So How Does Harlequin Find New Authors?

We’ve asked a couple of editors to give the inside scoop about how they found their recent new/new to Harlequin acquisitions. Contests, conferences, agents and straight out submissions are all great ways. But it seems the best way to get an editor’s interest is to be open to revisions! 

Allison Lyons (@Allison_Lyons), Editor for Harlequin Intrigue, starts us off!

I had been told about Dawn Brown’s (@DawnBrown1) book, The Devil’s Eye, by her agent. I’d mentioned that we were actively acquiring projects for our new Harlequin Digital First imprint and she felt Dawn’s book would fit perfectly in our Shivers program. And she was right. The moment I started reading it, that spine-tingling sensation came through, as did the chemistry between the innocent heroine and the sexy, brooding hero. Add to that the big, creepy mansion, sinister, untrustworthy characters and a deeper mystery to the heroine’s background that slowly starts to reveal itself as the story progresses and I knew this was a journey readers would be excited to take. Although some revisions were required to tighten the story a bit, the basic elements were there and I was ready to share it with the team. Once they read it, they agreed we had something and told me to go ahead—with a 3-book offer! Needless to say the agent and author were thrilled. I’m not sure quite when it will be published as the digital first schedule is a little up in the air at the moment, but I’m so excited to be working on my first Shivers project. This was the kind of book I just knew could be something special. I think readers will feel the same way!


And Karen Reid (@KReidAssocEd), Associate Editor, Harlequin Superromance has another fun story….

Amber Leigh Williams’ (@ALeighWilliams) manuscript actually came to me while I was covering Associate Editor Megan Long’s maternity leave. Megan had previously sent Amber revision notes for this story, which Amber obviously took to heart, a little while later resubmitting the revised manuscript—which is what I first received. As I read this book, I appreciated Amber’s understanding of the passion and emotion between the hero and heroine, and I was also impressed with the world she created around these main characters—the small town they lived in and the secondary characters surrounding them. Not only was I invested in what happened between our hero and heroine, but I also wanted to get to know the people who loved and cared for them. When I sent Amber my notes on the story, in a very short period of time I heard back from her agent that Amber had read my comments and was planning on revising. As an editor, this openness to revisions was an encouraging sign. It gave me hope that we could build a strong working relationship. As it turns out, Amber did indeed resubmit her manuscript and I was so happy with the revisions that we signed Amber to Superromance. Amber continues to be a pleasure to work with, and always very professional. Her first book with us comes out in April 2014 and it’s titled A Place with Briar. I’m very excited for Amber and for us! I’m sure this is only the beginning.


And Victoria Curran (@VictoriaCurran2) gives a heads up on the latest Harlequin Heartwarming acquisition! 

The ink is still wet on our Harlequin Heartwarming contract for author Marion Ekholm’s first book, Wooing Auntie Em, but we’re already working on a new title and the book is coming out in April 2014!

I’d come across Marion’s writing a handful of years ago when I was an editor with Superromance but this submission to Heartwarming arrived this past February. It was a story Marion had written and then revised under the guidance of Executive Editor Paula Eykelhof to better fit the “clean” romance parameters of our series. Marion had done a great job addressing our concerns, but it needed one more revision because even if there was no sex on the page, the issue of premarital sex was central to the story and that was a concern with our wholesome promise.

Then Marion came to Atlanta for the Romance Writers of America conference in July and met up with me at the Heartwarming open house and then again at the editor pitches where we discussed my concerns and ideas of how to resolve them.

I made The Call two weeks ago…and got Marion while she was at McDonald’s waiting for a friend to join her for lunch! Not the best place to offer an author her first contract, but good enough, I’m sure she’ll agree. (I kept the call as short as I could!)

We’re so happy to include Marion Ekholm, a talented writer dedicated to her craft, as one of our Harlequin Heartwarming authors!


Dana Grimaldi (@DanaGrimaldi), Editorial Assistant for Harlequin Heartwarming, finishes out the post with 

A Minute on the Lips came across my desk as an unsolicited submission. Our first reader had noted the story’s mystery elements, which immediately piqued my interest. I love a good mystery! As I read the story, I became more and more excited at its potential. However, the romance needed to be front and center. Cheryl Harper (@CherylHarperBks) agreed to revise her manuscript—digging deeper into the romance between Andrea and Mark. The revised story was the perfect fit for Harlequin Heartwarming—a clean romance read featuring family, community and a high-stakes romance. A Minute on the Lips will be available February 2014.

These editors make the books sound fantastic and we’re all eager to read the final versions next year! Congratulations all, and welcome to Harlequin!

Happy reading–and writing!