The Next Big Thing in Romance Could Be You!

By Harlequin Senior Executive Editor Birgit Davis-Todd

Welcome to So You Think You Can Write! Harlequin and Mills & Boon are searching globally to find new authors for all our series. Always wanted to write a romance novel? Be sure to enter our Writing Contest. One lucky winner will be offered a book publishing contract with the world’s leader in romance fiction!

Five Day Online Conference

Join us September 16 – 20 for our 24/7 online conference AKA Harlequin’s boot camp for writers. Exercise those writing muscles with an intensive workout packed with blogs, podcasts, live chats, writing challenges, Twitter events, author interviews and more. Stop by our ever popular 50 Editors forum to say hello to the Harlequin editors and ask lots of questions. Check the daily Calendar for topics and start times for all conference events.

SYTYCW Writing Contest Details

Beginning September 23 you can submit the First Chapter (5000 words max) of your romance story plus a 100-Word Pitch to the series you have targeted. The pitch should outline the concept, plot, characters, conflict and setting. You must target one of our 20 eligible series. Last day for submissions is October 9.

New this year:We’re accepting submissions to Harlequin Shivers, an exciting new series in our Harlequin Digital First program.

New this year:All First Chapter submissions will be posted immediately for everyone to read and add comments in the space provided. Submit your chapter right away so more people—including the editors–will see it!

Top 50 Finalists & Top Ten Finalists

In mid-October Harlequin editors in New York, Toronto and the UK will select the Top 50 best chapters from all the submissions received and request full manuscripts from those writers. They’ll read the full Top 50 manuscripts and narrow the field to the Top 10 manuscripts, which will then be posted for voting.

New this year: More finalists in each round, which means even more opportunities for writers to have their manuscripts read by the editors!

Public Voting: November 12 – 25

Yes, that’s you! Read all 10 complete manuscripts and vote for your favorite.

New this year: Spend time with our Author Mentors & Editors who have teamed up with each of the 10 finalists to generate excitement.

New this year: You can post comments about each of our 10 finalists’ manuscripts in the space provided.

Grand Prize Winner Date: December 4

We’ll announce the name of the contest winner—and lucky recipient of a series publishing contract with Harlequin!

The Last Word

Why do we offer this conference and contest each year? Harlequin is always looking for new writers for our many programs.

1500: the minimum number of books published a year

750: the minimum number of contracts offered a year

500: the minimum number of authors under contract now

4: the number of books an editor needs to contract each business day

1: You—our next new author!

Let’s get this conference rolling. Post your questions below!

14 replies on “The Next Big Thing in Romance Could Be You!”

Excitement!! The Day is finally here, and my questions dry up like my mouth in the presence of Editors …. Forgive my scrambled neurons for popping out this pressing thought: where can I find guidelines for pseudonyms? (Please don’t snort; still feeling a little shy about the steam coming off my pages …)Thank you. And thank you for this inspiring contest!

I am in a bit of pain since I have managed to chew my nails to pieces. This is my first entry to anything like this and jitters are making my stomach uneasy then again it could be my diet of nails. I have written stories and saved them but never could I allow myself to let anyone read them. Steamy, no, but I did manage to read Fifty Shades which led to my bank account being drained from buying books from all of my favorite Harlequin Authors….then I found the library! So now, I think I can write and I hope you’ll agree when you see my entry after I hit the upload button. My fingers have been hovering the keyboard since yesterday ended I still have a week to go! Best of luck to everyone.

Hi Jean, I’m thrilled to see the first question of the day. I have my coffee so I’m ready to go! Great question! With Harlequin you can choose to write under your real name or you can choose a pseudonym. I think it’s great to use a real name but sometimes writers prefer to be a little more anonymous or perhaps want a name that’s going to fit better with the genre they have chosen. What do other writers think about names? I’d love to hear from everyone!

Welcome, Julie,
I’m sure you are not the only one feeling nervous about writing and showing your work. Writing is such a personal thing and we all worry about being judged. But that said you’ve taken the right step. You will never know unless you enter the first chapter in our contest. One piece of advice? Make sure you target the right series. Good luck!

I cannot believe how much fun writing is. I have no idea if what I am writing is any good, but I feel as if I have found a new passion. I just love writings even from my town in Perth, Western Australia. I was so excited when I found this website and competition, it made writing accessible for the average person. Can’t wait to submit my entry.

would it b e consider too graphic to have a book about the murder of a newlywed couple being killed on their wedding night? the actual deaths are not written, but they are described later when the heroine, the female detective talked about it as well as the medical examiner.

On names – I’d love to see my name on my work, but at the same time, considering the level of sensuality in my writing it may cause some discomfort with my coworkers at my day job. So like Jean, I’m vascillating a bit. How do your other authors handle it?

Hi Peta,
I agree that writing is fun! It’s a creative challenge in terms of where to start a book, develop the characters and come up with solid conflicts–never mind sparkling dialogue. Glad you can join us from Perth. Did you know RWA Australia just held their conference in Perth? Best of luck!

Hi Pattie,
Your plot idea is fine and indeed much will depend upon how you write and describe any related scenes. Since the heroine is a detective we will see things thru her eyes. She might have to be detached and businesslike in her approach even as she deals with the obvious trauma and emotion of these deaths. I think that will make for an interesting story.

Hi Cheryl,
You make some good points. If an author is writing erotica or a story with a high level of sensuality, she may prefer a pseudonym if it might impact a day job or relationships with family and friends. That said many authors do write under their real names and have no concerns. I would say the trend is toward using a real name with most of our authors.

Hi Mary Jane,
It’s always nice to surprise the editors with a fresh take on a plot or characters. I know that seems like a challenge but it is possible.

You need to look at the guidelines and understand what we are looking for in each series. Read recent books within the line you are targeting. That amy help answer the question of “the type of story you really want to see.”

Pop in to 50 EDITORS if you have more questions about any of the series.

Is the 100-word pitch suppose to be the same thing as a synopsis? (The pitch that you’re suppose to give when you submit the first chapter of your novel to the contest)

Hi Heather,
100 words is short so you won’t have the detail you’d include in a typical synopsis. In the pitch you want to convey things like basic plot, the concept, the hero and heroine, conflict, setting plus anything else that makes your story unique.

Good luck and thanks for stopping by.

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