I Love My Publisher

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You hear a lot of complaints from authors about their publishers and you know? That's understandable.  My husband works for an amazing company, but there are days he wants to sit upper management down for "a talk". :)  The entities with so much control over our livelihoods are bound to inspire both positive and negative feelings at times. Right now?  I'm just truly loving Harlequin.

For such a behemoth company, they are incredibly innovative.  They're always trying new things, looking for ways to reach more readers and opening doors for their authors.  I'm sure you know they were the first major publisher to put their books out in digital format en masse.  And I'm betting you've heard of their new electronic only publishing venture, Carina Press.  But I wonder if you know about all the print alternatives they continue to provide beyond their regular lines and imprints.  The Manga versions of popular books and most recently their new venture - the Harlequin Showcase.  Showcase is a single title venture (shelved with all the romance books, not the Harlequin series) that brings back previously released series books in a 2-in-1 format for readers who missed the books the first time around.

 As an author, I'm thrilled by this new venture.  Why?  Because I get tons of letters weekly asking where readers can find my now out-of-print and often unavailable even in used venues Presents.  So, when I was told one such story, "The Sicilian's Marriage Arrangement" would be in the May launch, I was over the moon!  I have a lot of readers who have asked about this story and where to get it and now, it's availalble again in a 2-in-1 with Julia James' "The Greek's Virgin Bride."  How cool is that?
It's your turn:  if you could sit the publishers down and talk to them, what would you ask for as a reader?

Award winning author Lucy Monroe published her first book in September of 2003.  Since then she has sold more than 50 books to four publishers and hit national bestsellers lists in the US and England.  Whether it's a passionate Harlequin Presents, a sexy actiona adventure, or a steamy paranormal historical, Lucy's books transport her readers to a special place where the heart rules and love conquers all.   You can find Lucy on the web at: http://lucymonroe.com, http://www.lucymonroeblog.blogspot.com, and http://tiny.cc/0HRGW

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Publishers, here's the deal...

I'm mostly a happy reader, but sometimes...sometimes...yes, I would say that publishers need to listen to readers.

For one, and I'm not talking about Harlequin, but I would say that the covers should be as close to the story's couple as possible. Yes, they are pretty, but if the hero is a redhead, the cover model should be a redhead. And if the heroine has curly hair, the cover model shoudl have curly hair. Etc, etc.

I would also say that sometimes the headlining phrase can be misleading. And this pertains to a Harlequin book. I was reading this book when that headlining phrase on the back gave a misleading image of the heroine. Very bad for the person who thought of that. Very bad, indeed.

I'll just point out that I think it is the people in charge of a book who are in trouble for those mistakes, not the whole publishing company. But I wish they can proofread their drafts until it is 99% "perfect" (and I know that not every book is 100% perfect, due to the little errors that I see now and then...sad for me, because I focus on it and not be able to ignore it).

Sorry about the little rant, Lucy.

Rants are welcome. ;-)

Lucy Monroe's picture

Seriously, I've heard those same complaints from lots and lots of readers. I hate when a book comes out, I look at the cover and realise the shout line hasn't got a thing to do with my book. And yes, it's happened more than once. Some publishers give you input and some don't. I'm just very lucky I've mostly gotten great covers and cover copy. :) Thanks for sharing Era-Chan!

I hear you!

I hear you, Lucy. Sometimes those little things really bug us. Diana Palmer (who I adore) has a book called Maggie's Dad, it was part of the Celebration 1000 release in 1995. In it she made reference to Arizona having a 3 day waiting period to get married. There is no waiting period in Arizona. (Nor was there in '95) Since I've lived in Arizona the majority of my life it struck me odd and I kept wondering why is he waiting for 3 days. So here I am reading this intimate moment that is supposed to be a pinnacle in the book and I'm stuck on why do they have to wait 3 days? I have to wonder did NO ONE think to check the waiting period in AZ? Or was there something going on in those 3 days that was cut from the book? What, what was it? Otherwise, I loved the book and still have the original copy.

I am not saying that I'm a stickler by any means but when something does not make sense it detracts from the story. I bet Antonia (the main character) was wondering why they had to wait 3 days too. LOL

Waiting periods and other sticky details...

Lucy Monroe's picture

Valerie...isn't that odd? It happens...I don't want to mention a typo/error in one of my books that had my heroine going to the wrong country for the city she'd named. Aargh... For me, when something likes this happenes, it's because something just isn't clicking in my brain - and yes, I wish someone else proofing had caught it, but life goes on. When it comes to weddings and marriages, I always check local customs because every state is different. And not knowing the waiting period (or lack thereof) for a state within driving distance can be a problem too. LOL But sometimes, it is an editing error. I talked to Helen Bianchin about this once, when the copyeditors didn't make the redline changes she'd done fixing such an issue in a manuscript. Then reader letters come an what do you say? I fixed it, but somehow they missed that when putting together final proofs. It's a business full of people and people make mistakes, some less tolerable than others. ;-)

It is odd

That is true, Lucy, some are more tolerable than others. It certainly made the book stand out for me. My favorite is when someone, either author or editor, changes the name of a character and then randomly misses changing it in different parts of the book. Or once, a scene had the wrong characters paired up.

I totally get how hard it can be to see the mistake too. Just my experience writing term papers has taught me that at some point you know the words by heart and you can't even see what is actually written on the page any longer. Reading backwards doesn't work for me, it all becomes a blur. I guess will have to take our books with the foibles. ;0)

Mr. Publisher, tell me why!

Lady_Graeye's picture

I would like to know how or why a publisher can change or revise the title of a book when the author has chosen one of their own. I have heard other authors say that the publisher didn't like the title and they changed it.
Why are some books released in some book stores but not all? Does it have to do with contracts with the stores?

The Whys & Wherefores...

Lucy Monroe's picture

Hey, LadyG :) I can tell you they almost always change my titles and it's because they are the experts on marketing the product that ultimately is my book. I am not and sometimes, I guess my titles just aren't great for marketing. :)

As for being in some bookstores and not others? That is entirley up to the buyer for the particular bookstore. Wal-Mart picks up some of my titles, but not all. Same with Anderson-Levy (who stock stores like Fred Meyer, Krogers, etc.). If it were up to the publisher and/or author, every bookstore would carry their titles. :)

One of the authors that I

One of the authors that I read said once that her publisher would only release so many of her books in one series each year why? To me if they would release more it seems like hey would sell a lot more books.

Limits on series...

Lucy Monroe's picture

You'd think so, Sherry, but this falls under the law of diminishing returns. It's an age-old economic principle, but still holds true. While some readers would buy every single book, others would stop buying entirely because they can't keep up. The publisher and the author have to find the balance that would please most readers and not send the author running for her own padded cell because she's burned out writing in the same world all the time. :)

What would I ask for...

This is a tough question. I'm a pretty happy reader. I love the Showcase idea and what a great combo for you and Julia James.

I think the one thing I have noticed, that has been a little disappointing as a reader, is when an author comes out with a really great stand alone book and the secondary characters are crying out for their own books but the author can't pursue it because it's not part of the "direction" that Harlequin is going at this time. I'm not really sure if that was truly the case or not though, because I'm going off hearsay here, so I could have that incorrect.

If it is the case though, I think if the author needs to write the book. As in the characters won't leave her alone, and the readers are calling out for the stories then an exception should be made. As long as the rest of the time HQ is following their guidelines, I don't see why we couldn't have a little rule bending. ;)


Those follow on books...

Lucy Monroe's picture

Valerie...this so much an editorial decision and some give more leeway than others. I don't understand it myself, but some editorial are very involved in the development of their books' content. Presents are more hands off, at least in my experience. :)

I love seeing reprints in

I love seeing reprints in stores. I re-read my books so much that I wear my original copies out. When I find a reprint I use that as my reading copy and put the original up.

Smart use of reprints...

Lucy Monroe's picture

Amy...that's a good idea, because we always love the original most, don't we? LOL

Hi, Lucy! What a neat idea,

Hi, Lucy! What a neat idea, to let us catch up on your backlist titles! As a reader, I agree that I'd love to be able to get your titles electronically OR in print though--sometimes one or the other works better, depending on mood and space on the physical book shelves :) Congrats on being part of the showcase!

Thanks, Fedora. :)

Lucy Monroe's picture

I'm a book geek and I like having both print and digital copies of my favorite stories. Some might call me obsessive. LOL

out of print books

Why can't they let out of print books be available in ebook format all the time instead of making them unavailable?

Good question, hon. :)

Lucy Monroe's picture

I know Harlequin has released almost all of my books in electronic format, but there are tons of books not available digitally yet from all the pubs. And I so love my eReaders. :)

What a great opportunity for

What a great opportunity for your readers, Lucy! I'm sure it will sell like hotcakes :) You're completely right about Harlequin being an innovative company-- no wonder they've been so successful for so long! And they publish fantastic writers ;) that doesn't hurt either!

Thanks, Erin!

Lucy Monroe's picture

Big smooches to you!

I hope more of your Presents

I hope more of your Presents books will be re print in the near future- I read them all but some I only have as e books and I would really like to own in print.

I wish Harlequin online store will start to ship outside of the US and Canada- there are so many books I want to own in print but can't because they don't ship to where I live and other web sites charge too much for shipping- good think I can find most of the book in Mills and Boon that do ship to where I live.


It's a problem I hear a lot, Moran.

Lucy Monroe's picture

I'm not sure why they won't ship outside the US & Canada, unless shipping *is* too expensive to make it a feasible endeavor. But I hear from several readers a year frustrated because of this. :-/ Thanks for chiming in. :)

i love lucys books!!!

i love lucys books!!!