Happy First Anniversary, Carina Press! (contests, announcements, and nostalgia!)

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Remember this? When we started the 40 day countdown to Carina Press in the spring of 2010? That was over a year ago!

As unbelievable as it seems to me, today is our one year anniversary of publishing books. I know it’s not just unbelievable to me, but to many others as well. In fact, I received an “anniversary” gift and when my daughter asked what it was for, I told her it was to celebrate one year of publishing books. My husband did a doubletake and said “What? Already? It’s already been a year? It seems like…like just a few months.” Many of us are united in feeling like this year has gone impossibly fast.

But yes, a year ago today, June 7th, Carina Press opened its virtual doors with the first ten of thirty-seven launch titles we acquired, edited, blurbed and packaged within a 6 month time period in time for our launch month.

I definitely cannot say the past year has been easy, despite the fact that it’s seemed to have gone quickly. It’s been a tremendous amount of hard work, long hours and (for me) lots (and lots) of travel. My airmiles have exploded since I took this job! But I can say it’s been absolutely exhilarating, and even in the times that aren’t fun, always interesting and never, ever boring.

I think, because we’re an imprint of Harlequin, yet using a digital-first business model, with a smaller, more intimate team feel (something we purposely tried to achieve) that the bar was set high for us. Expectations from authors and readers were that we’d do everything well. Those were large shoes to fill. I’d like to think we did a pretty darn fine job at it. Did we stumble? Absolutely. We’ve never pretended to be perfect, to get it right the first time, or to be able to make everyone happy. But I think that’s okay, because being perfect is impossible, and pretending we’re perfect would be disingenuous. Yet though perfection is unattainable, we achieved our goals and we can’t ask for more than that. We had a variety of goals, including those of starting out strong, publishing books that were stories readers not only wanted to read, but that we loved and wanted to read, and of creating a team of Harlequin employees and freelancers who were supportive, enthusiastic and believed in this imprint. Check, check and check.

(psss, here comes the announcement) Not only did we achieve our goals, but the last year of publishing books has brought us such amazing feedback, loyal customers, positive reviews and an incredible group of authors that I feel like it’s going to be hard to top. Oh, and not only did we do all that? But we did just a bit more. We’ve always told everyone Carina is digital-first–not just in the release of books in digital format first, but in our thinking. We’re always thinking first of how we can make Carina Press a great digital press. But, as many of you know, we also take other rights in our contracts, including print, audio, and translation. In the past year, we’ve often been asked: when will you utilize XYZ rights? (I think expectations were high because we’re a Harlequin connection) Partly we’ve said: we’ve only been publishing digital books for a few months, give us time! Partly we said: we’re focusing on digital, because Harlequin already does those other things well and now we’re really trying to grow digital.

Yet, despite those answers, from the month after our launch, we’ve been utilizing audio rights via our partner, Audible.com. At least half of our titles go to audio. Then, last fall we announced the first batch of print rights being utilized via our DTC program. Today I’m happy to announce that two more of the titles, Sea of Suspicion by Toni Anderson and The Paris Secret by Angela Henry have been selected for the DTC program, and more titles are under consideration. A few months ago we announced that Shannon Stacey’s trilogy will go to print via the HQN imprint. We may not be going gangbusters on the print versions, but we’re definitely exploring our options as we go along, showing that we’re always thinking about how we might utilize those rights.

But that last one, translation rights, until today I’ve had to say “we’re working on it”. But I’m tickled to tell you that last week we sold our first translation rights, to a publisher in Thailand, for Marie Force’s first two Fatal books, Fatal Affair and Fatal Justice. Happy anniversary to us and congratulations to Marie! Now we really feel like we accomplished a heck of a lot in the last year. And I think I can confidently say, this is just the beginning.

Although I decided that this blog post was too long already, to list all of the things I’ve learned over the past year (and if you’re curious what those are, you can read about them on Nadia’s blog today in our anniversary blog tour!) there’s one thing that was so important, I had to make sure I shared it here: I’ve learned that I love (adore) working for Harlequin. They’re good to me and they’re supportive of Carina Press. In fact, two people kind of key (tongue in cheek) to Harlequin and Harlequin digital leadership sent along a few notes for me to share, and you can see just what I mean by supportive.

First, from the Harlequin digital team’s boss, Brent Lewis, Executive VP of Digital:

Wow, a year! Happy Anniversary Carina Press!

First and foremost I would like to thank all the readers of Carina Press books and authors who have published with Carina Press; it is only a name without you. Thank you for sharing our vision of an exciting new way to share great stories.

There have been so many exciting moments in the last year, from the first moment Carina Press books were available on the Carina Press site and all the great retail partners we work with, the success of the business – both in sales and with authors, deciding how to unveil Carina Press at conferences, having Audible.com create numerous digital audio works, putting a number of titles into print and on and on.

These are all wonderful milestones; however two things stand out for me over the past year. The first is the passion, commitment and purpose of all the people who touch Carina Press. Everyone believes so strongly in Carina Press and this level of enthusiasm has not dropped one iota in the last year, in fact as we plan for the next year and the year after that, it becomes even stronger. The second is the notes of gratitude received from authors. Angela always passes these on, each one is so important, they inspire all the Carina Press team in a way no other means can.

Finally I would like to congratulate and thank Angela James. We are so fortunate to have a passionate, inspiring and really smart person at the helm of Carina Press. I honestly don’t think she slept for the first six months of Carina Press and racks up air mile after air mile in the name of Carina Press. It is always a highlight in my week when I have a weekly status call with Angela and team; it’s a lot of fun!

Happy Anniversary Carina.

And from Donna Hayes, Harlequin CEO:

Carina  Press is one year old and we couldn’t be happier with it!  Angela James has done ground-breaking work with this new imprint and business model and is helping to lead Harlequin’s vision of the future.  Congratulations to Angela, to all of the amazing Carina authors and the whole Carina team.

In honor of our first anniversary celebration, the Carina Press team is doing a whirlwind blog tour on some of our authors’ blogs (twenty blogs, to be exact). On each blog, leave a comment and be entered to win a download of a Carina Press book. You can enter on every blog (a list of all of the blogs we’re on today is listed after the cut). Everyone is eligible to win (well, except Harlequin staff. Sorry!)

Here on the Carina blog, we’re offering a grand prize of a Kobo ereader (the original model) and 12 Carina Press digital titles. All you need to do to be entered to win is comment below. We will ship internationally. Legal rules and details are here, if you want some dry reading. The grand prize is valued at approximately $160. If you’re reading this and not employed by Harlequin or living with someone who is, you’re eligible!

Thank you again, all of you, for making the past year wonderful, exciting, exhilarating, fun and, most of all, successful. I hope you’ll stick around for another year!

~Angela

Visit these blogs for a chance to win a Carina Press download, and to read some thoughts about the past year from these team members:

Susanna Fraser hosts Mallory Braus

Christine D’Abo hosts Alissa Davis

Joely Sue Burkhart hosts Gina Bernal

Maria Zannini hosts Melissa Johnson

Marie Force hosts Denise Nielsen

Angela James (that’s me!) hosts Rhonda Stapleton

Lauren Dane hosts Deb Nemeth

Inez Kelley hosts Malle Vallik

Word Whores hosts Aideen O’Leary-Chung

Shannon Stacey hosts Eleanor Elliott

Jaci Burton hosts Jenny Bullough

Shirley Wells hosts Tara Stevens

Keri Stevens hosts Amy Wilkins

Cindy Spencer Pape hosts Jayne Hoogenberk

Fiona Lowe hosts Stephanie Doig

Bonnie R. Paulson hosts Piya Campana

International Heat hosts Angela Hill

Karen Erickson hosts Lora Jaggassar

Natalie Damschroder hosts Dana Grimaldi

Nadia Lee hosts me!

Comments

  1. Happy Anniversary, Carina Press! You are QUICKLY becoming one of my favorite publishers. Keep up the incredible work!! smiles…

  2. Happy birthday! Can’t believe it’s been a year… feels like months that I sent off “lion of Kent” and met Deborah Nemeth (and the other awesome people).

    To any, many, MANY more birthdays!

  3. Happy Birthday Carina Press. you have published some of my favourite authors and some who have beome favourites. BUT your productions are also amongst, if not the best, for editing, lack of blank pages etc and I love being able to preorder.

    So thanks and keep up the good work.

  4. Happy One Year!

    I only found Carina Press recently but you are quickly working up to being a favorite publisher – one of the publishers whose books I read without question or fail because I know they’ll be fantastic.

    Here’s to many more years!

  5. Happy Birthday!!! Here’s to many more happy years for all of us.

  6. Today is a happy day for me. I am so proud to be amongst the ranks of such talented authors at Carina Press. Happy Anniversary to you! I look forward to many wonderful years ahead.

  7. Happy Birthday, Carina Press! I’m so proud to have been part of the launch year. The entire team is amazing to work with, and I can’t wait to see what the next year will bring!

  8. Wow, congrats! A year already! And I’m sure the years to come will bring even MORE great achievements!

  9. Happy, Happy anniversary!!! I am so pround I’m able to tell people I’m published with the best digital-first publisher in the business. They took a chance on my debut manuscript, Desperate Choices, and I couldn’t be happier with the overall experience.

    Thanks to Angela and the entire Carina Press and Harlequin team for their outstanding work this last year. May we see many more exciting things to come.

  10. Happy Anniversary!!! I so enjoy all the books I have read so far….found you thru several of my fav authors write and release for you!! keep them coming and i will keep coming back!

  11. Happy anniversary, Carina! I’m so proud to be a member of the author team. It’s been a fantastic ride, so thank you.

  12. I love being a Carina Author. Every single person I’ve come into contact with here has been efficient, creative, helpful, professional and pleasant. You all keep giving me a Carly Simon earworm, because nobody does it better. The months I spent working on my book with my editor and people in the marketing and administrative departments were simply the happiest time of my writing career so far.

    Thank you, everyone at Carina! Happy Anniversary!

  13. Thank you for a year of variety. I also appreciate the free downloads. Wishing you many more successful years.

  14. Happy Anniversary Carina Press, it was about a little over a year ago I started reading romance and digging into the online romance community and love every minute of it.

  15. Happy Anniversary, Carina Press!

    I’ve had an awesome year and am so proud to be published by the best there is. I’ve met so many wonderful people – Carina team members and authors – and I’ve loved every second it. Many thanks to all involved at Carina Press and Harlequin. Here’s to many, many more successful years!

  16. Happy Anniversary! I can’t believe it’s already been a year, so far I’ve enjoyed all of the books that I’ve purchased from Carina and I’m very happy with your success. Congratulations on the audible and print conversions!

  17. Congratulations! I remember when you started and I didn’t who or what Carina Press even was. Now I visit your store much too often! Way to go!

  18. Yay! Congrats on the first year. And hope there will be many more to come.

  19. Congratulations to Angela and the entire Carina Press team for a successful first year in business. I have been impressed by the quality of the books you have released. I wish you many more years of success. I look forward to all of the new releases from Carina Press!

  20. What a wonderful year. This is how I first discovered the eBook. Fabulous job and great titles. Congratulations.

  21. well done Carina P, happy first anniversary. It seems like only yesterday you burst into the world of e-books!
    Fresh, lively and enthusiastic, CP is a wonderful concept beautifully realised.

  22. Happy anniversary! Seems like it was just yesterday that I was reading the announcement about Carina Press. And now I’m a Carina Press author! Congratulations and a big THANK YOU to Angela and all the members of the Carina Press team for all their hard work ; ).

  23. Congratulations! I can’t believe it’s only a year. I hope to be part of your author collection one day. In the meantime, I’ll keep enjoying the steam!

  24. Congratulations Carina! Thanks Angela for sharing all those exciting achievements. I’m raising a glass of cyber bubbly in celebration :)

  25. Congratulations on your great success! May many more years follow.

    PS, thanks for the wonderful prize opportunities!

  26. Happy Anniversary Carina Press. I hope you have many more years of great books.

  27. Happy Anniversary! And thank you for bringing me Keri Stevens’ Stone Kissed!

  28. I love your stuff and am amazed it’s only a year. Never thought I’d be an eBook fan but here I am now addicted. Congratulations.

  29. Happy Birthday!
    I love your site and have purchased over 20 books so far and will continue to be a big fan & supporter.
    Great Job.

  30. You know, they say that the first 365 days can be some of the most challenging. So, when you make it you can truly celebrate!!! Many more to come!!!

  31. Happy Anniversary, Carina! It’s a great place to be! A huge thank you to Angela and the whole Carina team! :) Here’s to many, many more successful years…!

  32. It seemed like it was only a week ago Angela was calling me up and letting me know I was going to be one of the launch authors.

    It’s been a huge year. Happy Anniversary, Carina Press! Thank you for letting me be a part of the Carina family. :-)

  33. congrats to Carina! And too many more successful years!

  34. Happy Anniversary and I hope it’s just the first of many! I’ve read many of your books this past year and was always delighted by them and by the fact that you really are doing what you set out to – making sure great stories get told!

    It’s been fun following Carina Press along in it’s first year and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.

  35. Wow, one year already! Congratulations, and here’s to many more!

  36. I love Carina! They have some of the best stories. I can’t even count how many new authors I picked up this year, thanks to Carina. Happy Anniversary!

  37. Congratulations and Happy Anniversary! Wishing the entire Carina team much happiness and continued success!

  38. I’m so proud to be part of Carina Press! Harlequin was so smart and forward-thinking, launching this project over a year ago. Enjoy your celebration day – you all deserve it!

  39. Happy Anniversary, Carina Press! It’s been great experience to be included, and I can’t wait to see what the 2nd year brings us all.

  40. Happy Anniversary! And here’s to many more!

  41. Congratulations on hitting this important milestone. With its high-quality releases, Carina Press is a gift to both readers and writers!

  42. Happy Anniversary to Carina! This year & the upcoming years will be amazing!

  43. Happy Anniversary Carina Press!

  44. Happy Anniversary!! How exciting. I was excited to meet some of you at Romantic Times in Los Angeles. Learned so much.

    Congratulations to all!

  45. Congrats on the first anniversary and hope you have many more to come! I love Carina books. Congrats on all the goals accomplished this year!

  46. Happy anniversary! Keep up the good work!

  47. Happy anniversary, Carina Press! Congrats on building such an excellent ebookstore and bringing terrific authors’ works to us – I know I appreciate it (even if my credit card doesn’t).

  48. Happy Anniversary!!! I’m so glad you are here. You’ve brought me some great stories that I have been able to review for Night Owl Romance. You’ve introduced me to some new authors, to me, and a few of them have made their way to my must buy list. For such a short period of time, you’ve made a big impact. Again, happy anniversary.

  49. Happy anniversary! Your approach and appreciation for readers is refreshing and welcome :)

  50. Congrats on the anniversary! I’ve definitely enjoyed plenty of Carina boos during the last year. :)

  51. Wow – happy anniversary! I can’t believe this year has gone so quickly. I remember being excited for the launch and now I’m excited because you’re making the company bigger and better all the time. I hope the next year is even more successfull for Carina :D

  52. Wow–Happy Birthday, Carina Press! I guess I can go public with my book going to print, huh? And congrats to Angela Henry and Marie Force!
    Fantastic first year. Thank you!

  53. Congratulations on a successful first year! Happy Anniversary..and may there be many many more.

  54. It sure has been a quick first year, Angie! Congratulations to you and to Carina Press! Looking forward to many more years and many more stories!

  55. Wow. Doesn’t seem that long. Congratulations. I’d better get busier on that manuscript I want to submit.

  56. Happy anniversary to everyone on the Carina team. It’s been a pleasure to work with all of you this year! And yippeee on the foreign sale for Fatal Affair and Fatal Justice! Thank you! :-)

  57. Happy anniversary! Love your books. :)

  58. Congratulations to Carina Press and all the staff. Creating Carina and hiring Angela to head the team was one of the smartest moves Harlequin ever made. I love your books, and your authors. Many, many happy returns.

  59. Happy anniversary to us!! WOOHOO!

  60. What a great prize. Definitely count me in and congrats on one successful year.

  61. Happy Birthday Carina Press! Such an exciting adventure in the world of publishing! Thanks for bringing ebooks to the forefront!

  62. Happy first anniversary Carina Press!

  63. Congratulations, Angela & team.
    I’ve enjoyed all of the Carina books that I’ve bought and can’t wait for my next purchase – which will be the new Shannon Stacey “Yours to Keep”.

  64. Congratulation to Carina Press on a wonderful and successful first year! I have been delighted to part of that year as a Carina author. Here’s to many more years and many more great titles.

  65. congrats to everyone on the successful completion of year 1!

  66. Happy Anniversary! Wishing you success on your next year!

  67. Happy first anniversary Carina Press! How exciting! I hope you have many more anniversaries in the yrs. to come. :)

  68. Happy Anniversary! May the next year be even more successful and exciting :-)

  69. Happy Anniversary! Can’t believe it’s a been a year. I’m so glad I’ve been able to remain a part of it all, though I do miss those acquisition meetings many of you blogged about ;)

  70. Congratulations and happy anniversary! I’m very excited for you, and can’t wait to see more from you!

  71. Happy anniversary, Carina Press -and awesome news on the Thai translations! Yay Marie – I love her books :D

  72. Happy 1st Anniversary. Thank you for the chance at your generous giveaway.

  73. Happy birthday, Carina Press!

    I’ve read some fantastic stories from Carina Press authors this last year. I look forward to the many amazing stories I’ll read in the year to come!

    Renee Rearden

  74. Congratulations to Angela, the Carina Press team, and the Carina authors. Their hard work and uncompromising standards make for good reading no matter what genre.

    Angela’s drive, good humor, and dedication is inspirational. And I love her shoes!

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