Harlequin/Mills & Boon

Tell me about Harlequin and Mills & Boon!

Harlequin is one of the world’s leading publishers of books. Mills & Boon is part of Harlequin and is the brand name used in markets such as the UK, Australia and New Zealand. Our books are written by over 1300 talented authors worldwide, offering readers a broad range of editorial from series romance to single title fiction, from young adult novels to digital first, from fantasy to inspirational romance and more. Our titles make regular appearances on bestseller lists including the New York Times, USA Today, Publishers Weekly and more. We publish in 34 languages and in 110 countries covering six continents. Formats include print, eBook, audio and manga.

Why is Harlequin/Mills & Boon offering an annual online conference and writing contest?

Harlequin is always on the lookout for talented romance writers. The five day online conference is a one-of-a-kind global event that gives writers a chance to directly engage with our editors–helping to hone their craft, learn more about Harlequin and have some fun. The SYTYCW contest is our way of reaching out further to find new talent and fresh voices for Harlequin series and Carina Press. We are always on the hunt for the next great romance novel!

What is series romance publishing?

Currently we publish a total of 17 series with brand new titles released each month. Our series include Harlequin American Romance, Harlequin Blaze, Harlequin Desire, Harlequin Heartwarming, Harlequin Historical (Mills & Boon Historical Romance), Harlequin Intrigue, Harlequin Kimani Romance, Harlequin Medical Romance (Mills & Boon Medical Romance), Harlequin Nocturne, Harlequin Presents (Mills & Boon Modern Romance), Harlequin Romance (Mills & Boon Cherish), Harlequin Romantic Suspense, Harlequin Special Edition, Harlequin Superromance, Love Inspired, Love Inspired Historical and Love Inspired Suspense.

What is Carina Press?

Carina is Harlequin’s digital first imprint. We publish a variety of romance categories including contemporary, paranormal, historical, New Adult, erotica, LGBTQ, sci-fi/futuristic and suspense

What else does Harlequin/Mills & Boon publish?

We publish many fiction titles in imprints including MIRA, HQN, Harlequin Teen, Gold Eagle and more. A number of these imprints accept agented material only.

I’ve never read a romance before—what should I read?

We suggest you visit: www.Harlequin.com, www.MillsAndBoon.co.uk, www.MillsAndBoon.com.au and www.carinapress.com to find everything we publish. Our books are also on sale at major etailers and can be found in bookstores, grocery stores and other retail outlets. Sample some of our series books free today at http://www.harlequin.com/store.html?cid=233

Why is Harlequin/Mills & Boon looking for new authors?

We publish many talented writers already but we are always looking for new voices and authors who have a fresh way of telling a story. Writing for Harlequin is a great career as our many authors can attest!

How many new authors does Harlequin/Mills & Boon publish every year?

We publish seventy plus new authors every year. Some are brand new writers while others may have written for other publishers before joining Harlequin.

Where do your writers live?

We have authors who write from all corners of the world. Though North America, the UK, Australia and New Zealand have the largest number of Harlequin authors, we have writers living in other countries including India and South Africa.

Do I need an agent to publish with you?

No. Our contracts are very straightforward, and we are happy to work with both agented and unagented authors.

Do you have any writing advice?

We’re always communicating with potential authors! Check out our writing forums in Community at http://community.harlequin.com/ where we have a tremendous network of published and unpublished authors offering advice, encouragement and feedback. Check out www.soyouthinkyoucanwrite.com for tips and hints from editors and authors. Follow our http://sold.soyouthinkyoucanwrite.com/ blog for interviews with debut authors, feedback opportunities and interaction with editors. Many of our editors are also on Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms.

The SYTYCW Writing Contest

What’s new for this year’s contest?

We’ve partnered with Wattpad to help us find new writers for Harlequin. Wattpad is an online community of over 20 million active readers. It’s the best place to read and share stories on the web and across every mobile device. Every day, millions of people discover great fiction on Wattpad or share their own creative writing spanning mystery/thriller, romance, sci-fi, poetry, fan fiction and more. Visit www.wattpad.com for more information.

Why do I need to submit my entry first to Wattpad instead of Harlequin?

For the 2015 contest we are working with Wattpad to add some exciting opportunities for writers. Wattpad’s community of readers will be reading all submissions beginning July 3, 2015. They will offer comments and feedback so writers may revise their work over the next few weeks leading up to September 21 when the contest closes.

What should I submit to the writing contest?

Submit your first chapter and a 100-word pitch. The first chapter should be targeted at one of our 17 eligible series and should be no more than 5000 words long. The 100-word pitch should convey story details such as concept, plot, characters, conflict and setting.

What is the submission date for first chapters?

We will be accepting submissions from July 2 to September 21. Submissions will be posted right away on Wattpad so readers can offer comments and feedback.

Can I send my contest submission via snail mail or regular email?

Contest submissions are only accepted online via Wattpad. Do not attempt to use any email addresses associated with Harlequin as your submission will not be properly processed.

I have completed three manuscripts. Can I enter first chapters from all three in the contest?

We accept only one entry per person so we recommend you enter your best story, which should also target one of our eligible series.

My story doesn’t really fit any of the Harlequin/Mills & Boon series or Carina. Can I still enter the contest?

Your story must be directed toward one of our romance lines or Carina Press. Review the guidelines and select the series or program that most closely resembles your story.

Who is eligible to enter the contest?

The contest is open to both published and unpublished writers of original, novel-length fiction only. Click here for the Contest Rules.

I am published with Harlequin/Mills & Boon/Carina. Can I enter the contest?

If you were previously published by Harlequin, you are not eligible to enter the writing contest but may submit a partial or manuscript to the editors directly.

I’m self-published. Can I enter the contest?

Yes, you are eligible to enter with a new original story targeting one of our series or Carina.

The story I’d like to enter was already submitted to one of your editors two months ago. Can I enter the same story in the contest?

Yes, that’s okay.

My book won’t be finished in time to be eligible for the contest. Should I still submit the story?

If your manuscript is not completely finished by the key contest dates you can consider submitting the story to the editors at a later date through the usual submission process. Visit www.harlequin.com for more information.

I live in France. Can I enter the writing contest?

No. The contest is open only to residents of the US, Canada (excluding Quebec), UK, Republic of Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

Should I enter the contest using my real name or a pseudonym?

You have a choice of using your real name or a pseudonym. Keep in mind your story will be posted with the name you supply us.

Who will be judging the first chapters and 100-word pitches?

As the chapters begin to appear on Wattpad after July 2, 2015, the public is invited to read all the entries and post comments. After September 22, 2015 the Harlequin editors from all three acquiring offices——New York, Toronto and the UK——will be reading, evaluating and judging this round of submissions and narrowing the field to 50 writers.

How will the top 50 finalists be chosen?

The editors will select the top 50 first chapters using the following judging criteria: voice, content and writing skills. After that the top 50 submissions will be posted on Wattpad so readers may vote. The top 25 submissions will be flagged for Harlequin editors so they may request the entire manuscript for the next round.

When will the top 25 finalists be contacted?

The editors will contact the authors of the top ranking 25 submissions. They will ask for the full manuscript to be emailed to a special email address set up for this phase of the contest only. This request round will start on or around October 15.

What if a top 25 finalist does not respond or submit in time?

The editors will move on and request the next top ranking submission until they have received 25 full manuscript entries overall.

Who will judge the 25 full manuscripts?

Once again the editors from our three offices take on this next phase. From October 20 onwards they will be reading and evaluating in order to select the top 10 finalists.

When will the top 10 finalists for this stage be contacted?

The 10 finalists will be contacted in early November by phone and/or email.

Who judges the top 10 finalists?

The public is invited to read all 10 posted full manuscripts and vote on their favorite story. Voting will take place starting November 10 and run until November 17. The public vote will determine the grand prize winner.

If you submit an entry to the contest can you also vote?

Yes, you can take part in the voting phase.

Can I vote for my own submission?


I voted 10 PM EST time and tried to vote again 6 AM the next day, but I see no red voting button. We can vote every day, right?

You can vote once every 24 hour period per computer. You should see the voting button again at 10 PM EST the next day. Note that the 24 hour period per computer applies to all time zones around the world.

My family and I share one computer. Is there a way for each of us to vote separately on the same day?

We only allow one vote per day per computer. You can, of course, vote using other computers, mobile phones or tablets.

When will the winner be announced?

The winner will be announced on our website on or around November 19, 2015.

What is the Grand Prize?

Harlequin will offer the winner a two-book contract–—first book to be published digitally followed by publication in print if applicable. The winner will be assigned an editor who will work with him/her to polish the winning manuscript and all future submissions.

Will there be additional winners?

Only one winner will be selected and offered a publishing contract at the end of the contest. However, authors of submissions that show potential for any of our publishing programs may be contacted by the Harlequin/Mills & Boon/Carina editors at a future date.

Who won the SYTYCW contest in 2014?

Winner Amanda Cinelli submitted a great story that was clearly loved by voters. She accepted our offer of a two-book contract. Amanda’s winning manuscript, Resisting the Sicilian Playboy, was published by Harlequin Presents.

Will Harlequin offer any other writing contests this year?

We offer a variety of contests all year long. For news and updates on other writing contests please check the SOLD! blog: http://sold.soyouthinkyoucanwrite.com/

Site Questions

Help, I’m having trouble finding something on the site. Who can I contact with my question?

Direct all questions to sytycwhelp@harlequin.ca.

I missed the blog/live chat/other. Can I still access these afterwards?

Yes, you can find all sessions in our Archive tab at the top of the page.

What is your Twitter handle?

For the 2015 event, follow us on @Harlequinsytycw, hashtag: #sytycw. But also check out @HarlequinBooks, @millsandboonUK and @millsandboonAUS for other updates from our international offices.

Where can I find you on Facebook?

Go to www.facebook.com/SoYouThinkYouCanWrite.

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