Once upon a time in e-publishing, there were the indies. Well, they still exist, and they rock. These people came in and did it right. They turn on a dime, adapting to the freshest voices and subgenres of work available, work that scares the marketing folks in NY to death and back. They offered no advances but much higher royalty rates than the conglomerates did. They created the markets, and the structure rose around it...distribution channels, resellers, buzz, sales, acceptance... Once upon a time...an industry that has passed 15 years, in comparison to print publishing, which has been around since Gutenberg.
The NY conglomerates made several stabs into the market. The first was abysmal. The second looked promising. They even used indie-e as their test market and adopted their versions of what they thought was working in indie, but that's not what I'm talking about today. It's the new revolution out of NY that I'm talking about.
So what is this new revolution? A true clone of the indie-es being carried out by a NY conglomerate publisher. AT LAST! I've been saying they need to do this for years.
What's the deal with Harlequin's Carina Press? It's fixing everything NY conglomerates have done wrong in the past. They've eliminated DRM, which a lot of readers will avoid like the plague. They've eliminated advances, which indie-e authors have long said are not necessary with a higher royalty rate and good distribution (both of which Carina claims). According to some sources, Carina will be offering 30% of net, which is the lower end of the indie-e sliding scale of royalties.
They're branching out into almost all manner of commercial fiction and not limiting themselves to one subset of romance, sensual romance, or erotic romance. They'll be taking everything from straight-genre horror and science fiction through romance of all heat levels and types to erotica for women. The line seems to be drawn at non-fiction, poetry, and YA. Keeping YA and erotic work separate is a good idea, so I'm not complaining, though they may later branch out into a sister line that handles YA, as many indie-es have branched out to include disparate genres in sister lines.
In addition, they've signed on Angela James. She's one of the biggest names in indie-e erotic romance editing. She was with Ellora's Cave, then with Samhain. Both, as you probably know, are wildly successful. the woman knows her stuff, and with Angela on board, chances are, she'll be offering her input into NOT messing with what works in indie-e (another mistake the NY conglomerates often make). I'm hoping she'll be signing on the fresh voices and subgenres, going as edgy as indie-e allows, and turning on a dime. It seems Harlequin wishes to push those limits with Carina, and as such, I'm hopeful that is the literal truth this time and not the lip service we've seen on the subject before.
It's new territory for the NY conglomerates. It probably scares the marketing guys to death, but it is a huge step forward for the industry that has been a long time coming. It's the first big shot in the arm the industry has had in a while, and it comes at a time when the market is exploding with new choices in handheld reading devices.
Kudos to Harlequin on this bold initiative, and kudos to Angela James for being part of it!
New updates from Carina press's blog (11/12).
Their lower limit is 15K, and they will take long books. They will also take series.
They are looking closely at authors who engage in digital/online marketing. So, the more you have going, the better.
There's no boilerplate contract to look at, at this time. Apparently, the legal eagles are still working with it, and they expect negotiations. Looks like they will be asking for print rights, though there are no plans (CURRENTLY, they stress) for print.
They are looking at cover artists. Send a resume and link to work to pr(at)carinapress.com
The 30% royalty rate on site sales will be regardless of any promotions they run...good news. I'm waiting to hear about third party sales. I would assume net on those, but I'll see how they word the response before saying that's a given.
They are hiring copy editors soon. There is a test for editors. If you're interested in taking the test, send a letter of interest that includes your experience to angela_james(at)carinapress.com
This is still looking really good.