious – would I impress? I was quite literally an open book, now it was up to the words on my pages to sell my story…
When my editor started to read me, I think she knew that my author had something special. Although there was still room for things to be improved on, there was something about the way she whipped through the chapters that made me think…’gosh, maybe I’m a real page turner after all?’
After that it wasn’t long until my editor wrote to my author with suggestions on what could help me become a full-length Harlequin romance – a romance that she wanted to read! My author and I couldn’t believe it – this editor could see our potential and wanted to work with us on achieving it! From then on, a wonderful relationship formed.With the editor’s help, my author developed me from a three-chapter partial into a full manuscript, where they worked tirelessly on me until they felt I was ready to be shown to the Senior Editor of my targeted series.
Although I knew that I was in the best shape I’d ever been, this bit was the most nerve-wracking of all – would the Senior Editor like me enough to want me in her series? Honestly, our nerves were in tatters! I knew that if she didn’t think I was quite ready for publication that I could still undergo further revisions…but what was she going to say?! Was this going to be the end of the road? But I was lucky – the Senior Editor really liked me, and only had a few tweaks to suggest. And before I knew it, the most exciting part of all happened – my author got The Call!
It was amazing. My editor rang my author and told her that she was now part of the Harlequin family! They celebrated with hysteria and excitement, thinking back over how all their hard work had paid off. Then, the final chapter of my journey began. All there was left to do was for my author to sign on the dotted line, and our story ended. But for me, it’s a happily-ever-after that will last forever! Best of luck to all you other manuscripts out there – it was a wild and crazy journey, one that I hope you all get to make too!