After learning that the always awesome author and editor Jennifer Lawler was managing the new Adams Media imprint, Crimson Romance, I knew I had to talk to her about promoting romance novels. She had lots to say about the new business, what does and doesn’t work with romance novel promotion, and how Crimson Romance will help its authors showcase their titles to romance lovers. Part 1 runs today; Part 2 will run on March 8 and Part 3 will be here on March 13. Stop back to learn more!
Tell us about Crimson Romance, first. What is it, and what is your goal with the imprint?
Crimson Romance is what I like to call an eBook-mostly romance imprint. We’re publishing heartfelt, smart romances for contemporary readers in eBook format but with a print-on-demand option for all titles. Some readers still prefer print, and we want to make our titles available to them.
We’re an imprint of Adams Media, a midsize publisher known for its nonfiction self-help, how-to, and humor titles. Because many readers of Adams Media books are of the same demographic profile as readers of romance, when we decided to expand our publishing efforts, romance seemed like a perfect fit.
My goal is to publish the kind of books that even a non-romance reader won’t be able to put down. But this is still romance: everyone lives happily ever after! Romance readers will find some of their favorite romance themes and plots but with a fresh, smart take. That is to say, classic plot lines, like marriages of convenience, get a new look at Crimson Romance.
In our titles, conflict between the two main characters arises from differing goals or perspectives, not from the hero being a domineering jerk. I want readers to like and empathize with our heroines, not think they’re TSTL (“too stupid to live”).
What makes it different from other romance imprints?
We have a very contemporary feel. We deal head-on with issues that our readers confront – everything from surrogacy to adolescent rebellion to divorce to death. We validate their experiences in a complex, confusing world. Yet our books don’t lose that magical feel of hopefulness — the reason readers love romance.
Our readers are smart, savvy women who want to read about smart, savvy women – and their smart, sexy men! Our readers are looking for that special emotional payoff you get from reading a great romance – and that’s what we aim to deliver.
We have a very aggressive release schedule, which means readers will always find something new to read just as soon as they finish the last book! We’re also very open to all kinds of writing, all kinds of heroes and heroines, all kinds of plots – we don’t have a preconceived idea of what we want, other than it has to be a great story – with that satisfying happily-ever-after readers expect of romances.
What’s your stand on author platforms for the new line? Will you require authors to come to you with a strong platform in place, or are you looking for talent and good stories more than you’re looking for an existing fan base?
We have an exciting plan for promoting the line and individual titles within it, so we don’t depend on our authors to have an already established platform in place. Like any publisher, sure, we like it when an author comes to us with an existing platform, but it’s not required – and even if you have one, that doesn’t mean you’re going to get an offer. What we care about is the story.
One thing that sets us apart from other publishers is that if we think you have potential, we’ll work with you instead of just sending a “close, but not quite” rejection. In other words, if we spot talent, we will try to help the writer nurture it.
Which is not to say author promotion isn’t crucial; promotion leads to sales and sales keep the publisher in business and the author from getting evicted! In the end, the reader is connecting with an author, not with an imprint. That’s why author involvement is so crucial. People buy Jennifer Crusie books, not St. Martin’s books.
That said, we want Crimson Romance to become known as the place to go to get your fix for romance!
Remember, Part 2 will run here on March 8. Be sure to come back for Jennifer’s thoughts on what does and doesn’t work when promoting romance novels.
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