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Thread: Harlequin response time?

  1. #1
    practical experience, FTW KVL's Avatar
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    Harlequin response time?

    I've heard rumors that they're on the slow side, but I'm trying to decide how long to wait to nudge - does anyone have any advice?

    I submitted a short to Undone and also (to a separate line) a novel (synopsis, 3 chapters) back in June. Got the standard "your submission has been received" emails for both subs. For Undone they said they'd get back within 3-4 months - for the historical novel, they suggested 24 weeks.

    There was no response on anything (I checked the spam folder religiously!) by November so I plucked my courage up and nudged on both subs. The Undone was apparently lost - they could find no record of it being submitted, and I was asked to resubmit. I did so, got the standard submission received email, sat back and waited. That was a few weeks shy of 4 months ago.

    Reply to the second nudge was that the editors are still looking at the synopsis and first 3 chapters of my novel submission. That nudge was just under three months ago.

    Do I nudge again? It's been nine months for both subs now. I can understand that kind of thing for a novel (although it's just the first few chapters/synopsis) but I'm a bit surprised it's taken this long for a short story. I'm not really sure what to do next here. I guess I could nudge again but I'm starting to feel a bit disillusioned with them. Perhaps Harlequin has changed and no longer sends out a rejection (i.e. silence IS an R)? Or do I somehow have the same name as a Difficult/Pestering Writer? Or should I just be happy my writing is apparently (hopefully?) still under consideration and just leave things be?

    I'm rather new at this so any advice appreciated.
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  2. #2
    practical experience, FTW
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    I got a mention in one of their contests and was invited to sub my entry to them afterwards. I didn't go through their slush pile and I've been waiting 14 months.

    If you're looking for a quicker response time, it's better to get an agent and sub that way.

    I've nudged. All I get is that it's with the editor for that line(Medical romance).

  3. #3
    Smutty McTitters Ann_Mayburn's Avatar
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    From what my author friends have told me it can take anywhere from 3 months to 5 million years. Follow brainstorm's advice and just remember to be polite.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ann_Mayburn View Post
    From what my author friends have told me it can take anywhere from 3 months to 5 million years. Follow brainstorm's advice and just remember to be polite.
    I'm ready to withdraw the sub TBH and find a home for it elsewhere.

  5. #5
    Smutty McTitters Ann_Mayburn's Avatar
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    It's not making you any money in their slush pile, that's for sure.

  6. #6
    Twirling in a glass of champagne Evangeline's Avatar
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    They send rejections. I submitted an Undone early last year and received a rejection five or six months later (have to check my inbox for the dates). I think there is a method to their submission madness though--they read submissions every day, and probably push the subs they know won't fit to the back of the line, the ones they are unsure of next, and the ones they are interested in reading first, and then they go back when they have time and weed those piles once more.

    I wouldn't stress about the response time since I've heard even agented authors don't get immediate responses! If writing for Harlequin is your dream, the best thing to do is to keep writing manuscripts targeting your chosen line, and when/if you receive rejections, have another MS all ready to send out that day.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ann_Mayburn View Post
    It's not making you any money in their slush pile, that's for sure.
    It was never in their slush pile to start. That sub was invited from a contest they ran. It was assigned a file number and sent to an editor. I did get that in an email a couple of weeks after I sent it, so i'm wondering what happened between then and now?

    I'd rather they out and out reject it at this point than leave me hanging.

  8. #8
    practical experience, FTW girlyswot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brainstorm77 View Post
    It was never in their slush pile to start. That sub was invited from a contest they ran. It was assigned a file number and sent to an editor. I did get that in an email a couple of weeks after I sent it, so i'm wondering what happened between then and now?

    I'd rather they out and out reject it at this point than leave me hanging.
    Have you contacted the editor?

  9. #9
    practical experience, FTW KVL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brainstorm77 View Post

    I'd rather they out and out reject it at this point than leave me hanging.
    I was thinking the same thing the other day. Then I'd know it was at least glanced over.

    I'm a little (ok, a lot) concerned about the fact that they had no record of my Undone submission despite my getting an automated email. And now it's been almost another 4 months. Not much concerned about the novel submission yet... was mentally prepped for a long wait.

    Thank you all for responding It helps to know that they really do have a glacial response time. Guess I'll go on a long walk and decide what to do about the Undone... nudge or just withdraw and go elsewhere.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by girlyswot View Post
    Have you contacted the editor?
    I've nudged three times, the first being after the forth month passed. I've always been polite. I get the same response each time that she's still considering it.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by KVL View Post
    I was thinking the same thing the other day. Then I'd know it was at least glanced over.

    I'm a little (ok, a lot) concerned about the fact that they had no record of my Undone submission despite my getting an automated email. And now it's been almost another 4 months. Not much concerned about the novel submission yet... was mentally prepped for a long wait.

    Thank you all for responding It helps to know that they really do have a glacial response time. Guess I'll go on a long walk and decide what to do about the Undone... nudge or just withdraw and go elsewhere.
    I subbed to the Undone line a couple years ago. My rejection came in at 6 months.

  12. #12
    Twirling in a glass of champagne Evangeline's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brainstorm77 View Post
    I've nudged three times, the first being after the forth month passed. I've always been polite. I get the same response each time that she's still considering it.
    If they are still considering it, there's a chance they may be on the fence about it, and it could go one of two ways: rejection or revise and re-submit. But the editors are usually quite thorough in their feedback whether it be rejection or R&R, which is probably why they take so long to respond.
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  13. #13
    practical experience, FTW
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    That's possible, but 14 months is a tad long to sit on any story. I was expecting 6-8 months.

  14. #14
    It happened at his concert... Deb Kinnard's Avatar
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    Don't think agented subs have any better track record. Their LI line has had my proposal through my agent for 4 months, and we've heard squat. Of course, she should have followed up by now.

    My all-time record on a sub to them was 11 months, and that was after direct contact by an acquisitions editor, who called me at about 5 months and raved about how much she loved the story, etc. She suggested a few tweaks, which I made and resubbed direct to her. Six months later I got the "R".

    You can never tell. For all I know, the project might have made it all the way to committee, but I never found out anything.
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  15. #15
    Back at it san_remo_ave's Avatar
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    It was 13 months before I received anything on my first Undone submission. And that was a request to revise & resubmit. Which I did. Two months after submitting my R&R I was asked to revise & resubmit again (a new scene they had asked for in the 1st R&R). Two weeks later I received a call and an offer.
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  16. #16
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    Update: I withdrew my sub.

  17. #17
    practical experience, FTW KVL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brainstorm77 View Post
    Update: I withdrew my sub.
    Hope it finds a good home elsewhere, brainstorm

    Haven't had any word yet here. First three + synopsis has been with them since June... no word yet on the Undone sub either, and that's also been with them for ten months.
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  18. #18
    Back at it san_remo_ave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KVL View Post
    ... no word yet on the Undone sub either, and that's also been with them for ten months.
    Hang in there. You probably have a few more to wait.

    I kept reminding myself that the longer it took them to respond was an indication that they were unable to find anything to say no to...
    Elaine Golden
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    FORTNEY FOLLIES, a Regency romance series from Harlequin Historical Undone!

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by KVL View Post
    Hope it finds a good home elsewhere, brainstorm

    Haven't had any word yet here. First three + synopsis has been with them since June... no word yet on the Undone sub either, and that's also been with them for ten months.
    I think a year is long enough for any sub no matter who the publisher is. I surprised myself that I waited that long.

  20. #20
    Truss me I iz lawyor celoise's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ann_Mayburn View Post
    It's not making you any money in their slush pile, that's for sure.
    Hmmm. If they asked for my full manuscript, am I still technically slushed? * Frowns * Yeah, yeah I am.
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  21. #21
    practical experience, FTW girlyswot's Avatar
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    I just pressed send on my submission for the Romance fast-track. Deadline is tomorrow (or today, depending where you are)! Response guaranteed by May 18th. I wasn't planning to submit but then I figured I have nothing to lose, so I polished up a chapter and wrote the synopsis.

    They're running a Medical Romance fast-track at the moment, too. It's really worth keeping an eye out on the Harlequin boards for different opportunities to submit. They often have pitch contests which win you the right to submit directly to an editor, not through slush, and they're having more of the fast-tracks with guaranteed response times.

  22. #22
    It happened at his concert... Deb Kinnard's Avatar
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    So, fast-track maybe means 6 months as opposed to ten. No matter how quickly/slowly, may your project find favor, Ros!
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    A HOME FOR THE HEART, Book 3, all now available for Kindle

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  23. #23
    practical experience, FTW girlyswot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Deb Kinnard View Post
    So, fast-track maybe means 6 months as opposed to ten. No matter how quickly/slowly, may your project find favor, Ros!
    No, it means less than one month! At least for an outright rejection. If they request a partial, then a full, obviously it will take longer. For those of us who have waited 8 or 9 months just to get a form R, this is a huge difference.

  24. #24
    practical experience, FTW KVL's Avatar
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    I think the way forward may be through these fast-track submissions. I still haven't heard back from anyone about my Undone sub. It's now been six months since I heard from them, and my original sub was made in June. I nudged a month ago but no reply. Pretty discouraging.
    Proofread carefully to see if you any words out.

    This Twitter thing.

  25. #25
    Truss me I iz lawyor celoise's Avatar
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    Anyone have any experience with how long it takes for the Harlequin Nocturne to give a yea or nay on a requested full? I sent it in a couple months ago and was just wondering if it's still sitting in a pile somewhere on a small desk in the big city.
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