General Information:

Hartwood Publishing is a royalty-paying full service digital first publisher, and we pride ourselves in our author-friendly reputation. We hold ourselves to the highest standards of contract fairness, and while we want to work with you, we don’t want you to stay with us book after book simply because you are contractually obligated to do so. Therefore we do not have “first look” clauses to restrict our authors’ new works. Our standard contract is for worldwide English rights for a period of four years, with an option for seven years if your book goes to audible format. We do not pay an advance, and we pay royalties monthly, 40% of the net on all digital sales. Net for us is very simple and up front—we pay royalties based on what we receive from the distributor—we do not add extra fees on top of that to lower the amount you receive.

What We’re Looking For:

While Hartwood concentrates mainly on choosing manuscripts that fit into the romance genre and its sub-genres, or fiction that includes a strong romantic thread, we also publish fiction from other genres, including mystery-thrillers, suspense, sci-fi, fantasy, YA, and historical fiction.  Specific genres in which Hartwood Publishing is currently acquiring include Mainstream and Erotic Romance, Literary and Contemporary Women’s Fiction, Inspirational Romance, and all sub-genres of the romance market. However, we do not publish erotica, children’s books, middle grade fiction, poetry, horror, short stories, or non-fiction unless it is writing related, such as writing craft instruction, and then it’s on a case-by-case basis.

Hartwood Publishing believes in the power of free speech. But we also choose to stand by our principles. In general, we don’t publish books that are disrespectful to particular political, religious, or social points of view. But please keep in mind our books are meant for entertainment only, and we are not interested in books with heavy religious, social, or political overtones.

Specific Guidelines and Information:

Your manuscript must be at least 20,000 words, and we will consider manuscripts up to 175,000 words. Manuscripts over that length in general won’t fit our readership’s preferences, but depending on the storyline, will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

We do love series, especially those that are written about a group of characters with each new book about another character from the group. But there are limits and guidelines, especially when it comes to serialized stories. In general, sales will begin to drop, and at some point readers lose interest. However, we also know there are exceptions to every rule and will certainly bear that in mind if your series arc is strong enough to carry more than three books, and sales numbers bear this out.

We do consider agent-represented manuscripts.

We do not contract on proposal, except on rare occasions with authors we have a history of working with, so please don’t submit any proposal unless you’ve made prior arrangements and received an approval to do so.

We do not consider anthologies or author group story collections in general. However, we will, from time to time, invite certain authors to submit stories to collections we plan to use as special promotions or special editions for specific purposes, such as holidays. Keep watching our Facebook page for news and information about these special promotions.

We do not, at this time, accept stories with a word count under 20K. However, that may change at a later date for specific use such as holidays and event promotions, so check back often for specific submissions calls for special projects.

No authors under the age of 18, or whatever the legal adult age (able to sign a legal and binding document) is in your country.

In general, we do not re-release books that have already been published elsewhere, and yes, releasing your book on Amazon, even for “testing” purposes, is considered previously published.  However, we may choose to waive this requirement on a case-by-case basis, especially if the author is an author Hartwood’s staff has worked with in the past or their publisher has closed.  Authors must send a query letter explaining the situation and including a synopsis for our consideration first.

Hartwood Publishing will not consider pure fan fiction or erotica, pedophilia (sex between an adult and an underage character), bestiality (this does not include shifters), necrophilia, rape or incest used as titillation, or bodily excretions or fluids. Also, no sex scenes that involve underage characters except as a flashback or memory or “off stage,” and only as long as the scene is in no way told as part of a titillating sequence.

Submission Format and Requirements:

Please submit the full manuscript attached to the query email, not a partial. If we like your story, we prefer to keep reading rather than having to stop, send you a request for the full, and then wait for it to arrive while maybe having already moved on to another story while we were waiting.

Include in your query email (we do not accept submissions via postal mail) a blurb or a short summary, two or three paragraphs at most, of your story. A full synopsis is not necessary. We’d also like to hear about your experience, if you have any, in the publishing industry such as past publications and writing experience. Also include the genre of your book, the word count, and if it is a romance, what sub-genre, such as paranormal or contemporary, and whether you’d consider your book’s heat level sweet, spicy, or erotic.

Your manuscript should be attached to the query email in a Microsoft Word .rtf or .doc file or .docx file. Please do not send it as a .doc file made by another word processing program, even if the program says it is Microsoft Word compatible. Most of the time, there are problems with these substitutes, and we want to avoid translation and conversion issues that might cause your file to be corrupted or even lose sections. If you send it in any other format, it will be deleted unread.

Your manuscript should be double-spaced, in a standard size 12 pt. serif font such as Times New Roman, Georgia, or Bookman Old Style. Other fonts are more difficult and tiring to read, and no one makes a good decision when they are exhausted. So please don’t over-stress our editors with fancy curlicue fonts and odd spacing, and don’t format it with larger, fancier fonts for chapter headings and such as if you were formatting a book. It has a long way to go before it’s a book, and we do all the formatting ourselves.

Your manuscript should include the title, series name and book number, the author’s real name, pen name, mailing address, phone number, and email address in the upper left hand corner of the manuscript’s first page, and should be sent to submissions

You will receive an auto-response to your submission. If you have not, or if you have questions, please do not send email to the same email address because it will only send you another auto-reply. If you haven’t received a receipt notice or have questions, please let us know via our Admin contact — Admin

You will receive an answer to your submission query within four weeks. Please don’t email and ask before four weeks have passed because that will delay your answer further when we have to stop working, find your submission, look up where it is in the process, and then send you an email. However, if four weeks pass and you haven’t heard anything from us, be sure to ask. Occasionally, email goes astray, and we need to make sure we actually received it and nothing untoward has occurred.

Our Policies and Contract Terms:

We are a digital first publisher, and only those books over 60K go to print. Only a small percentage of our books go to audio.

Our contract is for exclusive worldwide English language rights to produce, publish, and sell books in digital ebook and audio format, as well as print, and in return we pay the author 40% of the net on digital sales. Some of our resellers and distributors pay only quarterly, or even biannually, so what we pay out depends on what comes in, but we pay monthly.

Contract length is four years from the date of publication, or seven years if it goes to audible format, auto-extending indefinitely until cancelled by either party with a 90-day written notice.

We do not take movie or television rights. We also do not take foreign language rights, nor will we arrange for translation into or from languages other than English. We also can not help English as a second language authors correct their English translations. If English is not your first language, please work with an English translator to get your book into correct American English before submission.

We do not include clauses in our contract giving us the right to “first look” or “first refusal” on subsequent works, nor do we contract pen names or characters as a way to hang on to our authors. We want you to stay with us because you want to, not because you are contractually obligated to do so.

We do occasionally contract on spec or on proposal, but only with house authors and only at our discretion.

We do claim the last word on editorial issues, formatting issues, house style, and cover art. We do not accept author-produced or author-provided cover art.

Our audience is mostly readers in the United States, and therefore we publish only in English.  We do distribute all over the world, but in English only.  We do not translate from other languages into English, nor do we translate, or contract to translate, our books into other languages outside of English.  If English is your second language, please work with an editor who provides translation services and make sure your book is written in correct English before you submit it.  We do not contract books where we have to correct the English language or that are obviously written by authors for whom English is a second language.

We never charge to edit books we publish. Books we publish go through a strenuous acquisitions process, and only a fraction of the submitted manuscripts actually get published. We provide editors, cover art, ISBN numbers, ARCs, galleys, etc. at no charge to the author. We are not a vanity publisher–authors do not pay us to publish their book.

We put a lot of time and effort into promoting our company and our books, and our books and authors have been seen on ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox television networks, along with multiple local and national radio shows, as well as Internet podcasts. We send our list of new releases each month to USA Today and Publishers’ Weekly, along with running a strong social media campaign and sending out release announcements to a wide list of reviewers. We expect the author to promote their books, including the use of social media, an author website, etc. At our discretion, we may choose not to renew contracts, or offer additional contracts, to authors who choose not to promote their work or cooperate with our promotional efforts.

We provide free copies of the ebook formats to authors for promotional use such as sending to reviewers or running promotional contests, etc. We do not provide free print copies; however, we do make copies available for author purchase at our cost for promotional use.

Thank you for your interest in Hartwood Publishing, and good luck!