Happy Friday my Friends! Today, I’m super excited to celebrate the first Year Anniversary of Harlequin ESCAPE Publishing a pretty new imprint with some amazing books!
I have the pleasure hosting Escape Publishing First Lady, Kate Cuthbert, (managing editor) here with a post on starting a digital imprint. Seriously, her post is inspiring and amazing, don’t miss it!
And of course, also don’t miss a Big Giveaway at the end!
The Journey Thus Far…
by Kate Cuthbert
Back when Harlequin approached me with their plans for a digital-first imprint, I was so excited to be part of their new initiative, and join the team that was synonymous with romance fiction. At the time, we had a vague idea about taking new risks in publishing – finding local and overseas authors that had great stories to tell that might not otherwise have found a home. They might be too different, too cross-genre, too niche. Publishing was (and still is!) undergoing massive changes, and so many books were not being published because they were too risky. We were in the mood to take a few risks.
We also wanted to take on the new digital world. We wanted to avoid DRM and geographical restrictions, to work within the new price points, and to see what we could do. And we wanted to do it all by creating a strong author community and a strong reader community that all understood our obsessive love of romance fiction.
It’s been a year. It’s been quite a year. And, honestly? It’s been a great year.
What I think is best, however, is that we haven’t realised all of our goals – but we have realised the important ones.
- We published a lot of titles – 98 in total in our first year, across all subgenres, lengths, and sensuality levels.
- We explored some niche – Science Fiction, in particular, has been a winner for us.
- We took some risks, and some of them have paid off – The Chieftain’s Curse, our best-selling title has a very unusual ending, but readers have really embraced it.
- We took some risks that will hopefully pay off in the long run, including some edgy, courageous YA and NA titles that push boundaries.
- We’ve built an amazing community of authors – the ‘Escape Artists’ that currently number 72 with more joining every day.
- We’ve opened our doors to authors from around the world, and have really benefited from the global perspective and diversity that an international community can bring.
I couldn’t be prouder of our first year, of our authors, our books, our covers, our coverage. Reviews have been positive, the reader reaction very strong. We have a backlist catalogue that truly offers something for everyone.
For me personally, the year has been about reading. With Escape’s two-week turnaround time on the initial three-chapter submission, I’ve got a lot on the go all the time, so my iPad and I are very, very close. But I get to read romance for a living, so you’re never going to hear me complain. Here are some things I’ve learned:
- Starting the narrative where the story starts – and then moving forward – is so important. The most common reason I reject a manuscript is because it doesn’t start at the right point (often it starts by explaining how the story came about, rather than where the story actually starts), or because it starts the narrative at the right point, but then kills any momentum by immediately (or lengthily) looking backwards.
- Chasing trends is a very tricky business, for two reasons: 1) Readers can tell if your book is inauthentic, and if you’re writing a book just to suit the current market, it’s likely to be inauthentic. 2) By the time you’ve chased a trend, that trend is normally over.
- Rules are made for breaking. I really, really, really thought I was completely over shifter romance until I read MA Grant’s Red Moon, and it blew me away with its polish, its dynamics, and its seriously sexy characters. Trends may come and go, but a good book is always a good book.
- Writing is pretty much the best way to get good at writing. Don’t be afraid to move on to something else. Not every book you write is destined for publication. Sometimes it’s just about learning the lesson that writing that book taught you.
So what now? More of everything – more books, more new authors, more figuring out how to carve ourselves a place in the digital landscape. But mostly, more risks and more great stories. I can’t wait to see what year 2 brings.
They have some really amazing sounding titles and below are some I’m truly looking forward reading myself! I absolutely love their concept!
This is a worldwide publisher
I absolutely love their concept!
“Our mission: To connect readers all around the world with the stories they want to read.We love romance, all romance, so when we imagined Escape Publishing, we imagined an imprint without restrictions, where romance readers can find the romance they want, in the style they want, at the length they want, whenever they want. In short, you want it – we’ve got it.If it’s science fiction, fantasy, contemporary, historical, erotic, gay romance, inspirational romance, urban fantasy, paranormal, or YA romance – or any mixture of the above, Escape Publishing’s got it. We offer all levels of sensuality from the sweetest kisses to the hottest encounters. We offer different lengths, from short stories through novellas to full length novels. Our novels are standalone, loosely connected, or part of an ongoing series.Escape Publishing is dedicated to bringing talented Australian voices to a global audience. All stories are DRM free, and available world-wide.” taken from “Escape Publishing” About Us
Thanks to Escape Publishing I have such an amazing Giveaway for you guys! See these amazing titles below? It’s a wonderful mixture of Young Adult and New Adult titles and…. there will be 5 winners for all 5 books! AWESOME, hu?