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Market News

You asked for it. More market news. . . .

When you think of Harlequin almost all of you think of romance. Well, guess what? For a long time now Harlequin has been a lot more than romance. Just ask authors like Jason Pinter, Brenda Novak, or Susan Wiggs.

So what is Harlequin and what are they looking for these days? Harlequin still publishes their very successful and popular category romance lines—Silhouette Desire, Harlequin American, or Harlequin Superromance are some examples—but in addition to that Harlequin has increasingly popular single-title lines. What are they and what do they publish? Well, hold on to your hats and listen carefully.

Mira Books
MIRA publishes diverse fiction from commercial literary fiction and historical novels to paranormal suspense and thrillers. They are looking for women’s fiction centering on women’s relationships as well as strong historical fiction, thrillers, and paranormal romance.

HQN
HQN focuses on romance. A number of Harlequin category authors have moved “up” to HQN, but they are also looking for fresh voices. Right now they are particularly interested in sexy mainstream historicals, romantic suspense, and big contemporary romances.

Steeple Hill
Steeple Hill is Harlequin’s Christian fiction imprint. For obvious reasons Steeple Hill’s focus is fiction to help women “lead purposeful, faith-driven lives.” Steeple Hill is looking for stories with strong family values and high moral standards in women’s fiction, historicals, and even thrillers.

LUNA
LUNA is Harlequin’s answer to the very popular fantasy and paranormal trends in publishing. LUNA is looking for fantasy with strong romantic elements. Typically their books will feature strong heroines and a compelling romance. They are looking primarily for urban fantasy and otherworld fantasy. No historical fantasy.

SPICE
I think it’s obvious that SPICE is for erotic fiction. Published in trade paperback, SPICE does not necessarily need to focus on the romance, but editors are looking for full-length novels or anthology collections with great erotic content. They are looking for historical, contemporary, mystery/suspense, fantasy, multicultural, time travel . . . whatever authors can dream up.

Kimani Press
Kimani Press publishes both African-American fiction and nonfiction in a number of imprints. Arabesque is looking for contemporary romances, New Spirit is looking for multicultural inspirational fiction and nonfiction that can encourage and motivate readers, Sepia is looking for mainstream fiction featuring predominantly African-American characters, and KimaniTRU is looking for books that illustrate real-life situations that young African-American readers can relate to.

So for those of you who never considered Harlequin an option, you might want to look again. Maybe, just maybe, this is the place for your book.

Jessica

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14 comments

  1. Thanks for the heads-up, Jessica. Of the lines you mention hear, I’d probably be most interested in (but had never heard of) MIRA. I notice their Web site puts them in the UK; does that make a difference for writers hoping to publish in the US?

  2. This is great industry info. From everything I’ve read, it seems agents and editors want writers to understand a lot about the business of publishing. I think I’m getting there (this site is very helpful), but I’m wondering if there’s a one-stop shop I’m missing (a book or site) where I can receive more education on the business of publishing???? Any suggestions????

  3. Anita, a great resource for information is AbsoluteWrite.com, their forums in particular. Lots of professionals drop in to answer questions, and a lot of writers and published authors share news and tips.

    My agent sent my urban fantasy to Luna in September and we’re still waiting to hear their final verdict. *bites nails*

  4. I’m afraid that for me, the division of white and non-white content/readers is a dealbreaker.

    I don’t want read only about people who match my personal profile. Race and skin colour should have no bearing upon what makes a good protagonist; and certainly not upon where a writer gets shelved and how much they get paid.

  5. Excuse me if I’m wrong, but none of these take unagented material, right?

    Does it do me any good to know all the houses that won’t take a second glance (or a first one, for that matter) to submissions by an author?

    And, once I have that agent, should I suggest houses I think might be a good fit? Am I wrong to assume that I should I rely on an agent to suggest places where my book might be a good fit, and where they have the strongest contacts?

  6. When I started writing romance, about four years ago, I had decided Harlequin was where I wanted to place my stories. My submission attempts garnered interest, even into full manuscripts but then they’d pass.

    After a while I quit submitting to them thinking they didn’t get me (when of course it was I didn’t get them because I didn’t understand the differences in each line.) Now after reading almost all of their lines over the past year I’m ready to try again. I think I’ve found where my voice and style fit best. We’ll see.

    Oh, and Heidi, MIRA, HQN and LUNA are through agent submission only. Most of the others you can submit a partial and synopsis. Research them fully at http://www.eharlequin.com as some lines/editors are at the NY address, some the Canadian, and some UK. Listen to the editor podcasts, they’ll tell you exactly what they want in story type, word count, how to submit and to which office.

    Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

  7. Robena –

    Thanks for the info. I looked up several of the ones I thought my writing would most fit with, including Mira and Steeple Hill, and none of them accept unagented submissions. I didn’t, however, go through all of them.

    Thank you for explaining that some do.

  8. Heidi…..I think that most of the category lines accept unagented material. I think they are going to have an editors pitch in the near future as well for their historical line…(these things can be very useful. I took part in an online pitch for Nocturne and the ms I was working on sold to Avon in June)
    But, alas the single title lines you will need an agent to submit.
    good luck with whatever you decide.

  9. I began orbiting around Harlequin when I started writing, since the newspaper I work for is owned by the same company that owns Harlequin.

    Some lines take unagented submissions, and some need an agent, particularly MIRA.

    A dear friend in my writing group, Laurie Breton, just finished a six-book deal with MIRA. Her last novel, Die Before I wake, was just released. Her romantic suspense novels are riveting.

    I have often come across authors stating they are ‘targeting a line’ but my personal goal is to write the story and hope it fits a certain genre.

  10. Right on green_knight! It’s this issue of segregation in fiction that makes me want to strike out on my own. Since I’m in charge, no publisher or editor or bookstore or any other publishing professional can tell me I have to be published under an “African-American” imprint nor be placed on the “African-American” shelves of a bookstore.

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