In celebration of our one year anniversary, I asked as many of our Harlequin team members and Carina Press freelance editors as possible to write a short blog post, talking about what the past year or so has been like for them, working on Carina Press. I deliberately didn’t provide any direction other than that, because I wanted to see what people came up with, in the spirit of Carina’s 1st anniversary. I was so pleased when I saw what they’d all come up with, and had to say (and some of these posts made me just a little teary)! I hope you enjoy the post, and look for your opportunity to win a Carina Press book at the bottom of this post. ~Angela James
Deborah Nemeth is a freelance editor for Carina Press. You can follow her on Twitter.
Today we’re celebrating Carina Press’s First Anniversary with an exciting giveaway (details below). In honor of the occasion, I’ve listed some of my personal highlights of editing for CP during its exciting early days:
1. Startups are fun, if you like a crazy pace. Although our first books were released when our ecommerce site went live a year ago today, naturally the work began before then. I was one of the first editors to join Carina Press back in November, 2009. Starting a new imprint is fun, intense, and sometimes messy—at times the processes and procedures were established on the fly, when the work was already underway.
2. I got the world’s best boss back! For me, one of the best things about editing for Carina Press is getting the chance to work for a boss whom I so admire and had worked for before. The heavy lifting of creating a digital imprint—and one that publishes non-romance, erotica and male/male genres—within the Romance Mothership fell to our exec editor, the amazing Angela James. She’s faced some bumps in the road—such as a contract process that at first was more suited to the relatively sedate speed of traditional print publishing than digital’s warp-speed. Always gracious and helpful and knowledgeable, she’s inspired us all to get it done.
3. Slush Pile Fun. I bless the launch authors who put their trust in us. In only seven months, we went from announcing that we were open to submissions to releasing close to 40 titles. For me alone that meant reviewing around 200 submissions in those early months, and I’m just one editor of many.
4. Second reader reports. Carina Press’s acquisition process requires the editors to submit formal recommendations to acquire manuscripts. The process of articulating what I love about a story and analyzing its strengths, editorial needs and marketing potential has helped me hone my ability to assess submissions. At least one other team member then goes on to review the manuscripts, vet the recommendations and provide a second report. And, boy, are those second opinions helpful!
5. Acquiring my first book: Every acquisition is a thrill for an editor, but I was nervous the first time I sent in an acquisition recommendation to the Carina Press team. Would they approve it? To my delight they did, so by December, 2009 I had my first project, Toni Anderson’s romantic suspense novel Sea of Suspicion. One of our digital launch titles, it’s also available as an audio book. It will also be released in print in 2012 as part of Harlequin’s Direct to Consumer reader service program.
6. Editor as fan. I squeed at the names of some of the authors whose manuscripts landed on my desk to review, authors whose published books I’d read and admired, such as Megan Hart, Carrie Lofty, Bonnie Dee, Z.A. Maxfield and Josh Lanyon.
7. Debut authors: Working with professional authors who know what they’re doing is always a pleasure for an editor. But even though inexperienced ones may take more time, their eagerness and willingness to learn, their just-plain-new-shininess, is such a delight. Carina Press is open to debut authors, and one of my first slush-pile finds was the launch title The Price of Freedom from Australian debut author Jenny Schwartz, the first of three stories about djinn. Other debut authors I’ve had the good fortune to work with this past year include Ginny Glass, Keri Stevens, Amy Atwell, Rae Renzi and Lisa Paitz Spindler.
8. Old friends. When an editor leaves one house to edit for another, it’s hard to leave one’s authors behind. To my great joy, many of these authors sent manuscripts to CP in time to be part of our launch: Inez Kelley, Dee Tenorio, Clare London and Cathryn Brunet.
9. Not just romance. Although most of our releases are romances, I love that Carina Press is open to great stories that don’t necessarily fit into the romance mold. This means I get to edit awesome mystery, women’s fiction, fantasy, science fiction, thriller and mainstream books, such as Julia Knight’s wonderful pirate fantasy Ten Ruby Trick and Robert Appleton’s upcoming SF novel Sparks in Cosmic Dust (September 2011). Megan Hart’s Exit Light, a brilliant mainstream novel, was one of our launch titles. Shirley Wells’s Presumed Dead, A Dylan Scott mystery, was released digitally in July 2010, as an audiobook in October, and in print as part of Harlequin’s Direct to Consumer reader service program in April, 2011.
10. Bigger can be better. Carina Press is an imprint of a much larger publisher than any I’ve worked with before. And the large pub in question is a traditional print publisher. Although Carina has a wholly separate editorial team, its book production, ecommerce site, marketing and contracts are handled by Harlequin staff. A larger corporation means more paperwork. More structure. More meetings. More decision makers. And lots and lots of experience, expertise, resources and support.
11. One hell of a team. Although the Carina Press editors are freelance, we’ve formed strong bonds through our loops, virtual networking and conference calls. We support each other, sharing tips, offering encouragement and celebrating successes.
12. Gorgeous Cover Art. Some of my projects’ covers are so fabulous, I’ve gasped when I first opened the files. But don’t take my word for it, just browse our ebookstore!
To celebrate Carina’s one year anniversary of publishing books, we’re giving away some prizes. Today, on each of the nineteen blogs our team members are featured on, we’re giving away a download of a Carina Press book to one random winner (that’s nineteen total winners!) All you need to do to be entered to win is comment on this post. You can enter to win on all nineteen posts. In addition, on the Carina Press blog, we’re giving away a grand prize of a Kobo ereader and 12 Carina Press books of the winner’s choice. Visit the Carina Press blog to enter to win, and to see links to all 19 of today’s blog posts.
And a sincere thank you from all of us, to our readers and authors, for making Carina Press’s first year a success!