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 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,  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

Moonday’s Heroic Hunk: Richard the Lionheart

This Moonday’s Heroic Hunk is Richard the Lionheart who was born in 1157, the third son of King Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine. When Eleanor deserted her husband after he flaunted his affair with Rosamund Clifford, Richard accompanied her to Aquitaine where chivalry ruled. 

A trained warrior, Richard stood over 6’ 4” and was powerfully built. He had the red hair and fiery temper of the Angevins. Richard, like most of his family, never learned to speak English. 

Richard rebelled against his father with his brothers Henry and Geoffrey in 1173 but supported his father in the next rebellion. Richard sided with his step-brother Philip II against his father in 1188-1189. 

His father died that year and when Richard was crowned in Westminster a bat zig-zagged around his head. Some believed it was an evil omen; others saw it as confirmation that the Angevins were the devil’s spawn. Richard often quoted the Angevin family legend “From the Devil we sprang and to the Devil we shall go.” 

After the Kurdish sultan Saladin seized Jerusalem, Richard took the crusader’s cross and left for the Holy Land to free the Holy Land. On his way to the fight Saladin, Eleanor delivered Berengaria of Navarre to Cyprus where she and Richard were married. They saw little of each other and, since Richard had done penance for sodomy but acknowledged a bastard son, the warrior king was believed to be bisexual. Not surprisingly, they had no children. 

Massacre of the Saracens


Richard fought a vigorous but unsuccessful campaign against Saladin. To his dishonor, he slaughtered 2,700 captive Muslim soldiers rather than free them despite the payment of ransom. When Richard realized it was impossible to recapture the Holy Land and that his brother John and King Philip of France were attacking his territories, Richard negotiated a truce with Saladin to allow Christians to visit Jerusalem. 

On his trip returning to England, Richard was captured and imprisoned by the Holy Roman Emperor Henry VI. Eleanor collected and paid his ransom of 65,000 pounds of silver by additional taxes and almost bankrupting England. When Richard was released, King Philip sent a message to John- “Look to yourself; the devil is loose.” 

Richard quickly put down his brother John’s rebellion and recaptured much of Normandy from King Philip of France. Richard spent only six months of his ten year reign in England. 

In April, 1199 while conducting a siege of the castle of one his nobles who had possession of a Roman treasure, Richard was shot in the shoulder by a castle archer. Richard’s wound became infected and developed gangrene. Before he died in his mother’s arms, he forgave the bowman who shot him and awarded him 100 shillings. His sister didn’t feel the same way and had the archer flayed alive and torn apart by wild horses. Richard was buried at his father’s feet in Fontvraud Abbey in Anjou. 

Berengaria never remarried and eventually retired to an abbey. Richard was succeeded by his brother, John Lackland who will be week after next’s Anti-Hero. Next week, check out my summary of Angela (Executive Director of Carina Publishing) James’ recent presentation in Birmingham to the Southern Magic Chapter of RWA. RitaVF

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