The Harlequin Presents Writing Competition 2009 is Now Open!

The Harlequin Presents Writing Competition 2009 has officially arrived!

by Presents/Mills & Boon editor Joanne Grant

Yes, the moment all you aspiring authors have been waiting for has arrived – we are thrilled to announce that our writing competition is now open to entries! Here are the all-important details:

• The competition entry must consist of either the first chapter and synopsis of a Harlequin Presents or Modern Heat novel
• Please email your entry to
• The WINNER receives an editor for a year
• TWO RUNNERS-UP will be given critiques of their first chapter entries and an editorial consultation
• The competition will close on November 2nd 2009 and the winner will be announced in December 2009 on I Heart Presents

The Harlequin Presents and Modern Heat guidelines have very recently been updated and will be posted on this blog July 14, but if you can’t wait until then, we have updated all of our UK acquired series guidelines and they can be found here on

And now for the serious part!
• Your entry must be aimed at Harlequin Presents or Modern Heat
• Your entry must NOT have been submitted previously to Harlequin Mills & Boon
• Only ONE entry per person
• Submissions received after the closing date will NOT be assessed!

We look forward to hearing from you soon and keep coming back to visit the blog for updates, editorial tips by editors and authors, and blogs by our previous winners!


Note from Amy: So, duh, I linked to both sets of Modern Heat guidelines and missed the Presents/Modern guidelines. The links have now been updated. The contest isn’t just for Modern Heat so please check them both out. Thanks! ~Amy

ETA: More Questions about the contest? !

Related Posts
Comments ( 73 )
  1. Clara
    October 30, 2009 at 2:38 pm

    Thanks Amy for clarifying the pen name query.

    May I just check something else? I thought that I had read an instruction about the submission and that it said not to email with an attachment, because it wouldn’t be read.

    However, in the rules, it seems to be saying attach a word document to the email.

    Hope you can understand what I am asking. Is it alright to attach the document to the email in the attachment box and should there be two word documents, one for the synopsis and one for the chapter? Plus an explanation in the body of the email?

  2. Amy
    October 30, 2009 at 6:02 pm

    Hi Clara,

    Entries for the writing competition must be sent as an attachment (official rules are here: — maybe you were thinking of a different submission process. Make sure you have the right email address (above) when sending it in.

    You can either put the synopsis and chapter 1 in separate documents, or the same one with the synopsis first.

  3. Cheryl
    October 31, 2009 at 4:14 pm

    Amy, I clicked on your link (in the post immediately preceding this one) and it reads “Error”. No info appeared on screen.

    Thank you so much for reminding us that we must send our ms. as a Microsoft Word File attachment to the email.

  4. Cheryl
    October 31, 2009 at 4:17 pm

    I’d like to wish good luck to everyone who entered this contest. (smiles)

  5. Clara
    November 1, 2009 at 6:20 am

    Thanks Amy and thanks Cheryl.
    I would also like to wish everyone who entered the competition good luck.

  6. Amy
    November 2, 2009 at 10:31 am

    Hi Cheryl,

    That’s because there is a parenthesis at the end of the URL — try this link:


  7. Catch
    November 2, 2009 at 5:25 pm

    Thanks Amy

    That makes lots of sense. I ended up sending both formats so i’m sure they’ll take the one they want.

    This was such fun

    When is the next contest?

    Do you have them for other lines?

    Thanks again


  8. Cathie
    November 3, 2009 at 11:11 am

    I sent my entry in with a copy that would go to me so I could see how it looked. I followed all the rules from the contest in writing in word. When I got my copy it looked nothing like the word document I wrote. The page numbers weren’t there. The paragraphs where stretched wide and it looked terrible. I bet they don’t even read it. Does anyone have an Idea why my entry would do this when I sent it. Good luck to everyone. Thanks for any help you can give me.

  9. Nicky
    November 4, 2009 at 11:58 am

    I heard about this contest a bit too late, but I will be checking on more frequently to see whenever there are new writing contests.Good luck to all who submitted their works to this contest.

  10. Trenda
    November 4, 2009 at 1:58 pm


    Did you send your synopsis and chapter as attachments, or did you copy the text into the body of the email?

    Also, if you open an attachment as HTML rather than opening it in Word, you won’t see some of the formatting.

    Fingers crossed for you that it went through just fine!


  11. Bridget Payton
    November 4, 2009 at 6:14 pm

    Just wondering whether it’s true that all first chapters/synopsis submitted for the Harlequin Presents/Modern Heat competition will be read? I submitted last year and didn’t hear a single word back. I was expecting a ‘thanks but no thanks’, or something – anything!
    Made me think it might just be a marketing ploy?

  12. Cheryl
    November 4, 2009 at 8:03 pm

    Thanks Amy for the advice. Now that the contest is closed, I’ll be looking forward to seeing the results. I remember last year not seeing the results until several months after the fact. I always go the the Homepage and click on ‘Write’ and then scroll down to the contest info. Will they be posting it there?

  13. Cathie
    November 4, 2009 at 10:29 pm

    I simply used the e-mail button on the word page and sent it as the body of the e-mail. I have to be honest I don’t know how Microsoft Outlook opens it in what format. I usually ask my computer wiz husband but I just wanted to see if this contest would lead anywhere. He would be supportive but I wanted to try this myself first. Maybe they open it in word and it will be O.K. Thanks for writing back. I’ll have to figure it out if I ever enter another contest.

    I think they all get read if they are in the form the contest rules requested. In the official rules it says they will notify winners and post the results on the website. They don’t contact the people that didn’t win. You can also write them for the list of winners.

    A month seems like a long time to wait. It’s been fun though.

  14. Leanne
    November 5, 2009 at 9:25 am

    OK, I submitted my entry before midnight on the 2nd… as I understand it results will be published on this site on December 1. Could someone from HMB please confirm this.
    There was a great page I came across the other day in which an editor (sorry, I have forgotten her name) posted an update of the competition – 60 entries to date etc. but I have not been able to find that page since through this labyrinthine site so if anyone knows where that page is, please do let me know the URL/post a link. I would imagine that this would be a good page to keep a track of for any further updates.
    Finally I too would love to know about any forthcoming competitions because on the submission day of this competition I was already thinking about how I could have changed things and had some other new ideas. Thanks.

  15. Amy
    November 5, 2009 at 10:49 am

    @Bridget — Yes, the editors do read every single entry (there is a photo of them getting down to business from the last writing contest here: I believe they only contacted the winners and certain entrants they wanted to hear more from.

    @Cheryl and @Leanne — The editors have said they will announce the winners on I Heart Presents in December, but sorry I don’t know the exact date. We do spread out posting the winning entries a bit so it doesn’t flood the blog — we have lots of posts from our current authors as well, after all 🙂

    I’ll try to get a better update and more details for everyone.

  16. Amy
    November 5, 2009 at 10:59 am

    Missed a couple…

    @Catch — I don’t think the editors have any more Presents contests planned just yet (been busy with this one, LOL), but if they keep being successful, well… 😉

    For other lines, check places like the “Write” section on eHarlequin (scroll down for the contests & challenges part) and the “Competitions” page at Mills & Boon (part of the “Offers” section). The Writing boards on the eHarlequin Community also have some special events like online pitch sessions with editors.

    @Cheryl — I’m not sure if they’ll be updating the Contest part of eHarlequin (they seem not to have for the Feel the Heat contest…). Definitely the best place for updates is this blog. I will try to add any updates/news on the Writing Contest tab at the top so it’s easy to find.

  17. Leanne
    November 5, 2009 at 3:09 pm

    Thanks for your response Amy.
    NB. The writing competition progress report link you posted didn’t work – got an error msg – ?

    Should that link have contained the section I was looking for in my post above? If, so – maybe it has moved i.e. URL changed. If not, do you know where I can find that section?

    Also too, I know Harlequin and M&B are brand names for the US and UK respectively but I have to admit to a bit of confusion on my part say when researching guidelines to follow. For instance I live in the UK therefore assume I should be following M&B directives because Modern Heat is the line I would like to write for. So the confusion arises because the Harlequin site talks about writing tips etc for the Harlequin lines. Hope that makes sense and you that you can clear this up for me.

    Thanx again.

  18. Amy
    November 5, 2009 at 4:07 pm

    Hi Leanne,

    I really have to learn to put a space after my URLs — that’s what was causing the error:

    Presents in North America publishes books that are released in the UK under two slightly different lines: M&B Modern Romance and Modern Heat. That is why eHarlequin has broken down the Presents writing guidelines into two: Modern Romance ( ) and Modern Heat ( ). They are the same guidelines on both eHarlequin and Mills and Boon’s site — but you may have more specific information about Modern Heat from M&B since they make greater distinction between the two due to how they publish them under a separate line (All Presents are edited out of the UK office as well, so they all end up in M&B’s hands 🙂 ).

    Hope that made some sense and I haven’t confused you even more…

    And for everyone out there, editor Joanne who runs the writing competition will have an update post for us Tuesday!

  19. Leanne
    November 5, 2009 at 4:45 pm

    Thanks again Amy…I very much look forward to learning the results and thanks also for reposting the link which did work! I do hate to bang on but the section I was looking for was regarding this current competition – the one that closed on Monday – and the post regarding updates on this competition. The copy that I last read said that 60 entries had been received to date and I saw that about a week ago. I know, I know I should have saved the URL as favourite but I didn’t think it would be so hard to find again – sorry!

  20. mulberry
    November 5, 2009 at 5:27 pm
  21. Leanne
    November 5, 2009 at 5:31 pm

    Yes, thanx v much Mulberry that is indeed it!

  22. Leanne
    November 5, 2009 at 5:33 pm

    PS… but the reason I wanted to see it was because I thought it would have been updated with how many entries received but it hasn’t – LOL! I will keep an eye on it though just in case… thanks again.

  23. Cat
    November 27, 2009 at 5:08 am

    Thanks for the tip, Mulberry. For some reason (maybe because I’m a newbie at writing), I find it more psychologically daunting to submit a partial than to join a contest 🙂 I guess ‘rejection’ either way is a learning experience but losing a competition just seems less painful, somehow…