...By Senior Editor Victoria Curran
In general, we try to get a strong blend of content, colour and composition that distinguishes the four books from one another: couples, possibly a hero alone, possibly adults with children or babies, and usually at least one cover without people that features an iconic image from the story or beautiful landscapes evocative of the setting. In October, though, you’ll notice we don’t have any couples—which is unusual.
I believe it was our really catchy titles this month that led to a struggle to find the right images. Mary Anne Wilson’s A Father’s Stake and Cynthia Thomason’s This Hero for Hire seemed to set the tone: one demanded a father and child, the other a rugged protector-type man alone.
And Liz Flaherty’s Back to McGuffey’s (a title I LOVE) seemed to work best when we highlighted the inviting exterior of what could very well be the McGuffey’s establishment….although for the first time I’m wondering why nobody’s stealing that unlocked bike while our hero and heroine are in McGuffey’s…! Easy pickings for a bicycle thief.
That left us with Lee McKenzie’s The Parent Trap. Lee, like Liz Flaherty, is writing for Heartwarming for the first time this month and we couldn’t be happier to have them both aboard! Liz came to us from NYC editor Charles Griemsman, after having written for Special Edition. And Lee has an established relationship with Toronto editor Johanna Raisanen—the pair have worked together on American Romance. I was thrilled when Charles and Johanna brought us proposals from two authors who tell the kind of emotional, romantic stories—without sex—our readers can’t get enough of.
But back to The Parent Trap cover. In a riff off that tried-and-true Hayley Mills Disney movie, two pre-teens decide to match-make for their parents. This led us to try to put two pre-teens on the cover: it didn’t say “romance”. So we tried to put a couple on the cover: it didn’t say “matchmaking kids”. Then we tried different romantic beach set-ups: they didn’t say “set up by juveniles”. We finally arrived at a way to make the “set-up” appear a little bit cheesy, if I may, to indicate that this was kids’ idea of what a romantic beach setting might be. And, as I say, Lee loves it—and was excited to get her first iconic cover without a couple.
Note to self: Sometimes really catchy titles are harder to create covers around!
At the end of September Harlequin made a couple of tech announcements. First, we’ve launched a Read Now ereading feature on our website harlequin.com that enables ebook buyers to begin reading the book instantly and easily, no matter what device they’re using. (Not being a big ereader and having all the Harlequins I could ever possibly want to read without having to order them online, this sounds as if it was difficult to do before this advancement…so yay!)
Second, we just got the news this week that Harlequin has struck a deal with Scribd, a subscription service akin to Netflix for TV and film, and 15,000 backlist titles will be added to its ebook catalogue. As I say, I’m not big on high tech (don’t ask me where my Kindle went…I have searched everywhere) but I was forced to subscribe to Netflix last fall when I came late to “Breaking Bad” and had to cram five seasons in before the final episode aired live, so to speak.
All to say, I very much like the idea of subscription service now that I’m addicted to Netflix. And we certainly already have an old-school subscription service in place through our Direct to Consumer mail-order division. But I haven’t heard a word from readers or authors about Scribd—maybe that’s because it was just announced and not everyone’s caught up with the news yet. I’d love to know what you guys think!