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.