Despite my love of romance novels, I’ve always cringed at the perception they are all stories about cold, cruel alpha males chasing frightened, helpless virgins. I love a happy ending, yes, but I want the journey to be shared by two strong, smart characters.
Luckily, I found a publisher who feels the same way: Crimson Romance, a new imprint launching June 4 from Adams/F+W Media! As editor Jennifer Lawler explains, “In our titles, conflict between the two main characters arises from differing goals or perspectives, not from the hero being a domineering jerk. I want readers to like and empathize with our heroines, not think they’re TSTL (“too stupid to live”).”
I’m especially excited that Crimson is launching in e-book format. I’m a web producer by trade, and I love connecting with the world through new media. I also appreciate the opportunity to share my stories with a wider audience. My husband’s 96 year-old grandfather, who wouldn’t be caught dead in the chick lit section of his local library, has been religiously checking Amazon.com for my book, “The Name of the Game.” (Grandpa: It’s coming July 23!)
And a woman who might be too shy to pick up a sexy paperback at Target might not think twice about downloading the same story in the privacy of her own home. Love it or hate it, “Fifty Shades of Grey” has introduced romance (and erotica/porn/abuse fantasy or whatever you want to call “Grey”) to a whole new audience via e-readers.
Another benefit of e-books may not be as obvious to people outside the publishing industry. In traditional publishing, manuscripts are reviewed by an acquisition board, editorial committee, sales team, and marketing team — and in the case of series romance, measured against a complex rubric that includes everything from word count to character demographics.
The business model behind electronic publishing allows publishers to take more risks. As Jennifer explains, Crimson is “open to all kinds of writing, all kinds of heroes and heroines, all kinds of plots – we don’t have a preconceived idea of what we want, other than it has to be a great story – with that satisfying happily-ever-after readers expect of romances.”
Judging by the June 4 launch titles, this openness has generated fresh stories featuring a diversity of characters, including interracial couples and (gasp!) middle-aged characters. An e-book’s length is driven by the story, not the exact number of words required to make it look “right” on a shelf. Jennifer says the goal is to publish “the kind of books that even a non-romance reader won’t be able to put down.”
The twenty-five launch titles cross the spectrum, including paranormal, historical, romantic suspense, spicy, and contemporary. Crimson’s e-books books are less than $5, so if you’re not sure which sub-genre is for you, you can check one out without making a huge financial investment.
To celebrate the imprint’s launch, they are also giving away the first chapter of five launch titles to anyone who signs up for their newsletter. You can also dive right in by buying directly from Amazon.com, BN.com, or iTunes.
Congratulations to my fellow writers, editor Jennifer Lawler, and everyone at Adams/F+W who has worked hard to make Crimson a special place for writers — and readers.