Now open for submissions: short scene critiques!


We’re pleased to announce we’re once again accepting submissions for our short scene critiques. This is a feedback opportunity, in which authors submit their short scenes, and a Carina Press editor writes a critique and posts it publicly on our blog.

This critique sweepstakes is a chance for you to receive honest and constructive feedback from a Carina Press editor. Feedback that we promise won’t be mean—we’re not looking to be Simon Cowell here, or impress our friends with our wit, we’re just looking to give insight into the editorial thought process while giving you what solid feedback we can at the same time. Send us your scene, and we’ll randomly select submissions to critique twice monthly on our blog. If you’ve never had your work critiqued before (or even if you have), don’t worry! Our goal is to help you by not only pointing out what might not be working, but by also letting you know what you’ve gotten right and how to bring that out and really make it shine. In other words, we’re friendly!

We’re asking for authors to submit ONE of the following:

  • A sex scene
  • A first meet (the first time your main characters meet/encounter each other)
  • An action scene
  • The black moment

Before you submit, please read the official rules here, and take a look at the FAQs below.

How it works:

  • Your scene must be either a sex scene, the first meet between your protagonists (the people who are going to get the HEA in your book), an action scene, or the black moment (see FAQs for more info on how to define black moment.)
  • Submit a scene from 400 to 800 words (for most manuscripts, this will be around 1 ½ to 3 pages).
  • Fine-tune your scene and submit it to us here. 
  • We’ll randomly select a number of scenes from the submissions.
  • Carina Press editors will review and post the selected submissions, with our editorial feedback, on the Carina Press blog.
  • You choose—do you want the comment section on the blog open or closed? Leaving the comment section open means others can comment and offer feedback but perhaps you only want the feedback from the editor. In that case, everyone reading will benefit from seeing how our editorial minds work, but cannot comment on the blog post itself.

Before you begin:

  • Please read the official rules for full details.
  • First pages must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. EDT on August 12, 2018.
  • One entry per person, and please only from authors who haven’t been published by Carina Press/Harlequin before.
  • Pages must be from unpublished work and you must be the rightful owner of the work.
  • By submitting your work to this contest, you give permission for the material to appear on our website along with the editorial feedback.
  • Genres must fall within one of these romance genres but can be of any heat level and feature same-sex/multiple pairings: contemporary, paranormal, romantic suspense, historical, science fiction, fantasy.
  • The scenes to be critiqued will be selected at random, and once the selections have been made, we’ll be deleting all other submissions.

Submit your scene here. Good luck, and we look forward to reading your submissions!

The Carina Press Editors



How long should the scene be?

Between 400 and 800 words. We’re unable to accept submissions that exceed 800 words.

Can I submit more than one scene? (ie can I submit both my first meet scene and my action scene?)

 We ask that you submit only one scene for this call, so that we can be as fair as possible (remember, the selections are random!). If/when we open up for submissions again, you’re welcome to submit a different scene.

Do I have to submit the first sex or action scene, or can it be one from later in the book?

It can be from anywhere in the book, but we ask that you please let us know in the description where in the overall story arc the scene occurs. Is it their first scrape with trouble or sexual encounter, or is it closer to the climax (no pun intended) of the novel/novella? These details will help us give story feedback and not just usage advice.

What if my book/WIP doesn’t have an action or sex scene? Will Carina still consider it?

This opportunity is open to scenes pulled from works of contemporary, paranormal, historical, science fiction and fantasy romance, as well as romantic suspense, and we accept submissions of all heat levels for Carina Press. If your WIP doesn’t have an action or sex scene,  then we’d recommend submitting your first meet or black moment for this particular opportunity.

Does the first meet scene have to be the first time my main characters interact at all?

First meet scenes should represent the first meaningful, tension- or possibility-filled interaction between your protagonists. It can be dialogue-free, if you’ve got a killer insta-love-spark-moment recount from one character’s POV, or take place via text or email if that’s the way to your HEA, but it shouldn’t be just a recount of two people standing in line to get coffee together (for example). Think meet cute and “off to the races.”

What is a black moment?

The black moment, sometimes called the “All is lost” moment, is generally considered the point of the book at which your characters have lost all hope, and don’t see a way to overcome their conflict. You can read more about black moments here:


Any further questions can be directed to Submissions AT


Wait! Before You Leave…

Subscribe to the Carina Press Newsletter & Save 20% on Your Next Order!

Sign up to receive newsletters, special offers and other promotional emails from Carina Press* to get the inside scoop on all our new books!
Plus, you'll get an exclusive coupon to save 20% on your next purchase.

*Harlequin Enterprises ULC (Carina Press) is located at Bay Adelaide Centre, East Tower, 22 Adelaide Street West, 41st Floor, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5H 4E3 and sends informational and promotional emails on behalf of itself and Harlequin Digital Sales Corporation. Subscribers can unsubscribe at any time.