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23 November 2009 @ 08:10 pm
first e-books, now vanity publishing  

Last week (the week before? very recently, anyway), Harlequin Books–the parent company which publishes my Walker Papers novels–decided to try to take a chunk out of Ellora’s Cave profits and open Carina Press, an e-book-only press for…well. Smut*.

This past week, Harlequin has decided to jump on the vanity press wagon. They’ll edit and publish your book for the bargain price of something like $6K, and then they’ll take 50% of the royalties on a book that’ll never go into the bookstores. I could rant, but author Jackie Kessler does it so well I’ll just link to her, and then follows up with Harlequin’s response after the Romance Writers of America said, “Sorry, we can no longer consider Harlequin a legitimate publisher,” and the Science Fiction Writers of America and the Mystery Writers of America echoed them. Anyway, it’s a big mess and I’m absolutely agog that somebody thought it was a good idea**.

*Don’t get me wrong. Smut sells fantastically in e-book form. I’m in no way slamming it. If I were going to write erotica I’d almost certainly look at Ellora’s Cave as the first market. I’m just sayin’ that’s basically what they’re looking to sell.

**I really can’t actually believe anybody at Harlequin *did* think it was a good idea. Apparently HQN’s parent company needs money, and I can see somebody at *that* level deciding it was a good idea, but holy beans.

(x-posted from the essential kit)
nuj on November 24th, 2009 01:13 am (UTC)
I want to gently correct your assertion that Carina Press seeks to publish smut.

Officially, they say "We expect to publish a majority of romance and erotic romance but are also very interested in women’s fiction, science fiction, fantasy, futuristic, mystery, thrillers, horror, and niches. If you have something new and fresh we would be happy to read your story!"

Most of romance is not erotic, and combining everything, I'd say they seek to publish fiction. :)
kitmizkit on November 24th, 2009 07:20 am (UTC)
Yes, that's their line, but I'm pretty sure what they're aiming at is mostly smut. Like I said, this isn't meant to be a judgement call; it's just what I suspect their motive is. Ellora's Cave, if you read their guidelines, say virtually identical things.
nm_evilednm_eviled on November 27th, 2009 01:52 am (UTC)
Actually, Ellora's Cave is an erotic-only publisher so they're publishing exactly what they've always intended to publish. Carina Press plans to do an array of genres, including some erotic romance but not only. To date, our submissions have actually been weighted quite heavily away from erotic romance, actually! I'm happy to answer other questions about Carina Press if you have any.

Angela James
Executive Editor, Carina Press