Group of diverse young people leaning against a grey wall

Welcome to the Harlequin Community

We welcome all authors to the Harlequin community. The romance reading and writing community includes people of all backgrounds, communities and cultures who enjoy stories that celebrate love and happiness. Harlequin is committed to publishing a wide range of diverse and inclusive authors and stories so that readers see themselves reflected in the books we publish.  

We are actively looking for more story submissions from writers in underrepresented communities for all Harlequin romance lines and Carina Press. We welcome you to submit to your preferred romance line. Check out the writing guidelines for each series or submit your story here. Authors in underrepresented communities are welcome to include the #RomanceIncludesYou hashtag with the title of their manuscript so that editors can easily see it for review.  

We view diversity broadly and welcome underrepresented voices, including, but not limited to, authors who identify as Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC), members of LGBTQ+ communities, marginalized ethnic and religious cultures, and people with disabilities and neurodiversity.

We’re reaching out to writers in various ways:  

  • Harlequin editors participate in writers conferences promoting diversity in publishing to meet writers and hear their story pitches – in person and virtually. See where we’re going to be this year.
  • Editors take part in online story pitch events that connect editors with authors in underrepresented communities.  
  • Editors reach out directly to authors and agents we are interested in working with to bring more diverse voices and stories to Harlequin readers.
  • Harlequin’s Romance Includes You Mentorship is an annual program that invites romance submissions by debut romance writers in underrepresented communities and offers a one-year mentorship and publishing contract to the winner. Sera Taíno won in 2020 and published her debut, A Delicious Dilemma, in Harlequin Special Edition. She went on to publish several Harlequin books. Faye Acheampong, a British romance writer, won in 2022 and published her debut, A Christmas That Changed Everything, in October 2023. Emma-Claire Sunday was awarded the 2023 mentorship for Romancing the Duke’s Sister, a Regency romance about two high-society women of the Ton, to be published in fall 2024 by Harlequin Historical Romance.
  • Harlequin’s Diverse Voices Scholarship offers support for students in writing programs at four institutions in Canada and the U.S. Find out more about the scholarship.
  • As we work to increase representation in Harlequin’s romance imprints, we are making diversity integral to the development of new romance imprints. Launched in 2020, Carina Adores is a trope-driven romance line featuring LGBTQ+ protagonists finding their happily ever afters. Afterglow Books, launching in 2024, features characters from all walks of life chasing their dreams and finding love that is true to who they are. Both lines have attracted a talented and diverse group of authors.

Connecting with authors at events  
We support writers conferences and events that promote diversity in publishing, including: 

  • Romance Slam Jam 
  • The Festival of Literary Diversity  
  • One Love Reader and Author Reunion
  • Black Ink Charleston
  • Chicago-North Romance Writers Spring Fling
  • Christian Book Lovers Retreat
  • Black Pens Writing Retreat
  • Word on the Street
  • Toronto Romance Writers
  • Steamy Lit Con

Welcoming Black Authors  
As we work to publish more stories by authors in all underrepresented communities, we are mindful of the Black Lives Matter movement and the need for more Black voices in publishing. We are proud to work with many Black authors. We continue looking to publish more stories by Black authors and to raise awareness of their books through in-house promotions, and in partnership with festivals and retailers.

We welcome romance authors to submit unagented manuscripts for Harlequin’s romance lines through any time.