I Love Romance
And we’d love to read your story! Here’s how you can submit to us:
Step 1: Read loads!
This is the best advice we can give for finding your favourite Mills & Boon series and the one you want to write for.
Step 2: Great, you’ve chosen the series you want to target!
Now read the writing guidelines for that series to find out exactly what we’re looking for.
The editors have written guidelines that reflect the key promises of each series but do remember there is no formula for writing a publishable romance!
One more thing… We have three acquiring offices in the company, so do make sure your submission goes to the right place!
Step 3: Some final tips!
HOW TO WRITE THE PERFECT ROMANCE!
Before you put finger to keyboard, preparation is key:
If you’d like to write for Mills & Boon, we’d expect you to enjoy reading romance fiction. If you are already a fan, this will really shine through in your writing. Know and respect your readers - choose the most recent novels and read widely across the romance market. Then target the series/genre that excites you and suits your voice.
Remember that reading is an emotional experience so write from the heart! When you put pen to paper (or finger to keyboard), do so because you have something to share with other readers.
Innovate, don't imitate! There is no formula - only a format, as with all genre fiction, which allows room for creative expression, unique writing voices and memorable characters. So throw those clichés out of the window!
Romancing the reader: why we ♥ the perfect romance
I ♥ my characters: At the heart of all great romances are two strong, appealing, sympathetic and three-dimensional characters.
I ♥ my conflict: Emotional, character-driven conflict is the foundation of a satisfying romance. Conflict spawns tension and excitement.
There are two types of conflict: internal and external:
Internal conflict should be the writer's main focus: defined by either character - the opposing forces within a personality, motivations and aspirations - or by an emotional situation within a relationship - for example, an unexpected pregnancy or an arranged marriage.
External conflict should only be brought in as additional support to the developing romance and plot. External conflict is defined by misunderstandings, circumstances or a secondary character's influence.
Check that your conflict is believable and that it can be sustained over the course of a whole book - ideally two or three conflicts that unfold and are resolved in the course of the story work best. Conflict doesn't mean endless arguments; layer it with emotional highs and lows. All the best stories have stormy weather and sunny days.
I ♥ dialogue! It's the key tool to giving life, energy and pace to your writing. Great dialogue can propel your story; bad dialogue can grind it to a halt. Remember to keep it relevant and consistent to your characters.
I don't like secondary characters - use with caution! You're writing a romance, readers are interested in your hero and heroine so keep the focus on them.
How to keep your spirits up:
We receive thousands of submissions so competition is tough. If the writing does not show potential a standard response will be sent - this is the case with most submissions.
If you do receive feedback it is intended constructively and is a vital part of the writing process. Take time to digest any criticism, then apply it to your next submission.
What we want in a nutshell..
Talented, dedicated authors who are savvy about the romance genre and its readers. Unique, fresh voices, compelling characters and innovative stories that will keep readers turning the pages!
Step 4: Send your fabulous story to us!
We are now taking submissions via the online system Submittable. To submit to any of our series go to https://harlequin.submittable.com/submit where you can view the guidelines and select which series you are aiming for.
Top tips for using Submittable:
- Your covering letter should outline pertinent facts about yourself as a writer including your familiarity with the romance genre and previous publishing experience.
- Please upload your synopsis and the first three chapters of your book in two separate Word documents.
- Your synopsis should give a clear idea of both your plot and characters and be no more than two pages.
- Please remember to double space your manuscript! It’s also helpful to number each page sequentially and type your name and title in the upper left-hand corner of each page.
- If you have any questions regarding your submission to Harlequin you can get in touch via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note the following information:
- Harlequin Enterprises UK publishes category romance and fiction. Please see the guidelines for each series for details.
- Please submit via https://harlequin.submittable.com/submit and read the instructions on that page carefully. Please note that any further correspondence will then be sent to you by way of the email address you supply.
- All material should be your own original work. Stories that contain scenes or plot lines that bear a striking resemblance to previously published work are in breach of copyright law and are not acceptable.
- Do not send any material that is being considered by another publisher. Multiple or duplicated submissions are not acceptable. A literary agent is not required in order to submit.
- We enter into discussions about payment only when a contract is offered.
- All material will be evaluated in as timely a fashion as volume allows. You will be notified when your submission has been received. We do our best to respond to submissions within 12-18 weeks.
- We take every reasonable care of manuscripts while they are with us but we cannot take responsibility for the vagaries of cyberspace, so please be sure to retain a copy of your manuscript.
- These guidelines should help you understand our requirements and standards. However, there is no better way to determine what we are looking for than reading our books.