Sunday, October 30, 2005

Publishers Make Strange Bedfellows

Check out my recent post from Romancing the Blog

10/30/2005




“It’s a small world.” “There’s light at the end of the tunnel.” “All’s fair in love and war.” “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” “Don’t burn your bridges.” The list of cliches is endless but one that I’ve created specifically for this blog is:

Publishers make strange bedfellows.

While many of us are preparing to be tricked or treated for Halloween, romance authors are waiting with bated breath to see if the recent merger between Harlequin and BET Books is a trick or a treat.

BET Books, the largest publisher of African American romance and women’s fiction recently merged with Harlequin bringing with them three imprints, an extensive back list and a stable of authors that are some of the best unsung romance authors in the business.

On the one hand this appears to be a major plus for the BET authors. I think it is a major plus for the authors involved. The man/womanpower of the Harlequin machine is unparalled in the industry. Ideally, with the support and worldwide distribution of Harlequin, the authors of BET will see successes that previously have been unavailable to them. But there is always the other “slight” of hand.

As with any merger there is change, there is consolidation, there is reorganization. How this will play out among the authors is yet to be seen. Questions abound: will the guidelines remain the same or become more stringent to adhere to the guidelines of Harlequin which have proved so successful for decades? With so many authors under one roof is there room for everyone in the house? And the big question: will African American romances now be merged, sold, shelved and distributed alongside the Harlequin romances and with the same enthusiasm as the Harlequin titles?

The hope among the BET authors is that they will finally get the visability that they have missed over the past decade. But will this visibilty translate into greater sales from those who don’t, can’t, or haven’t read an African American romance? Will putting the books in the faces of those who say the reason why they don’t read them is because they can’t find them, make a difference and ultimately make names like Gwynne Forster, Francis Ray, Rochelle Alers, Monica Jackson, Lynn Emery, Jacquie Thomas, Shirley Hailstock, Donna Hill (grin) household names?

Will white readers be more inclined to pick up an African American romance when it is alongside one written by Nora Roberts, Holly Lisle, Brenda Joyce, Alison Kent? Will the might of Harlequin give African American romances the legitimacy, the validity that seems to have eluded them?

Or will this apparent treat only be a slight of hand, a changing of the guard and life simply goes on as usual?

In other news, not to be outdone, Kensington Publishing made an announcement that they were taking over Genesis Press (the second leading publisher of African American romances)–all of its backlist and authors and would kick off their new venture with reprints of books by Donna Hill, Gwynne Forster and Rochelle Alers. To say the least the legitimacy and work ethics of Genesis Press is questionable at best, but I will leave that for another diatribe. Hopefully under the helm of Kensington, what has plagued Genesis Press authors for the past five years will be rectified.

In the mystifying world of big business, mergers and takeovers are commonplace. But as the world gets smaller there are fewer places to hang your hat. If you have a falling out with your publisher it will become less and less easy to move somewhere else. Soon there will be nowhere to go as consolidations of publishing houses turn what was once a vast ocean of opportunity into a single stream with no outlet.

But if I may borrow yet another cliche: “where there is faith there is hope.” My hope is that this will be one of the most positively significant changes the romance industry has seen in decades. My hope is that all those faceless, nameless, talented African American authors will finally enjoy the fruits of their labors alongside their sister authors. My hope is that this will indeed be a treat and not a trick.

Stay tuned!

13 comments:

Kimberly said...

Donna I read this blog on blogger dot com. I made a comment on it. It's truly unfortunate to me that in a community that preaches diversity, there isn't much diversity. Like I posted to your blog, I don't play the race card so to speak, but it seems to me that it's still the same ole same ole in the publishing industry. I'm new to all of this, just finding out some things I'm sure you already know. Why I expected publishing to be any different than any other industry is beyond me. Yet I rise, and know that what is meant for me is mine to claim. I just have to have faith and know that my destiny is not in the hand of any publisher...

Be blessed and keep writing your wonderful stories!

Kim

betterlovemaking said...

Hey....you have a wonderful true romance
blog here. I also have a true romance
site full of useful information. Please stop by when you get time.

Thank you

jus`writn said...

I'm finding your blog very enlightening. I'm getting a taste of the race card in what to expect when I actually get my manuscript on the market. Keep sharing I'm enjoy the scoop ;)

articles said...

I would like to jump in here and bring to everyones attention that the information on this blog should also be shared with the readers of http://www.articlebeat.com Our sites readers and authors would benefit from the information being discussed here and would help get the word out faster, to everyone interested. With plenty of articles on our site, the bloggers here would benefit from our site and our site users would benefit from the bloggers.

Come share, exchange and debate with us at http://www.articlebeat.com today.

writers said...

I would like to jump in here and bring to everyones attention that the information on this blog should also be shared with the readers of http://www.articlebeat.com Our sites readers and authors would benefit from the information being discussed here and would help get the word out faster, to everyone interested. With plenty of web content on our site, the bloggers here would benefit from our site and our site users would benefit from the bloggers.

Come share, exchange and debate with us at http://www.articlebeat.com today.

website content said...

I would like to jump in here and bring to everyones attention that the information on this blog should also be shared with the readers of http://www.articlebeat.com Our sites readers and authors would benefit from the information being discussed here and would help get the word out faster, to everyone interested. With plenty of publishers on our site, the bloggers here would benefit from our site and our site users would benefit from the bloggers.

Come share, exchange and debate with us at http://www.articlebeat.com today.

reports said...

I would like to jump in here and bring to everyones attention that the information on this blog should also be shared with the readers of http://www.articlebeat.com Our sites readers and authors would benefit from the information being discussed here and would help get the word out faster, to everyone interested. With plenty of writers on our site, the bloggers here would benefit from our site and our site users would benefit from the bloggers.

Come share, exchange and debate with us at http://www.articlebeat.com today.

website content said...

I would like to jump in here and bring to everyones attention that the information on this blog should also be shared with the readers of http://www.articlebeat.com Our sites readers and authors would benefit from the information being discussed here and would help get the word out faster, to everyone interested. With plenty of informative articles on our site, the bloggers here would benefit from our site and our site users would benefit from the bloggers.

Come share, exchange and debate with us at http://www.articlebeat.com today.

reports said...

I would like to jump in here and bring to everyones attention that the information on this blog should also be shared with the readers of http://www.articlebeat.com Our sites readers and authors would benefit from the information being discussed here and would help get the word out faster, to everyone interested. With plenty of article exchange on our site, the bloggers here would benefit from our site and our site users would benefit from the bloggers.

Come share, exchange and debate with us at http://www.articlebeat.com today.

articles said...

I would like to jump in here and bring to everyones attention that the information on this blog should also be shared with the readers of http://www.articlebeat.com Our sites readers and authors would benefit from the information being discussed here and would help get the word out faster, to everyone interested. With plenty of free web content on our site, the bloggers here would benefit from our site and our site users would benefit from the bloggers.

Come share, exchange and debate with us at http://www.articlebeat.com today.

free web content said...

I would like to jump in here and bring to everyones attention that the information on this blog should also be shared with the readers of http://www.articlebeat.com Our sites readers and authors would benefit from the information being discussed here and would help get the word out faster, to everyone interested. With plenty of authors on our site, the bloggers here would benefit from our site and our site users would benefit from the bloggers.

Come share, exchange and debate with us at http://www.articlebeat.com today.

.net domain names for said...

Hey, you have a great blog here! I'm definitely going to bookmark you!
I have a .net domain names for site.
Come and check it out if you get time :-)
Greetings.

.biz domain names said...

Your blog I found to be very interesting!
I just came across your blog and wanted to
drop you a note telling you how impressed I was with
the information you have posted here.
I have a .biz domain names
site.
Come and check it out if you get time :-)
Best regards!