Escape Publishing is a new venture by Harlequin Australia launched on November 14th and I am pleased to be able to support this innovative publishing house. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to attend the glittering premiere at Sydney Harbour to learn more so I invited Kate to Book’d Out to tell me, and you, a little more about this exciting new development.
“Paul Raymond Martin said “’Better safe than sorry in living. Safe is sorry in writing.” I only came across this quote a couple of weeks ago, but it fully embodies what I’ve been living for the last six months.
You may have heard – Harlequin Australia has released a digital-first imprint, Escape Publishing. I’m Kate Cuthbert, and I’m the Managing Editor of Escape. My main task in this role is to go through every submission that Escape receives, and decide which books we’re going to publish, and which books we are going to pass. So, basically, I get to read romance novels for a living. It’s the best job ever.
So how does that relate to not playing it safe? Well, don’t worry. I’m going to expand. So, to put a book into print costs an astronomical amount of money, what with the editorial, marketing, print, distribution, storage, retail cuts, etc. So print publishers, being a business, need to make decisions about which book is going to most likely recoup those costs (and maybe even make a little money on the side, so, you know, everyone can get paid). A book can also take years to get from acceptance to print publication. This means that print publishers – in a gross generalisation kind of way – are looking for books with mass appeal. Books that take risks, for example, or are likely to only appeal to a niche market, or represent an author stepping away from the style to which their readers have become accustomed, are not financially viable in this current climate.
Digital-first publishing, however, has only a fraction of the costs of print – and a much faster turnaround time. So we can take those risks, do a little genre-bending, play with characterisation, see if we can’t fill a niche or two.
What does that mean for readers? Well, honestly? It means you might not love every book we publish. Not all books are meant for all people, and while I am seriously damn excited about our titles, you may not be. But that’s okay, risks are by nature risky, and the next book might be filling that need that you didn’t even know you had. And the next one might be even better than that. We’re willing to take that risk.
I don’t plan on ever being sorry that we didn’t play it safe.
I’m thrilled to announce our five launch titles, released last Wednesday. Chains of Revenge is a dark, violent, erotic, fabulous erotic fantasy novella. Chaos Born is a complex, meaty, dark, funny urban fantasy debut. Christmas Wishes is a sweet, sexy, smile-inducing friends-to-lovers holiday novella. Grease Monkey Jive is a big, modern, groovy, ensemble cast contemporary romance, and In Safe Hands is a polished, sophisticated, suspenseful romantic suspense novel. They’re all at a special launch price at the moment so you can take less of a risk on trying us out :) In fact, our erotic fantasy novella, Chains of Revenge, is free for a very limited time.
Our website is here: escapepublishing.com.au, if you want to learn more about us, see pictures of our fabulous launch party, or if you have a manuscript looking for a home. I would love to hear what you think about our titles – my job can be a bit lonely, and I haven’t been able to talk about these books yet, so I’m positively desperate to have a conversation. You wouldn’t leave me hanging, would you?”