#SYTYCW – Chris Buono


Do you hope to pen publishable category romance? Have you been looking for ways to better your writing? Then, the buck stops here! Harlequin’s SYTYCW competition is an aspiring romance writer’s dream come true.

An Experience of a Lifetime

The SYTYCW competition began in 2010. In addition, Harlequin has published over thirty aspiring authors, via contest participation. That is no coincidence.

I have entered this competition more than once. While I have, thus far, not published with Harlequin, I have gained much “Harlequin romance” knowledge. How? The SYTYCW Boot Camp, for one!

How many of you dream of getting an editor’s ear? How many of you crave a critique of your work? Well, here’s a primer for you, as the SYTYCW competition deadline nears every year in September.

Harlequin’s writing boot camp is an organized, weeklong, delicious jolt of category romance and opportunity. From writing challenges to social media interaction with editors/authors, this lead-up to the contest has something for everybody.

Yes, SYTYCW boot camp is enough to make your head spin…but, as an aspiring romance author, I have seen the value. You will, too! All free! From anywhere! That’s how the synopsis for my Harlequin Desire WIP Ballroom Dance Romance had gotten an editor’s critique (June 2015).

At its core, the SYTYCW competition is a living, breathing, embracing source of romance writing energy. This is something that I have seen resonate through the Harlequin community, and encourage even closet writers out.

The SYTYCW competition experience brings more about than just publishing a book—although “published romance author” does have a nice ring.

Still, because Harlequin has so many experts at its disposal, aspiring romance authors benefit.

Growing Pains

Overall, I believe that it was good for Harlequin to have teamed with Carina Press and Wattpad for the 2015 competition. I see benefits to a contest requirement of a full manuscript submission to enter.

However, it is unfortunate that apparent glitches within the Pitch-voting phase this year, for the Top 55, have appeared.

Still, I am confident that Harlequin, Carina Press, and Wattpad will do/are doing everything possible, to make certain all votes are accurately counted.

A Male in a Female World

Perhaps, as a male, upon first entry into the SYTYCW competition, I may have felt or had experienced some standoffishness from others.

Yet, in the overall picture, the SYTYCW competition welcomed me. There is even a male writer in the 2015 final round! That further displays how willing both Harlequin and Carina Press are to publish both genders.

What SYTYCW Means to You

The axiom says: “Competition brings out the best in us.” Well, this year—for my Wattpad publishing debut—I had designed the romance book cover for my SYTYCW15 Harlequin Desire Entry Her Boss’s Surprise. I had also made a YouTube book trailer for it.

Book trailers had not been a competition requirement. However, mine had come about “due to” the experience encouraging me to think outside the box.

Happy SYTYCW contest entering, all!



Chris Buono is an aspiring romance author and writes full time. His Harlequin Desire SYTYCW15 Contest Entry Her Boss’s Surprise has more than 10k reads on Wattpad.com. He is presently working on a new category romance novel and other writing projects. You can find him on Twitter @CBuonoWritesU.


2 thoughts on “#SYTYCW – Chris Buono

  1. Hi Chris, great to read a blog from your POV. I’m guessing some people might be regretting you did such a fabulous trailer because you inspired me to try…three trailers later. But I love the whole goose thing.


    • Thanks, Fiona. I still can’t get that toe-tapping, head-bobbing Bublitzki tune out of my head–the one that you used in your first book trailer for “The Spy Who Saved Me” on YouTube. BTW, I loved the bear in it, too.

      Liked by 1 person

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