New Mass Market publishing opportunity for your brilliant idea
I’ve just discovered that Harlequin are appealing for submissions for their new digital series.
They want manuscripts of 10,000 words or more and it’s not all frothy romances – see the list below. You can’t submit previously published stories BUT you can send self-published material.
Fantasy and Fantasy Romance
Science Fiction and Science Fiction Romance
and YOUR BRILLIANT IDEA
Harlequin don’t define brilliant but say they are committed to “the freedom to experiment” that’s offered by digital publishing, so I’m guessing that means they are willing to take risks, maybe think outside the box.
Having said that, Harlequin reach a very large and well defined market. Readers expect a certain kind of story from them so it is probably safe to say that it still won’t be home to anything too edgy. This is popular mass market and if you aren’t sure what that means read a few Harlequin ebooks before you even think about submitting.
There are strict rules about how you send your manuscript so follow the link and digest them carefully. A literary agent once told me that about 60% of people who sent her unsolicited manuscripts hadn’t followed the straightforward instructions on her website and in Artists and Writers Year Book – so you’re in with a chance just by doing what you’re supposed to do.
Harlequin offer a few tips about how to submit that I think would be useful when approaching most publishers or agents.
1) Use a professional email account; for example: Jane Doe, not Fluffy Bunny
They say it is helpful if your author name and email account name are similar and I can endorse that as I deal with scores of student emails most weeks. It is very hard marrying up a cute, cuddly name with a student you’ve only just met.
I used to have an email address that made me smile and feel warm inside (craic at blueyonder if you want to know), but not everyone got it and it was murder spelling it out over the phone. ‘No, not that kind of crack…’
2) Select a readable font – not Courier. My personal preference is for simple basic Arial 12 point but I think the publishing industry has a fondness for Times Roman
3) Make sure your synopsis answers all the questions raised in the plot. Don’t leave them guessing about the ending in the hope that they will be so tantalised they will push your manuscript to the top of the pile, desperate to find out what happens.
A synopsis is a bit like the blurb you see on the back of a book, except for one very important thing. It is not written for the general reader. It is written for someone who is wondering if they are going to invest good hard money in you. What they want to know is: can you think up a good story AND can you deliver.
So definitely don’t end your synopsis with the words ‘read on to find out if…’