Romance publisher Harlequin Australia has launched its first digital-first imprint, Harlequin Escape.
The imprint will have its own website, where would-be authors will be encouraged to submit their work.
Managing editor Kate Cuthbert told Bookseller+Publisher that the imprint is ‘looking for as many titles as possible’. ‘With digital first, we're not as restricted by space and numbers, so we really want to jump in with both feet,’ she said.
The team hoped to be publishing ‘a full suite’ of works, from short stories of 5000 words, ‘through novellas, short novels, and long novels’ of over 200,000 words,’ she said.
Cuthbert said that Harlequin Escape hoped to release its first titles before the end of the year and that titles would be released ‘with no DRM and support across all platforms’. ‘Our aim is to get Australian stories into the hands of readers, so we're going to try and make that as easy as possible,’ she said.
Cuthbert said Harlequin Escape would be ‘following a very competitive no advance, high royalty model’ for author payments.
The Harlequin Escape publishing team will be made up of Cuthbert as managing editor and Haylee Kerans as publishing manager ‘but we’ll also leverage the experience and expertise of the whole Harlequin Australia team for support,’ said Cuthbert.
Managing Director of Harlequin Enterprises Michelle Laforest said in a statement that the company expected Harlequin Escape would ‘take Australian authors to a global audience’.
‘The call for open manuscript submissions will enable Harlequin Australia to expand its local author program and importantly unearth new Australian writing talent,’ she said.
‘Successful manuscripts will be published as ebooks and housed on a newly created website, harlequinescape.com, which will be supported with digital marketing initiatives, including social media activity,’ said Laforest.
Harlequin in the US also has a digital-first arm in Carina Press, which has a practice of acquiring global digital rights to avoid geographic restrictions. ‘We'll be following a very similar style, with no DRM and global availability,’ said Cuthbert. ‘We're very committed to a strong Australian voice, and taking that voice global. So we're going to make it as easy as possible for readers to get our books.’
For more information about Harlequin Escape, visit the website here.