The Romance Includes You mentorship initiative aims to find new talent and increase diversity and inclusion in romance publishing.

Readers want diverse books, and Harlequin is listening. The romance publisher recently announced the new mentorship initiative, Romance Includes You, which aims to find new talent and increase diversity and inclusion in romance publishing.

Romance Includes You will give aspiring romance authors from underrepresented communities the opportunity to work on their romance novel one-on-one with a Harlequin editor for a full year. Authors will receive a publishing contract from Harlequin for their completed novel as well as $5,000 grant to support their novel writing expenses.

Harlequin will review applications for the first Romance Includes You cohort from September 1 to October 15, 2019. It is open to both unpublished and self-published romance writers from underrepresented communities who live in North America. Only English-language submissions are accepted.

“We’re committed to publishing diverse and inclusive voices so that readers see themselves reflected in the stories we publish,” Harlequin Executive Vice President Loriana Sacilotto said in a press release. “We are actively working to acquire more traditionally underrepresented and diverse voices. We are reaching out with an exciting opportunity for writers that offers a publishing contract, $5,000 to support the creative process, and the chance to develop a working relationship with an editor at a major publisher.”

Romance Includes You is part of Harlequin’s ongoing activities to encourage submissions from traditionally underrepresented and diverse voices. The publisher supports writing conferences and organizations promoting inclusion and diversity in publishing and regularly participates in #DVpit story pitching events on Twitter that connect editors with marginalized writers.

Interested authors should submit a story synopsis, one chapter of their novel, and a 500-word personal statement about their romance writing journey and goals. For more details about submitting an application and the mentorship initiative, visit

[Need help creating your novel synopsis? Try this four-step guide from WD.]

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Author: Cassandra Lipp

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