Penguin’s blog is going to do a series of Imprint focuses blog posts starting with Ace/Roc. The next four weeks on the Penguin blog will be dedicated to showcasing the Roc/Ace imprints. In addition to introductions to the editors and authors, exclusive information on the books and the publishing process will be posted. I love these types of posts and ran a series of them on the blog here but an in depth look at a publisher’s vision can be quite interesting.
SourceBooks is a small publishing house located in Naperville, Illinois. This year marks the beginning of SourceBooks entry into the world of romance publishing. The new line is called “Casablanca” and will offer “15 to 20 titles per season, in a mixture of mass market and trade paperback formats.”
Deb Werksman is the executive editor for SourceBooks and the head of the Casablanca line. She’s offered up the vision behind SourceBooks and the future books about which we readers should be excited.
Q: Can you share with us the vision of the new Sourcebooks Romance imprint? What are the types of books that are being published under that imprint?
Our vision is to publish single-title romance in all the subgenres–"paranormal, romantic suspense, contemporary, historical and erotic romance. We're looking for new authors as well as established ones, books that have something unusual about them, or could transcend the genre, and we're out to create long, successful careers with our authors.
Q: What books are you looking for or is there a sub-genre you think that readers are hungry for that the market is not yet meeting to its fullest?
It looks to me as though the subgenres move through cycles. Paranormal is hot right now, but it's getting overpublished, which means it'll be harder for new authors to break out. Romantic suspense is strong, too. Historical seems to be steady, and I'm hearing that contemporary may be ready to cycle up again. I'm thinking of my list almost like a stock portfolio, making sure it's balanced across the subgenres and sticking to my criteria. I think a book can be successful coming out of any subgenre if it has a strong enough hook.
Q: Is there one piece of advice that you would give to authors?
If I can give only one :-) I'd say, make sure your book has a REALLY strong hook–"your editor is going to have to be able to talk about it in one or two sentences and that has to make someone want to read it.
Q: What type of packaging are you using for your books? I.e., covers that are selling; marketing strategies that readers should be aware of? What type of reader are you marketing to?
We're putting the handsome hero on the cover, most of the time! That seems to be working best, but we're also designing with freshness in mind–"we want our books to stand out in the category. I think the marketing strategy that everything hinges on is to have that incredibly strong hook for the book. Then, whether it's web marketing, ARCs to booksellers and librarians, advertisements or reviews, it's going to get people to want to pick up that book.
We're marketing to a 25+ urban/suburban reader–"a on the upscale side–"she's smart, she's educated, she's powerful in her own life, so she's looking for a heroine she can relate to and a world being created. She's reading for entertainment, but it has to be intelligent and fresh.
Q: What does the fall/winter lineup have to offer readers?
We're incredibly excited about No Regrets by Michele Ann Young, a Regency featuring a heroine who's fat and wears glasses, and feels incredibly unattractive. She has no idea that the hero is absolutely driven wild by her body–"he can barely keep his hands to himself!
Also incredibly exciting is Laurie Brown's time travel, Hundreds of Years to Reform a Rake, in which a modern career woman is pulled back in time to the Regency period and into the arms of an unscrupulous rake!
Finally, we're bringing back some of Georgette Heyer's classics, in trade paper formats, which we think her readers are going to love. The first one is Cotillion, and there'll be more next year.
Q: What should we be on the look out for in the future?
Next spring we'll have a feisty witch and drop-dead gorgeous vampire couple in “50 Ways to Hex Your Lover”, a werewolf from the Scottish Highlands in “Call of the Highland Moon”, and a Navy SEAL hero in “SEALed with a Kiss”, plus the first in the Cat Star Chronicles series: “SLAVE,” which features an intergalactic trader heroine and a hero who's the last of his kind, from a planet where the people have a feline gene. That makes him sensuous, gorgeous, and he has some VERY interesting equipment!
And next fall we'll have a great macho hero who turns out to be the nurturing one in the relationship in Romeo, Romeo by debut author Robin Kaye, plus romantic suspense, some poignant contemporaries, and more historicals.
Anne Sowards is a senior editor at Penguin Group (USA) Inc. She has worked on Ace science fiction & fantasy since 1996, and on Roc science fiction & fantasy since December 2003. She edits a number of great authors, including (but not limited to) Jim Butcher, Patricia Briggs, Anne Bishop, and Karen Chance. When she’s not reading, she listens to Chinese rap and spends way too much time playing video games.
Q: Anne, can you share with us the vision of the ACE imprint? What are the types of books that are being published under that imprint? Maybe you could explain the difference between Ace and Roc and whether the imprints signify a certain type of book?
A: At Penguin, we have two science fiction & fantasy imprints, Ace and Roc. To explain the difference, such as it is, I’m going to need to go into some boring publishing history, so bear with me! Around nine years ago, the publisher Putnam Berkley was acquired by Penguin’s parent company and the two publishers were merged. Ace was Berkley’s SF/F imprint, while Roc was the SF/F imprint of Penguin’s NAL / Signet line. Until 2003, Ace and Roc were separate editorially and the difference between the two was a matter of editorial taste. But towards the end of 2003, the editor who ran Roc left to pursue her own writing, and the editor in chief of Ace was put in charge of both lines. Subsequently, the science fiction and fantasy editors, whether they are a part of Berkley or NAL / Signet, work on both Ace and Roc titles.
Since Ace and Roc are no longer separate editorially, there’s no real difference between them anymore other than that Roc publishes fewer titles each month , keeping in mind that Roc authors from the time before the merger remain Roc authors, and the same for Ace authors . As we acquire new titles we decide which imprint they should be published in based on our schedule, with the goal towards having a balanced list.
At Ace and Roc, we publish science fiction and fantasy for the adult market (along with the occasional Young Adult crossover), but within those categories we publish urban fantasy to military science fiction and everything in between.
Personally, I am a very commercial reader and I look for a can’t-put-it-down story and and terrific characters. (In fact, one of my coworkers jokingly calls me a reverse snob, because if a book won a literary award that makes me *less* interested in reading it–I would choose a thrilling story over pretty writing any day. Of course, having both gorgeous writing and a great story is the best, but those two things are not always found in the same novel.)
Q: What books are selling best for ACE (i.e., high fantasy, urban fantasy, science fiction, futuristic) and are you looking for books like that or is there a sub-genre you think that readers are hungry for that the market is not yet meeting to its fullest?
A: Ace and Roc’s bestselling subgenre is urban fantasy, and we are very proud of our list in this category. We publish some of the best authors writing urban fantasy today, including bestselling authors Charlaine Harris, Jim Butcher, Patricia Briggs, Simon R. Green, Karen Chance, Rachel Caine, and Kat Richardson, along with up and coming authors such as Jeanne Stein, Ilona Andrews, Mark Del Franco, Phaedra Weldon, Kelly McCullough, Faith Hunter, Chris Marie Green, and Rob Thurman.
Right now, readers seem to have a voracious appetite for all sorts of urban and contemporary fantasy. We are lucky in that we have so many strong authors in this area, so while we are continuing to acquire more urban and contemporary fantasy, we look for the very best new authors to add to our list.
We are also very strong in science fiction, and we’re proud to publish “hard sf” authors such as Jack McDevitt, Alastair Reynolds, Joe Haldeman, John Varley, Charles Stross, and Allen Steele. We also have some great post-apocalyptic science fiction authors, like S. M. Stirling and debut author Jeff Carlson. I personally find books that explore how we survive and build a society after a major disaster absolutely fascinating. In S.M. Stirling’s case, the disaster is that technology simply stops working; in Jeff Carlson’s, a nanotech plague kills off everybody living below 10,000 feet. We have also been seeing success with military science fiction, such as the novels of William C. Dietz, Mike Shepherd’s Kris Longknife: Audacious series, and Jack Campbell’s Fearless series.
While I think there will always be a market for traditional fantasy, it is tougher right now (except for established authors), so we are buying that selectively.
Q: Is there one piece of advice that you would give to authors?
Write the book you love, because if you’re just putting vampires in because you think it’ll sell, it’ll show (and not in a good way).
Q: What type of packaging are you using for your books? I.e., covers that are selling (I see a lot of torsoes of women v. torsoes of men)? What type of reader are you marketing to?
This is a hard question, because our covers vary wildly depending on the subgenre of the book! We usually like to have a human figure of some sort. In urban fantasy, the female oriented type (Patricia Briggs, for example) usually focuses on a strong woman, and she often has tattoos–for whatever reason, tattoos seem to signal to readers that this is an urban fantasy. The male oriented type (Jim Butcher, for example) typically has a male figure in a cityscape. We don’t usually use only a torso of a man or a woman, because that is more likely to indicate “romance” to readers. Not to say that our books don’t have romantic elements–many of them do–it’s just that the romance is not the main focus of the story and we wouldn’t want to mislead anyone.
Q: Has the cross over readership always been substantial or has it grown in the past few years? If the latter, to what do you attribute that growth? Has that changed the types of the books you are acquiring or the marketing for those books?
Yes, I think crossover readership has grown over the past few years, primarily in the urban fantasy category. I think a big factor is shows like “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” helping to create a market for these types of “our world, but with vampires / witches / werewolves / magic” books. Also, romance and mystery readers seem to be open to trying something a little different, that doesn’t strictly fall within the conventions of those books, and that is feeding the growth of crossover books as well. And our most successful urban fantasy novels generally combine elements of romance, fantasy, and mystery. We do try to send our books with romantic elements to romance reviewers, to reach out to that audience.
Q: What does the fall/winter lineup have to offer readers?
We publish so many great books, it’s hard to choose–I’m going to focus on books that have more of a crossover audience, as I think that’s what the “Dear Author” readers are most interested in.
- In September, we have the terrific anthology Many Bloody Returns, edited by Charlaine Harris and Toni Kelner. It features stories about vampire birthdays from Jim Butcher, Charlaine Harris, Kelley Armstrong, and many other fantastic writers.
- In October, for something a little crazy and just plain fun, try Cybermancy by Kelly McCullough–it’s set in a contemporary world where magic has gone digital and people use computers to cast spells. The hero is descended from one of the three Fates (of Greek mythology) and is a computer hacker extraordinaire, and a talented sorcerer to boot.
Edited to add: The aforementioned plot is actually the plot for CODESPELL, Kelly’s July 08 book. In CYBERMANCY, Ravirn has to sneak into Hades in order to rescue his girlfriend’s webgoblin (a laptop that can change into a familiar and back again), which is not only a good friend but also holds all of his girlfriend’s notes for her thesis. Much wackiness still ensues.
- In November, we have the launch of a brand new urban fantasy series with Dog Days by John Levitt, about a jazz musician (and reluctant sorcerer) and his magical dog, Louie. Also, Reader and Raelynx from Sharon Shinn is a gorgeous traditional fantasy with romantic elements, part of her ” Twelve Houses” series. Plus, if you’d like to try several different authors, we have a romantic fantasy anthology called Elemental Magic, with novellas from fantasy authors Sharon Shinn and Carol Berg, and romance authors Rebecca York and Jean Johnson.
- In December, try The Watcher by Jeanne Stein–it’s about bounty hunter turned vampire Anna Strong.
Q: What should we be on the look out for in the future?
- Iron Kissed by Patricia Briggs arrives on January 2, and it’s fantastic–part of her “Mercy Thompson” series, about a female car mechanic who can change into a coyote. For those of you following the series, you won’t want to miss this one–Mercy will make a choice between werewolves Sam and Adam. I’ve had the opportunity to read this and found the choice to be a perfect solution to the triangle and I hate triangles! It’s a must read for anyone in the series, but even beyond the Mercy/Sam/Adam triangle, I thought the book had a lot of emotional poignancy.
- And in February, look for Midnight Reign by Chris Marie Green, second in her trilogy about Hollywood vampires.
November is a very exciting month here at William Morrow and Avon. It brings us the publication of Everlasting, the late Kathleen Woodiwiss’ latest novel. All of us were impacted in innumerable ways by Ms. Woodiwiss’ work and it is such a thrill to be able to publish this incredible book. Also coming in November, the latest Stephanie Laurens’ Cynster novel in paperback. The Taste of Innocence features Charles Morwellan (brother of Alathea from A Secret Love) and continues the hugely successful that has become such a fan favorite. Plus, we have an exciting paranormal romance debut from Jeaniene Frost. Halfway to the Grave introduces us to Cat, a half-vampire slayer with a chip on her shoulder, and Bones, the sexy vampire partners with Cat in order to bring down a more menacing evil.
We also have two very exciting trade paperbacks available next month. The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen is the quintessential novel for all Jane Austen fans. Author Syrie James tackles the question that Jane fans have wondered for years: did our favorite romance author have a romance of her own? Told beautifully in a style wholly reminiscent of Jane’s own, this novel draws you into Jane’s world as no other could. And from Nadine Haobsh, former beauty editor and the blogger known as “Jolie in the City,” Beauty Confidential, a hilarious and indispensable beauty book for women everywhere. With insider advice, unbeatable beauty tips, and a handy index (with pricing information), Beauty Confidential will become your constant shopping companion.
We know that, as a writer, your imagination allows you to create so many stories and here at Avon, we are eagerly seeking those stories. We have been lucky enough to publish some of the most unforgettable voices in historical and contemporary romance. As we experiment with innovative projects such as Victoria Alexander’s ebook Lady Amelia’s Lover, we will continue to bring you the stories you’ve come to know and love. But that’s only possible with your help. As a writer, your imagination allows you to create so many stories and here at Avon, we are eagerly seeking those stories.
Right now we are looking for romances in several areas:
We are looking for deliciously romantic historical novels for all parts of the list, set primarily in Great Britain before 1900, as well as contemporary romances, filled with the emotional complexity and strong voices you’ve come to expect. With the increase in demand for suspense and African-American romance, we would also love to add to the great list of strong authors we have in these areas.
We know the interest you all have in pararnormal romances, and we are always looking for new and different takes. These can be contemporary or historical (Lynsay Sands‘ Argeneau family or Kathryn Smith’s Brotherhood), but the most important thing is to create rich, unique worlds with dark and intriguing characters.
On the trade side, Avon A offers a wide array of fiction for women, as well as strong non-fiction works that we’ve found our readers relating to (Damage Control, edited by Emma Tennant, is just one example of the types of non-fiction books we’re interested in). In addition, our erotica imprint Avon Red, continues to grow and we are looking for more authors to add to our super-sexy list.
For more information on our submission process, please visit Harper Collins.
If there is one thing that Harlequin knows how to do, it is making your evening fun. During the National Convention, Harlequin throws a big party on Friday nights. It is considered the party of the convention and everyone shows up and I mean, everyone. The food tables were overflowing and the drinks never stopped and there was not one person in the huge ballroom that didn’t have a smile on her face. Isabel Swift and the Harlequin team offers up the fall spotlight so that all of us can enjoy a little party at home.
Fall ’07: What's new for Harlequin Enterprises/Series and Single Title Imprints, all formats. What is HQE publishing ? What is HQE looking to publish?
- eBOOKS & AUDIO & NEW INITIATIVES
- – Information about & HQE looking for (for writers & the curious)
- – HQE Publishing Program (for readers)
- As of September 1st, Harlequin is delivering 100% frontlist in eBook format–"the only major trade publisher offering 100% of their frontlist.
- Spice Briefs launched to great success in August 2007: original, exclusive eBook content.
- Created "one-click buys" for the passion series for the avid reader & made it available to all eBook retailers (i.e. package all 8 Presents titles together as one unit)
- Continue to create eBook bundles of selected backlist, for example all of Caridad Pinero's "Calling" titles together in the Calling Collection (October)
- Creating new eBook product by "chunking" anthologies–each novella with be its own eBook. Part of an Holiday promotion –" 12 Christmas short stories for your digital stocking!
- New programs are in development!
- Ongoing program with Audible.com delivering 5 –" 6 titles (offering both series and single titles, debut and established authors) per month
- Launching an audio continuity featuring 2 Blaze titles every month for $9.95
- Ongoing radio program on XM radio: Sonic Theater channel. Our website is ttp://sonictheater.xmradio.com, and Harlequin Romance Radio is aired at 1 am and 9 am Eastern time on channel 163.
- 2nd Life author reading event on September 25 with M.J. Rose, featuring her book THE REINCARNATIONIST
- Launched & ongoing Harlequin Author Spotlight podcasts
- Launched and ongoing I Heart Presents blog (at www.iheartpresent.com)
- Will be launching a new romance blog in October
- MySpace profiles: SpiceBriefs complete–"check out http://myspace.com/spicebriefs
- MySpace profiles to come: Harlequin, Kimani Tru, MIRA
- Launched digital author toolkit –" updated monthly–"check out http://www.digitalauthortoolkit.com/
- Writing guidelines for Spice Briefs
- Fall 07 – Top titles for Spice Briefs:
SPICE –" Susan Swinwood
- Writing guidelines for Spice
- Fall 07 – There are two fall titles for Spice in ’07:
Both are fantastic books –" Nancy's is a collection of erotic stories based on a traditional fairy tale; each chapter of the story is devoted to one of the twelve princesses as she searches for the solution to her sexual frustrations.
Sarah's book is the first in her historical western erotica series: the men of Hell's Eight. Each of these eight Texas Rangers are tough, sexy, hardened men– until they meet the women who make them weak.
Fall 2007 –" Top Titles for HQN:
- October is a stellar month at HQN, topped by Brenda Joyce's next Masters of Time paranormal, DARK RIVAL and a new Carly Phillips contemporary, SEALED WITH A KISS.
- November features a new Shannon Drake historical from Heather Graham, THE QUEEN'S LADY, a Diana Palmer seasonal hardcover reissue, LONG TALL TEXAN LEGACY and our 2nd NASCAR collection, NASCAR HOLIDAY 2.
- December delivers an original romantic suspense story from New York Times bestselling author, Beverly Barton, A TIME TO DIE.
What HQN is looking for:
HQN publishes strong, complex single title romances. Our current focus is on acquiring author who write historical and contemporary single titles, but we are always looking for other romance sub-genres, paranormal in particular, if the material is exceptional.
LUNA Fall ’07 –" Top Titles:
- October, Jeri Smith-Ready continues her RITA nominated series with VOICE OF CROW.
- November, C.E. Murphy begins her new Negotiator series with HEART OF STONE.
- December, Diana Palmer makes a guest appearance with THE MORCAI BATTALION, a completely revised version of the only fantasy novel ever written by the author, originally published in 1980 and out of print for decades.
What LUNA is looking for:
We're primarily looking for urban fantasy and otherworld fantasy and are no longer looking for historical fantasy at this time. We're particularly interested in loosely-linked series of stand-alone titles featuring strong female leads, unique storylines and a fresh narrative voice that will appeal to fantasy, romance and mainstream readers alike.
MIRA Fall ’07 –" Top Titles:
- 76 SEASIDE AVENUE by Debbie Macomber (massmarket paperback)
- THE REINCARNATIONIST by M.J. Rose (hardcover)
- WHERE ANGELS GO by Debbie Macomber (hardcover)
- THE SÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬ °ANCE by Heather Graham (massmarket paperback)
- LAST KNOWN VICTIM by Erica Spindler (mass market paperback)
- MENDING FENCES by Sherryl Woods (mass market paperback,)
- THE WIDOW by Carla Neggers (first time mass market paperback)
- SILENT IN THE GRAVE by Deanna Raybourn (tirst time mass market paperback)
- DEMON'S KISS by Maggie Shayne (massmarket paperback)
For MIRA, we are primarily looking for strong historical fiction and commercial literary fiction
Red Dress Ink Fall ’07 –" Top Titles:
For Red Dress Ink, we only looking at exceptional, smart and funny chick lit.
Feroze Mohammed, with the Mack Bolan, Stony Man, Deathland, Outlander and Rogue Angel series and WORLDWIDE LIBRARY with its Mystery series are also part of the HQE family, but are not listed in detail here.
The fall of 2007 has many of the themes and initiatives that are clear reader favorites and important for the series business throughout the year.
As always, our focus is on finding, developing and publishing "good stories, well-told.” And to get those stories, our editors work with authors through all phases of story development – and then with art and marketing to ensure those stories get the right packages.
We also try to emphasize connected miniseries in our publishing schedule. There are multiple continuities appearing in the series lines, including the conclusions of The Royal House of Niroli from Harlequin Presents, Mission: Impassioned from Silhouette Romantic Suspense, Dynasty: The Garrisons from Silhouette Desire, Montana Mavericks: Strike It Rich from Special Edition, Dark Enchantments from Silhouette Nocturne, Secrets We Keep from Harlequin Romance, Texas Legacies: The Carrigans from Harlequin American, Million Dollar Secrets from Harlequin Blaze and many more.
Harlequin and Silhouette series programs are known for their long-standing commitment to authors, with many authors celebrating 25, 50, even 100 book milestones with us. We work with both new and established authors to develop long-running, successful series with their own characters, as well as encouraging strong, standalone titles that lead new readers to discover new favorites.
Another strong component of our publishing program is our continual search for new authors. We are one of the few publishers accepting unagented material, and we also run contests to find new authors. Check out the Harlequin Superromance Conflict of Interest Contest at www.eharlequin.com in Writing Challenges. The contest is open to all writers and the deadline is fast approaching!
Just this fall, from September to December, we are publishing more than thirty new-to-the-company authors, many of them first-time-ever authors as well. With three new authors in Harlequin Presents, and first-time authors in Silhouette Desire, Harlequin Everlasting, Love Inspired Suspense, Harlequin Blaze, Silhouette Special Edition, Harlequin Superromance, Harlequin Intrigue as well as in our Kimani Press and single title programs, Harlequin is a wonderful place to be discovered–and some amazing authors have published their first books with Harlequin and Silhouette.
We also have some great programs in place for readers to discover these authors! Along with our marketing and terrific bookstore support, there are a number of digital and hard-copy sampling programs in our future. We firmly believe that if you try a Harlequin or Silhouette title, you will love it! And so we plan to take advantage of as many outlets as we can to start the “addiction”…
We also experiment with anthologies within the series to highlight strong authors and themes, and encourage exploration of innovative ideas and stories to attract new readers.
Do be sure to visit our website at http://www.eharlequin.com/ to get the latest updates on word counts and tips from the webhosts as well as from past articles done about writing. We also have frequent visits from editors to talk about their individual lines, and fellow authors are a terrific resources as well.
In short, the fall of 2007 is all about the strengths that writing for HQE Series always displays: commitment to excellent stories by terrific authors, published across the nation and around the world.
Pick up a book and join us!
Berkley is an imprint of Penguin books. It provides one of the largest array of books within the romance genre of any publisher on the market. Under the Berkley insignia, you’ll find authors like Meljean Brook, Nalini Singh, and Erin McCarthy who write exciting and sexy paranormals to historicals from RITA winner, Jennifer Ashley, and RITA nominee, Claudia Dain to Bestselling contemporaries from Julie Kenner and Lora Leigh. It is also the home of authors mega bestsellers Nora Roberts and Jayne Ann Krentz. Berkley takes chances with authors and so I am always excited to see what is coming next from this imprint. Cindy Hwang, Executive Editor of Berkley, sat down and gave us the scoop on what Berkley is looking for and what it is publishing this fall.
Q: Cindy, I understand that Berkley does not give publisher spotlights at Nationals so having you share your thoughts with as an editor is a bit of a treat. What do you acquire and what are you looking for in a manuscript? Is it a particular genre such as contemporary versus paranormal?
Berkley publishes romance primarily in the Berkley Sensation imprint. The number of Sensation titles each month can vary, but there are usually 4 mass market original titles and 2 trade paperback originals per month. Because Sensation has a sizable list, we (meaning all the Berkley editors who acquire romance) can and try to have a mix of different kinds of books each month–we actively look for and acquire romances in all subgenres, from historicals to contemporaries, paranormals to romantic suspense. The list is also a mix of new authors and established stars-we’re always looking for exciting new voices to add to our list. We also try to publish at least 1 contemporary and 1 historical a month. As far as what we’re looking for, we’re open to pretty much everything–the most important thing is voice, regardless of subgenre. Currently, Sensation does have a lot of paranormal, which means if you’re writing paranormal romance it has to be really special to catch our eye.
Q: What books are selling best for Berkley? Is it genre oriented? Author oriented? Time period?
Berkley has an author driven list–some of our bestselling romance authors include Nora Roberts, Jayne Ann Krentz/Amanda Quick/Jayne Castle, Lynn Kurland, Jodi Thomas, Lori Foster, Angela Knight, MaryJanice Davidson, Lora Leigh, Deidre Martin, and Erin McCarthy. Berkley works hard to create an individual look for each of our authors, to give them a distinct and separate identity on the bookshelves.
Q: Is there one piece of advice that you could give to aspiring or mid list authors trying to break out or gain their first contract?
The most important advice I can give is trite, but always true–write what you love, what you want to write, not what you think will sell. If I (or any other editor) really love what you’re writing, chances are I’ll be interested in acquiring it, even if it’s in a subgenre that conventional wisdom says isn’t selling well. The key word of course is love.
Q: What type of packaging are you using for you romance books? I.e., covers that are selling, colors, etc?
I think Berkley creates some of the best covers in the business, and the art dept works hard to give books a look that will not just be attractive, but to catch the eye of a casual browser-not the easiest thing to do. Many readers can’t get enough of sexy men on their covers, so the sexier, hunky covers are always popular. We also try to create a distinctive look for each of our authors.
Q: What does the fall/winter lineup have to offer romance readers?
We have a Fall jam-packed with great romances, and here’s just a sampling:
- Fall 2007 is great time to be a Christine Feehan fan-not only is there a new Carpathian novel, Dark Possession, there’s also the mass market reprint of her first hardcover Dark Celebration , and for the first time, Christine goes Manga-Dark Hunger is the Manga version of one of her Dark novellas, and it’s a brand new direction for Berkley as well.
- My Immortal by Erin McCarthy (Sept) Erin McCarthy gets to showcase her dark side in this rich, wonderfully complex and romantic story about a man who gives away his soul for immortality and lives to regret it. And look for another side to Erin with her first young adult novel, DEMON ENVY, coming in Oct.
- Servant: The Awakening by L.L. Foster (Oct) Erin isn’t the only author with a dark side, as Lori Foster demonstrates, writing under the name L.L. Foster. Part horror, part urban fantasy, part romantic suspense-this book seems like a departure for Lori, but it’s something that she’s wanted to write for years, and I think will win her many new fans.
- Silver Master by Jayne Castle (Sept) Jayne Castle returns to the futuristic setting of the earth colony Harmony in a new dazzling adventure romance.
- Fairyvilleby Emma Holly (Sept) No one writes erotic romance better than Emma Holly, and FAIRYVILLE is as steamy and adventurous as anything she’s written before. And our lucky heroine gets to choose between between 2 yummy men-who could ask for anything more?
- Caressed By Ice by Nalini Singh (Sept) The 3rd book in Nalini’s Psy-Changeling series features possibly my favorite hero of the year, Judd Lauren.
- Born to Be Wilde, Janelle Denison (Sept) Janelle’s popular sexy series about the Wilde family continues with the story of Joel Wilde, ex-marine turned security specialist.
- The Courtesan’s Daughter by Claudia Dain (Oct) After too long an absence, award-winning author Claudia Dain is back, with a delicious Regency historical romance about a retired courtesan who is determined to find a husband for her daughter, even if she has to buy him.
- Overkillby Linda Castillo (Oct) Linda Castillo has a really terrific talent for combining complex, edgy characters, emotional romance and can’t-put-it-down plots, and I think OVERKILL is one of her best books.
- Mr. Knightley’s Diary, Amanda Grange (Oct) EMMA has always been one of my favorite Jane Austen novels, and this retelling of Emma from Mr. Knightley’s point of view is just terrific-both true to the book and the character of Mr. Knightley.
- The Education of Mrs. Brimley (Berkley Sensation) by Donna MacMeans (Oct) This is a fabulous Victorian historical romance, and it’s hard to believe that it’s also Donna’s first book.
- Big Girls Don’t Cryby Cathie Linz (Oct) This fabulous contemporary romance has everything-a delicious hero, a sassy heroine, and more animals than you can shake a stick at (hero is a vet).
- An Enchanted Season, Maggie Shayne, Erin McCarthy, Nalini Singh, Jean Johnson (Oct) The holiday season starts early with this anthology of seasonal stories, spiced with a touch of magic.
- Down and Dirty , Sandra Hill (Nov) Nobody writes funny and sexy quite like Sandra Hill, and DOWN AND DIRTY is the next book in her bestselling Viking Navy SEAL series.
- Warriors of Poseidon: Atlantis Awakening by Alyssa Day (Nov) Readers really connected with Alyssa’s Warriors of Poseidon, and they’re back for a new thrill ride in this sequel to the USA Today bestselling The Warriors of Poseidon.
- The Black Dragon, Allyson James (Nov) This is the next book following the sexyDragon Heat by the multitalented author Allyson James.
- Hot Mama, Jennifer Estep (Nov) Superheroes and ubervillains return for more fabulous adventure and romance set in Bigtime, New York, the follow-up to Estep’s href=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0425215113?ie=UTF8&tag=dearauthorcom-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0425215113″>Karma Girl.
- Texas Princess by Jodi Thomas (Nov) Beloved for her emotional western historical romances, Jodi returns with the final book in the Whispering Mountain trilogy.
- Blood Brothers: The Sign of Seven Trilogy, Nora Roberts (Dec) Christmas wouldn’t be the same without a new Nora Roberts to devour, and a new trilogy is always something to celebrate. This is the first in a new mass market trilogy featuring three men-best friends-who as boys, made a blood brothers vow that unwittingly unleashed evil onto their town.
- Beyond Fearless by Rebecca York (Dec) Bestselling author Rebecca York’s talents for page-turning action and red-hot romance are on full display in this romantic thriller.
- Swimming without a Net , MaryJanice Davidson (Dec) Fred the crankiest mermaid around returns for another adventure in this sequel to Sleeping with the Fishes.
Q: What should we be on the look out for in the future (i.e., changes in Berkley’s line, new line launches, ebook initiatives).
As I mentioned, Berkley is very excited about publishing our first Manga title DARK HUNGER, and we’d love to publish more Manga on a regular basis.
Q: Fall is a big fiction release period. Are there any fiction books that we should be looking to add to our shelves or that might make a great gift for the holidays?
Some Don’t Miss books from a few of our favorite authors:
- Fans of Ken Follett’s classic novel The Pillars of the Earth have waited nearly twenty years for the sequel, World Without End, which will be published by Dutton in October.
- Also in October, Book of the Dead, the latest Kay Scarpetta thriller from Patricia Cornwell hits the shelves.
- In November, don’t miss the latest Eve and Roarke novel from J.D. Robb, Creation in Death. The new In Death hardcover will be at the top of a lot of readers’ wishlist for the holidays.
- In December, we’re getting toward the end of the alphabet for Kinsey Millhone-it’s now T is for Trespass in Sue Grafton’s new mystery.
- And in January, perk up from the post-holiday blues with Sizzle and Burn the new romantic suspense from Jayne Ann Krentz.