Angela James & Southern Magic

A Summary of Presentation by Angela James, Executive Director of Carina Press, at the Southern Magic RWA Chapter meeting in the Homewood Library.

ANGELA JAMES discussed the digital-first publication industry in general and Carina Press specifically. Several authors familiar with the industry contributed, including Moira Rogers who is a multi-published author with Samhain. Thanks to everyone for generously sharing so much and to our sister chapter, Southern Magic RWA, for the invitation to attend and for being such gracious hosts. (Note: Some questions asked at the end were incorporated into the body of the presentation.)

     Carina is an imprint of Harlequin and benefits from the international exposure, the Harlequin staff, and their connection with Audiobooks. Carina also has a relationship with Amazon.com. Carina focuses on romance but also mysteries, thrillers, historical fiction, women’s fiction, and erotica. The Carina brand is different from Harlequin. It can, for example, publish books about Chinese brides in 19th century San Francisco, steam punk, and M/M historicals.
     GENRES: Erotica remains one of the popular digitally published genres. Paranormals are also popular despite the glut. The market for short stories (15,000 words) is up. Series are accepted but mention that it is a series. Previously published books are accepted, if the rights have reverted to the author. Inspirational and Young Adult are for specific target audiences and are not accepted. Nonfiction (including cookbooks) and women’s fiction do not do well.
    SUBMISSIONS: Response time is about four weeks compared to 12-14 weeks with print pubs. Send the whole manuscript. Ms. James inputs queries into a database and assigns the manuscripts to free-lance editors. Multiple submissions are allowed. Simultaneous submissions are OK but let her know if you contract with another publisher. 

   PUBLICATIONS:  After the initial launch in June, Carina will release 1-3 books each week.

     Digital first publishers initially focused on readers of nontraditional books. Examples included Ellora’s Cave and Liquid Silver Books. General advantages included convenience, accessibility, costs, and other content available.
     ADVANTAGES of digital-first publishing to the author include: (1) faster response to submissions; (2) faster to market; (3) paid more quickly; (4) no reserve on digital sales; (5) flexibility of length; (6) genre out of favor accepted (there’s always someone looking for it.); (7) increased intimacy working with editor (more one-on-one time.); (8) advice on career; (9) free lance editors involved on covers and editorial; (10) more accessible staff; (11) can work with agent or not (especially with Harlequin) (12) marketing and promotion (training with social media, postcards and % off codes; widgets with links to blog posts, books, live authors and authors put up every two weeks; members of Harlequin Community and RT blog.) (13) acquires one book at a time – not required to sign option and (14) able to fill in gaps between print publications and try out other genres. (15) Carina places no limit on author copies and Samhain allows ten copies and additional purchase of author copies. (Author suggestion: can create CD to include in gift baskets and giveaways.)
     DISADVANTAGES of digital-first publishing to the author include: (1) bulk of sales in print (95-98% of market) (2) contracts can provide option for additional books.

     THE MONEY: Some variations because publishers work to keep successful authors.  Carina books are available from the Carina site and Amazon digital. Authors receive 30% of the Amazon digital price vs from 4% to 7 or 8% in print. Authors can earn from $15 to $15,000 per book, depending on the quality of the digital first publisher.

Note: Went WAY over my post limit. For Ms. James’ comments on DRM, E-readers, finding reputable publishers, the lifetime of books, and writing under other names visit the Behind the Scenes page on my website, ritavanfleet.com.  Next Moonday, we’ll check out our first Anti-Heroic Hunk, King John Lackland of England. You won’t believe some of the stories about him. RitaVF

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6 Responses

  1. Rita, thanks for sharing with us. As usual you’ve managed to condense a large amount of material into perfect bites of information! Since I’ve always expressed my amazement over that particular talent of yours, it shouldn’t surprise you my hat is off to you. And a particularly heartfelt thank you for additional info on your website! I continue to regret not being able to attend this meeting, as I’ve heard nothing but good about it.

    Looking forward to next Moonday!

  2. Thanks so much, Runere. The long trip was worth it. Angela James has a profound understanding of the indurstry. What is most amazing is her willingness to share. I’ve followed her blog as Carina Press was starting up. Her enthusiam almost bubbles off the page..RitaVF

  3. Thanks Rita. Great info.

    By the way, you know that word count thing is your own rule- you could write all day and I’d read it. : )

  4. Rita, thank you for the info.. even though I attended., it’s great to read it, and catch things I missed. I loved Angela, and she’s so down to earth, and amazing. I sure enjoyed my trip there.

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