Love To Write Competition FAQs

How do I enter the competition?

The competition is open from 00:01 9th July 2021 until 23:59 4th October 2021 BST. To enter you need to submit your synopsis, an author statement and 5,000 words via the Submittable platform.

Who is this competition open to?

We are open to all submissions from writers who are unagented and haven’t had a fiction book published before, but are particularly interested in writers from underrepresented ethnic backgrounds, which includes, but is not limited to, Black, Asian, Middle Eastern, Mixed-Race and Latin American writers. 

What is the competition prize?

The winner will receive a contract to publish one book with Mills & Boon worth £2,000 and a grant of £1,500 to support their writing. They will also receive a 12 month mentorship with an experienced Mills & Boon editor to help them develop their submission into a full publishable romance novel.

What is an author statement?

Being asked for your author statement can be daunting – perhaps you have no idea how to summarise everything about yourself into a paragraph or two, or maybe you think you won’t have anything to say!

It’s important to remember that we will use your statement to get a better sense of you and your writing experience – or anything interesting about yourself that would help publicise your book.

There are a few things you can include to ensure your statement is as useful as possible, and help you catch the eye of an acquiring editor:

  • Diversity and Representation: The aim of this competition is to increase racial diversity and representation in the romance genre. We'd love to know what you are hoping to get out of this mentorship opportunity if you are selected, and what representation in the romance genre means to you.
  • Your Inspiration: why did you write this particular story? Tell us if your own experiences inspired the story. A lot of authors write from a combination of imagination and research, so you don’t necessarily have to ‘write what you know’! If you did any special research in order to write about something wholly outside your own experiences, you can mention that. 
  • Previous writing: is this your first attempt at writing romance fiction, or have you been writing for a while?
  • Prizes: if you’ve ever won a prize for your writing, don’t be shy about mentioning it!
  • Media experience: if you’ve ever done public speaking, a Facebook Live or been on your local radio station, let us know.
  • Social media: if you’re on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook, you can include your social media handles.
  • General information: don’t forget the basics – Tell us where you write and how you spend your time when you’re not writing.

One last piece of advice is that your bio should be short and sweet, largely sticking to the categories above.

What is a synopsis?

Your synopsis should cover the storyline from start to finish, including any twists. We want to get a quick overview of your book and understand how everything will play out. Let us know the key turning points of your story and you don't need to include every character, only your main characters.

A brilliant synopsis will help the editor see the potential in a story, even if it needs further work before it will be ready to publish. Your writing and ideas are the most important things when we make a decision, and we don’t expect a synopsis to be perfect. If you need some inspiration then we suggest reading blurbs on the back of published romance books to see what kind of information editors use to hook a reader in.

What happens if I am shortlisted?

If you have been chosen to be in our shortlist we will contact you by email no later than 31st December 2021. The shortlisted submissions will then be judged by Amber Rose Gill, three Mills & Boon editors and Mills & Boon author Nadine Gonzalez. All finalists will receive feedback from an experienced Mills & Boon editor.

When will the winner be notified?

The winner will be personally notified no later than the 28th February 2022. The winner will also be announced publicly by Mills & Boon.

Why have I been sent an ethnicity survey after submitting my entry?

In order to ensure our competition is reaching writers from underrepresented ethnic backgrounds and to collect data for the purpose of informing our business on what proportion of entrants are from each ethnic category, entrants will also be asked via a survey to disclose their ethnicity.

Is it mandatory to disclose my ethnicity data?

It is not mandatory to disclose this information in order to enter and you can withdraw your data at any time by emailing

What happens if I do not wish to disclose my ethnicity data?

We know some people may not feel comfortable disclosing their data. If you do not want to disclose your data, please use the ‘prefer not to say’ option rather than leaving the section blank.

What if I do not see my ethnicity represented in the survey?

We know the ethnicities on this form are limited and that not everyone will be able to see themselves represented in these data categories. The groups and ethnicities listed in our form are in line with the way the Government and the Office for National Statistics collect ethnicity data.

How are you going to use and store my ethnicity data?

Data will be collected and stored securely by SmartSurvey. The data will not be anonymised as we need to ensure only those people who have entered the competition will be able to complete the survey, however we will only use this data in an aggregated way, eg to identify what percentage of entrants identify as being from each ethnic group. It also provides a benchmark for us to measure success against when we run subsequent competitions.

Will this information be used to judge my submission?

We will not use this information in any way to judge the entrant’s submissions. We will only store this data for the duration of the competition until the first book is published, after which point it will be removed from our records. Information will not be shared with anyone outside HarperCollins without an entrant's permission. Entry to the competition is free.

Terms and Conditions:

You can find out more about this competition by reading our Terms and Conditions.