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Escape Publishing - FAQs/Help

I’m not Australian or New Zealander. Can I submit to Escape?

While Escape was established with an eye on local talent, we do have authors from all around the world. If you are interested in publishing within the Harlequin digital first family, we suggest that you consider the digital arm either in your country or closest to your market, but if Escape is your publisher of choice, then we’d love to hear from you. 

Do I need an agent to submit to you?

We’re happy to accept submission without agent representation.

Can I submit to Escape at the same time as other publishers?

You can submit to Escape simultaneously with other publishers, but not at the same time as another Harlequin Enterprises subsidiary such as Silhouette, Mira, Carina etc.

If you are submitting to other publishers simultaneously please indicate that on your submission.  Unfortunately we cannot guarantee we will get to your submission before another publisher does.

Please note: Escape Publishing does not accept resubmissions of previously submitted works, unless explicitly requested. 

Can I submit self published stories?

You can submit any story you own the rights to.  If the story is self published and is accepted by Escape, we will ask you to remove it from sale at an appropriate time.

Do you pay advances?

We pay royalties four times a year.  We don’t offer advances.

How long will it take you to review my submission?

All submissions will be reviewed within a six-week period from the date of submission.  Please follow the submission checklist to ensure we can meet the six-week turnaround.  Unfortunately if your submission is incomplete, we may not be able to respond in that time.

What kind of feedback can I expect to receive?

In a perfect world we’d offer detailed personal feedback with every submission.  Unfortunately that’s not always possible, although we do try.  If we reject your submission, we do our best to include at least a few words to indicate why your work is not right for us. 

Can I talk to someone about my submission?

Unfortunately, no.  The submission process is automated to help us to stay on top of our submission assessment process as well as our busy publishing schedule.

My story was rejected by another part of Harlequin, can I submit it to you?


Can I submit multiple stories at the same time?


Why can’t I send you my whole manuscript?

You’re a storyteller, so we get how badly you want to show us your entire manuscript and we know there are special scenes that occur outside the first three chapters that you’re itching for us to read. Of course there are. But here’s the thing, a reader in the real world will sample your book before they buy it, and a sample is likely to be less than three chapters worth of content. 

In assessing your work, we think like readers, and add our detailed understanding of how readers choose the books they buy and then, having bought them, enjoy them best. That’s why your opening chapters are so important.  Without them being great, the rest of your greatness will go to waste.

If we see content we like in your first three chapters, or we think it shows promise, we’ll be quick to request your whole manuscript.

If you’re not convinced your first three chapters do the best job of selling your whole story, take time to revise them now before you submit.

If you accept my submission, how long before it is published?

If your story is accepted for publication, you’ll receive advice by email.  We cannot guarantee a publication schedule, as many factors go in to determining when books are published. However, we will work closely with you to make sure that your book is released to the world as soon as possible. 

How long do your titles stay digital before going to print?

Change is a constant in publishing and the digital environment has opened so many new possibilities.  At the same time, the physical shelf space for printed books has decreased.  Escape is a digital publisher first and foremost.  Our focus is on getting great books onto people’s e-readers.  A smaller number of our books are also printed for distribution to retailers.  What makes a book suitable for the print market is ever changing and not all titles are well suited to it for a variety of reasons, including style and length.  When you publish with us, you can be sure we’ll assess the best positioning for your book whether that’s in an e-book or physical book store or both.

I pressed submit, now what?

Your submission goes in the queue to be read by our managing editor.  

Once it’s read, it’s either rejected and you’ll be advised of this by email, or you may be asked for the full manuscript.  The full manuscript then goes into a queue to be read.  The queue is a magic thing.  It can be quite long at times so it’s difficult to determine how long it will take to respond to you.

Once your full manuscript has been read, it will either be rejected and you’ll be advised by email or accepted.  If you’ve been rejected, you are most welcome to submit new stories which may prove to be more what we’re looking for.  If you’ve been accepted, you’re permitted to dance, sing, eat chocolate, and celebrate because you’re about to become an Escape Artist and a published author.

What do I do after I’ve submitted my story?

The short answer is: you wait.  The long answer is there are many things you can do in preparation.  Read widely in and outside the genre you write, and specifically from Escape’s portfolio, learn about the industry, establish a presence on social media, work with critique partners, join a writer’s group, and, most important of all, keep writing.


Submission Process

Before submitting you must:

  1. Have written a story that fits one of our genres or a meld of them.  We’d love to see a comic SF or a fantasy saga.
  2. Have written a story or series that is romantic or has romantic elements and a satisfying and fulfilling ending.  Happy endings are a must. 
  3. Have written a full manuscript.  Yes, all of it needs to be ready in case we request it.
  4. Own the rights to your manuscript, whether it is unpublished or self-published.
  5. Format your manuscript to our specifications.  
  6. Extract the first three chapters of the manuscript for submission.  Do not submit the entire manuscript. It’s a disadvantage to do so; you’ll go to the bottom of the submission pile and we will not be able to attend to you quickly. This will make all of us unhappy.
  7. Have written a compelling synopsis of the story. See tips on synopsis writing.  Don’t fret, you’ve just written a whole book, all we need is a short summary of it.

Formatting specifications

Format your manuscript with the following elements:

  • 12pt Times New Roman font (or similar)
  • Chapter headings centred
  • 1.5cm indents
  • double-spaced
  • .doc .docx .rtf .pdf, and .txt files are accepted
  • Save the first three chapters as a new document under the title:  Title of your book_MANUSCRIPT.  Replace the words title of our book with the actual title of your book.

Synopsis specifications

Your synopsis provides a snapshot of the whole story. That means no surprises. We want all the main plot points on the page. Keep it simple and tell us briefly how the story goes. Focus on the main characters and what happens to them and what they do.


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