Now that the launch of Carina Press is here, I wanted to thank the members of the acquisition team who helped make our ambitious plan (create and launch a publishing imprint in less than 9 months) come to life.
Every person on the acquisition team already had a full-time, busy job at Harlequin, but once they were “drafted” onto the acquisitions team they really delivered – and then they took on more! Not only did we read and debate recommended editorial acquisitions – always on a week turnaround – but also provided input to the cover images and then wrote the back cover copy! Many a person who had never before written marketing copy suddenly found themself volunteered – and reading their copy aloud to the group for critique. This could have been daunting, and I’m sure it was, but because we had created a collaborate team, it all worked brilliantly.
Many many thanks to the acquisitions team, listed alphabetically:
Jenny Bullough: Jenny has worked as an editor at a textbook publisher and with the eHarlequin.com team on online content and therefore brought an experienced editorial eye to our acquisitions. She’s also someone who has never credited herself with writing strong copy but she’s been tacking some of our most challenging titles and capturing the story’s unique sensibility. And as much as I appreciated her excellent editorial skills, Jenny is also our Production/Managing Editor. She creates the production schedule and then ensures that we keep to it. (Angela called her mean, in a nice way, but I consider Jenny absolutely essential.) When our launch books had to be delivered three weeks earlier than our schedule, because of a needed backend test, Jenny took a deep breath and said no problem. That ongoing spirit of “yeah, that’s a challenge, but let me figure it out” is what has made the launch of Carina Press possible.
Eleanor Elliott: Other than being my co-captain in the development of Carina Press, Eleanor brought a much-needed commerce/marketing sensibility to the team, along with a very strong sense of story. She was always very clear in her thoughts about a book and always asked if the book being discussed was true to Carina’s mission statement: Where no great story goes untold. Of course, Eleanor was also the force behind creating the beautiful and easy-to-use Carina Press commerce site. She, too, overcame endless obstacles and helped push the team along to meet our goals.
Angela James: Internally, whenever we presented the status of Carina Press and the number of acquisitions we had made, we always said that Angela was the best acquisition we made. And she was. None of this could have happened as well or as smartly if Angela had not been our Executive Editor. Her passion, creativity, smarts, desire to build a successful imprint were integral. She was also not afraid to occasionally tell us back at head office that we were crazy.
Andrea Kerr: Andrea is a member of Harlequin’s editorial department and works on the Harlequin website’s original content. She is also the editor for a few or our Carina Press authors. Andrea always has a strong editorial perspective and is a brilliant copywriter – she always volunteers to take on any needed copy. She loves historical romances and brings a strong editorial voice to our acquisition meetings.
Emily Mathisen: Sadly, last Tuesday was Emily’s last acquisition meeting as she is moving to Vancouver. However, we were all delighted she stayed with us through launch as she always brought a unique point of view to our acquisition process. Emily has worked on Harlequin’s online merchandising team and knows all about how well cowboys, babies and sheiks sell for Harlequin. But she, too, embraced Carina’s broad range of editorial and was the most passionate advocate for Megan Hart’s NO EXIT, a work of speculative fiction. We will miss Emily.
Aideen O’Leary-Chung: Aideen was another person involved from day one of Carina Press, when we called it “Digital Publishing House” project. She’s been absolutely integral along the way. Plus she’s just awesome as a person. In acquisitions she tells us why or why not she likes a book and how she imagines the general public will respond. She always brings a strong marketing point of view and often reminds us that we should be looking for a particular kind of book (ex. Christmas). Aideen has been responsible for the creation of all our beautiful covers and our marketing plans including the cool swag we’ve given out at writers conferences.
Tara Stevens : Tara seems deceptively quiet, but she’s got a quiet passion about books. Tara loves all genres and brings her love of literature to our acquisition meetings, catching an author’s nuances and details that others might miss. She’s been a real quick study in writing cover copy and marketing plans. She’s been finding all kinds of interesting Internet places for us to advertise Carina Press. She lived in Ireland for several years where she co-hosted a radio show – not so quiet after all!
Amy Wilkins: Amy works in digital content and social media – if you follow our Harlequin twitter or the Presents blog you are listening to Amy. Amy comes from a publishing background (one of her parents is a writer) and she decided to work in digital publishing because it is the future and moves quickly. Amy has strong editorial skills, copywriting, etc. but she also makes sure our manuscripts become ebooks! She’s also able to marshal a small army of freelancers at a moment’s notice if we have to rush something through the process.
Over and over again we hit various hurdles and not once did anyone say it couldn’t be done. Instead, everyone worked on solutions. The result was a launch that happened on the day we planned!
Once again, thank you all!