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Interview with Cindy Hwang, Executive Editor with Berkley/Jove

Cindy Hwang is the executive editor of Berkley/Jove. She is pretty well known to the DA crowd because she pens the quarterly giveaways for Berkley/Jove here. She also edits Christine Feehan, Nalini Singh, and Meljean Brook to name a few. One of her authors, Karen White, writes southern women’s fiction with a romance thread. When Cindy was telling me about this author, I kept thinking that Jayne would love these books. (Jayne, I’ve asked Cindy to send you some of her titles).

Other titles coming from Berkley/Jove this fall include:

* “Serendipity” by Carly Phillips. First in a new trilogy set in a small town in upstate New York. Straight contemporary. Moved from Harlequin.

* “Highlander Christmas” by Janet Chapman. New author for Berkley, moved from Pocket. Fans of her series will find this satisfying.

* “Archangel’s Blade” by Nalini Singh. Dimitri’s story, a member of Raphael’s seven. I’ve read this one and Dimitri is still the dark, dangerous vampire who appeared in the previous Archangel stories and I thought the right woman was paired with him.

* “Heart of Steel” by Meljean Brook. Second book following the Iron Duke. There will also be audio versions of the Iron Duke and Heart of Steel in November.

* “Storm’s Heart” by Thea Harrison in July and “Serpent’s Kiss” in October. Storm’s Heart features Tiago and Tricks and Serpent’s Kiss is the story of another Wyr sentinel, Rune, and Vampyre Queen Carling.

* “Dark Predator” by Christine Feehan is long awaited story of Carpathian Zacarias De La Cruz. Intense fan speculation led Berkley to decide to keep the identity of the heroine secret. To that end, the cover blurbs and marketing materials have all been focused on the hero and no bound galleys were made. The release date is September 6th which might be killing the readers.

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Spring Titles:

* “Defiant” by Pamela Clare is the long awaited story of Conor MacKinnon. (This series was originally published by Dorchester and now it is being republished by Berkley, both the first two and then this third, previously unpublished books).

* “About That Night” by Julie James will release in the spring.

* “Whispers in the Dark” by Maya Banks will release in January. It is the 4th book in her KGI series.

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Berkley publishes 6-7 books per month in mass market. That number usually includes a reprint of an older title. They published 2 Berkley Heat per month in trade and 2-3 Berkley Sensation Trade titles.

Cindy is always looking for strong voices. No matter what the setting, she wants to be swept up in the story.

Cindy’s line is very heavy paranormal so she is looking for more historical and contemporaries and women’s fiction. First and foremost, though, is the voice. I asked the difference between women’s fiction and the sweet contemporary stories (which I am calling Adirondack chair porn). In women’s fiction, the emphasis is no longer on the romantic relationship and more heroine centric. The stories can have a romantic subplot and she responds best to those that have an optimistic ending.

They are always looking for more erotic romance authors for their Heat line. The submissions should be between 85K and 100K words and Berkley Sensation guidelines are for 90-100K.

She is buying YA but only selectively. They don’t do hardcover YA at Berkley and no middle grade stories.

Ebook sales are very individual.

I asked whether anthologies would be broken up and sold individually and whether the digital prices would decline. Penguin has been selectively doing this in their “E-specials program” which they use to promote a new front list titles. For example Virginia Kantra’s novella “Midsummer Night’s Magic” was released in May as an individual e-book to help promote her new title, “Forgotten Sea.”

I also expressed some frustration that the Heat titles never reduced in priced particularly because many Berkley Heat titles never get republished in mass market.

I asked whether Penguin would experiment with pricing of the digital books like Random House, Hachette, HarperCollins, and Sourcebooks and was told “Penguin is considering various options with regard to digital pricing.”

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

6 Comments

  1. library addict
    Jul 02, 2011 @ 14:05:09

    I really wish they would do away with Agency pricing. Penguin/Berkley/Jove publishes so many of my favorite authors.

    The Carpathian books are the one series of Feehan’s I do not read. But keeping the heroine a secret (or hero) is never a good marketing ploy IMO.

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  2. Ridley
    Jul 02, 2011 @ 14:48:50

    * “Defiant” by Pamela Clare is the long awaited story of Conor MacKinnon.

    This is one book I will break my agency embargo for. I can’t freaking wait.

    Everything else – TOO DAMN EXPENSIVE! I really want to try Kaki Warner, but $13 for a new author? Go to hell.

    ReplyReply

  3. Lisa J
    Jul 02, 2011 @ 17:13:47

    Agency pricing is keeping me from trying Thea Harrison. Like library addict, Berkley/Penguin/Jove publishes some of my favorite series. Unforunately I have been giving them up because of the prices.

    ReplyReply

  4. Jan Springer
    Jul 02, 2011 @ 20:24:57

    This girl is eagerly awaiting the next KGI book from Maya Banks! Lovin’ that series and just started the third book in it. And can’t wait for the next Pamela Clare story. Other upcoming books sound delicious! :-)

    Huggers!
    jan, always on the lookout for a great read. :-)

    ReplyReply

  5. lisabookworm
    Jul 02, 2011 @ 22:02:16

    I wish Penguin would check out lostbooksales.com. Then they’d see how many sales they’re losing from me. I’ve passed on dozens and dozens of Penguin (and other Agency) books that I would have bought if their prices were lower.

    Thea Harrison, Julie James, and Maya Banks are just three of the authors that I had on my list to buy, but now borrow from the library or buy used because of Agency prices.

    ReplyReply

  6. Shannon Stacey
    Jul 06, 2011 @ 13:00:59

    “Defiant” by Pamela Clare is the long awaited story of Conor MacKinnon. (This series was originally published by Dorchester and now it is being republished by Berkley, both the first two and then this third, previously unpublished books).

    I somehow missed this series the first time around and, when I finally went looking, I couldn’t find digital editions. While I have to wait until the end of the year, I’m glad the first two are being re-released because I assume they’ll have Kindle editions.

    ReplyReply

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