Young Adult Digital Romance: an informal chat with Harlequin's MD

KATE CUTHBERT - Managing Director, ESCAPE Publishing, imprint of Harlequin

interviewed: Kaz Delaney  Report Notes: Jacky Duffy.

Kaz Delaney and Kath Cuthbert

Q:   What genres do you publish?

A:   YA; Romance ; Fantasy ; New Adult

Q.   What are the taboos with YA?  No tab 'A goes into slot B' sex; no graphic description; focus on the emotional responses.

  • parents control the credit card - so these digital-only books must be approved by parents and librarians first (the gate-keepers) - although some teenagers are trading with Amazon vouchers.
  • New Adult can have more explicit relationships (MC: 18-24 years)

Q.   What are your biggest sellers?

A.   King Hall - a series like Harry Potter goes to Uni: most fan mail is for Finding Home.

Q.  How many sold copies is a lot?

A.   14,000

Q.   Do you re-publish best sellers to paper backs?

A.   Not necessarily, New Adult is always digital.

Q.   How do you market?

A.   We find most YA readers use YouTube reviews.

Q.   How much research do Harlequin do?

A.   We have 'warehouses of the stuff' - getting to the teenagers to do this research is really hard.

Q.   How do we subit to you?

A.   Send to

  • we take unsolicited manuscripts.
  • two week turn around on first three chapters
  • if/when we ask for more, it will take longer
Just remember here are rules, and rules are meant to be broken. Break them like a boss.