James Kellow, Kathleen Scheibling, Sue Brockman, Adam 

Sue – Australian market 

  • Dedicated space in Big W and Kmart for category 
  • Now in amazon – small, but long tail 
  • Independent sellers – more single title  
  • Sweet is getting stronger and stronger 
  • Booktopia is strong online seller 
  • UK – romantic suspense, domestic noir 
  • 20th century historicals becoming very big 
  • Publishing more in women’s fictions 

Kathleen – US market 

  • Pet fiction (dogs) – heartwarming 
  • Single title has darker edge 
  • Packaging and marketing books so readers can differentiate between different lines and categories 
  • Regency (dukes) doing well 
  • Other historicals soft at the moment 

Adam: 

  • Have been going to book festivals to check influencers on decisions to purchase a romance book 
  • Cover 
  • Title 
  • Author 
  • Blurb or description 

Most influential online: 

  • Goodreads is by far the stronger 

What do you love about Mills & Boon?

  • The story 
  • The escapism 
  • It’s convenient 
  • Easy to read 
  • The characters 
  • The variety of different 

How many do you read on average?

What is your age group?

  • Biggest is 36-50 
  • 25-35 next 
  • Penrith is biggest buyer area, followed by Toowoomba  

Sue: 

Single title imprints 

  • Mira – romance, strong women’s fiction with romantic elements 
  • 20 books / year in Mira.  US as well as Australian  
  • MIRA – 15 years in australia.  Increased from 10 / year 
  • HQ Imprint – diverse fiction, non fiction and teen titles 
  • UK sister company also publishes under HQ, including thriller and domestic noir 
  • Digital First – escape.  4-6 / month, wide range of genres 
  • Taken major collaboration to print – 7 stories by different authors, set in the same town 
  • Mills & Boon – refreshed look of the range.  Includes new Dare line 
  • Packaging is to clearly show the different category lines at a glance for readers 

Kathleen 

Harlequin Trade Publishing  

HQN – Single title 

  • Happy to grow authors into this from category 
  • Commercial women’s fiction (with romantic elements) 
  • Park Rove – literary fiction 
  • Hanover Square – thrillers, narrative non-fiction 
  • Carina – digital first.  Includes LGBTQI stories 
  • Category – 12 lines 

Positioning 

Sue – monthly meeting to discuss.  Consider the following questions: 

  • What’s the pitch / one liner / headline statement? 
  • What are the themes of the book? 
  • What are our readers? 
  • How do they like to relax? 
  • What else are they reading? 
  • Comparison titles? 
  • How do we deliver the message? 

Examples of existing authors who have changed subject / style.  Changed up cover art to reflect this, refresh.  Keep author branding to take readers with them, but goal is to also pick up new readers. 

Diversity 

Kathleen – look beyond regular romance community 

  • Category romance to a wide range of  
  • hero and heroinE backgrounds 
  • Ethnicities 
  • Body types 
  • Ages 
  • Disabilities 

Let’s talk about: 

  • Crafting relatable, realising characters within the series romance fantasy 
  • Portraying  

Marketing 

Adam – making sure they are going out to the right reviewers on Goodreads 

  • Who are top reviewers 
  • Make sure they receive a galley / net galley to review 
  • Word of mouth is key component to getting books in reader’s hands 
  • Identified women 35+ who may not be bloggers, but have an interest in reading, and have a decent following (5-10k followers) – encourage them to set up book clubs and write reviews on Goodreads and Amazon in particular 
  • Introducing new platform that celebrates all things romance in Australia: 

Romance.com.au 

Culture, pop culture, all genres, trending topics, author info, ebook deals 

  • Always keen for content 

Mills & Boon Dare: 

  • NEWS 360:  Harlequin is now part of Harper Collins, which is part of News Corp 
  • Campaign to driver relaunch of Harlequin (Harper Collins) new romance genre, across NewsCorp Mastheads with Sky News Australia support 
  • Highest sales of a new line of Mills & Boon in over a decade 
  • Rollout of exclusive content across three weeks in all national and regional News Corp mastheads including: 
  • Extensive feature on Aus romance fiction, featuring exclusive author interviews, news stories based on exclusive data around reading habits and a survey on romance in real life, and an entire Mills & Boon DARE short novel release free online for subscribers, a News360 first 
  • A competition to find budding romance writers, with the winner receiving a masterclass with a M&B Dare editor and author plus prizes for runners up (more than 120 entries)
  • Support from other News360 partners including stories and videos on new.com.au and HHIMN.com.au, a Sky News Australia Valentine’s Day interview on romance fiction and REA running stories on our most romantic suburbs

Author: Philippa

I make arty mixed-media things, & write fantastical things (with kissing), & do musical & dancing things, & play gaming things, & do weightlifting things, & organise fabulous event things. But mostly I wrangle cats. Renaissance woman.

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