Answering Questions Part II


First off, let me just thank everyone on behalf of the whole Carina Press team for your interest in and all the enthusiasm you’ve shown for Carina in the past week. It’s wonderful to know that so many of you are just as excited about the possibilities as we are!

Earlier in the week, Malle wrote a post, answering some questions that came up immediately after our announcement. Today, I’m going to recap some of her answers to questions posed in the comments of that thread, as well as answer some new questions. One quick thing before I start, when the blog was first put up, the comments were set to be “threaded”. We’ve set the comments to unthreaded (tell me I’m not the only one easily confused by those threaded comments?) but because we’ve done that, the previous four posts’ comments might look a little confusing and messy. Which is one of the reasons why I want to restate some of the answers Malle gave here. Also, we have requested that a subscribe-to-comments plugin be added to the blog, so everyone can track the comments more easily (including us!) and hopefully we’ll have that added next week.

Will a sample contract be available for viewing?

Malle: No, we won’t be offering a sample contract online — my legal department would shoot me. (AJ: but we will answer what questions we can about contract terms)

What rights does the contract take?

Malle: We will be buying all rights.

Is the contract negotiable?

AJ: My favorite saying when I talk about contracts is that they should be negotiable but all things in them are not negotiable. That applies here.

What are the royalty rates?

AJ: 30% of the original cover price on direct sales, 15% of the original cover price on 3rd party distribution. There is no net, no hidden fees, it’s all based on cover price.

So the books will be sold through 3rd party distributors?

AJ: Yes.

Will the books through 3rd party distributors be sold DRM free?

Malle: We will be offering the stories DRM-free on the Carina Press site and we will be offering the editorial to other vendors. If they wrap their own DRM on it, that will be their call.

DRM free? Really? You’re not just pulling my leg?

AJ: No, really, DRM free!

What formats will the books be available in?

AJ: At this time we haven’t finalized which formats we offer, though we do know there will be epub and PDF (did I mention they’d be DRM free?)

What about cover price? What will that be?

AJ: Again, this is something we’re still discussing, but cover price will in-line with other digital publishers.

And will you be offering print in the future?

AJ: No possibilities should be discounted. At this moment, we are focusing on digital but who knows what may happen in the future.

About submissions, what is your minimum word count, you don’t really say?

Malle: We’re looking for genre novels between 50 – 100 K. Willing to consider bigger single titles over 100 K. And I think there is a sweet spot for shorter books/novellas between 20 – 30 K. Angie tells me I’m wrong and that there is a lot of great material between 30 – 50 K. I wait to be corrected! So basically we are wide open!

AJ: And what she didn’t say is that yes, we will take as low as 15k. I expect a lot of amazing short submissions and a lot between 30-50k so I can say “I told you so” :P

How do you figure word count?

AJ: Computer word count. Pretty much all publishers, digital or traditional, are happy with computer word count in this age of technology.

And what heat level?

AJ: We’re looking for all heat levels, so there are no minimums and no restrictions. You can have no kissing up to whatever sexy stuff fits the story. As it says in our guidelines, we’re not looking for Penthouse Letters, we’re looking for great storytelling.

And you’ll consider m/m or other GLBT?

AJ: Absolutely, we welcome it and look forward to it.

Does my book have to have romantic elements?

AJ: Not at all. Well, unless it’s a romance. But though we will focus on romance, we will look at non-romance genres, including books without romantic elements at all.

A friend of mine got a “not quite right for this line” rejection from Harlequin. Will the editors forward those submissions to you for consideration?

AJ: Since Carina Press is a separate company, with a different pay structure, we can’t assume that authors want their submission to be published through Carina, so your friend should submit it directly to us herself. If she got a “not quite right” it might be just up our alley!

My manuscript is written in UK English, do I need to change that?

AJ: Not as long as it’s appropriate to the story setting. If your story is set in the US, you might want to reconsider the UK English!

I don’t live in the US or Canada, can I still submit a manuscript?

AJ: Absolutely! We will happily publish authors living anywhere there’s computer access (hey, alien friends, send us your best stories!), as long as the manuscript is in English.

Can I mail you a hard copy of my manuscript instead of sending it via email?

AJ: Sorry, no. Since we’re a digital-only company, everything will be done electronically, from submissions to edits. Submissions need to be made electronically, following our submissions guidelines, and the author must have or be prepared to have a program that can work with track changes (OpenOffice is a free option).

Do you only want books that will become a series, or will you accept standalone novels as well?

AJ: We’re interested in good storytelling, so if your book is a standalone, we want to see it. If your book is intended as part of a series, we want to see it.

What are your marketing plans? Will the author be expected to do all of the marketing?

Malle:  You’ll hear lots more about marketing plans as we move forward.

In our description we were trying to stress the small, independent publisher feel we hope to offer within Carina Press. We will be working together closely with authors on marketing efforts. We expect authors who want to participate in social media, etc. will most likely sell better. It’s part of the nature of this space. But by no means do we mean the author will be doing all the heavy lifting! Heck, that’s why we stress what an amazing digital marketing team we have. One that has years of experience.

Are you hiring editors, copyeditors or cover artists?

AJ: You can send your letter of interest, resume or portfolio to

Whew! Is anyone else exhausted after that marathon Q&A session? Now I know you’ll tell me what I missed, so bring on the follow-up questions! If necessary, I’ll do one more post to recap anything I missed.

77 thoughts on “Answering Questions Part II”

  1. Renee says:

    Angela, thank you for adding more answers to our many questions. Just one quick one. Will you consider chick lit? It fits in with commercial women’s fiction, right?

  2. Liz Flaherty says:

    I thought I read somewhere that you’re interested in stories that have already been published elsewhere? Is this correct and if it is, are there separate guidelines for submission. Thanks!

  3. Angela James says:

    @Renee My first advice to you: pretend the term chick lit doesn’t exist anymore :P Yes, we will take women’s fiction and all that it encompasses. I thought of this post when I read your question:

    @Liz that’s correct and there are no separate guidelines for submission, just make sure you mention that it’s previously published at the beginning of your query letter (those go in a different folder).

    Only two questions must mean we did a pretty good job with this post!

  4. Have all submissions that didn’t get an auto response been replied to?

    I submitted a ms. on the 11th, but haven’t received anything letting me know you received it. Just wondering if I should send it again or wait a little longer. Thanks!

  5. Renee says:

    Thank you for your response, Angela. The post you cited from Bookends Literary was exactly what I needed to read — it clarifies a lot and makes sense!

  6. I haven’t received confirmation of my submission either, and wondered if I need to resubmit.

  7. A. Beth says:

    “We will be buying all rights.”

    So you’re basically doing the standard “work for hire” rights, where you own the manuscript entirely if you accept it?

  8. Angela James says:

    Lanette and Renee, your submissions arrived. The first few days, we had an oops moment and didn’t realize the autoresponse wasn’t set. That’s since been corrected.

  9. Terri says:

    Sorry to be so dense…but does that mean those of us who submitted during the oops window will NOT get an acknowledgment that the submission was received? I thought I saw a post from Malle a few days ago saying we’d hear in a few days.

  10. Amy Wilkins says:

    @Terri — If you have still not received a reply, please send a follow-up email and we will check on your submission.

    p.s. I do work at Carina, too, I’m not just some random person I promise :)

  11. Melissa Blue says:

    No questions, but this made me snort: “p.s. I do work at Carina, too, I’m not just some random person I promise”

  12. Terri says:

    Thanks, Amy.

    I sent the follow-up e-mail to the submissions address, and got an auto-response. I’m afraid the auto-response was to the e-mail, though, and not regarding the actual submission.

    Could you (or another non-random person) please check for me?



  13. Tami says:

    Hi Angela!

    This is all very exciting.

    I’ve got two questions: Since I’ve submitted a manuscript under a certain pen name to eHarlequin, can I submit a different one to Carina?

    Also, could an established ebook author submit an MS to Carina using that known pen name? Or is it preferable to use a different name?

    Thanks so much!


  14. Likari says:

    Seeing this tweet makes me wonder:

    Since Carina is not going to put DRM on its titles, are you going to employ any piracy “countermeasures”?

  15. Amy Wilkins says:

    Hi Terri,

    Believe I found your submission and a response from Angela to the query from the 12th (maybe it got sent to your spam folder?), but I just want to double check that I have the right one and not another author named Terri :) Would you mind shooting me an email at with the title of your story?


  16. Kassa says:

    Hi there, I think my question got lost in the reformatting so here we go. Thanks in advance.

    After reading the comments and answers here and a variety of places, I’m curious about the following: What makes Carina attractive to authors and readers in the sea of current epublishers?

    Since you’ve stated several times that Carina is an independant press from Harlequin and won’t have an association, then why would an author chose a brand new publisher, offering a lower royalty % than current epublishers, taking print rights without a plan for print, and offering no advance.
    Why would an author be attracted?

    Also what would this publisher offer for readers that is currently lacking in the epublishing venue? The website is geared towards authors and as a reader, why would I chose to purchase from Carina versus the numerous other epublishers?

  17. Heide Katros says:

    Hi, Ms. James. I would like to submit a manuscript to Carina Press, but I am not sure of the specific genre. I think it would fit under contemporary romantic suspense.BTW I was told about Carina Press by the owner of The Romance Studio.
    Best regards,
    Heide Katros

  18. Angela James says:

    @Heide anyone is welcome to submit to Carina, and no worries if you don’t know your specific genre, take your best guess and if we contract it, we’ll decide where it fits best!

  19. Angela James says:


    I’m going to start with the website question first. I actually intended to answer this question about the website in the post above, and thought I had, but I must have either skipped past it in my list or just plain forgotten. The website IS currently geared towards authors because that’s where our focus is right now. In order to gear a website towards readers, we need content (books and authors), and our bookstore to be in place. Since we’ve only just announced our launch, both of those are in-process steps. Eventually, all of this will become subpages and the main website will be a publisher website, with books, content and links to buy, and will be geared towards customers/readers, not the authors.

    I understand the concerns about the print rights, but I also recognize, as I’m sure everyone does, that this is a business and that though we aren’t announcing print plans today, it doesn’t mean we won’t tomorrow (and, um, just to clarify, that’s just a phrase, we won’t be tomorrow :P). An agent wrote an article recently about authors keeping rights, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the author can use them, because in lieu of those rights, the publisher has a clause preventing competing works from being published. Six of one, half dozen of the other, no? Are we going to use the print rights? Not at this time doesn’t mean never. And, of course, as I said, I understand the frustration in not hearing a definite yes. Have no doubt, I do!

    As to why an author might choose us? Whenever I speak about digital publishing, I talk about how choosing a publisher is a personal choice, much like buying a car. The features that we look for can be both subjective and objective and depends on our goals and what we hope to get out of it (whether a car or a publisher!) Only the author can decide which publisher is the right choice, has the right terms, the most attractive team, and the best possibilities.

    I hope that authors will choose us because, though we are not an imprint of Harlequin, we are an arm of the Harlequin Enterprises and as such, will have to answer to similar standards and quality, of both content and editing. In addition, the staff behind the press has between us decades of experience in the publishing business, all walks of it. We are not a fly-by-night operation, we have knowledge of publishing, marketing and digital trends. We’ll be utilizing work flow that has worked for Harlequin, paying on time (and accurately), believe in the upcoming marketplace of not just digital romance, but digital fiction, and intend to market and promote Carina and our books/authors in a way that will (hopefully) attract the reading audience and help grow digital publishing.

  20. Angela James says:

    @Tami You should feel free to use any pen name that you’ve established (assuming you didn’t sign the rights to it away in contract, I hope you didn’t!). Our only stipulation on submissions is that the SAME manuscript can’t be submitted to Harlequin and Carina at the same time. There is nothing to stop you from submitting different manuscripts to us at the same time, or submitting if that manuscript didn’t quite work out for Harlequin (but I hope it does, so good luck to you!)

  21. Angela James says:

    @ Likari

    What types of countermeasures did you have in mind? DRM isn’t a piracy countermeasure, as I’m sure you’ve seen!

  22. Angela James says:

    I apologize if I missed any questions, please beat me over the head with them if I did!

  23. Ginisue says:

    At the risk of sounding in the “not-too-swift” category, what do the initials DRM mean? Also, in keeping with my NTS mode, (see above), did I read somewhere along the line that there is no advance fee, but higher yield as the books are sold? I know I’m being crass, but what can you expect from someone who is NTS. It’s my lot in life.

    Also, you all are embarking on a fantastic voyage. Good luck to all, editors and authors alike.


  24. Angela James says:

    Ginisue: I replied to your comment from within the dashboard, and I don’t see it. I assumed it would post it here but apparently not. I don’t know where it went! Did the system send you an email reply instead?

  25. Angela James says:

    I’ll try again. DRM = Digital Rights Management. There’s a nice explanation of this on our FAQ page (link at the top or bottom of this page).

    I’m not sure what you’re asking about the advance fee. I did address some of this in the post above, so can you clarify your question, otherwise my answer is just a repeat of the post and that’s probably not what you’re looking for!

  26. Emily says:

    Thanks for tackling all these questions! I have two to throw into the mix. Do you prefer new voices (previously unpublished)? Would authors who have published with a competitor (such as Ellora’s Cave) be less likely to be considered by Carina?

    1. Angela James says:

      @Emily We have a place for both new authors and established authors. The most successful publishing venture will always be a mix of both, I think! And writing for another publisher means you have a writing credit, and experience with the editorial process. Of course we welcome that!

      @Tabitha Yes, we are interested in Christian/Biblical fiction in addition to the other subgenres of romance and viction.

      @Lia The beauty of digital is that we don’t have to worry about limited shelf space, thus no short shelf life!

      @Terri Carina was not going to be recognized because RWA does not recognize other publishers with our business model (no advance/higher royalty percentage).

      @Terri #2: Nope, we are a separate publisher with a different business model so we would not have been grandfathered in under the Harlequin umbrella

  27. Lia says:

    If I was lucky and talented enough and you published my book, how long would you keep it up for sale? eg Harlequin books have a short shelf life.

  28. Likari says:

    RE: @ Likari

    What types of countermeasures did you have in mind? DRM isn’t a piracy countermeasure, as I’m sure you’ve seen!

    I understand that some people loathe DRM. I’d like to see publishers going after pirate sites in a meaningful way. And I suppose they will when ebooks begin to provide a meaningful chunk of revenue.

  29. Terri H says:

    Angela — Not crazy about being “Terri #2.” {sigh} I guess I will just have to change my name model after all!

    — Ŧ (the artist formerly known as Terri)

    PS: Thanks for clearing up the confusion, though. (Both with regard to the Carina-Harlequin-RWA situation and the mini identity crisis.)

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  31. talented enough and you published my book, how long would you keep it up for sale? eg Harlequin books have a short shelf life.

    1. Angela James says:

      Harlequin print books have a short shelf life. Many, many print books have a short (or nonexistent) shelf life. That’s the beauty of digital, it can live on! So, to answer your question, we would keep it for sale and on the digital “shelf” as long as it’s in contract.

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  38. J. F. Gump says:

    Will Carina be offering international (speicifically Australia Europe) sales direct, or will that be handled by 3rd party sellers? Thanks for any information you can share.


  39. J. F. Gump says:

    Oops. Got interrupted. Meant “specifically Australia and Europe”. Do I know how to make a great first impression or what?


    1. Angela James says:

      Readers worldwide would have the option of buying either direct from Carina or from 3rd party retailers. There are no geographical restrictions on our books so they’re available to everyone!

  40. J. F. Gump says:

    Thanks for your reply. I’m pleased to know Carina is open worldwide. I look forward to meeting you in Cincinnati this June.

    Best Regards,


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  42. Do you publish or distribute to Australia at all? Is is marketed as Harlequin? I have not been able to locate any of these in hard copy in my local book shops, what about amazon do you distibute to them for digital downloads?


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  48. In this blog and on the FAQ page you address that we can not submit to Harlequin and Carina Press at the same time. I did submit to Harlequin back on June 17, 2010 but I have never received a response from them. Would you suggest I wait longer for a response before I send a submission to Carina Press?
    Thank you for your help.

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