Meet Kate from Escape Publishing

I usually interview an author on my book blog at least once a week.  However, today for a change, I'm interviewing Kate Cuthbert, the managing director of Harlequin Escape, a new branch of Harlequin in Australia which is concentrating on digital format books to meet the demands of a new and ever diversifying book market.  As an aspiring author who has lots of author friends, I was brimming with curiousity and had lots of questions for Kate and she's patiently answered every one and even anticipated some of them.  So read on for some fascinating information.

1. Where was the need for a new Harlequin digital imprint whenHM&B Australia is already well established?

HM&B in Australia put together some amazing titles. But they face the
same restrictions as other print publishers: restrictions on the number
of titles, marketing considerations. It meant that thousands of fabulous
titles were being passed over. But digital-first has fewer restrictions,
more freedom, more room to take some risks. Plus, Australia is just
brimming with talent, and we were perfectly poised to take advantage.
We're completely open-door, so Escape and HM&B will be working together
to make sure that the great books coming through land in the place most
likely to help them succeed.

2. In what way will this imprint differ from HM&B Australia?

...I think I kind of answered this! Escape has a much wider scope. We
publish any romance novel in any sub-genre with word counts between 5000
and 250 000 words. We'll be publishing outstanding examples of
traditional romance, but we'll also be taking more risks, looking into
niche, playing with cross-genre or whole new genres!

3. Is Escape Publishing going to be more adventurous in it's
choice of titles than HM&B Australia?

...I'm anticipating all of your questions! Please see number two :)

4. Is Escape Publishing going to give space for sweet romances as
well as more erotic content?

Absolutely - from mere longing glances to the most explicit content. We
want all romances.

5. Will you be looking for historical romances?

Yes! And, just between you and I, historical romances hold a very high
place in my heart, so if you want to appeal to me the *cough*person in
charge of acquisitions*cough* write me some historicals!

 6. Will you feature writers from NZ as well as Australia?

We're open worldwide to submissions, so from anywhere. However, we will
be maintaining our Australian focus.

7. Will you release new titles at monthly intervals?  What will
be the shelf life of the titles?

Absolutely. And one of the benefits of digital-first is that our titles
have no shelf life - they can be available for eternity (just like a
good love ;) )

8. Are you planning to release the books in print form?

Not at this time. This is actually a question I get asked a lot, and it
really interests me as someone in digital-first, because the implication
remains that print is somehow more legitimate than digital. We don't buy
it. Our Escape titles are first-class, and we're willing to stand behind
them, in the format that can support them.

 9. Will the titles be available internationally?

Absolutely - through all the major retailers, as well as smaller and
independent retailers.

10. How can writers find out your submission requirements?

The best way to do so is to visit our website, All our guidelines are there, as well as
our very-easy-to-use submission form.

Thank you Kate, for sharing this wonderful information.

Kate with Haylee Kerans and other writers!

Here's a picture of Kate with Haylee Kerans of Escape along with some of their writers.  So writers, go to the Harlequin Escape website and get all your info there.  And get some historicals written meanwhile!


  1. I don't think I have ever read a Harlequin Escape book before but this does sound very intriguing and I will definitely be checking it out,thanks Kate for coming and thanks Maria for introducing me to the author !

  2. Yes, Desere, I found Kate a terrific subject to interview, so much information about submissions. I think we'll be hearing a lot more about Harlequin Escape inthe future!

  3. Hi Kate, Hello Maria!

    Thanks so much for sharing these information about Escape Publishing.

    The best thing about Escape Publishing book's to my knowledge is that it will be DRM free!

    And there will be no geographical restrictions on it. And then there are no set guidelines to fit the stories, you are looking at all type of stories as long as romance is there, am I correct?

  4. Thanks to ebooks, it's amazing to think that books from places we couldn't access before are now available at a click - my reading material is so much richer as a result!

  5. Hi Nas
    Yes that's right - no DRM, no geographic restrictions.

    As to submissions, as long as it's a romance - that is, it has a strong focus on a romantic relationship and an emotionally uplifting ending - we're eager to look at it!

  6. Hi Maria and Kate. Great idea for a Blog Maria, I thoroughly enjoyed the topic. As the proud owner of my very first Kindle today I think this blog is in perfect timing for me! Thank you for the glance "behind the scenes" and what plans you have for the future Kate. I bet you love your job and are so happy to go to work in the mornings. One of the things I've learnt on my journey as an avid romance reader and lover of "Blogger" is the hard work everyone puts in to produce a book that is adored by the fans. You all do a fab job and I honestly believe my money is well spent. Keep up the great hard work guys :)

  7. Hi Kate and Maria,
    Lucky me has read several of the Harlequin Escape books and what I have noticed is that there are no rules, other than what Kate said about having a "strong focus on a romantic relationship and an emotionally uplifting ending". These books are very different to the Harlequin books we know and love—and they are just as compelling to read. Some are more plot-based than what we've been used to, others character-driven. I can see a big future for Harlequin Escape. You only have to look at the diversity in the first five launch books and I'm sure you will be as hooked as I am :)

    Great blog, Kate. Great questions, Maria, and thanks for having Kate as your special guest today.

  8. Have read and reviewed a couple of the Harlequin Escapes and have bought another which is on my TBR.

  9. Thanks for the interview, Maria and Kate. As an upcoming Escape author I'm thrilled to be part of this Harlequin initiative to get a wider variety of stories out to the readers that want them.
    Escape Publishing came at perfect timing for me as I'd recently finished editing a manuscript, but due to the restrictions of print publishing I was having trouble finding a home for it in the traditional marketplace, despite getting good feedback. I began researching the digital market and realised that regardless of whether the book is print or ebook, what matters is that the reader is getting a story they want to read. So I decided to try digital. At first I wasn't sure if my book would suit, being a bit of a mixture of genres, but as Kate laid it out so clearly - if it has a strong romance and a happy ending, that is the main thing. My manuscript had that so I submitted and thankfully was accepted!
    I encourage anyone else thinking of submitting to go for it (especially if you can write historical - I'm hopeless at anything to do with history!) :)

  10. Wow, Tash, congrats indeed. Your life will never be the same again. Print books still hold a place in my heart - there's nothing like the feel of a book in your hands - but the e reader has put books withing my reach that I couldn't have dreamt of reading because of the availability factor. And when I'm engaged in a book, well, I just forget what medium I'm reading it through, whether it's print or Kindle. It's all about the book, not the reading device.

  11. I've got one Harlequin Escape title in my e reader right now and I'm looking forward to trying them out. They seem great. The book market is diversifying like mad and there is so much to choose from now.

    It's been terrific having Kate here as my guest, Serena. It's been an opportunity to discuss digital format books and what a difference they make.

  12. How did you find them, Fiona? Did they come up to your expectations?

  13. Thanks for joining in the conversation, Juliet. As an upcoming Escape author, I was interested to see what this imprint would be like for authors. As I see it, you've been able to get a book out there that maybe wouldn't otherwise be able to get out there. That's good news not only for authors but for readers too. Best of luck with your upcoming release. I'm looking forward to reading it.

  14. It sounds like an exciting opportunity! I'll definitely check out the guidelines! Thanks :)

  15. It sounds like a wonderful opportunity! Will be keeping my eye on Escape... :)

  16. Great to see you here, Jemi, thanks for reading and commenting.

  17. Welcome Xandra, great to see you over here. Thanks for stopping by.

  18. Great interview! I'll certainly be checking Escape books! Congrats and good luck :)

  19. What an informative interview. Thanks a million for posting it! Edith xxx

  20. This is a terrific interview - so much information. Thank you so much Kate and Maria.

  21. Tash, now you're in trouble! I bought my kindle, loved it and convinced my mum (who has trouble using a TV -- I kid you not! -- because she's so bad at learning any new technology) and now she has her own kindle and is addicted. Happy reading!

    Having just crashed the conversation, I'd best introduce myself. I'm an Escape Artist! that is, I'm an author with a short story coming out with Escape Publishing in December.

    You know how Kate was talking about the variety Escape offers, I love that! So far there's not a huge number of places willing to publish 10,000 word stories (which is about one fifth the length of a Mills and Boon category novel), but they are THE perfect length for a lunch time read. I am so into respecting the fact that we all struggle to find free time. If you'd like to get a sense of a 10,000 word story, I have a Christmas special free on my website ... I'm no tech expert (like my mum!) but you can download a copy or read it online.

    Then look out for my story, "Drawing Closer", from Escape in December! :)

    Thanks, Maria, for the great interview :) I hope you don't mind me crashing in!

  22. Hi Kate,
    I was excited to read about Escape, especially as you are located in my part of the world, so I checked you out intending to purchase a book or two as research. (I am working on my third historical at the moment.) I may have missed something so if this is a dumb question then please forgive me - but where can I purchase your books to read on a Sony? Are they available in the Sony store or can I download them in pdf from somewhere?

  23. Hi Cherie
    No worries - you should be able to buy them in the Sony store or through a number of different e-tailers, Google Books, etc. But do let me know if you have trouble, and we'll track someone down for you!


  24. Thanks Kate. I didn't think of Google Books.

  25. I love Jenny describing herself as an Escape Artist. I hope to become one too, soon. Thanks for the interview. I've haunted the Escape site, carefully reading the guidelines with the intention of sending off a submission very soon.


  26. Hi Denise,

    Please do. Submit your story to Escape as recently you came up winner on the Romantic Friday Writers by the judges(of which I was one). Your writing is flawless and we loved it.

  27. Good luck, Denise! I hope you join the Escape Artists Club really soon :)

  28. Oh my gosh Maria, I think you've hit the nail on the head! I LOVE the smell of books and I adore a well organised bookcase but you're right, once you get caught up in the story the medium doesnt matter. I'd have to say since I've had the Kindle App over the last year or so my reading amount and genres have doubled. I've found since the Kindle has been at home my kids want to read more too, never mind their two bookcases of beautiful books, so maybe it's a great medium to encourage them to continue to read as well :))

  29. LOL maybe i should introduce my mum to it too then Jenny, my memory of her when I was growing up was her love of Agatha Christie novels, she ALWAYS had a book in her hand so maybe she'll be brave too and try it out. Re the Kindle, I think i'm in LOVE hahahah

  30. Hi Jenny, you're very welcome. And thanks for the info on the free download, I'll go and get a copy too. And Tash, your mum sounds just like me LOL.

  31. Hey, Cherie, hi! I am so much looking forward to reading your historical WIP Pioneer Bride.

  32. Yes, Denise, the very best of luck and thanks for coming over.

  33. Hi Maria and Kate.
    Great interview, very informative. Escape sounds such a great publishing adventure, I hope I am lucky enough to become an "Escape Artist," in the near future.

    Best wishes


  34. Hi Margaret, you're very welcome. Thanks for coming over here and do come back again.

  35. Hi Margaret!

    We would love to read your Australian based Historical, hope Escape publishes it soon!

    All the best!

  36. Thanks Maria. Yes, I think it's great that so many new authors can get their work out into the world through digital publishing, and so much quicker too!

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