Harlequin Books
Thoughts on the Treasures of Working in Digital Publishing

By Lindsey Magee, Production Coordinator of Digital & Internet

 

The digital team last summer (Victoria, Emma, Lindsey, and Brendan) reading some of the Treasury books!

If there is one piece of advice I could give people considering joining the digital aspect of publishing, it would be this: prepare to buckle your seatbelt, because you are in for a wild and glorious ride.

Back when I was a wee and innocent thing I was brought on to the Harlequin team to help out on a little project known as Treasury, where we digitized (give or take) 3,000 backlist books. And let me tell you, you have not lived until you have typed up the back covers of thousands of 90s-tastic romance novels. If only words could express the gems we rediscovered. So many marriages of convenience, so many cases of amnesia…

Since that time, I have become fully enmeshed in the digital world. It is fast, it is furious, it is constantly evolving, and we must constantly evolve with it. But it is a challenge I happily face every day, if only for the chance to dive into the archives yet again and dig up such beauties as Operation: Gigolo and Single, Sexy…Sold!

Halloween Hi-Jinks at Harlequin

by Jenny Bullough, Manager of Digital Content

 

One of the things I like best about working at Harlequin is that while we work very hard, we also play hard. As evidence, here are a few snapshots from the company’s annual Costume Contest:

Even the senior executives get into the fun!

Whole departments dress on a theme – such as, the entire cast of The Princess Bride:

And others do very well on their own, with individual costumes:

There’s also an annual Pumpkin Carving contest. Here are a few of the marvelously creative displays:

 

Someone putting the finishing touches on a zombie-themed display:

What do veggies fear most? Vegans, of course!

Aren’t these Little Miss/Mr  Men pumpkins adorable?

And it wouldn’t be Harlequin without a secret pumpkin baby:

On Being a Man in the World of Women’s Publishing

by Brendan Flattery, Production Coordinator of Digital & Internet

Sometimes I get funny looks when I tell people, with pride, that I work for Harlequin. More than once I’ve been asked “do many men work there?” or “what’s that like?” I’ve also been asked if I’ll be appearing on any covers, or if I get to wear puffy shirts to work, and I’ve heard the name Fabio more times than I can count since starting here last winter.

Truth be told, I can count the number of men in my department on one hand, myself and the VP included. Sometimes the women around me assume that, as a guy, I have no interest in their talk of shoes, handbags, giving birth, etc., and often it’s true. But then I’ll remind them that I like to bake, or that I helped planned my own wedding (including hand-making invitations). However, it’s also true that I work with a great group of competent, smart people and so it’s a lot like working anywhere else. Except better.

Picture: Brendan strategizes with Victoria, Emma and Lindsey.

Why working at Harlequin ROCKS

“Spice Briefs art meetings! The editorial summaries are priceless. ‘This is a pretty straight-forward Werecat threesome story…’” —Katharine Fournier, Marketing Coordinator, Single Title

“The best thing about working at Harlequin is…1) Being able to stare at bare chested men and say it’s your job! 2) Having meetings where sentences like ‘I think he’s shirt needs to be open more’ are common. 3) Knowing cowboys will never go out of style!”

Melissa Anthony, Marketing Coordinator, Series

“Working with such wonderful people on books we really believe in. Also summer hours.” —Stephanie Doig, Copy Editor

“The free books are nice, and the constant parade of sweet treats is a bonus, but in all honesty the best thing about working at Harlequin is the fact that I get to work every day with a group of talented, dedicated, nice, fun people who are as passionate about books as I am!” — Jenny Bullough, Manager, Digital Content

“I love the squeeees when I send Carina Press authors copies of their book for the first time!” —Emma Cunningham, Production Coordinator, Digital & Internet

Free books! Need I say more?!” —Melanie Dulos, Sr. Public Relations Manager

 “FREE BOOKS! Between the boxes of books in the hallway and all the Carina Press manuscripts on the shared drive, I always have all the reading material I need - print and ebook. What could be better than that?” —Angela Hill, Assistant Manager, eNewsletters Programs

"It’s a pretty big thrill to get to read manuscripts before they’re published. I copy edit online reads before they’re posted on Harlequin.com, which means that while everyone else has to wait until the next day or week to find out what happens next, I get to find out right away." — Dana Grimaldi, Copy Editor

Baby Harlequin, the daughter of peregrine falcon’s Quest and Kendal, had her banding ceremony on Tuesday. Here is a photo taken by Jayne at the event!

Baby Harlequin, the daughter of peregrine falcon’s Quest and Kendal, had her banding ceremony on Tuesday. Here is a photo taken by Jayne at the event!

What Does an Editor Do?
by HQN Associate Editor Emily Ohanjanians
You may imagine an editor spends her day poring over manuscripts, stepping back to suggest large-scale story revisions, then honing in for a closer look as she marks up the pages line-by-line, improving the flow of a paragraph or removing a redundant sentence. And you’re not wrong—editors do do all that—but it’s a surprisingly small part of the everyday job. A lot of what the editor does—here, at least—is act as a liaison between the author/agent and the publisher. From scouring the ever-growing pile of unsolicited manuscripts for one that stands out, the editor becomes the advocate for that diamond-in-the-rough book. She pushes for it to be contracted, she “sells” the work in-house and tries to get people excited about it, she works with the production team to get the manuscript ready in time for the publication deadline, with the art team as they design the best packaging, with the marketing and PR teams to ensure the book has its best chance out in the market. All the while she is talking to the agent about contract details, and to the author about publication schedules, marketing opportunities, future books, career trajectory, and the list goes on. She’s writing copy for the back cover and blurbs for book-club brochures, she’s sending the manuscript out for endorsements, she’s suggesting promotional exploits the author can try and helping out in any way she can.
It can be a lot of work but it can also be immensely gratifying. I will never forget the first review I read for a book that I had championed out of the “slush pile”. It was stellar, and I felt like a proud mother whose child had won an award. Just the other day, one of the authors I pushed for got an interview with the Huffington Post (a huge feat!) and I read it with glistening eyes, all the while thinking of the champagne I was going to uncork that night. Moments like that make me unable to imagine doing anything else.
*“The Editor” is referred to as “she” throughout the above post…of course, we know not all editors are women. :)
The top shelf contains some authors’s books that Emily has worked with, and the second shelf some MIRA reissues.

What Does an Editor Do?

by HQN Associate Editor Emily Ohanjanians

You may imagine an editor spends her day poring over manuscripts, stepping back to suggest large-scale story revisions, then honing in for a closer look as she marks up the pages line-by-line, improving the flow of a paragraph or removing a redundant sentence. And you’re not wrong—editors do do all that—but it’s a surprisingly small part of the everyday job. A lot of what the editor does—here, at least—is act as a liaison between the author/agent and the publisher. From scouring the ever-growing pile of unsolicited manuscripts for one that stands out, the editor becomes the advocate for that diamond-in-the-rough book. She pushes for it to be contracted, she “sells” the work in-house and tries to get people excited about it, she works with the production team to get the manuscript ready in time for the publication deadline, with the art team as they design the best packaging, with the marketing and PR teams to ensure the book has its best chance out in the market. All the while she is talking to the agent about contract details, and to the author about publication schedules, marketing opportunities, future books, career trajectory, and the list goes on. She’s writing copy for the back cover and blurbs for book-club brochures, she’s sending the manuscript out for endorsements, she’s suggesting promotional exploits the author can try and helping out in any way she can.

It can be a lot of work but it can also be immensely gratifying. I will never forget the first review I read for a book that I had championed out of the “slush pile”. It was stellar, and I felt like a proud mother whose child had won an award. Just the other day, one of the authors I pushed for got an interview with the Huffington Post (a huge feat!) and I read it with glistening eyes, all the while thinking of the champagne I was going to uncork that night. Moments like that make me unable to imagine doing anything else.

*“The Editor” is referred to as “she” throughout the above post…of course, we know not all editors are women. :)

The top shelf contains some authors’s books that Emily has worked with, and the second shelf some MIRA reissues.

Speed Date with shiny new digital team member Larissa Walker!

Name: Larissa Walker     
Position at Harlequin: Manager, Social Media
Last position held: Team Lead, Social Media and Canadian Tire
One social media tips for newbie authors: Leverage your personal network to spread the word!
One social media tip for established authors: Be authentic. Don’t outsource your voice.
Where do you hang out on the internet? Facebook, Twitter, reddit, Hunch.com, Last.fm, YouTube

Twitter: @walkerlarissa
Linkedin: http://ca.linkedin.com/in/larissawalker
(Emma’s note: The idea to do a Speed Date profile to introduce you to our newest team member was totally ripped off from Jessica at BookEnds LLC)

Speed Date with shiny new digital team member Larissa Walker!

Name: Larissa Walker    

Position at Harlequin: Manager, Social Media

Last position held: Team Lead, Social Media and Canadian Tire

One social media tips for newbie authors: Leverage your personal network to spread the word!

One social media tip for established authors: Be authentic. Don’t outsource your voice.

Where do you hang out on the internet? Facebook, Twitter, reddit, Hunch.com, Last.fm, YouTube

Twitter: @walkerlarissa

Linkedin: http://ca.linkedin.com/in/larissawalker

(Emma’s note: The idea to do a Speed Date profile to introduce you to our newest team member was totally ripped off from Jessica at BookEnds LLC)

A sneak peak into cover artist Frauke Spanuth’s process!

Cover art featured here is The Sevenfold Spell by Tia Nevitt!

Amy, Jayne and I headed down to the recording studio to chat about Lori Foster’s new romantic suspense series, Men Who Walk on the Edge of Honor, Kady Cross’s new steampunk novel, The Girl in the Steel Corset, and the second novel - Lassoed - in BJ Daniel’s new Intrigue series, Chisholm Cattle Company.

 You can listen to the episode here!

Things I didn’t know before working at Harlequin

As a new Harlequin employee, I’ll admit that I didn’t know much about the company or its publishing program before I started working here. I knew we publish romance novels, but I didn’t really know much more than that. Here are few things I’ve discovered since I started:

♦ The ABCs of Romance:

  • Amnesia—I really had no idea how common it is for a woman to lose her memory on her wedding night.
  • Bodyguards, bachelors, and babies on the doorstep…oh my!—our readers love ’em, and that’s just fine with us.
  • Cowboys…. Enough said.

♦ The meaning of the terms “confirmed bachelor” and “marriage of convenience.”

♦ Just how many Greek tycoons are out there.

In all seriousness, I was pleasantly surprised by the breadth of the program, and the diversity in the single title and digital-first lines. As well, I found myself within a dedicated, fun-loving, and hard-working group of people that are embracing head-on all of the changes happening in the industry, and who have made me feel truly welcome.