Week One…Learning the Ropes


Along with the more mundane posts of answering questions and sharing information about Carina, I wanted to bring you along on my journey. Not only was Monday the official announcement of Carina Press, but it was also my first day as an official employee of Carina/Harlequin. Though I had been working with the digital team in the weeks preceding, it was purely in a consulting manner and more along the lines of them picking my brain (after my trip to Toronto, I was quite sure I had nothing left to share after a lengthy question and answer session with the team!)

No longer having to keep the secret of Carina’s existence was the best part of the week. Do you have any idea how hard it is to not tell people such exciting news for weeks (and months?). When I flew to Toronto, I couldn’t Twitter or blog about my adventures, couldn’t share the coolness of visiting the Harlequin offices (all those books! And the Harlequin artwork! So cool), meeting the digital team, seeing Bobble Brent in person, and fessing up about just where I saw that Buggati Veyron. Not to mention that during all those weeks, I was still attending writers’ conferences and the sheer number of people who asked me how I was doing, what I was going to do next and if I had a job yet was almost overwhelming. But through all of those lunches, drinks, dinners, meetings and the workshops I gave, I couldn’t breathe a single word to anyone about what was coming. I deserve some sort of metal for holding out against that kind of pressure, don’t you think?

Yep, last week, finally sharing the news, was amazing. And the sheer amount of support and goodwill sent our way? No other word than wow will sum it up. But, alas, it’s not all glamour and glitz, this publishing business :P There was actual work involved last week. I’m fairly sure I generated more email and logged more phone time in that one week than I had in the entire month previous. Not to mention all the time spent visiting blogs, forums and Twitter answering questions and sending out thank yous. Maybe it’s most amazing that I didn’t develop carpal tunnel last week.

In addition to all that, I’ve been doing paperwork. And reading policies and procedures. I know, I know, you’re all jealous. But here, let me show you the packet of information I received this week compliments of human resources.  I swear to you, it’s four inches thick!

And even with all the excitement of a new job, there’s still the other side, the learning curve. The other members of the Carina Press team have all been with Harlequin for years (some of them 20+ years), they all work in the Toronto office together (I’m working from home, which is such a bonus!), just feet from each other, and other than Malle, I’ve only met them once. So they all have established roles, understand the ropes and are well familiar with both Harlequin and each other. I’m the new kid on the block, which is always both exciting and fraught with nerves and no small amount of trepidation. Just learning the new email system is hard, let alone the aforementioned policies and procedures! And we won’t talk about trying to get my Mac to play nice with the Harlequin system!

So last week and these upcoming weeks are for learning about my role in Carina Press, the duties I’ll have and how I fit into the team. They’ll also be for reading submissions (holy cow, the submissions!), contracting books, gathering an editorial staff, setting up a style guide, assembling an author welcome packet and making lists of my lists of things to do, accomplish and put together. Even with a company that’s going to be utilizing some existing backend workflow, there’s still a lot to be done, more little details than we ever realize that need to be covered, and always more questions and ideas popping up. It’s an exciting and busy time, and I wouldn’t choose to be anywhere else!

29 thoughts on “Week One…Learning the Ropes”

  1. Ha! Looks just like the pile of paperwork I waded through when I was hired by HP. Congrats again and I don’t know how you kept the secret without bursting.

  2. Amy Ruttan says:

    You were in Toronto? Aww too bad you had to keep it secret our a bunch of us would’ve shown you around! Next time! ;)

  3. Kwana says:

    It sounds wonderful, exciting and BUSY! I now you’ll be great. Enjoy all that paperwork.

  4. Angela James says:

    Amy, you’ll probably get your chance. I’ll be in Toronto about once a month for the foreseeable future. Next trip, beginning of December!

  5. Angela James says:

    @Charli that’s not even all of it. There was an earlier batch!

    Thanks, Kwana :P

  6. You must be pooped! Almost feels bad to send you more work – almost but not quite. Hope you like my novel.

    Congratulations on your awesome new job.

    Rebecca :)

  7. bowerbird says:

    > I deserve some sort of metal
    > for holding out against
    > that kind of pressure,
    > don’t you think?

    depends on what type of metal
    you’re thinking of. bronze? gold?

    so, they hired you to be an _editor?_


  8. bowerbird says:

    oh yeah, congratulations… ;+)


  9. Angela James says:

    Thanks, Rebecca!

    Ha @ the typo. Oh well. Hey, I was thinking of gold with diamonds. Good thing I never claimed to be perfect, just nearly ;)

  10. I know you are excited and it had to really tough to keep the secret. I congraulate you on a job well done. Enjoy the time and make it memorable!
    You will have more work – I will be submitting very soon!

  11. Tracy Sharp says:

    Congrats to the entire Carina team! This is so exciting! Woohoo! Angela, I hope you were able to get a cup of Tim Horton’s coffee! I’m a Canadian living in upstate NY and I miss my Timmy’s! Though a friend of mine just brought me a giant can of it ;)

  12. Ann Charles says:

    After the announcement came out and swept across the Internet far and wide, I had this visual image of your server and computer swelling up like the ‘blueberry’ girl on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory as the submissions poured in. You guys must be positively buried. Good luck! This is very exciting!

    Congratulations to you,
    Ann Charles

  13. Cecilia Tan says:

    Congratulations on the new venture! Very exciting!

  14. Nancy Naigle says:

    Best wishes … I know you will shine.

  15. Jess says:

    Congrats Angela :)

    Ive read all the info and cant see a launch date, when can we start buying more ebook goodness :)

  16. Ursula Bauer says:

    Keeping a secret for planned release is hard, but when you get to set the info free, it’s like making that fashionably late fantastic entrance to the social event of the season: EVERYONE talks about it and NO ONE forgets it. The buzz is (from what I hear on my small grapevine) – expect even more submissions and even more work! It’s a great way to go into a new year! What’s really interesting is how many genres Carina is open to beyond romance.

  17. I know those of us who submitted the first week didn’t get an auto-response, but has anyone gotten one for work submitted this week? Just curious as I’ve submitted two manuscripts and a follow-up email and haven’t heard a word. Thanks to anyone who can help.

  18. Congratulations, Angela. I can’t imagine how you kept such a secret!! Especially from Twitter!! LOL I look forwarding to seeing the first releases in the spring.

  19. Delle Jacobs says:

    Wow, no wonder you were so quiet! I’m so excited for you, Angie! It looks like a perfect match to me, and I’ll be looking forward to watching the development of Carina Press.

  20. Abiola says:

    How absolutely exciting. Congrats!

  21. Ann Victor says:

    On his blog (http://www.ereads.com/richard_curtis/) Richard Curtis has commented on the Harlequin Horizons venture and the RWA response to it (see his post dated 18/11/2009). Perhaps I am mistaken, but he appears to lump CARINA PRESS/HARLEQUIN HORIZONS as the same entity – a self-publishing, or vanity, press as well as a digital press.

    Please could you clarify the whether CARINA PRESS is linked to Harlequin Horizons or if it is a completely separate entity.

    Ann Victor
    South Africa

  22. Angela James says:

    @Donna, the auto responder was working two days after we opened, so please email submissions@www.carinapress.com with the title and genre of your work and I’ll look to see if they arrived. If you don’t hear from me today or get an autoresponse to that email, then post here again please, and let me know.

    @Ann Victor, thank you, I’ve posted on Richard’s blog and asked him to correct that. Carina is not a self-publishing enterprise. We differ only from the traditional business model in two main ways: we are digital-first and instead of advances, offer higher royalties. I appreciate you pointing his post out to me.

  23. Dear Angela – thank you for the advice. I did get confirmations on both my submissions using that email which leads me to believe the one for previously published authors may not be working as well. Thanks again for your prompt response and hope everyone at Carina has a great day!

  24. Congrats, Angela! I can only imagine how overwhelming it can be at times but you’ll do great. Carina hooked a great one when you joined their team. And like I said to another editor and friend just the other day, “Editors are human too. They do make mistakes.” :)

    Wishing you a long and successful career with Carina!

  25. Lorna Tedder says:

    This is great news! I love that Harlequin is stepping into the future and changing with the publishing industry rather than holding onto only one business model. And as someone who colors outside the lines, I’m thrilled that CP is so open to different kinds of books. You’ll be hearing from me. I’m published in a lot of ways and I believe author diversification is a good thing, too. :)

  26. Ginisue says:

    What a huge job you have! Congratulations and I hope you have plenty of aspirin on hand to handle the whole thing. If not, I suggest massages. Lots and lots of massages. As a matter of fact, get on on site!


  27. Ginisue says:

    Holy Cats! The least I can do is proofread my own remarks. And I’d planned on applying for an editing job. Yeah, well… As I tried to say in the last post, get a masseuse on site. You’ll need one to work over the shoulders after tons of time reading submission. Hopefully, mine will be one of them.


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