Where No Great Story Goes Untold

Carina Press Logo

I must admit, when I first saw that motto on the Carina Press website, my first reaction was, “Yeah, that’s what they all say at first.” Most digital publishers talk a good game, but very few live up to their early promise. The reasons for that are many and varied. I’ve only been published for three years, but I’ve already heard enough super-duper growth strategies floated and popped in subsequent breaths to know that cyberspace is filled mostly with hot air.

With nearly all start-up businesses (especially in publishing), the wannabe trend-setter quickly becomes trend-set. Romance and erotic romance, by far the biggest-selling genres in ebooks, naturally dominate the majority of digital publishers’ catalogues. Simple supply and demand.

But it can be frustrating for a non-romance author, or one that (like me) usually includes romantic elements rather than a full-blown romance in the traditional sense, when the top tier epubs ask for romance/erotic romance only. As an author looking to publish digitally, that means you either have to a) write in those genres, b) submit to an epub that might not have the same visibility, or c) self-publish.

In science fiction, I’ve tried a) a couple of times and had success. I also learned a lot about my versatility as a writer. Most of my SF books have been published through b), and I’ve experienced highs and lows of every conceivable kind, with sales figures ranging from excellent to piss-poor. I’d rather not try c) to be honest. Unless you’re already established, the odds of falling flat on your face are simply too great (and too well-documented).

Enter Carina Press, stage right, full of big promises. No great story goes untold, right? Even if it’s non-romance? And this from a Harlequin imprint? Yeah, sure, right. Time to expose that little porky-pie.

Well, five niche, genre-mashing non-romance submissions later, I’ve still not managed to disprove their claim! And I’ve hit them with my best shots:

A quirky SF adventure featuring a human orbital runner and one-hundred-and-thirteen alien children (Alien Velocity, March 2012)

A steampunk time-travel epic with diving bells and dinosaurs (Prehistoric Clock, Feb 2012)

A deep space treasure hunt featuring three women, two men and astral travel (Sparks in Cosmic Dust, Sept 2011)

A steampunk mystery featuring one of the main protagonists from Rider Haggard’s classic She (The Mysterious Lady Law, out now)

And a fifth (top secret, just accepted) book that’s arguably the least mainstream of the lot

Now, the majority of Carina books are Romance, and damn good ones, but its proactive approach—to take chances on quality niche stories that might struggle to find a home at more rigid publishers—gives Carina the scope for boundless growth and a greater potential for trend-setting across multiple genres that, frankly, is lacking among the other top tier epubs.

And trust me, this publisher is top tier.

But you already knew that.

Carina Press, sponsor of Infinite Futures, we salute you.

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15 comments

  1. Whoo – look at you! Congrats! And yeah, we have to salute Carina for their interest in other genres (ahem… I may have a few non-romances kicking around…)

    1. Yep, it really encourages you to cut loose and trust your vision for the story, regardless of genre. The sci-fi romances I’ve seen at Carina prove that. Spice ‘n’ Solace, for instance…

  2. Rhonda Stapleton · · Reply

    I’m an acquisitions/developmental editor for Carina Press (posting only as myself, of course).

    I 100% believe in our motto. Actually, I’m eager for more non-romance stories, as well! I edited Shawn Kupfer’s 47 ECHO and adored it…and it doesn’t have a drop of romance in it. 😀

    1. Hi Rhonda! Yes, exactly–47 Echo is a fascinating success story. A male-centric military SF at a Harlequin imprint. Brilliant stuff. Proves the Carina motto and then some.

      1. Do I have to say that I host the Carina Press threads in the Harlequin community? I do, so that might have biased me, but I’ve been really impressed with what CP has put out. AND I’ve been delighted that CP is publishing and considering so many genres and subgenres, b/c I like variety in my reading – yes, I love romance, but I also love fantasy and mystery with or without romantic elements. And I didn’t even know what Steampunk was until Carina!

        I’ve also been THRILLED at the number of CP books that have gone to audio (at audible.com), b/c then they don’t languish as long in my TBR *g*.

        That said, I must admit that 47 Echo has been on my iPod for I’m not sure how long. Guess I’d better get to it!! 🙂

        I’m thrilled that you’ve found Carina Press such a great experience.

        Penn

      2. Hi Penn! I hadn’t realized there was a SF thread in the Harlequin forums–I’ve gone and joined. Yeah the audible books are great, and I think all Carina’s SF/F titles are there. I hope it continues. Listening to someone else read your book is a weird-but-cool experience. It kinda makes you grin and cringe at the same time!

        I’m glad you’ve discovered steampunk. Carina really is flying the flag at the moment. It can be a tough sell to the uninititated, though, and my family still looks at me blank-faced whenever I say the word.

  3. Congrats on the releases, Robert!

    Not to sound like I’m sucking up to the bosses ; ) but when I heard Carina was opening its doors, I immediately thought Rulebreaker would be a better fit there than just about anywhere else. I knew when writing it there would be a limited number of publishers who would even look at a non-erotic f/f science fiction, and Carina was open to all sorts of stories. With Angela and Harlequin at the helm, I figured it was well worth a shot. Glad they thought so too : )

    1. Right on, Cathy. I love that title as well–you trusted your vision and took a chance. Really looking forward to Rulebreaker.

      1. Rhonda Stapleton · ·

        Oh gosh–I edited this one too, lol. It’s fantastic. You guys are going to LOVE it. 😀

      2. Aw, thanks, Robert and Rhonda 🙂

  4. Carina is awesome. I love them! I just sent in my next sci-fi erotic romance – to none other than Rhonda (waves madly). Hope they love me back. I’m trying something different right now while I wait on that one, a western historical deal-with-the-devil erotic romance. 😉 Wonder what they will think of that? At least I know that at Carina they have an open mind.

    1. Good luck with both of those, Lilly. Love the sound of that western. Yeah, that open mind is a godsend. Makes you want to dust off your dream projects and bet big, doesn’t it.

  5. Congrats, Robert! I have to agree that Carina Press really is interested in something a little different. Heck, they took a chance on me *grin*

    Really looking forward to all your upcoming Carina releases!

  6. @Robert Isn’t it great to be a writer these days?

    1. Sure is, David! There are more avenues than ever for getting your work out there–digital publishing continues to open all kinds of doors.

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