Friday, July 23, 2010

Interview: Emma Cunningham - Production Coordinator, Digital & Internet at Harlequin

You know me, I'm curious and I'm really curious about Romance so when I had the opportunity to interview someone else from the industry I jumped! Thank you to Emma Cunningham - Production Coordinator in the Digital and Internet Department at Harlequin for stopping by!

Can you describe the Harlequin lines/imprints and how they differ from each other?

Oh wow, there are so many different lines it would take a long time to go through them! MIRA and HQN books are our single title books. That means that they’re generally longer books with a more literary feel to them. They stay on sale longer than the series books. As far as our series go, we have over fourteen different lines. Blaze is red-hot, super-sexy romance, Intrigue brings in mystery and suspense, Nocturne adds a paranormal element, Steeple Hill tells heartwarming, chaste, courtship-style romances with Christian themes, and GoldEagle are action-adventure stories aimed primarily at men. There’s a huge variety—something for everyone!

2. The categories can only be found in stores for one month? Why is that?

We simply publish too many books every month for stores to be able to keep all our titles in stock! However, we’re in the process of putting all our backlist books into ebook format so you can read old favorites digitally.

3. How do you think e-book only lines like your newest line Carina will change the publishing world? The reader's experience?

Well I’m obviously a huge fan of ebooks. I do almost all my reading digitally, so for me, Carina Press titles are just more stories. However, Carina Press is able to offer a wider variety of genres since some niches just don’t get much shelf space at book stores. It’s a really nice way to connect authors and readers who think outside the box.

4. Many readers think that the prices of e-books are too high. Could you tell us about the e-book process? (i.e. how they're created and priced?)

It’s a long process! Once a book is acquired, which is a whole other process in itself, it goes through the same rigorous editing processes that our print books go through. We then create metadata, which is basically a giant spreadsheet that tells the production company and retailers everything they could possibly want to know about each one of our books—everything from title, genre, ISBN, eISBN, prices, description, author bios, exerpts, you name it. The manuscript is then formatted and sent to production to be formatted into an ebook. When it comes back, we have proofreaders check through it for errors. It’s then uploaded with yet another sheet of metadata to retailers. Sometimes there are four or more different types of metadata involved for all our titles every month; even more if we’re sending out audiobooks, too. It really isn’t much cheaper to create an ebook than a print book. Most of the costs are in time and labor—and of course nobody wants to cheat authors on their hard work.

5. With one of Harlequins newest project, Harlequin Teen you are reaching a wider audience than ever before. Can you tell us a little bit about Harlequin Teen? Do you see a lot of cross over fans from your Teen line, to category lines etc?

Some authors write for more than one line, so there’s cross-over in that sense. Teen books feature strong characters and exciting stories, but they’re less sexual in nature than some of the adult titles and feature age-appropriate romances and themes.

6. The internet is a vital part of just about everything these days, can you tell us a little bit about what you do in the Harlequin in the Digital and Internet Department?

If it has to do with ebooks or the Internet, we do it. All the Facebook pages, Goodreads pages, LibraryThing, blogs, Twitter, my department does it all. We have a great Community on the eHarlequin website that’s quite active. We’re currently testing a new version of the eHarlequin website, too, and I have to say the design team did an excellent job. It’s a huge job but fortunately my coworkers are some of the hardest working, most brilliant people I know!

Thanks for stopping by Emma!

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  1. very interesting post! i really liked learning more about harlequin--one of the first romances i've ever read was a harlequin and i really like their new teen line :D

  2. Thanks for interviewing me, Alea! Always nice to chat with someone who's as excited about the industry as I am :)

  3. This is fantastic stuff. So interesting to see what goes into some of the digital products a publisher works with. What I wouldn't do to be in the Internet/Digital department, it sounds awesome.

  4. Very interesting interview. Thanks.


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