Let us tell you: Notes from the Carina Press #rwa12 spotlight

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Normally on Mondays I’d have a You Tell Us question, but this week we’re doing it a bit different and offering up some information! Our roving Harlequin reporter Amy Wilkins was live tweeting the different Harlequin spotlights. Unfortunately (or fortunately for you guys!) Twitter broke and she had to create a transcript instead. I’m sharing that here, keeping in mind that I spoke for a full hour and shared a lot of information! These are some of the points Amy picked out, but if you’re interested in the full spotlight, you’ll be able to purchase it from the RWA website. I’ve also put up the slideshow on SlideShare for anyone to browse.

Carina Press 2012 RWA Spotlight Presentation

If you have any questions about the spotlight, the presentation or Carina Press, please feel free to ask them in the comments here, or if you’d prefer to ask privately, please email generalinquiries@www.carinapress.com and we’ll respond via email!

The transcript:

Due to technical difficulties (we think RWA broke Twitter ;) ), we couldn’t live tweet the Carina Press Spotlight at RWA on July 26. Instead, here’s a transcript of what we would have tweeted (plus some more we probably couldn’t have said in 140 characters, too! Silver lining J )!

 Spotted at the Carina Press spotlight: Shannon Stacey, Ruth A. Casie, editors Rhonda Helms and Mallory Braus and many more!

Carina Press executive editor Angela James has a lot of announcements, but is starting with what Carina Press (CP) is about and how it came to be.

CP is a digital-first imprint of Harlequin. Our first ebooks were published 2 years ago in June.

CP was conceived because of the opportunities for romance and other genres in the digital market. Harlequin staff work on CP because they love it & the books.

There is a lot of variety in Carina Press books and the CP team!

Currently release 2-4 books per week, plus a number of special projects like the Carina Press Editor’s Choice collections, invitation-based anthologies/collections, and a new print project (more about that later!)

Select CP books are also available in audio and print.

CP has a 5-8% acceptance rate for submissions. 8% includes returning authors and agented submissions. The 5% rate reflects unsolicited submissions (aka slush).

Royalty rate is 40% of net receipts from 3rd party retailers and 50% net receipts from CarinaPress.com sales; no advance.

CP ebooks are DRM-free.

We acquire worldwide rights and all rights because Harlequin is a global company and it does use a variety of rights (keep reading for more).

Speed to market from acquisition to release is an advantage with CP and professional covers.

CP publishes a variety of content, most adult fiction genres (just no women’s fiction, inspirational, YA or nonfiction). That includes genres WITHOUT romantic elements!

With Carina Press, authors get editorial support, marketing support, assistance and feedback on marketing plans, cross promotion on Harlequin properties and newsletters, and more. Also have meetings and workshops online and by phone with authors 3-4 times a year where we can share news and authors can ask questions.

As Harlequin authors, CP writers get online author training webinars and videos as well as meet one-on-one with digital team at Harlequin’s Digital Day at RWA on topics like social media training, website reviews, etc. Also webinars on developing author skills like self-editing.

About 30 people work on Carina Press either freelance or as part of Harlequin. Includes 14-16 freelance editors and very low turnover rate.

CP has refined strategy since first books went on sale. For example, narrowed genres CP publishes and reduced number of titles on sale each week from 4-6 to 2-3 so able to focus more attention on each book until CP could grow. We’re now ready to increase to 4 new releases a month so send in those submissions!

CP accepts all heat levels from erotic to sweet romances, plus books without any romantic elements (e.g. mystery, sci fi, fantasy). 15,000 words and up. Will also look at previously published material but particularly looking for a package of backlist titles.

CP’s top genres are: 1) Contemporary Romance 2) Paranormal romance 3) Romantic Suspense 4) Erotic Romance

Top genres in print: 1) Contemporary Romance 2) Romantic Suspense 3) Mystery à different because of Harlequin’s Direct to Consumer subscriptions, especially Mystery.

CP has 265 contracted authors, including 30% debut authors. CP is very interested in debut authors because we love their enthusiasm and we want to build their careers.

Key message from Angela: no matter who you publish with, be ready to build your career with a publisher with multiple books. It’s a lot easier to build an author with more than 1 book.

Over 2/3 of authors have multiple books contracts with CP or return for more than 1 contract.

CP books have hit the USA Today and New York Times bestseller lists as well as individual retailers’ bestseller lists (e.g. Amazon and Barnes & Noble). CP/Harlequin team works with retailers for promotions.

CP helps build authors with consistent cover design for author branding. Even debut authors with 1 book get individual and group promotions (e.g. targeted ads on blogs and sites for individual authors or specific genre; 99 cent pricing promos this summer).

Now have CP books published in the UK, Italy, Germany, through Harlequin’s international offices. 70% of CP titles are sold in audio from Audible.com. Audible currently picks up about 90% of new releases each month. Other new uses for content include backlist ebook bundles (e.g. Christine d’Abo Long Shots Books 1-3 bundle of first 3 novellas) and new print opportunities.

The Future of Carina Press:

–          More targeting of specific genres. E.g. getting great attention on fantasy and fantasy romance. Will have 2 weeks of fantasy in February 2013.

–          More special projects like themed collections and continuities.

–          Scheduling more connected editorial from individual authors strategically. CP may hold back releasing the first book in a series so can release a book every 6 months or so for a bigger marketing push and suit the authors’ schedule. CP currently has 20-25 series on the go.

–          Updated submissions guidelines coming soon!

–          Increasing CP marketing support, such as more digital sampling, and even more use of print and foreign rights. Print on Demand is coming (no start date yet) and Harlequin is printing a trade-format anthology of erotic romance novellas by Delphine Dryden, Christine d’Abo and Jodie Griffin in November called The Theory of Attraction. It will be the first print book sold under the Carina Press imprint!

Authors can expect honesty, commitment and insight into the publishing process from CP.

Audience got to vote on the cover for 2 future releases: Lynda Aicher’s first book, an erotic romance called Bonds of Trust. Also voted on the cover for Susanna Frasers’s An Infamous Marriage.

Question from the audience: How do you feel about self-published authors submitting to Carina Press?

Answer from Angela: CP is happy to look at submissions from previously self-pub’d authors but do prefer to see new content (but will always look at it!).

Angela’s personal call for submissions (more here: https://www.carinapress.com/blog/2011/12/submissions-call-from-angela-james-something-i-rarely-do-anymore/ )—she’s looking for: sports-themed romance, “space westerns” in the vein of Firefly, novel-length (i.e. 70k words or longer) erotic romance, novel-length paranormal romance with a fresh twist. Also looking for new opportunities for serialization.

For info on what other Carina Press editors are looking for, check their bios on the CP Facebook page (www.Facebook.com/CarinaPress) or the Carina Press blog at CarinaPress.com (here: https://www.carinapress.com/blog/2011/10/carina-press-call-for-submissions/).

4 thoughts on “Let us tell you: Notes from the Carina Press #rwa12 spotlight”

  1. Stacy Gail says:

    Wowww, so much great information. I’m bookmarking this post for reference. Thank you for all your hard work, Carina Press!

  2. Christina says:

    If someone were to submit something to be serialized, would you want the entire story to be completed before submitting it or would it be okay to have the first installment complete with a detailed outline/synopsis of the sequential installments?

  3. Angela James says:

    Christina, for someone we haven’t worked with before, a serial novel is much like any other book–we’d want to see the full before contracting. There are a number of reasons for this, one of which is, well, we don’t know if people we haven’t worked with can actually deliver what they promise in a proposal. There are a number of other reasons, but that one is pretty important!

  4. Christina says:

    Angela, thank you for your response. I was pretty sure that was the answer and those were the reasons, I just wanted to double check. Thanks again.

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