Monday, July 20, 2020


By Eunice Shin
Hallmark Publishing Editorial Assistant
July 15, 2020


 Hallmark Publishing Run-Down
o   The business started in Fall 2017
o   We went from companion novels in only ebook format to original fiction in trade paperback, ebook, audiobook, and sometimes a second run in mass market size.
o   Each book has the potential to be considered for a movie
§  The Secret Ingredient by Nancy Naigle was our first book that was turned into a movie! Others are in discussions.
o   Most books deals start out as proposals
o   If we do go forward with your book/proposal, there is a typical advance + royalty contract with an additional lump sum if your book gets made into a movie!
o   Marketing Insights
§  We’re good at getting advance reviews
§  We use BookBub a lot, to great success
§  Each book gets a 15 second TV commercial on Hallmark Channel
§  Authors sometimes go on Hallmark’s national talk show, Home & Family
·       Usually making the recipe and talking about the book

·       What We’re Looking For/Soft Spots
o   Right now, we’re closed to unagented submissions but if you’re here, you’re welcome to send in proposals for G-rated romance and cozy mysteries to Stacey and copy Eunice
o   We’re interested in a range of stories, from romcoms to more heartfelt and poignant stories, but nothing too tragic or dire
o   Diversity is a huge priority for us!
§  We’re excited about the diverse stories in our 2021 lineup
§  LGBTQ+, Asian, Black, Interracial romance/cozy mysteries are all welcome
·       We’d love to show a supportive community for LGBTQ+ characters because we want to model supportive families and communities
§  We are open to have immigrant romances/cozy mysteries
o   Plus-sized heroines welcome
§  ONLY if her character arc and conflict are not about losing weight
o   We get a lot of Christmas proposals (which are our best sellers) but there are more slots for non-Christmas stories
o   We want more fun beach reads J
o   We love seasonal tie-ins (not necessarily Christmas)
o   We love to see family, friendship and community subplots
§  Especially brothers and family reconciliation
o   We love widowed/single parents
o   Secondary Senior romance
o   Animals!
§  We love having shelter dogs/rescue mutts
·       Animals CANNOT be in any kind of distressing situations
o   Urban Setting is okay!
§  We prefer big cities to be real, small towns are usually fictional, medium sized cities can be real or fictional
o   Aspirational Locations
§  If it’s a foreign country, we like to have one character be American so that they’re an audience surrogate
o   Word Count: 75,000 words is our sweet spot

·      If we acquire your book, you get trade paperback, audiobook, ebook, and then maybe mass market paperback and the movie.

·      Things We Don’t Like
o   Wills with weird conditions for inheritance
o   Secret babies
o   Evil ex as main conflict
o   Too much kissing :D

·      Proposals
o   We love series! For cozy mystery, we only want series
§  In your proposal, address the other books in a paragraph
o   Like a synopsis
o   Clear idea of who the main characters are, goals, and character arcs
o   2-4 pages
o   Half of proposals fail because the hero’s obstacle to romance isn’t there
§  Both characters must overcome personal obstacles to love
o   There has to be a reason for the characters to interact and connect in the story
§  This could be a shared goal (holiday toy drive), next-door neighbors, etc.
§  Think of reasons for close proximity
§  Think about why these characters are perfect for each other on a soul level…and what’s keeping them apart?
o   Our submission guidelines are posted on our website!
o   Stacey will send over an example of a successful proposal

·      How many books are we doing?
o   Around 14-15 lined up per year

·      A Few Possible Conflicts
o   Opposing career goals (like in South Beach Love by Caridad Pineiro)
o   Opposites attract…they get on each other’s nerves at first
o   Family goals get in the way of romance
o   Boss too ethical to date employee (Stacey added this after the call)
o   Playful enemies to lovers is okay!
§  Argumentative banter is okay but nothing too mean or extreme

·      Successful Tropes
o   Friendship/Family/Community reconciliation themes
o   Royal
o   Cowboys
o   Second Chance Romance
o   Friends to Lovers
o   We love matchmaking kids!

·      Pandemic Romance
o   No—we’re hoping that by the time it came out, it would be dated
o   We also avoid stories where the action happens only in one place

·       Historicals?
o   We don’t do them right now
o   Also, we don’t do paranormal per se, but we have done stories with small touches of magic though

·       Production Time
o   We’re lengthening our lead times
o   If we do acquire your work, it will depend on when it fits into the production schedule
o   We’ll come to an agreement with you on delivery dates, knowing you may have other projects in progress
o   As for movies, what you’ve heard about Hollywood is true—things can stay in up in the air a long time and then become a reality fast, so we really can’t say when books will become movies

·      Cozy Mysteries
o   Emphasis on cozy, nothing too gory
o   No infidelity as a reason for murder

·      How Long Until You Hear Back?
o   Ranges because we are a very small team
o   If it takes more than 8 weeks, bump it back to the top of our inboxes J

·      Since our backlist is so small still, stay away from these for a while because we’ve done them
o   Bakers
o   Reality TV setting
o   Authors as main characters
o   The name Aidan/Aiden

·      What About Snarky Dialogue?
o   Nothing mean; our characters don’t even think mean things
o   Main characters can judge people for being mean, unethical, etc.
o   Hard pass on fat shaming, making fun of appearances, snobbery

·      Covers?
o   Historically, authors don’t have much say in the covers because our lead times were so short and we have to get several people’s approval
o   We have a house look: we don’t show faces, and for romance, we often focus on a beautiful setting
o   Now, we reach out and ask/try to involve the authors into the cover conversation more and more

   Printed with permission. Copyright Eunice Shin.

   For more information on Hallmark Publishing, visit

   To submit your proposal directly to Stacey Donovan, Director of Hallmark Publishing, email her at, and make sure to copy Eunice Shin. Her email is  Good luck!