These are the guidelines for submitting to this Harlequin contest:
Not sure how to set up your documents for Love Inspired Historical to submit them in the Manuscript Matchmakers pitch session? Not a problem! Here’s a cheat-sheet for how to set up every entry.
**Please Note: We will review only one entry per author**
Stage 1: Proper Introductions
Submission: Matchmaker card and manuscript first page
• Page 1 is the “matchmaking card” for your story. This includes the Targeted Team (Amish, Mail Order Bride, Babies/Children, Reunion Romance, Cowboy/Rancher, Marriage of Convenience, Choose Your Own Hook, or Pony Express); your name; your book title; your story’s setting and time period; the hooks; the conflict; and a one-sentence pitch. Please list this information bullet-point style. If you want an example to follow, check out Giselle’s blog post with tips on how to write your Matchmaker card. She includes examples from current LIH books.
• The matchmaking card information is not intended to take up the full page. It’s fine if half of the page is blank. Please start the manuscript at the top of the next page.
• Page 2 is the first page of your manuscript. Usually new chapters start about half way down the page, but that’s not what we’re looking for here. We want a full page, beginning at the very top to really give us a feel for your voice. Check your word count—unless your story starts with a lot of short sentence dialogue, aim for at least 250 words on your page.
• Use Times New Roman, 12 point type, and always, always double-space. Check your margins to ensure they’re an inch in each direction.
• Make sure the document has a header with your name, your pen name (if it’s different), the page number, and the working title of your manuscript. This needs to appear on every page.
• Please use Microsoft Word and save the two-page file as a .doc or .docx. We will not be able to accept entries that are not in these formats.
• The subject line should read “Stage 1,” followed by the title of your manuscript, then your name. So it might read “Stage 1 – Doorstep Delivery by Jane Smith”.
• In the body of the email, please include your name and your contact information. Also copy and paste the matchmaking card information into the body of your email.
• Do not paste your first page into the body of the email. Include the card and the page as a separate attachment. (To clarify, your matchmaking card should go in two places—in the body of the email and as page one of the attached document. The first page of your manuscript should only go in the document.)
• Make sure to send your email by 5:00 PM EST on March 2.
Stage 2: The Courtship
Submission: Synopsis and first three chapters
• The synopsis and chapters should be in one document, with the synopsis first. A synopsis should run about 3-5 pages, following the previous guidelines in terms of font, margins, spacing, and document type.
• Don’t forget the header with your name, your pen name (if it’s different), the page number, and the working title of your manuscript. Please do not use a different title than you did in Stage 1, even if you’ve come up with a better title since then. Whatever title you use at the beginning needs to stay consistent throughout. Ditto with your pen name.
• The first three chapters will follow after the synopsis. Try to make each chapter at least ten pages long. If your chapters are running shorter than that, see if you can combine some of them.
• The overall proposal (synopsis + chapters) should run about 50 pages.
• Please include your team name in the subject line so that it follows the format “Stage 2 – Babies/Children – Doorstep Delivery by Jane Smith”.
• Please include your contact info in the body of the email, attach your proposal, and submit your entry by 5:00 PM EST on April 6.
Stage 3: Betrothal
Submission: Full manuscript
• The completed manuscript must be as close as you can get it to 70,000 words. If you’re over or under by a thousand words or so, then that’s not a problem. If you’re over or under by 5,000 or 10,000 words then that’s a bigger concern. Keep a close eye on word count as you write the story. Continue to follow previous guidelines in terms of font, margins, spacing, document type and header information.
• The subject line should follow the format “Stage 3 – Babies/Children – Doorstep Delivery by Jane Smith”.
• Please include your contact info in the body of the email, attach the file with your complete manuscript, and submit your entry by 5:00 PM EST on July 15.