Archive for the ‘Publishing’ Category

Where Have All the Historical Romances Gone?

Thursday, May 2nd, 2013

historicalromance1 In the past, I’ve bemoaned a lack of variety in historical romance settings, and we’ve even voted on where readers wanted to see historical set (Result: we like 19th c. England but wouldn’t mind reading about other places and times, too!). However, over the past few years I’ve been seeing change in the historical market overall.

Historical romance once dominated the market. When I started reading romance as a 1990s high school student, the vast majority of books out there were historicals – and they were set all over the place. When I started at AAR in 2003, it was harder to find a wide variety of historical settings, but there were still plenty of books. (more…)

New Opportunities for Aspiring Writers – and Other News From Around the Web

Thursday, April 25th, 2013

writing ** I’d noticed recently that Avon redesigned its website, and it has also now announced the launch of Share Your Book, a place for aspiring writers to post writing samples and receive feedback from readers, editors, and other authors. It reminds me somewhat of the First Page feature at Dear Author, but since this one is sponsored by a publishing house, I suspect there will be more of a presence from editors giving comments and hopefully finding new talent. Avon has had similar features in the past, including the FanLit contest that brought us Tessa Dare, Courtney Milan, Manda Collins, Elyssa Patrick, and several other authors.  I’ll be curious to see what new voices emerge from this new feature.  More than a few writers have emerged from the self-publishing world recently, and it looks like Avon is trying to bring some of that talent on board. (more…)

Grand Central Publishing to Publish More Romance!

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

forever That’s right! I got a press release from Grand Central today announcing that it will be expanding the Forever imprint. After reading what Anne had to say below about the pending Penguin and Random House merger, I had wondered whether traditional publishing of romance would start to shrink a bit. Would RH and Penguin combine imprints and cause slots to be lost? It does seem a bit like a recipe for further squeezing the midlist and making it harder for new writers to establish themselves.

In contrast, the news from Grand Central felt pretty welcome. In the press release, the publisher announced that Forever and the eBook-only imprint Forever Yours had 64 titles in 2012, they expect about 120 this year and over 190 in 2014. Wow! That’s a huge increase. Not surprisingly, they’re also looking to add to their editorial and marketing staff.

Based on the comments from Grand Central reps in the press release, it sounds like they are attuned to the fact that romance readers read a lot, and we like to have lots of books to select from. Amy Pierpont, the Editorial Director of Forever and Forever Yours stated that, ” “Romance readers are talking, and Forever is listening! Fans want more books from their favorite authors, they want them published more frequently, and they’re eager to discover new favorite authors and series. Forever’s expansion allows us to bring readers exactly what they’re asking for—and more.” The publisher also seems to realize that readers have very diverse tastes. Beth de Guzman, the founding editor of Forever and now a VP at Grand Central, described the romance market as “more robust and diverse than at any other time…” I hope that the realization we romance readers are a pretty eclectic bunch translates into some nice, broad-ranging title lists as well. I see potential here, and I just hope that having room for more authors and books on the publisher’s roster turns out to be a good thing for readers.

– Lynn Spencer

Random Penguins, Part Deux

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

penguin-random-house Last November, I blogged about the possible Random House and Penguin Books merger. Or rather, the merger between German conglomerate Bertelsmann (the owner of Random House) and the parent company of Penguin (the British company Pearson). At the time, the merger had not yet been approved by the regulatory agencies. As controversial as the merger was for some, most experts thought it would be approved and that the newly named Penguin Random House would become reality.

Sure enough, it seems they might be right. One major step has made this huge merger possible. As reported by the New York Times and Publishers Weekly, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has approved the upcoming merger. (more…)

Harlequin KISS imprint launch – Interview and Giveaway!

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

kisslaunch Just this month, Harlequin officially launched their new KISS line of books promising readers modern stories that are fresh and fun. Sometimes when I read contemporary romance, the characters seem very old-fashioned so I was curious to see what I would find in the new line. I ended up having The One That Got Away as a review book and I picked up the other three to read on my own. While the tone and stories varied, they did all feel believably modern. I was able to interview two of the launch authors, Kelly Hunter and Kimberly Lang, and this is what they had to say about the new line: (more…)

There’s a New Digital Imprint in Town – Interview with Kate Cuthbert

Monday, December 10th, 2012

Recently I was glad to get a chance to catch up a little with Kate Cuthbert, one of our AAR alums who went on to work in the publishing world and is now managing editor of Harlequin Australia’s new digital-first imprint, Escape Publishing. Kate has all kinds of great information about Escape to share, and best of all, the books are available worldwide, so you don’t have to be in Australia to check out this line!

I know you’ve had quite a history in the romance community. Can you tell readers a little bit about who you are and what you do?

Kate Cuthbert: Sure! I’ve been writing about romance for almost as long as I’ve been reading it. In the past I’ve written a fortnightly romance column for a state newspaper, op-eds and reviews for the New York Journal of Books and Bookseller and Publishers Magazine, a romance-focused newsletter for an online bookshop, and, of course, spent a couple of fantastic years reviewing for All About Romance! (more…)

Cheap EBooks: Bane, Boon, or Bust for Readers?

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

If you follow eBook news, you know it’s often all about pricing. From complaints about high prices and allegations of collusion on prices to concerns about cheap eBooks, customers are always keeping their eye on the price. It’s annoying to find that the new eBook you want is $14.99, while the hardback often costs less (including shipping).

To avoid paying too much for eBooks, I check out bargains on the MobileRead Deals, Freebies, and Resources forum every day. The eBook Bargains thread is also hugely popular on AAR’s own Potpourri board. It’s great to find free and bargain eBooks from authors I love, or from authors I’ve been wanting to read. Not long ago, I got nostalgic and gladly bought some Newberry Award winners for $1.99 each because the books reminded me of those great trips to the school library. Of course, I also wound up buying some higher priced titles because I just had to get a copy of The Witch of Blackbird Pond again. (more…)

Publishing News: Avon Social Reader

Thursday, October 18th, 2012

Avon released the following announcement Tuesday concerning their new social reader app:

The Avon Social Reader
New App integrates with Facebook to allow advance excerpts, sharing, and DRM-free purchasing

New York, NY – October 16, 2012 –Around the world, women are reading in new ways, often online or on a device, and sharing what they read via social media outlets. In many cases, Facebook has become a key part of the equation. Consumers are spending hours each day browsing the latest headlines while interacting with their friends, families and acquaintances through the platform. Now, leading romance publisher Avon Books is piloting a free Facebook app, AvonSocialReader.com , which will give readers the chance to read excerpts from Avon’s latest books, share their favorites with friends, and discover new content based on what their friends are reading. Up to 20 percent of each book will be available to read, and once a book is browsed in the app, a person can choose to have that book show up in their News Feed or timeline for friends to see. There will also be clickable buy links to DRM-free editions of the selected Avon books from allromanceebooks.com. Consumers can also choose to purchase DRM-enabled versions of the books at other online retailers.

A recent online consumer survey indicated that romance readers are highly active in the digital arena, purchasing e-books and sharing information via social channels. Many of the respondents pointed to Facebook as being the center point of their social/digital sharing world. “Many are using apps to share the news stories that they are reading online instantly with their friends,” says Liate Stehlik, Senior Vice President and Publisher of William Morrow and Avon Books. “The recent word-of-mouth phenomenon surrounding Fifty Shades of Gray confirms that women are talking about the books they are reading in equal measure. Thus, Avon worked to create a simple way for friends to connect on Facebook over the books they are most passionate about.”

She continues, “The Avon Social Reader is a fun, user-friendly way for readers to sample an interesting mix of excerpts posted to this Facebook app every month, and then virally spread the news about what they are reading via social media.”

Partnering with allromanceebooks.com allows Avon, for the first time, to offer a DRM-free option to their authors and readers, “a publishing capability many of them had asked us to pursue,” Stehlik says. The files can be delivered as secure Adobe ePub -book editions. Bestselling author Tessa Dare expresses her excitement, saying, “I know that DRM can be a frustration for honest, paying readers who just want to purchase and read books on their preferred devices. Avon’s experiment will help me reach a new segment of the digital readership.” New York Times bestseller Cathy Maxwell says, “I’m excited that readers will now have a new way to get the inside scoop on our books – and what a great, easy way to share with all of their friends on Facebook!”
The Avon Social Reader is intuitive and easy to use. Fully integrated within Facebook Platform, the app enables readers to flip from status updates to a book excerpt that a friend is reading with one quick click. The more they use the app and interact, the better it gets!
The Avon Social Reader will be launched out via Facebook today, with excerpts and buy links for the following titles:

· A Blood Seduction: A Vamp City Novel by Pamela Palmer
· A Lady by Midnight by Tessa Dare
· A Night Like This by Julia Quinn
· A Scandalous Scot by Karen Ranney
· A Warrior’s Promise by Donna Fletcher
· A Week to Be Wicked by Tessa Dare
· After the Abduction by Sabrina Jeffries
· Chosen: A Dark Breed Novel by Sable Grace
· Confessions from an Arranged Marriage by Miranda Neville
· Darkness Becomes Her by Jaime Rush
· Dark Desire by Christine Feehan
· How to Be a Proper Lady: A Falcon Club Novel by Katharine Ashe
· Lady Alexandra’s Excellent Adventure: A Summersby Tale by Sophie Barnes
· Last Vamp Standing by Kristin Miller
· Lyon’s Bride: The Chattan Curse by Cathy Maxwell
· Mating Season: A Cabin Fever Novella by Alice Gaines
· Nine Lives of an Urban Panther by Amanda Arista
· Once Burned: A Night Prince Novel by Jeaniene Frost
· Perilous Pleasures by Jenny Brown
· Sins of a Virgin by Anna Randol
· Skies of Fire: The Ether Chronicles by Zoe Archer
· Tarnished: The St. Croix Chronicles by Karina Cooper
· The Art of Duke Hunting by Sophia Nash
· The Way to a Duke’s Heart: The Truth About the Duke by Caroline Linden
· Under a Vampire Moon: An Argeneau Novel by Lynsay Sands
· Wanted: Undead or Alive by Kerrelyn Sparks
· When Dreams Come True by Cathy Maxwell
· Wicked Road to Hell: A League of Guardians Novel by Juliana Stone
· Winter Garden by Adele Ashworth

Facebook® is a registered trademark of Facebook Inc.

More information about The Avon Social Reader is available online at Avon’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/avonromance or via the direct link, www.AvonSocialReader.com .

What are your thoughts on this news? Is this a social platform you will use? Something you never knew you needed until it was there? Is the idea of substantial excerpts or DRM-free purchasing something that will draw you in? Or are you already tapped out on social media and sharing?

News and Musings

Friday, September 28th, 2012

Sometimes, instead of one long blog post, I find myself with lots of smaller things I want to share. Today is one of those days.
- Earlier this week, I read an interesting piece in Forbes comparing Harlequin with Harvard Business Publishing. What could they have in common? Well, according to Nick Morgan, both have put lots of time and effort into community building. There are folks that just buy the occasional book here and there, but the most dedicated readers I know love to talk about books, so I’m all for having communities where we can do that. Reader-oriented sites and publisher sites obviously offer different things, but I know I’ve visited both and I suspect many readers have as well. Personally, I first discovered the online book world just as I was emerging from the free time-less fog known as law school and I’ve so enjoyed the people and ideas I’ve encountered there. Things have evolved a lot, particularly in the past few years, and I’ll be curious to see where publishers go in their community building. I think Harlequin has a headstart on most, but I see others getting into it as well, with blogs, Facebook pages and sites such as Heroes and Heartbreakers.
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Fall Non-Romance Preview

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

j_k_rowling_casual_vacancyYeah, I read non-romance.  Not much, but I do.  That being said, with romance reading and review books, plus grad school coursework, I have to be really choosy with what I read.  At the same time, I’m determined to branch out from romance and YA, and I’m going to make it my goal to read at least one non-romance book each month.  Since fall is big publishing season, here are three non-romance books that caught my eye, in no particular order:

The Casual Vacancy, by J. K. Rowling

Her first book since Harry Potter.  There is no way this is not going to be a publishing phenomenon, and canny for her, she’s going into adult contemporary fiction.  It looks good though – satire and small town secrets, and all that – and I like the cover.

Sweet Tooth, by Ian McEwan

Ian McEwan does 1970s espionage and romance.  Needless to say, I doubt it’s going to end happily, but I’m really, really looking forward to this one.  Features an Oxford mathematician as a heroine, who gets recruited by MI-5 and falls in love with the guys she’s spying on.  It’s already out in Canada (although not until November in the States), and the reviews are fantastic.

(more…)