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 or people of color (BIPOC), members of LGBTQ+ communities, marginalized ethnic and religious cultures, and people with disabilities and neurodiversity.
Read an update on Harlequin’s diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives.
We’re reaching out to writers in various ways:
- Harlequin editors participate in conferences promoting diversity in publishing to meet writers and hear their story pitches – in person and virtually. See where we’re going to be next.
- We reach out to underrepresented voices through regular #RomanceIncludesYou pitch events held on social media
- Our editors take part in #DVpit and other story pitch events on Twitter that connect editors with underrepresented voices.
- Carina Press launched Carina Adores in 2020, a trope-driven romance line featuring LGBTQ+ protagonists finding their happily ever afters.
- The Romance Includes You Mentorship attracts debut romance writers in underrepresented communities. Sera Taíno won in 2020 and published her debut, A Delicious Dilemma, in Harlequin Special Edition in 2021, and is working on their next two books for Harlequin. Faye Acheampong, a British romance writer, won the Love to Write competition in February 2022 and we look forward to Faye’s debut in Harlequin Romance/Mills & Boon True Love in fall 2023.
- We established a scholarship program to foster diverse voices and have scholarships in at four colleges and universities in Canada and the U.S. Find out more.
- Editors reach out directly to authors and agents we are interested in working with to bring more diverse voices and stories to Harlequin readers.
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 Writers Weekend and Cre8tiveCon
- National Black Writers Conference
- Building Relationships Around Books
- Toronto Romance Writers
- Black Ink Charleston
- Chicago-North Romance Writers Spring Fling
- Christian Book Lovers Retreat
- Black Pens, a UK writing retreat for Black womxn
Reaching Out to Black Authors
We recognize the importance of the Black Live Matter movement and the need for more Black voices in publishing. In addition to our overall outreach activities, we are working to acquire more stories by Black authors:
- We have reached out to Black romance writers with a welcome and open-ended invitation for more story submissions. Authors can submit unagented manuscripts for Harlequin’s romance lines through Harlequin.Submittable.com anytime.
- We created a page on Harlequin.com to help readers discover romance stories by Black authors that are published by Harlequin.
- Editors for Harlequin’s trade imprints invited proposals from unagented Black authors in 2020 and 2021 and have made several fiction and YA acquisitions as a result of these initiatives (Harlequin trade imprints normally accept submissions through agents only). Marketing and promotion plans are being developed for acquired titles releasing in 2022.
- We strive to amplify diverse voices and stories by regularly featuring books written by authors in underrepresented communities on our social media platforms, at Harlequin LIVE and reader events, industry tradeshows, and in outreach to book reviewers, librarians and booksellers.
As always, we welcome submissions from all authors at any time via Harlequin.Submittable.com.