Welcome to…So You Think You Can Write!

By Senior Executive Editor Birgit Davis-Todd

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

The Ultimate Author’s Publishing Prize

New for 2014! The grand prize winner will be offered a two-book contract with the first book to be published digitally on or around Valentine’s Day 2015—print edition to follow. The winner will also celebrate success in style with a complimentary champagne dinner for two. Support for the book launch and promotion plans will be provided by the services of an in-house publicist for up to sixty days along with social media training and tips. The winning writer will meet—via Skype or phone— the Series Creative team (Editorial, Marketing & Art) charged with launching the debut book! Finally the winner will be working with a topnotch Harlequin editor on current and future books along with all-important career planning. Last but not least, the winner will be featured on Harlequin.com and on the Harlequin Blog.

How’s that for a fantastic basket of goodies to set a writer on the exciting journey to publication? Tell me what you think!

Five Day Online Conference

This is where things really get started! Join us all week long September 15 – 19 for our 24/7 online conference AKA Harlequin’s boot camp for writers. Exercise those writing muscles with an intensive workout packed with blogs, live chats, writing challenges, Twitter events and more. You’ll meet over 50 Harlequin Editors ready to coach you, answer questions and get your book in shape. Features such as our writing challenges and “Ask the Editor” forums provide you with professional feedback on your writing so your manuscript will be in great shape for entry in the contest on September 22. Get tips on pacing, plot, characterization and more from our experienced editors in the daily blogs. And socialize with the editors and authors through fun live events on Twitter.

Writing Contest Details

What you’ve been working for all week starts now! Beginning September 22 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 18 eligible series.

All First Chapter submissions will be posted for everyone to read and add comments in the space provided. Last day for submissions is October 1. Don’t delay—submit your chapter right away so more people—including the editors—will see it!

On or around October 6 Harlequin editors in New York, Toronto and the UK will select the Top 25 best chapters from all the submissions received and begin requesting full manuscripts from those writers.

Once the Harlequin editors have read and evaluated the full Top 25 manuscripts, they will narrow the field to the Top 10 manuscripts, which will be posted for voting.

Public Voting: November 3 – 10

Yes, that’s you! Read the Top 10 complete manuscripts, post comments and vote for your favorite. During this time visit with our wonderful Author Mentors & Editors who have teamed up with each of the finalists to post their thoughts and generate excitement.

Grand Prize Winner Date: November 13

We’ll announce the name of the winner of the Ultimate Author’s Publishing Prize—and lucky recipient of a two-book publishing contract with Harlequin!

The Last Word

Why do we offer an online conference and writing 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—I want to hear from you.