Carina Press

imageIt’s stars and astronomy time!

Carina is a constellation in the Southern sky, and is Latin for “keel” – as in, the fins and structures operating below the surface of the water unseen yet keeping the ship balanced, and on its course. Here’s an interesting bit of physics I didn’t know: the keel’s job is to convert a sideways force to a forward force, sort of like trying to figure out how to convert a changing tide or market to keep your industry moving forward.

Nice name.

It’s even more awesome when applied to Harlequin, who launched Carina Press today, a digital-only publishing house. it is a division of Harlequin Enterprises LTD but because it is digital only, as in, not print, it operates separately.

Carina is embracing the digital publishing business model as well, offering no advances or DRM-

Wait, hold up, what now?! HOLY MERCIFUL HEAVENS, NO DRM? NOW I’m stunned. Until now I was nodding my head.

Carina will compensate authors at a higher royalty rate (no word yet on the percentage range) and the books will be sold direct to consumers through the Carina website, and through other vendors.

Angela James has been hired as the Executive Editor of Carina (Mazel tov, Angie!) and is joining Malle Vallik, Brent Lewis, Eleanor Elliott, and Aideen O’Leary-Chung as the team awesome behind Carina. I’m not sure if you’re familiar with them, but I’ve worked with them, particularly Aideen and Malle for awhile now, and if you’re looking for sharp behind-the-scenes organization and amazing forward-thinking ideas, go visit their cubicles.

I’m still reeling over the absence of DRM. Wow.

(Edited 912amEST) Carina’s use of the no-advance model calls into question whether Harlequin will remain on RWA’s list of Approved publishers, or whether it will be listed among the non-subsidy, non-vanity publishers.

Regardless, if a company with a reputation and profitable history as Harlequin who can and does evolve with the times embraces digital publishing both as a business enterprise and as a business model, maybe it’s time everyone who doubted it took another look at the possibilities. In other words, get on board – the ship is sailing.

Mazel tov, folks. I wish you warm winds and smooth sailing, and success on a very close horizon.



Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    MicheleKS says:

    Oooh, that last bit has me curious to say the least. I definitely want to see what RWA leadership thinks about the no-advance part of this new venture from Harlequin.

    Let the fun begin.

  2. 2

    Carina’s use of the no-advance model calls into question whether Harlequin will remain on RWA’s list of non-subsidy, non-vanity publishers.

    Actually, it calls into question whether Harlequin remains on the list of RWA Eligible publishers, or becomes merely a non-subsidy, non-vanity publisher. If it does not remain on the list of RWA Eligible publishers, all Harlequin authors will be ineligible to participate in the Literacy Signing; Harlequin editors will not be able to take pitches or present workshops at RWA Nationals; there will be no spotlight on Harlequin, either series or single-titles; and Harlequin authors will have to wait an additional month to submit their books (and RWA will have to question whether it can devote several categories of the RITAs to books that are almost exclusively composed of authors who do not write for an RWA Eligible publisher).

    The sheer number of RWA PAN members who would be effected by this (and, I suspect, the dollar amount of Harlequin’s support for RWA National) suggests that the question is more basic. Is the separation of publishers into RWA Eligible and non-subsidy, non-vanity presses, with attendant consequences, viable?

    I, for one, am very very curious about the answer to that question.

  3. 3

    And also, I squeed on twitter—but congratulations to Angie James for such an immense (and well-deserved) opportunity, and to Harlequin, for having the smarts to snap her up when she was available. Squee!

  4. 4
    SB Sarah says:

    Whoops – thanks Courtney. I was so blown away while trying to process all the pieces I left part of that sentence out—That’s what I meant. I’ll amend now.

  5. 5

    Very exciting news! Angela, congratulations on your new position.

  6. 6

    I’m going to be watching this with a great deal of interest.  And I too am wondering how RWA will react.

    Congratulations to Angela and the rest of the gang!  I hope it’s smooth sailing ahead for all involved.

  7. 7
    Angela James says:

    Thanks, Sarah, and thank you to the rest of you as well. I’m so excited we can finally share this news and tell people about Carina.

  8. 8
    Faye Hughes says:

    Thanks for the info, Sarah!  This is fabulous news for our industry. Here’s to hoping that Carina Press does well. 

    As for how RWA will respond, my guess is this won’t affect H/S’s status.  Carina Press will be considered a separate entity. 


  9. 9

    Oh wow, this is great news. And they’re taking SF/F, too? Okay, this just got quite relevant to my interests. ;) (Why yes, I DO have appropriate material I could submit…)

    Congrats, Angela James!

  10. 10
    S. W. Vaughn says:

    HOORAY for Harlequin! Boo-hiss to RWA if they boot Harlequin off the approved list for going digital.

    And congrats, Angela James. What a fantastic place for a fresh start.

  11. 11
    Chicklet says:

    1. Congratulations, Angela!

    2. To quote Laugh-In, Veddy interesting. Even if RWA does separate Carina from Harlequin, and then keeps Carina off the Eligible list, it will only highlight that it’s the format of payment and text-delivery that RWA cares about, not the legitimacy of the company behind that payment and text-delivery. Because if Harlequin, the (literal!) grande dame of romance publishing, isn’t legit, then who is?

  12. 12
    Treva Harte says:

    Congrats to Angela and Harlequin both.  It should be very interesting indeed.

  13. 13
    Malle says:

    Thanks all for congrats and a big WELCOME to Angela. We are so excited to have her on our team. And we are very much looking forward to seeing what is in our submissions inbox—including SF/F, dear Anna the Piper.
    submisssions @

  14. 14
    wimseynotes says:

    Nine days ago, I was leading a workshop on ePublishing, and told the participants, “Everything I am talking about today could be completely changed by tomorrow.”  Well, I guess it took 9 days.  Congratulations to Harlequin, to the new team at Carina, and to all authors who boldly go where no author has gone… I can’t wait to see how this all plays out!

  15. 15
    StephS says:

    Congratulations to Angela!  I’m glad things worked out. 

    What’s that saying?  When a door closes you have to break a window?  :-)  (something like that…)

  16. 16
    Lisa Hendrix says:

    Congratulations to Angela and to Harlequin on their new venture. Publishing needs to find ways to adjust to the new technology, and it’s going to take some experimentation. It will be interesting to see how it all settles out.

  17. 17

    I think this is VERY exciting news, and congrats to Angela James! 

    The way the announcement was worded—that Carina was a ‘publishing house’ owned by Harlequin Enterprises, made me think that it would be treated as a separate entity and therefore not impact Harlequin’s “status” within RWA. 

    But Chicklet is right—what does that say about the “division” if a company owned by Harlequin—a company with plenty of legitimacy—isn’t “recognized”?

  18. 18
    StefK says:

    RWA has shunned the epress model for years by changing prerequisites every time small presses came close. Some even “lost” their standing after they qualified because of this. One of those rules was no advances, no chance.

    That said, being a branch of Harlequin means more to the buying public than RWA certification, so I doubt it’ll matter to them.

  19. 19
    library addict says:

    What am I missing?

    The Harlequin/Silhouette/HQN/Mira imprints aren’t changing their business model and will still offer advances, right? So, if Carina Press is a separate venture from Harlequin (just owned by the same people) why should it’s non-advance model affect Harlequin authors in regards to their RWA eligibility?

  20. 20
    Kaetrin says:

    Sounds exciting.  I’m looking forward to what Carina come up with.

    Congratulations Angela.  Glad something wonderful has turned up for you.

  21. 21

    I hope this gets the ball rolling on total ebook acceptance. The epublishing model is just as valid as the print model, IMHO, and times are changing. It’s time RWA recognizes this and changes its rules.

  22. 22
    D. Jackson says:

    …if you’re looking for sharp behind-the-scenes organization and amazing forward-thinking ideas, go visit their cubicles

    Carina Press isn’t doing anything forward thinking.  Digital- only press has been around for years so they’re simply jumping on a money train twelve years later after smaller presses have done all the hard work and given them a proven model. 

    If Harlequin was so revolutionary or forward thinking, they would have touted this as another one of their lines alongside Mira or Superromance.  Whether than opening up some “backstreet alley” press to sell titles that will feature hands off BUT profitable genres (i.e. m/m, m/f/m and interracial) they don’t have enough balls to offer on eHarlequin their mainstream site. 

    You can put a lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig….

  23. 23
    Serena Robar says:

    I think its smart of Harlequin to be acquiring ‘previously published’ books so authors who have e-rights to their old, out of print books have a way to breathe new life into a backlist which, let’s face it, is probably never going to be reissued no matter how much we wish it would happen.

  24. 24
    Deb Kinnard says:

    Do not for a moment think RWA won’t embrace this as an “approved” publisher, simply because it’s a branch of Harlequin. I foresee RWA scrambling to find a way to bring Carina into the “real books” lists without softening their stance on lesser digital houses.

    I’d be happy to be proven wrong, though.

  25. 25
    Mary E. Ulrich says:

    Congrats to Angela and the new team.

    I’m thinking about a manuscript submission as we speak.

  26. 26
    Angela James says:

    I just wanted to pop back in and say thanks again to the commenters.

  27. 27
    Marie says:

    Angela, glad to see you landed on your feet.

    Will this affect H/S print authors?  No, it won’t, not as far as RWA is concerned.  But how they will treat Carina will be a different matter.  All e-publishers will be watching this closely as RWA has refused to allow them the same privileges as print publishers.

  28. 28
    kinseyholley says:


    All day I’ve been happy dancing in my head for Angie and for the new company (and the fact that I can’t wait to submit an ms to Angie is only part of the reason for my excitement) but….

    I hadn’t even paused to think about the ramifications vis-a-vis RWA and their silly damn anti-epub bigotry. I hope this is freaking them out.

    I don’t care if Carina is going to be a separate company. I don’t care if Harlequin is late to the party. Fact is, Harlequin launching an epress speaks volumes about the validity of the business model and the future of publishing. RWA reminds me of IBM before they finally figured out that the whole personal computer thing might be something they should get in on.

  29. 29

    Congratulations once again, Angie. It’s good to see quality being treasured. Lucky Harlequin for getting you.

    @kinseyholley Loved the comparison of RWA with IBM. Right on the nose!

  30. 30
    Cher Gorman says:

    Wow!  Hooray for Harlequin!  I will be watching how things unfold in regard to RWA with great interest.

    Congratulations to Angela James on her new position.  I’ve never had the pleasure of working with her myself but I’ve heard fabulous things about her.

    Hope everyone has a great evening,


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