Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

RWA 2009 Nationals Summary

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This is my third RWA National event.   The first year, I was all agog. Last year, I took in more events. This year, I actually did some Dear Author business.   To the business first, then.

I met with Bob and Kana from BooksonBoard.    I’m not sure what the discount will be, but starting next month (August), BooksonBoard will provide a special discount for the monthly recommended reads for Dear Author for those readers who purchase digital books.

Publisher News

Harlequin shared digital publishing news with us. They are actively seeking input from readers on how to make their digital program better.   I got the impression that no idea is left unconsidered so if you have any idea at all, no matter how crazy, post it in the comments so that Harlequin can get an idea of what a reader wants. Wendy, Super Librarian, and I told them we wanted more backlist titles digitized.   Apparently 50% of Harlequin’s sales in the digital format is backlist titles. I think digital publishing has really been a boon to series authors.

Harlequin has a new YA line coming out and I have an entire inteview about that to post next week (along with giveaways of the Rachel Vincent and Gena Showalter books).

Harlequin has been giving away paper goods made out of their vintage covers. I encouraged (begged) Harlequin to sell these.   I told them I would blog about this idea and try to gauge what kind of interest there would be for these paper good novelty items. I think that they should be selling t-shirts, bags, stationary, personal cards, postcards, notepads with the vintage covers on them.   What do you think?

Shauna Summers of Ballantine/Bantam sat down with me to share some news about upcoming books. Ballantine/Bantam want to do a regular feature (ala Berkley/Ace/Roc) to tell the readers about new books and give away books that are currently on sale. I thought the DA readership would enjoy that!   Many of the books coming from Ballantine/Bantam have a fantasy or paranormal overtone:

  • Jennifer Lyon had a book out in February and has two more being released.   Her books feature witch hunter heroes and witch heroines.
  • Jill Sorenson has an upcoming romantic suspense to look for, Set the Dark on Fire.
  • Jenna Black is writing about demons.
  • Dianne Emley has her 4th book in the Nan Vining, police detective series, coming out in 2010.
  • Sharon Page is scheduled for at least one more book release.
  • Lucy Snyder is an upcoming urban fantasy release.
  • Stacia Kane is one that Random House is really excited about. The title of her first release will be Unholy Ghosts. Expect to see a 6 month release gap between books. The first is scheduled for the fall.
  • Karen Marie Moning continues to write her “fever” series.   Her last hardcover release hit No. 3 on the NYT bestseller list.
  • Stephanie Tyler, one half of the Sydney Croft writing team, is releasing a 3 book back to back to back release in the fall featuring Navy Seals who are adopted brothers.
  • Bella Andre is moving from Pocket to Ballantine/Bantam.   Apparently Pocket is torpedoing any erotica content.
  • Suzanne Brockmann just inked a new deal with RandomHouse. She has 2 paperback original standalones coming out as well as more Troubleshooters.
  • Shana Abé has one more release in the drakon series called Timeweaver. It is scheduled for a late spring 2010 release.

Sourcebooks, one of the largest midsized independent print publishers, gave me a first chapter of Laura Kinsale’s latest release, Lessons in French.   It will be Kinsale’s first book in five long years.   There was a lot of talk at the conference about Kinsale’s influence on writing careers.

Sourcebooks told me that they really care about their authors and view the publishing relationship as a partnership.   Their royalty rates are standard and start out at 6% for mass market, 7.5% for trade, and 15% of retail for digital rights.

They are going to be experimenting in digital format and despite withholding the digital copy of a new release, Bran Hambric: The Farfield Curse, they decided to release the ebook version of Mr. Darcy, Vampyre, simultaneously with the print release.   I told Sourcebooks I would give away digital copies of this book to celebrate this decision.

In very good news, Sourcebooks will be releasing their digital books, regardless of release date, in DRM free format through Scribd and Smashwords.

Quartet Press’s founders were out in full force at RWA.   I met Kat Meyer and Kassia Kroszer.   They are definitely publishing romance books (sexy ones and sweet ones) and have great plans for marketing. I heard a rumor that the option clause is being revisited. I’m very excited to see what will come out of Quartet Press, both from the technological side and the content side.

Author Moves

It seems that the big news of the conference is always authors switching publishers.   This year is no different.   Liz Carlyle is leaving Pocket and the editor that found her, Lauren McKenna.   I’m not sure where she was going although the rumor is Avon.   It has been confirmed that Carlyle will be published with Avon in the future.   Pocket is also losing Roxanne St. Claire, who has published most of her single title books with Pocket. She’s taking her new romantic suspense books to Amy Pierpont at Grand Central Publishing. Avon is losing long time author, Theresa Medeiros, to Pocket.

The Next Big Thing

Everyone seems in love with video. There were film crews everywhere from Penguin videoing signings and spotlights to Romantic Times and Borders taping segments with authors. I got invited to interview an author for Romantic Times. You’ll be able to view me and debut author, Courtney Milan, in January 2010. I like to call that interview piece the Asian Invasion.   (Courtney is part Asian).

RWA Conference

The conference seminars seemed very stale and I heard a number of complaints that the workshops were too rudimentary in terms of craft.   The keynote speakers were very good, very inspirational, and maybe that is enough.

I attended the digital intiatives seminar that was hastily put together after the RWAChange brouhaha.   Malle Vallik of Harlequin and Rachel Chou of Avon presented.   It was sparsely attended even though it is an important topic.

Despite RWA not wanting to acknowledge digital impact, Sony was a sponsor of the seminar and RWA gave away Sony Readers to random volunteers. Ironic, no?   Amazon reps where at the seminar pitching the greatness of Kindle to authors and publishers alike.

Our Rogue Digital Seminar was standing room only. We had over 80 people attend and rumors were that over 40 were turned away.   Samhain had a social in our suite and over 200 people came to that.   Digital publishing is here and RWA really, really needs to start paying attention.

Social News

I had the great opportunity to meet Janine and Dr. Sarah for the first time. Janine is gracious and articulate and everything you would expect from someone who writes such beautiful reviews. Dr. Sarah is intimidatingly smart. Dear Author is so lucky to have contributors like these two.

I roomed with Sarah from SmartBitches, Angela James, Heather Osborn and her editorial assistant, Melissa, Candy, and Jill Myles (upcoming January 2010 debut author). I couldn’t have asked for better roommates.   I also can’t express how grateful I am for the friendship of Sarah and Angie who are possibly two of the most amazing businesswomen I know.

I can’t enumerate the great people that I met because there were so many of them.   Rose from Publishers’ Weekly was a hoot. Susanna Kearsley told us about RNA Award which made me envious.   Don Linn, publisher of Tauton Press, took Sarah and Angie and I out for lunch. (I’m a big Tauton fan and an even bigger Don Linn fan).

I got to meet up for a short while with the blogging crew, Katiebabs, Beverly, Kristie J, Lisa Bea, Rosie, and many others.

There was much hilarity and bonding which is what makes Nationals an event worthwhile.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and 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


  1. Maggie Robinson/Margaret Rowe
    Jul 19, 2009 @ 16:21:51

    Not quite as good as being there, but close! Thanks for the wrap-up, blogs and all your tweets. It looked like an amazing time.

  2. TerryS
    Jul 19, 2009 @ 17:06:46

    Harlequin needs to expand the digital formats available from the eHarlequin store to more than just the three current formats they currently offer.

  3. Edie
    Jul 19, 2009 @ 17:07:24

    So jealous.. sigh

    But I want vintage cover paraphernalia!
    And Harlequin needs to get its international ebook arms up properly.

  4. Robin
    Jul 19, 2009 @ 17:41:28

    1. Would love vintage Harlequin gear and think it would sell beyond Romance readers b/c of campy vintage appeal.

    2. re. Harlequin digital: definitely want back lists digitized, as well as older OOP books (Charlotte Lamb’s, for example). Also, pleasepleaseplease consider a Mac-friendly format I can actually read on BOTH my iphone and laptop/Sony reader. Plus Adobe DRM sucks. Thank you.

    3. Am jealous you got to meet Janine and Sarah Frantz in person.

    4. Am worried about more virgins with Carlyle’s move to Avon, but am kind of excited to see how — if at all — Medeiros’s move to Pocket impacts her books. IMO Lisa Kleypas wrote the book of her career for SMP (Smooth Talking Stranger).

  5. Jinni
    Jul 19, 2009 @ 17:45:27

    The seminars felt stale to me too, last year. And the year-to-year change is not that great. I opted to add an extra week to my real vacation instead of going to RWA this year. I feel for (unpublished) authors there’s not much to do other than pitch (and that’s one expensive pitch), and socialize/network. It’s an expensive social event. Thanks for your recap. I don’t regret my decision.

  6. Carrie Lofty
    Jul 19, 2009 @ 18:19:37

    For me, the only dim moment at this conference was our fire drill interruption. I wanted to hear more of what you and Sarah had to say, and I think everyone who attended did too. Unfortunate and disappointing. But it was very good to see you again!

  7. Cathy
    Jul 19, 2009 @ 18:25:46

    I don’t read a lot of Harlequin, but one thing I would like to see from publishers is a discount for buying multiple titles. Many pubs have bundles for a discount, and it would be nice to spread that to something like buy any 5 titles (all at once, of course), get 20% off. This would be great for picking up an author’s backlist, or trying a new imprint.

    I also had a crazy idea for a paper/e-book trade in – some kind of system where I could send a paper book (in good condition) back to the publisher, and get the e-version instead. Then I’d have the e-book and wouldn’t have to shell out another $7, and the pub could sell a used copy and make a little extra profit without having to print another copy. It would probably benefit the reader a lot more than the publisher, though.

  8. Moth
    Jul 19, 2009 @ 18:39:34

    I think that they should be selling t-shirts, bags, stationary, personal cards, postcards, notebads with the vintage covers on them. What do you think?

    Oh, I love that idea! The post cards would be great. T-shirts too. I would buy stuff like that.

  9. Shiloh Walker
    Jul 19, 2009 @ 19:04:43

    My brain is too tired still to even think about doing much of a rundown.

    I did get to meet a lot of people I know online, including Janine and katiebabs. Janine is an absolute sweetheart and katiebabs bought me a drink.

  10. RfP
    Jul 19, 2009 @ 19:06:53


    1. Would love vintage Harlequin gear and think it would sell beyond Romance readers b/c of campy vintage appeal.

    I’ve seen a craft stall (and associated Etsy shop) selling purses and other small items made from book covers, including Harlequins.

    Sounds reasonable. In any industry conference-goers have to find their ideal frequency of attendance; every second year is a common pattern for many kinds of events.

  11. Anthea Lawson
    Jul 19, 2009 @ 19:23:05

    Thanks for the recap! Ooh, Harlequin swag seems like it would definitely have a market. They used vintage art on the conference bags, and I got stopped numerous times on the street by people asking where I had gotten that fabulous bag~

    As far as workshops feeling ‘stale,’ it really depends. I think you have to make good choices, and that not everyone is going to be a dynamic presenter or say things that resonate with you. There were several ‘how to write high concept’ workshops that I felt were very very good. Other standouts were Steve Axelrod and Julie Ann Long’s ‘The Tao of Publishing’ presentation, Pam Rosenthal and Janet Mullany (ranting on the pebbled nub!) on writing hot historicals, Donald Maass’s 2-hour master class, Susan Elizabeth Phillips and Jayne Anne Krentz dishing on the industry, Harlequin editors reading and dissecting synopses, the online promotion workshop that you were a part of, Jane… the list goes on. PRO authors had Madeline Hunter give an inspiring talk about being ‘almost there,’ PAN authors heard lead Borders buyer Sue Grimshaw talk about trends and buys…

    Obviously, I got a lot out of the conference this year, and had a terrific time meeting online friends in person. Now, time to catch up on some sleep~

  12. Jane
    Jul 19, 2009 @ 19:25:42

    @Anthea Lawson: I thought Axelrod’s presentation was a bit hilarious given that his own author, Julia Quinn, was on a panel about digital promotion and talking all about her facebook ads and how she was leveraging the internet to promote her work.

  13. Anthea Lawson
    Jul 19, 2009 @ 19:39:53

    Well, you could argue that JQ already HAS the cumulative advantage effect going for her, so the concept may not exactly apply to her… (or not~)

  14. library addict
    Jul 19, 2009 @ 19:46:33

    Thanks for the wrap up and all the updates during RWA.

    I have no new ideas re: Harlequin and ebooks, but I like the idea of a discount when buying multiple books from an author's backlist. I also like the idea you had a while back, where we pay a monthly subscription fee but can pick and choose the various books we want from the multiple lines at Harlequin and Silhouette. And get rid of DRM :P

    As a reader who has not, and in all honestly probably will never make the jump to 100% ebooks, I find all the debate about digital books interesting to read. Hopefully the new regime at RWA will be more inclusive. I agree authors need to be educated and know their options. As a book consumer, I am still waiting to see who wins the format war. But if I ever do buy a dedicated eReader, I know I don't want the Kindle. I want to “own” my books and the idea that Amazon can deny my access to my “rented” titles is very off-putting.

  15. Tammy
    Jul 19, 2009 @ 20:21:00

    For me, the only dim moment at this conference was our fire drill interruption.

    It’s all Angela Knight’s fault. She, Roberta Brown, Eden Bradley et al were doing their “Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Erotica but Were Afraid to Ask” session during this timeslot. ;-)

  16. GrowlyCub
    Jul 19, 2009 @ 20:55:20

    My number one concern is that Harlequin lose the DRM. Ever since the newest Adobe DE came out I’ve refused to read anything in PDF. That program is hideous, both in the design and especially in the coloring.

    Oh, and I’d really appreciate it if they stopped charging insane amounts per word for their short stories.

    And, their website needs a total overhaul. I hate going there, because it’s a pain in the behind to search and I can never find the things I’m looking for.

  17. Miki S
    Jul 19, 2009 @ 21:20:49

    I was thinking the same as GrowlyCub about Harlequin’s website. I’ll admit that I generally buy my HQN books from Fictionwise, but occasionally I’ll go to their website and…ick. I can never find what I’m looking for.

    It amazes me that you say that 50% of the backlist is already digital… then why am I not shown those releases immediately, too, instead of just the brand-new releases for the month. And when I go to the ebooks page, open a line, choose “view all”, and then click on “sort by Author”, rather than “sort by Published Date” – well, it doesn’t…sort, that is. I can’t figure out what sort it uses, because it’s no longer by date, but it’s not first or last name…

    So I just go back to Fictionwise and hope I’ll recognize those titles that I’ve been looking to replace in e-format.

  18. Chicklet
    Jul 19, 2009 @ 21:26:59

    1. I would buy boatloads of Harlequin swag using their vintage covers.

    2. I, too, would love to see some sort of bundling discount available at the Harlequin website, especially for backlist titles, since that’s sometimes the only feasible way to obtain a particular book.

  19. liz m
    Jul 19, 2009 @ 23:50:26

    1) swag, o-h ell yea. I would tote those bags and use a Sony ereader cover

    2) Vintage books selected by an editor. Subscriptions offered. Like the Walt Disney Treasures box sets – things for the collector and the hardcore fan, brushed off, placed in context and offered for our consumption. HTF stuff that could go cult classic

    3) Subscriptions with choice. Or bulk reader discounts – after X number of purchases for the year get X % off and so on.

    RE: JQ – people should listen to her like woah. I met her a few times when she was starting out, she would drive around a tri state area signing her books, facing them out, putting ‘autographed by author’ stickers on and generally just working the marketing like a mad woman. And it worked. Her books are great fun, I in NO WAY slag on the very lovely Miss JQ, but there are a lot of fun authors who never take off that way. She’s got a great mind for trends and markets. Impressed me every time I talked to her.

    Aaaaaannnddd a ps. I can’t agree more on the search issues. In a bookstore I can find the author, look at the pub date and prior format pub dates, and arrange accordingly. I want search on ebooks that gives me by author, by date, and without confusion.

  20. Stacia Kane
    Jul 20, 2009 @ 00:38:09

    Thanks, Jane!

    I hate to sound like I’m pushing myself here, but I’ve changed over my website and the .com address you’ve linked to is still, for whatever reason, not working. is the place to check.

    Um, if anyone wants to, I mean.

  21. Janine
    Jul 20, 2009 @ 00:44:36

    Wow, so much to process. This was my first RWA and my first time meeting so many lovely people I’ve only met online before, including Jane, Dr. Sarah, and my crit partners Sherry and Meredith.

    Jane, I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed meeting you, Dr. Sarah, and all the other smart, smart women that I met at your suite. I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity. There were too many amazing people that I met at this conference to list them all.

    Shiloh, you are so nice!

    Since it was my first RWA, the first day or two were a bit overwhelming, but by the end I was having the time of my life. One lesson I did learn — the next time I go, I am not taking a red eye flight! Arriving at RWA on one and a half hours of sleep isn’t the best idea.

    The Harlequin swag is totally nifty. I want me some note cards and post cards with vintage cover art. T-shirts would be awesome too.

    I thought the workshops were a mixed bag; some did seem rudimentary, but others were good. I liked the agent workshops I attended and Steve Axelrod’s presentation, and I thought Sherry’s workshop on chemistry was terrific though it was also interrupted by the fire alarm (anyone know what caused that?).

    One workshop that blew my socks off was Stephanie Bond’s two hour session on how to make a living writing romance. This woman has a lot on the ball and was very generous in sharing so much of her knowledge. I was so impressed with this workshop that I ordered the recordings of all the conference workshops.

    The RITAs (emceed by Anne Stuart in some hilarious get ups) were exciting, since my critique partner was in the running in two categories. I would have loved it had Sherry won, but she was totally unfazed by the fact that she didn’t, and it was a thrill even to see her among the nominees.

    Robin, I know how you feel, since I am jealous that last year Jane got to meet you. We have to make a meeting happen one of these days.

  22. Evangeline
    Jul 20, 2009 @ 01:01:05

    a) I would definitely buy items printed with vintage Harlequin images–especially purses, as I am a purse fiend. And YES! Please more backlist. I’ve been downloading old Silhouette Bombshell’s from the eHarlequin book store like crazy. I really loved that line, and as a whole, I’d rather my favorite authors make a few dollars off my digital purchase of their backlist rather than my resorting to UBSs. As for e-book content, I’d like more enhanced e-books of the kind given to one of Nicola Cornick’s recent titles. I’d also like the eHarlequin website to be easier to browse. When I click “see all titles” and see 30+ pages of back-list titles, I’m daunted from clicking through each page.

    b) I look forward to Bantam/Ballantine, but I admit to my disappointment in the lack of historical romances (sans Page)–that little rooster on the spine was my key to finding great historicals (Krahn, Johansen, Medeiros, etc)!

    c) I’m really impressed by Sourcebooks. For being an independent press, they’ve produced romances with beautiful covers and typesetting from day 1. And their vision for their business and their authors are agreeably progressive. I look forward to seeing what Quartet Press will do for the romance genre in the digital arena.

    d) I find the topic of authors’ switching houses fascinating. Looks like Avon is still carving out a niche as top pick for Regency Historicals, and Pocket is attempting to lure more historical romance authors to their roster (and funnily enough, with Medeiros’ move, they have three former Avon authors)–a move that is important to determining which houses to target.

    e) I’d rather read more print interviews with authors than see them in video. Perhaps it’s because the medium of the written word is so intimate–hence the profession–I find video interviews and segments with writers canned and as though they are selling themselves rather than their work.

    f) Didn’t attend so I wouldn’t know if they were stale but as I frequently state, there is less an emphasis on learning the tools of the trade and applying them right there on a MS (like a Clarion workshop) and more “here’s what I do”–which doesn’t permit writers uncertain of themselves any leeway for discovering their own way–and writers attending workshops wanting some sort of “formula” for getting published. These type of workshops make me feel I’m in a maths course: I’m given a set of formulas and rules to apply, but when I leave class to do the homework and hit a snag, I don’t feel confident enough to think outside the box to solve the problem. ;/

    g) Sounds like the DA crowd had a lot of fun. Hope to see you all next year.

  23. ms bookjunkie
    Jul 20, 2009 @ 02:11:59


    Vintage: yes, magnets, computer skins & whatever you can come up with. Ooh, ereader cover, me want! (Me also want ereader to go with said cover…)

    I haven’t been buying at the ebookstore because I hate! hate! hate! Adobe Digital Editions! I never know when I open it if it’s gonna work or force me to try and download a new edition and if I can figure out how to do that. Not fun.

    Lose the DRM.

    The website also needs work. Good points upthread. Front page is way too busy. When I’ve alerted people to free reads on the site they haven’t been able to find them by themselves, I’ve had to give exact location. For good, easy to use ebookstore, take a look at

  24. Danielle
    Jul 20, 2009 @ 04:51:49

    Thanks for the recap — it sounded like everyone had a good time.

    Harlequin has been giving away paper goods made out of their vintage covers. I encouraged (begged) Harlequin to sell these. I told them I would blog about this idea and try to gauge what kind of interest there would be for these paper good novelty items. I think that they should be selling t-shirts, bags, stationary, personal cards, postcards, notepads with the vintage covers on them. What do you think?

    Yes Yes yes, to the above.

  25. Azure
    Jul 20, 2009 @ 05:48:43

    In very good news, Sourcebooks will be releasing their digital books, regardless of release date, in DRM free format through Scribd and Smashwords.

    That’s good, but here’s what I want to know: Are they going to continue to only release these ebooks in Adobe (with an occasional Mobipocket release)? Because of all the formats, the only I absolutely HATE is Adobe. And the only place I can find the Mobipocket releases are at Mobipocket’s website, which means paying full price.

  26. Maili
    Jul 20, 2009 @ 06:49:27

    Wendy, Super Librarian, and I told them we wanted more backlist titles digitized. Apparently 50% of Harlequin's sales in the digital format is in backlist. I think digital publishing has really been a boon to series authors.

    Yes, please! But 50%? Of what? Last year’s books? Or overall? I’m not sure I understand. I would love digital books by Sandra Canfield (too far back?), Marilyn Pappano (only six available in ebook so far) and many OOP books.

    No DRM. No Adobe DE (I avoid using it because of so many headaches, such as frequent updates and a couple of bugs).

    Harlequin has been giving away paper goods made out of their vintage covers. I encouraged (begged) Harlequin to sell these. […] I think that they should be selling t-shirts, bags, stationary, personal cards, postcards, notepads with the vintage covers on them. What do you think?

    I would buy. I already sold my soul to Dear Author for a HQ 60th Anniversary tote bag, for goodness sake.

    In very good news, Sourcebooks will be releasing their digital books, regardless of release date, in DRM free format through Scribd and Smashwords.

    I’m glad about having Smashwords as an option (even though I haven’t tried SW yet) because I usually have technical problems with Scribd.

    I got invited to interview an author for Romantic Times. You'll be able to view me and debut author, Courtney Milan, in January 2010.

    Wahey! I hope it will be subtitled or at least have a transcript available.

    Thank you for the summary. I had fun keeping track of the event through Twitter and so many blogs. Massive thanks to all who helped to make that happen.

  27. MJ
    Jul 20, 2009 @ 07:04:24

    Jane, thanks for this post and for the tweets throughout conference. Almost as good as being there!

    I would absolutely buy vintage Harlequin totes and t-shirts!

  28. Jana J. Hanson
    Jul 20, 2009 @ 07:23:54

    I would *love* Harlequin vintage swag.

    Thanks for the write up, Jane. Sounds like a great week!!

  29. Shannon Stacey
    Jul 20, 2009 @ 07:56:29

    Things I’d love from Harlequin:

    1) a format for the iPhone/Touch users. I know there are only millions of us, but…

    2) I really want to be able to buy one of those vintage cover bags!

    3) I’d love for the free online reads—especially the tie-ins to series—to be available as a free digital read once the online serialization has ended. I don’t have the patience for online reads chapter by chapter, but hating missing out on them.

  30. Susan Reader
    Jul 20, 2009 @ 08:44:26

    THRILLED that Laura Kinsale will (probably) have a book out soon!

    I’d be very interested if Harlequin put out e-versions of the stuff that’s been out of print for a while.

    Harlequin swag is good (although I note everything in the picture seems to date from their earliest days, when they were reprinting a wide range of material, not just romance!)

  31. Babs
    Jul 20, 2009 @ 08:58:30

    OMG! I would so adore being able to have Harlequin vintage cover items, esp. notecards, pads of paper, bags (how totally COOL to have them to schlep groceries in versus the plain old blue or black reusables available from the grocery stores!), etc.

  32. samanthadelayed
    Jul 20, 2009 @ 10:07:34

    I have been hoping for a while that Harlequin will sell some of this Vintage stuff. I would love to have some of it and am willing to pay for it.
    Every romance blog online seems to have given out this stuff and alas, I never won Tell Harlequin that some of us fans want the good stuff! ;-)

  33. Michelle
    Jul 20, 2009 @ 10:18:18

    I feel like I’ve turned back into a pumpkin sitting at my desk at work instead of at the RWA National Conference. It was a blast. I’ve been hanging around RWA so long that a number of the workshops were basic – but they would have blown my socks off in my first year(s). I’m guessing there are a lot of newbies who enjoyed them.

    I heard the fire alarm was started bc of a hiccup in the system. Some tiny spider gets in it and sets of the oxygen sensors/blocks them so the system reads a huge drop in oxygen and sets off a fire alarm. I do not have the technical knowledge to say if this was true or that person was pulling my leg so to speak.

  34. Lisa J
    Jul 20, 2009 @ 10:19:07

    First, I would love a vintage cover for my Sony e-reader. That would definitely be an auto buy for me.

    Second, NO DRM. I read on my computer at work and my e-reader at home. It is way too difficult with DRM and I am not up to cracking it. So, I don’t buy Harlequin books. Sorry.

  35. Robin
    Jul 20, 2009 @ 10:37:39

    Reading through these comments, it strikes me that I am just too impatient to watch a lot of video interviews, book trailers, etc. So I’m probably not going to be jumping on that train anytime soon.

    I have thought of one more thing I’d like from Harlequin, though, and that is a differently organized online store, beginning with better integration between the print and ebook stores. Also, organizing the books by line doesn’t often help me, because I am usually browsing, and it’s a real pain to have to keep clicking on all these different categories to get to the diversity of books there. I’m not sure, actually, how to make the Harlequin store friendlier for my use; all I know is that I do best when I’m looking for a specific book there (search function employed), and am most frustrated when I’m simply looking around for new books to buy.

  36. Sherry
    Jul 20, 2009 @ 11:57:08

    I would buy vintage Harlequin swag like crazy. I actually wanted one of those calendars and went on the website to see if they were selling them – they weren’t. I’d love love a Harlequin calendar every year. And a bag – awesome!

    I love the Harlequin website, and they have a lot of discounts and sales and free books all the time. But then I’m not buying ebooks, so it sounds like they have issues with the ebook catalog.

  37. Elly Soar
    Jul 20, 2009 @ 12:08:44

    Harlequin – bring back the teaser page, and put it in the ebook itself, too. A really good teaser page makes me much more likely to explore new things. I hate that in order to read an excerpt of the book I have to open both the eharlequin site and their ebookstore and flip back and forth between the two while browsing. I can’t figure it out – do they really think if ebook readers have excerpts they won’t make the purchase but hardcopy readers will? Further, as far as I can tell, the excerpts these days are all taken direct from the front of the book – often the most boring part. Sure some books start off with a bang, but most books feature only the heroine for the first few pages. If I can’t see the chemistry between the two characters, I’m really uninterested, and the back cover copy usually doesn’t manage to convey this excitement. In the old days, I used to pick books to buy based on the teaser page and just the teaser. I’m sure it’s more work on the Harlequin staff to find the perfect teaser rather than just taking the first page or 5, but I think it’s worth it.

    On the site itself, when you’re browsing the titles, I want to see a quick teaser for the book too, under the book cover instead of all that junk with the ISBN or whatnot and the category and three listings of the price. Harlequin has a head start because they already have a quick sentence or two descriptor or most (if not all) of their books for the “Coming Next Month” page at the back of the book. I love those quick descriptions – slap that right under the book cover and readers will have a quick and easy way to be tempted into clicking on the cover to read more – the full back cover copy and the teaser page. Loose ID does this really well and although I’m not always interested in the plots of the books they publish, I spend more time browsing their site than others because it is so quick and easy to see if the book might appeal to me. Harlequin titles scare me off – I love HP’s in particular but the titles are atrocious and I buy the books despite the titles – and the cover image isn’t going to get me interested either. We are ebook READERS – the written description is the way to get people to buy.

    I also would love to see DRM abolished if that could ever happen – I really hate when I try to buy something and it needs to be locked to my computer – I have a new computer at least every 5 years, not to mention there are 4 computers in my house right now! Not to mention the difficulties I experience when trying to buy an ebook to read later on my own computer, but purchase from someone else’s – the Microsoft ereader not being installed on the purchasing computer or registered to me causes problems I can’t figure out how to avoid, so you’re basically limiting my purchasing activity…

    Also, I too would love to see more backlist available – but it needs to be more accesible somehow – it’s hard enough to find books from three months ago, let alone three years. The search feature needs to be redone somehow to be faster, but that’s just assuming you know what you are searching for. A better browse by category (maybe setting, location, office romance, etc.) would be great.

    The teasers is really my most important wish though.

  38. Barbara Maller
    Jul 20, 2009 @ 12:19:24

    I would like to see vintage titles published for my Kindle format. I would also appreciate series being bundled into a single purchase package.

  39. Jennifer Estep
    Jul 20, 2009 @ 12:23:03

    I would totally buy the vintage stuff from Harlequin. I thought the conference bag was really cool-looking this year.

    I was one of the folks in the fire drill interrupted workshop. I was going to e-mail you, Jane, and see if maybe you would post your segment here at DA? I think a lot of folks would be interested in it. I’m going to be doing a short story giveaway (or something similar) for my new UF series next year and I was curious about how to change it to an e-book and the Kindle stuff you started to talk about before the workshop got interrupted.

  40. Moriah Jovan
    Jul 20, 2009 @ 12:32:45

    For Harlequin:

    First, use as your ebook base, not your print base. It’s terribly confusing to go to and think you’re looking at ebooks because E means ELECTRONIC, then you come to find out you’re looking at print book offerings.

    Second, I’m looking at the home page right now and it’s taken me several moments of looking to find the “ebook” link–and that’s only because I already know (from sad experience) that doesn’t take me directly to the ebooks. If you keep as your print homepage, make a big fat button square in the center that says GO TO EBOOKS.

    Third, lose the DRM.

    Fourth, please add formats. Until EPUB is the standard and a device that reads EPUB has clearly gained market share, we need more than what is offered.

    Thank you. That is all for now.

  41. Phyl
    Jul 20, 2009 @ 13:09:14

    I know I am not the only romance reader who also quilts or sews. I would just love having a line of fabric with all of those images on it. What fun I would have.

    Seriously, HQN needs to talk to a fabric designer. I can buy Rt. 66 fabric, Jetsons, fabric, The Wizard of Oz, etc. etc. Why not this too?

  42. Summer Series: On Critiques | Stacia Kane
    Jul 20, 2009 @ 13:29:01

    […] and one last thing! Did you see my wonderful editor, Shauna Summers, mentioned on Dear Author? And she talked about UNHOLY GHOSTS a bit, too. She’s going to be doing a regular feature over there, which rocks, and I […]

  43. Anion
    Jul 20, 2009 @ 13:32:07

    I never watch videos online. I can read a transcript so much faster; I can re-read parts I missed, I can skim parts that bore me. I really dislike being forced to watch videos. JMO.

    I would totally buy the vintage HQN stuff, too!

  44. Caz
    Jul 20, 2009 @ 14:00:59

    Harlequin needs to sort out its European e-book retailing arm. The only format available from Mills & Boon in the UK is Adobe Digital, which I (like many others here) hate.

    Down with DRM!

  45. Jennifer
    Jul 20, 2009 @ 14:31:17

    I would LOVE Harlequin swag!

  46. areader
    Jul 20, 2009 @ 15:02:24


    Please combine your online print and ebook stores. There is no real reason for them to be separate. You just need to make it VERY clear what folks are buying with great big warnings on each page and a back button. From what I recall this may have changed I haven’t bought books online for awhile the only way you could get an excerpt of a book was to go to the print store. Really very annoying.

    Can you please remove drm, this is also really annoying. I no longer buy books in pdf format because I lost some during one of the upgrades. The pirates will always be able to get at ebooks, no matter what you do. You are just punishing legitimate customers. You are also making yourself beholden to a software company – I doubt adobe, microsoft et al are encrypting your books for free. If you want to keep on encrypting or read stuff already encrypted you’ll have to keep on paying. I wouldn’t be surprised if adobe introduced a fee to their reading software for customers once they’d signed up all of the publishing world.

    I live in the UK and I buy from the North American ebook store because I refuse to buy adobe format. Why is this the only format available to UK customers? Even if I look at somewhere like Whsmith online I can still only buy nasty epub adobe.

    I will say that I really like how Harlequin doesn’t have the geographical restrictions that some publishers seem to have when you attempt to buy an ebook from a us based store.

  47. Sherry Weddle
    Jul 20, 2009 @ 20:16:51

    I agree with so many of the previous posts, and I would love vintage Harlequin shirts, totes, etc. Nighties? Hmmm! What fun :-)
    I’d love any discounts possible, what a good idea for those of us book buying addicts. Harlequin, listen up!
    I wasn’t able to attend this year’s RWA conference due to surgeries earlier in the year, but hope to go to Nashville in 2010.
    I’ve yet to purchase any e-reader so haven’t a preference there. I look forward to being able to get one in the future.
    I appreciate the conference update, I really enjoyed last year’s in San Francisco and thought all the workshops I attended were very professionally presented. My biggest wish was to be able to attend more of them. My cloning machine in the basement is not working!
    My impression of Sourcebooks, which is located in my hometown of Naperville, Illinois, is that it is a class act. Kudos for them, their covers are also very attractive and appropriate for the books.

  48. Miki
    Jul 20, 2009 @ 20:39:26

    @Shannon Stacey: You can get your Harlequin fix for the iphone (in eReader) format. You just have to buy it at Fictionwise/eReader or BooksOnBoard.

    Oh, okay, and isn’t there that (I hate) Kindle app for iphone, too? Of course, then you have to go to the evil empire Amazon for those books…

  49. Shannon Stacey
    Jul 20, 2009 @ 20:44:48

    Some I buy from Fictionwise and read in Stanza. But with FW & BoB & AMZ, you have to wait until the official release date. The site releases them digitally before they release in print and I hate waiting. Plus they have really good bargains at times. To do any of that I have to crack the DRM, which I shouldn’t have to.

  50. Carolyn Jewel
    Jul 20, 2009 @ 21:47:08

    Regarding HQ swag, total win if cool stuff was available for purchase as notebooks, cards etc. Oh, please!

    Regarding HQ and eBooks: Please fix the website. I have NEVER successfully completed a purchase, not even when I was HUGELY motivated to do so. I hate to say it but each time the experience was a nightmare. I’ve learned my lesson and don’t bother any more. And the thing is, I really enjoyed some of the free books I downloaded to my iPhone via the Kindle app. I would buy more HQ books. If I could.

    DRM is horrible. I have a laptop, a desktop, an iPhone and have been through 6 MP3 players. All of these devices have a limited life; things break, a sexier technology comes out, equipment gets old… I despise how much purchased content I lose simply because I bought a better, newer device or had to replace one.

  51. Caz
    Jul 21, 2009 @ 03:51:45

    Moriah Jovan said –

    First, use as your ebook base, not your print base. It's terribly confusing to go to and think you're looking at ebooks because E means ELECTRONIC, then you come to find out you're looking at print book offerings.

    and ITA with that.

    Like an earlier commenter, I also live in the UK but buy from US stores – sometimes it’s because even with the crappy exchange rate, the US prices are cheaper, but mostly it’s because of the limited range of formats on offer over here. Although I did try to make a purchase from Harlequin (US) last week and was told I couldn’t do it, because their records showed that my copy of MS Reader wasn’t activated. Which is crap, because I’ve been using it for ages and have bought stuff from them before. So I bought the titles I wanted from Fictionwise. It turns out that the Harlequin site has issues with IE8 – which I’d suggest they fix PDQ or surely, they’ll lose more sales.

    It’s yet another example of why DRM has to go. I love ebooks – but it’s the one thing about them that makes me nervous!

  52. Estara
    Jul 21, 2009 @ 05:22:44

    Wow, thanks to the Books on Board team. When I got my ereader this April I looked at the sites mentioned in my trusted blogs and went with them as the best bet from information to excerpt to wishlist to offering .epub almost always (okay, I wish their search feature wouldn’t show the results as this strange carroussel feature, but in list form as a default and I wish they hadn’t implemented not selling certain books to certain countries with the commencement of their UK bookstore… but…).

    I hope they can afford the discounts because I have already happily managed to buy about 30 books since April and there are regularly cool offerings (if I hadn’t bought so much this month already, I’d been ordering some general sf and sf from Samhain even now).

  53. Estara
    Jul 21, 2009 @ 14:28:33

    @Cathy: does regularly offer Harlequin bundles – mostly the monthly releases and occasionally themed bundles, fyi.

  54. Tania
    Jul 22, 2009 @ 08:08:20

    For the Harlequin digital program:

    It’s difficult to browse the website. If you know an author or a title its okay, but the other tags are too generic (Historical Fiction, for example).

    Add the back cover to the file. I went on a shopping spree one day and got a bunch of titles now I have no idea what they’re about and I have to go online to find a description.

    Include the BBeB format as a download choice. For whatever reason the adobe print is too small for me and bumping the font up a size makes the line breaks weird. I can download HQN titles directly from the sony ebook store in the BBeB format, but their site has navigation issues too.

    Thanks for giving us a place to voice our opinions :)

  55. ms bookjunkie
    Jul 22, 2009 @ 13:25:26

    Dear Harlequin,

    since I did not win the tote bag at SBTB I would like to buy one plz!

  56. Sarah Frantz
    Jul 23, 2009 @ 11:56:18

    Good God, if I’m intimidatingly smart, what are you, Jane? Your efficiency and drive and intelligence intimidate me no end. :) We can be mutually intimidated, I guess.

    It was so wonderful to meet you and Janine and all the authors we’ve heard about/read for so long. And all the other bloggers and readers and friends and…I can’t say enough good things about RWA.

    My post of TMT to come…at some point.

  57. azteclady
    Jul 23, 2009 @ 12:51:50

    Not much to say on the actual topic but…

    I haz a sad I didn’t get to meet the intimidatingly smart Dr Frantz, nor Janine.


    One day…

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