Monday, November 26, 2012
Breaking into Harlequin
If you're an author who aspires to write for Harlequin, I'm sure you've been told to attend writing conferences, send your manuscript via snail mail or get an agent. Not to knock conferences (I've enjoyed quite a few) or sending in manuscripts the old fashioned way, but neither of those things led to my being a Harlequin author. And at this very moment, I still don't have an agent.
My journey to publication as a Harlequin author for the Love Inspired line was the result of my stumbling across the Harlequin website and the community forums. I wish someone had told me years ago that there was a website where I could pitch my novel to Harlequin Editors and chat with Harlequin authors. By frequenting the site I soon realized that the forums were filled with opportunities. By entering a Speed date pitch with Love Inspired Editor, Emily Rodmell, I achieved my lifelong dream of being a Harlequin author.
Great reasons to take a look at harlequin.com and the community forums.
1.) The site is free. Not many things in life are free, particularly membership on a site that helps authors get published.
2.) You have direct access to Harlequin Editors. Every month or so the hosts of the site post pitching opportunities for the various lines. For instance, Love Inspired may announce that they are accepting pitches for one of their lines. There are different pitching scenarios. You may be asked to submit a one page synopsis of your manuscript and the Editor may pick six of twenty pitches to submit a proposal. If the Editor likes your proposal, you may be asked to submit a full manuscript. You know what happens next. A possible offer of publication. Even writers who receive a pass on their manuscript are given very detailed critiques of their work and suggestions on how to improve the submission. It's a win-win situation. You will also be getting your work in front of an Editor rather than sitting in a slush pile.
3.) Networking with other writers who seek publication with Harlequin. The atmosphere on the forum is very supportive and encouraging. People are genuinely cheering you on as you strive for your dream. When an author receives an offer of publication, the hosts of the site set up a party thread where the members can congratulate you. When I sold "Reunited with the Sheriff" my party thread rocked. It almost brought me to tears.
4.) Published Harlequin authors are constantly popping up on the site. They are very encouraging and supportive as well, answering questions and giving advice critical to the romance market. My own writing angel is Love Inspired author, Winnie Griggs. Before the Love Inspired pitch she conducted a workshop (again, it was free) where she helped all of us with our pitches. I truly think there is a place in Heaven reserved for Winnie. She is a good woman and knows how to pitch like no other.
5.) Opportunity...Opportunity...Opportunity...there are many opportunities for publication with Harlequin on the site. Sometimes you might have to be patient until one of the lines post a pitch event, but the worth may well be worth the wait.
In the eight months I have been a member of the Harlequin boards I have seen dozens of writers achieve their happy ending. Who knows? It could be you.