Meet Amy…Erotic Romance Expert?

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Note: Today I have the pleasure of introducing you to a second member of the Carina Press team, Amy Wilkins. You can see from her bio that she likes Chuck. I knew I liked her for a reason.

Amy Wilkins is Assistant Manager, Digital Content & Social Media for Harlequin Enterprises. When not dabbling with Carina Press, she works on Harlequin’s eBook production, blogs, Twitter account, and more. She has a growing reputation as the office geek. Her favorite things include: Chuck (TV), Lord of the Rings (movies), books (duh) and her Sony eBook Reader (just awesome).

You can follow Amy on Twitter

Last week, Emily introduced herself and blogged what it’s like being a Carina Press reader – and I’m here to introduce myself, too! At Harlequin, my title is Assistant Manager, Digital Content and Social Media. I work on things like Harlequin’s blogs, Twitter, audiobooks, and –the biggest part–eBooks. In 2010, a new job will be helping to figure out how to make the best Carina eBooks, too…but that’s a post for another day. Like Emily – and Malle, and Angela, and Aideen, and the others you’ve already met – I’m part of the Carina Press acquisition team, reading submissions for possible acquisition.

For Harlequin I have read slush submissions for Spice Briefs and Silhouette Nocturne Bites, and I currently still read submissions for Harlequin Historical Undone. In fact, some of you submitting may even have received rejections from me before. If you have, don’t let that stop you sending your work to Carina! I have a good memory for recognizing names and if I think a story comes in that I have read before, I let someone else read it. We are committed to giving everything – including manuscripts rejected by Harlequin – a fresh chance. For Carina, I tend not to read the historical submissions since I already read so many for Undone and I like the variety we see in the Carina inbox. Luckily there are plenty of other historical fiction fans on the team to read them instead!

My other responsibilities mean I don’t read nearly as much as Emily or Angela, but for the few submissions can get to, I find myself being drawn to stories similar to what I read on a regular basis: some fantasy/paranormal, the odd historical and erotic romance.

If you had asked me a couple years ago if I would become an erotica/erotic romance “expert”, I would have thought you were crazy. But between reading Spice Brief subs and reading the new Spice Briefs each month to write the blurbs that appear on websites, I’ve ended up reading quite a few erotic stories! I knew I had crossed a point of no return when Emily called me up to ask, “Is this normal in ménages…?” and I knew the answer. I’m sure my parents would be horrified!

So what stands out to me in a good submission? Some things I like are:
– Innovative settings and set-ups.
– Snappy dialogue.
– Heroes who strike the right balance between strong but not too aggressive (especially in a sexual way).
– Historical accuracy – I’m all for artistic license, but if a “fact” is a major part of a story, I have been known to crack open my university texts to look something up.

Keep in mind that I am also just one reader – at this point, many submissions are read by at least two people, so even if something doesn’t appeal to me personally, it has another shot.

But our erotic romance inbox is looking a bit slim these days, writers. If you have a story, please send it in! I’d love to read it… :)

9 thoughts on “Meet Amy…Erotic Romance Expert?”

  1. Nice to meet you, Amy, it’s nice to be kept so well informed.

  2. Linda says:

    Hi Amy,
    Sounds like you wear a lot of hats, all of them fun! I’d love to hear more about what Carina is looking for in erotic romance and how it differs or is similar to Spice.

    -Linda

  3. Amy Wilkins says:

    Hi Donna — Nice to meet you, too!

    Hi Linda,

    I think the main difference between Spice & Carina is that for Carina, we are looking for a variety of lengths. For Spice there is only 1 release per month that’s about 100,000 words and two Spice Briefs around 15,000 words. There are plenty of stories in between that may not currently have a place at Harlequin but can at Carina. We are also not limited to the number of erotica or erotica romance stories we release per month, so the more the merrier.

    In terms of actual editorial, I don’t think there is that much difference. Carina may be a bit more open vs. Spice as we will look at almost anything (with the usual caveats — no incest, beastiality, etc.) but Spice has certainly had some unique plots and situations!

    And as with Undone, if you submitted a Spice Brief that was rejected, please send it in to Carina! :)

  4. Jane Holland says:

    Hey there Amy, and hope you’re having a great Christmas/New Year break! (Do they let you have time off for good behaviour at Carina?)

    I know just what you mean about horrified parents. I’ve written six novels for Virgin in the past, and had to admit to my dad what I was doing – he wanted to know when I was getting a ‘proper job’! – but didn’t dare show him any of the books, or admit to my pen-name, in case he saw one in the shops and keeled over with a heart-attack!

    I’m writing a speculative Undone right now. Such fun, and so quick to write – after 80,000+ word counts, under 15,000 is an exhilarating rush. But a challenge to get the pace and the story arc right for that length. Hope you get to read it!

    Good luck with Carina.

  5. Hi Amy! Yep, I had to go back and look, and sure enough, there was your name on a rejection note. Ah well, that’s life in this business! Still, I’m glad to be here at Carina (with a different work) and it’s nice to know you like things steamy!

  6. Angelina Barbin says:

    Amy-

    Like Cindy, I checked the e-mail rejection I received from Undone and yes, it’s from you. I’m resubmitting the story to Carina so you may see my name again.

    Thank you for sharing with us.

  7. Angelina Barbin says:

    OOps! I meant I’m submitting the story to Carina. (I’m such a goober.)

  8. Patrick Doris says:

    I think I submitted an erotic romance. Until I found this site I had not know that was such a category. I hope it has not already been rejected so that you could get a chance to look it over

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