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Carina Press Anniversary

In celebration of our one year anniversary, I asked as many of our Harlequin team members and Carina Press freelance editors as possible to write a short blog post, talking about what the past year or so has been like for them, working on Carina Press. I deliberately didn’t provide any direction other than that, because I wanted to see what people came up with, in the spirit of Carina’s 1st anniversary. I was so pleased when I saw what they’d all come up with, and had to say (and some of these posts made me just a little teary)! I hope you enjoy the post, and look for your opportunity to win a Carina Press book at the bottom of this post. ~Angela James


Lessons from Carina’s First Year

Gina Bernal is a freelance editor for Carina Press. You can follow her on Twitter.


Wow, I can’t believe it’s already time to wish Carina Press a happy first anniversary. Not to be cliché, but it does feel like just yesterday that I shot an email to Angela James saying, “Hey, I hear you might be looking for editors…” Lucky me, I made the team. Working for Carina has been a pleasure, but it’s also been a tremendous learning experience—both professionally and personally. Carina’s first year as a publisher also happened to be my first year in an exciting, emerging part of the industry, in a new job, living in a new city. And I’ve learned some interesting lessons along the way…

The writer’s imagination is endless. Carina’s motto is “Where no great story goes untold,” and that wholehearted approach to finding compelling reads means our inbox is filled with a little bit of everything. Great, good and—if I’m being honest—sometimes bad, the variety of manuscripts assures that a batch of submissions will be anything but boring.

Digital publishing moves fast. Tight deadlines keep us all constantly going, but it’s rewarding (and not a little nail-biting) to see a book you love go from acquisition to a reader’s hand in less than a year.

Working in a virtual office doesn’t have to equal isolation. Having always worked in chatty, cooperative offices, I was apprehensive about working from home as a freelancer. Who would I bounce ideas off of? Who would listen to a random rant? Though Carina’s editorial team is scattered across the US and beyond, the “water cooler” environment fostered by our email loop and social networks means someone’s usually there to lend support or share a laugh.

There’s a slippery slope from smart skirts to sweatpants. You know you’ve gotten way too comfortable working from home when your significant other asks “Why are you dressed for dance class?” and your only reply is “Oh, I’ve been wearing this all day.” Yes, I’ve gone from having once been the dressiest person at my old job to coveting Old Navy stretch gaucho pants. All my cute shoes are crying in the closet. Writers and other stay-at-homers, I hope you can commiserate.

Everybody knows Harlequin. Readers or not, people recognize the Harlequin name. The brand is synonymous with romance, and telling someone you edit books for Harlequin’s digital-first imprint is guaranteed to spark an interesting conversation. Makes for a fabulous icebreaker.

Twitter is addictive. Does this need further explanation?

Novellas can pack a storytelling punch. Lately, I’ve become a slow reader. Seriously, I’m jealous of people with active Good Reads update feeds. Novellas provide a fast treat…and a sense of accomplishment when you finish quickly! Some of my Carina favorites include Tia Nevitt’s The Sevenfold Spell, Ginny Glass and Inez Kelley’s Dirty Laundry series, Eleri Stone’s Mercy, Nicole North’s Laird of Darkness, and Seleste deLaney’s Badlands (full disclosure: I edited the latter two).

Romantic Suspense is disproportionately represented in my editing repertoire. While I enjoy romantic suspense, I don’t read tons of it for pleasure—maybe five to ten percent of my for-fun romance reading could be classified as suspense. But as an editor, about thirty percent of the books I’ve worked on thus far are romantic suspense. No explanation for it, but when reading submissions those suspenseful storylines have an undeniable allure.

They’re all real books. Working in digital publishing has made me especially touchy when people say they don’t read ebooks, they read “real” books. People work their tushies off to write, edit and produce ebooks and they’re just as real as any hardcover or paperback out there, thank you very much.

Here’s to a great first year and many more to come!

To celebrate Carina’s one year anniversary of publishing books, we’re giving away some prizes. Today, on each of the nineteen blogs our team members are featured on, we’re giving away a download of a Carina Press book to one random winner (that’s nineteen total winners!) All you need to do to be entered to win is comment on this post. You can enter to win on all nineteen posts. In addition, on the Carina Press blog, we’re giving away a grand prize of a Kobo ereader and 12 Carina Press books of the winner’s choice. Visit the Carina Press blog to enter to win, and to see links to all 19 of today’s blog posts.

And a sincere thank you from all of us, to our readers and authors, for making Carina Press’s first year a success!