You tell us: What innovation are you looking for from a publisher?


Last week, oh last week, I was in Toronto. And I was in meetings. Hours and hours of meetings, until I thought my brain might spontaneously shut down and then fragment into millions of little pieces from overuse. No one should sit through that many meetings in one week, especially not meetings that require a lot of planning and creative thinking. But I’m happy to say that as we settle into the Harlequin reorganization, and have a team even more focused on Carina Press, our planning was amazing. We have plans and ideas and even still, after nearly 3 years of building, a heck of a lot of enthusiasm. Oh, and did I mention a new editorial assistant for me? Oh yes, the most amazing thing ever, having an assistant. She’s not been there quite long enough for me to see a dramatic effect on my to-do list, since training someone takes 2x longer than doing it yourself, up until the moment you finally realize you can let it go because they’ve got it! But I expect that in the next few weeks, I’ll notice it quite significantly and I’ll be able to focus even more on special projects, rather than admin tasks!

All that said, one of the things we talk about is what we can do to improve as a publisher, for the reader. So during the course of our meetings, someone looks at me and says “hey, why don’t you ask on our blog what readers want from us?” So I am. Perhaps this is the ultimate You Tell Us post, where you get an opportunity to really talk back and tell us what you want from Carina Press, from a publisher in general, from books. What do you wish we’d add to our business, how would you like us to be different, more innovative? Should we do more of something or less of something? Want different access to books, in a different way? Or a different genre? Or no more of a genre?

You tell us, readers, what do YOU want?

13 thoughts on “You tell us: What innovation are you looking for from a publisher?”

  1. Lisa Marie says:

    Well, I’m in the 41 percent of college-educated, Gen-X women over 40 who do not have children. That’s a pretty big demographic, right? So, I would love to see more romance novels along the lines of Jennifer Cruisie’s “Bet Me” or “Anyone But You” — novels where the heroines don’t aspire to be moms. I remember when the Cruisie novels first came out; for the first time, I felt as though I could truly connect with the characters. But they’re in such short supply — I generally turn to paranormal romance — or romantic suspense or fantasy with romantic aspects — to get my fix. But I’d love to see this in more contemporary single titles.

  2. Connie says:

    I would love to see more paranormal romance. I love the vamps and shapeshifters (especially werewolves). Also in the mailings, I would like to see books based on my previous purchases or somehow by genre / category (maybe through profile pages?).

  3. MaryK says:

    From publishers in general (but I am thinking of the HQN Treasury reprints), if a book is available for pre-order, I want to be able to read a sample. Surely at some point before the sale date the text is finalized. Why do I have to wait ’til it’s actually on sale to read an excerpt? There have been times I would’ve pre-ordered if I could’ve sampled the book.

    [And now I’m realizing it may have to do with whether or not the text has been uploaded yet. I’m usually sample via Kindle sample.]

  4. Suzanne says:

    There are a few things I would like to see. First, stories with curvaceous women. Too often plus size women are portrayed as dumpy, shy, loners with self-esteem issues. I only know a handful of authors who write stories featuring these women as confident, successful, beautiful people. Second I would like an author spotlight that allows a reader to purchase previously released books as a discounted bundle. Finally, I love scoff romances, I hope to see more of those books.

  5. Sharyn says:

    I’d love to see more mysteries of all kinds – cozies, police procedurals, historical mysteries, steampunk mysteries, etc. And some magical realism in the vein of Alice Hoffman or Lily Prior would be great!

  6. Jacinta says:

    More romantic comedy, give me sarcasm and a witty heroine :)

  7. (Putting on reader hat)

    – Novel-length, plotty, psychologically complicated menage
    – A spotlight on multicultural/interracial romances across all genres

  8. Gigi says:

    I second Mary K’s desire for excerpts for books on pre-order.

    My personal request would be a better website. The site is much too busy, and I can hardly figure out how to navigate to the books, especially since they’re all stuck with a bunch of categories that ultimately mean nothing to me. For example, when I’m looking for Contemporary Romance and click on that link, all contemporary romances pop up, including Menage, Erotic, M/M…when I’m just looking for more authors like Shannon Stacey. I get that many books fall beneath many umbrellas, and I don’t mind tags, but multiple categories are cumbersome.

    I don’t have any requests for certain types of books, since that’s up to whatever authors submit, but I would like to see Carina create more continuity series’ like “Wrong Bed” or characters who inhabit the same neighborhood or even a country estate (and the series placed on the front page, as opposed to having to stumble on miniseries titles to find each book).

  9. Gigi says:

    Oh yeah, and better “If you like this…” recommendations at the bottom of the page. I’m looking at Defying Convention by Abby Niles and of the four books recommended to me, three are paranormal romances when Defying Convention is contemporary romance…

  10. Laurie says:

    I’d love to see some romances with older heros a la LONGMIRE which is airing on History Television right now, – not exactly seniors but maybe in the late 40’s/late ’50’s category. Also, some police procedural/mysteries in a series with the same protagonist a la Jack Reacher, or Myron Bolitar, Rizzoli & Isles, etc. And to even it out, some heroines in the same age category – still sexy, still achieving, and takin’ names.

  11. Tricia says:

    *reader hat*

    I’m ready to read about heroes, heroines, and villains of different ethnic groups. I’m primarily a paranormal/urban fantasy reader, and I’ve found most characters are caucasian (even when we’re talking about vampires, shifters, etc.).

    Please give me African-Americans, Hispanics, Asians, in lead roles. And not every black person is from New Orleans. Mix these amazing worlds up. What I don’t want is to be shoved, as a reader, into a specifc imprint that has interracial romances. I want my demons, fairies, whatever, to share a wider ethnic make up.

  12. Fae says:

    I’m late on this post, but as a reader I wish the “If you liked this book…” actually offered me more books like the one I’m looking at. For example, I’ll be looking at the page of a historical M/M novel and I’m recommended 4 het books in various genres none of which are historical. It doesn’t seem to be interested in me actually finding more books like the one I’m looking at and instead just tosses random choices at me.

  13. Susan says:

    I agree with Lisa Marie. I’m also older with no children. I’d also love to read romances that don’t necessarily end in the traditional marriage/baby/dog/backyard epilogue. These days I actually avoid this type of book. I just don’t relate.

    And more ethnicity in romance! I’d love that as well.

    And keep the m/m coming. Love it.

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