Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Welcome Harlequin's Lara Hyde

Good morning! I'm just finishing up my first cuppa, pushing hubby and children out the door for the day! (Yippee for mopeds!) They say its going to get warmer here today-a whopping 55! Not exactly beach weather, but for early spring in Iowa, not too bad. The bright side is that next week I head south to Orlando!! Now to figure out how not to scare the Florida natives with my extreme, white skin!

But today, we set our minds on the northland, eh? And the mecca of quality reading, Harlequin Enterprises! Joining us for a second day, is Spice/Mira editor, Lara Hyde!
Woohoo <><>clapping<><> Oops, Lord CM is still asleep! Sssh!

Hi Lara, hope your baby girl is doing better! Today I would like to focus a bit on the mechanics side of the industry. First, I'd like to ask, what advice would you give to an aspiring author who wants to get published with Harlequin/Silhouette?

Lara: Do your homework--check out the writing guidelines for the various series and imprints on the and follow them! Read other books published in that genre. Also, get your manuscript proofread and, ideally, "edited" by a trusted critique partner or even a paid freelancer before sending it in. There is nothing more distracting than a submission that comes in full of errors. Besides that, just send us an exceptionally written, original story that we can't say no to!

Amanda:I heard an editor once state that he's waiting for that book about "Scottish Ninja Warriors" to land on his desk. That unique book that is going to blow him away. Do you have any "wishes" of what you would love to see come across your desk?

Lara: Hmm...that's a dangerous question! LOL Actually, I've never really thought about it. Authors are always surprising me with their originality...someone will suggest an idea for their next proposal or I'll come across a Spice Brief in my in-box, and I'll be like "Wow! I really want to read that!" but it's not necessarily something I would ever have thought of. But the premise is really second to the characters. If the characters are rendered realistically and the emotions between them can heat up the page or get me to cry--that's what I wish for.

Amanda: That's what is so amazing about Spice to me. You keep a pretty open mind when it comes to unique story lines. It really gives the author the giant box of crayons to choose from;) That said-in the current economy, what can authors do to help promote their books?

Lara: Authors should take advantage of any self-promotion opportunities there may be, including offering to do readings/signings at local libraries and bookstores, maintaining web sites and doing book giveaways, etc., mass e-mailing fans about their new book, entering contests and contacting reviewers and local media.

Amanda: Most authors now spend equal amount of time promoting and writing. It makes sense to partner with the publisher in this endeavor, after all. That , to a certain extent is something I have seen more and more authors take hand in and I think that's a good thing! In your opinion, what is the greatest change in the writing end of the industry in the last ten years? What do you see as being the biggest change in the next ten?

Lara: Wow. Seeing as how I've only been in the industry for seven years, I'm hard-pressed to say, but I do believe that we've seen a relatively recent explosion of new venues for writers to be heard. With the economic downturn of late, some traditional publishers may be cutting back on the number of new books they acquire, but now there are also e-publishers, print-on-demand publishers and blogs. All kinds of ways for authors to get their stories out there and potentially develop fan bases before they are ever traditionally published. I see this phenomenon as something that is going to continue to grow.

Amanda: It boggles the mind to see the changes in even the last seven years! The education and market awareness of e-books, a resurgence in audiobooks,the creation of multiple handheld readers and iphones that download books, places that offer the classics for download. Personally I have always thought an untapped market of readers were the college students. With nearly every one of them having computers or easy access to them, the potential is endless!

Lara, thank you so much for taking the time from your busy schedule to be here. We appreciate you allowing us to pick your brain a bit and here more about one of Harlequin Spice/Spice Briefs lines. Viva la' Spice! Viva la' Harlequin!


Cecile said...

Good Morning Amanda! I had to play catch up on the interview with Ms. Lara... I was working on my blog page **making into my home**...

What an interview. Your site always seems to have people of real interest on here. I love Ms. Lara's outlook on the reading material that crosses her desk... and what she reads for pleasure.

My hat off to you ladies for a wonderful job!!!

Genella deGrey said...

Thanks, Lara, for the fun and informative interview! I wish you and HQ all success. :)

Amanda - I may live in L.A., but I NEVER go out in the sun without my 90+ sunscreen slathered all over my skin. Stand next to me at RT every chance you get and we'll spook the natives!

Lara Hyde said...

Thanks, Amanda--my baby girl is doing much better today and is back at daycare. And thank you, everyone, for your kind comments about my interview. This has been my first time ever blogging, and I've had a lot of fun!

I was wondering if any erotica readers out there could tell me what scenarios/sub-genres you enjoy the most? For me, I love dark historicals with some edge (or really naughtt ones!) but I also really enjoy contemporary stories, particularly ones involving an "off-limits" relationship: older woman/college-aged son's roommate, woman/husband's best get my drift!

Barbara said...

Hi Lara & Amanda! What a great and very informative interview. I was wondering if the current economy was having any effect on the publishing industry. Honestly, unlike most businesses, it seems like the bookstores remained the same. Everytime I go shopping there are ALWAYS people. I suppose they aren't willing to sacrifice a good book.

Personally, I'd pass on my manicures before I gave up book shopping, lol.

Wonderful job, ladies!

Kristina Cook/Kristi Astor said...

I have to confess, when I put on my 'reader hat,' I love dark, angsty erotic historicals (especially when they *do* have an HEA, no matter how unusual or circuitous the path toward it is).

But when I read erotic contemporaries, I kind of like a paranormal element. Not necessarily full-on fantasy/world-building, but some paranormal edge. I like the idea of...perhaps some tortured ghost/spectre seducing a modern heroine. And I admit I also really enjoy sexy vampires.

And like you, Lara, I also love the naughtiness of older woman/younger man stories! Maybe it's because I'm fast approaching my 40s and thinking that heroines my age deserve a hot, hunky young guy! (I'm thinking of the outdoor shower scene from Sex in the City).

ranearia said...

Another Great Interview Amanda!

Thank you for the insightful tips Lara for the aspiring authors out there, Many authors are scared to turn in they're works (even after they're done they're homework)what is the best adivce you can give someone to calm they're anixtey?
Also to anwser your own question I to adore dark historicals, but I also love light humor historicals ;)

Amanda McIntyre said...

I am thrilled Lara had the time to visit and thank you guys for making her feel so at home here at the manor! I knew that she would feel comfortable here!

Thanks Genella for the offer;) Maybe together we can serve as planding lights for planes? heehee


Amanda McIntyre said...

I am partial to the older woman/younger man thing LOL Dont I have one of those coming out with Spice Briefs? ;)

I like the unusual and complex, dark and edgy with a bit of a twist and the unexpected. But I love the historial blend of erotic and society protocol-the unspoken things behind the bedroom door or the hushed whispers of an empty study!

For contemporary , I like to see a bit of danger and intrigue along side an out of control hot passion that cannot be denied.

and I have to say I like strong women characters-not kick arse necessairly--but confident in their own skin-no matter how alpha or not-the male (or males) is/are.


Kristina Cook/Kristi Astor said...

Oh, and Lara, I'm SO glad your daughter is feeling better! Poor kiddo. :o(

Lara Hyde said...

Barbara--we're very fortunate to be able to say that historically Harlequin has not been hit that hard by economic recessions. That is probably in large part due to the fact that as books go, our series books are quite inexpensive, and they also have the HEAs that people want even more when times are tough.

Ranearia--I understand how daunting it can be to turn in your work. It is extremely difficult to part with something you've put so much blood, sweat and tears into and face the opinion of others. All I can really say is just bite the bullet and submit it! And know you are NOT ALONE in your anxiety. And if your submission is rejected, don't lose faith in yourself and your writing. Although your story might not be right for a particular publisher, perhaps it would work for someone else, or perhaps your next story might be "the one" (or the next, or the one after that). It is a tough business to break into, though, I won't lie to you! I have nothing but the utmost admiration for all writers putting themselves out there. It is a very vulnerable position to be in.

Thanks, everyone, for the insights into what you like to read! Much appreciated!

Victoria Janssen said...

Hi, Lara!

~ Paula Roe ~ said...

Hi Lara and thanks for the interview!

In erotic romance, I want to still see that emotional journey, because let's admit it, sex does complicate things! I adore Megan Hart's books and she's a great example of how internal conflict can affect the characters. They're multi-faceted and flawed, which makes them so damn interesting :)

I love the historical settings, as well as contemporary ones. Can't say I've read shape shifter/paras. I love the heroine to be more take-charge and MMF are also a favorite LOL

Sir John said...

I just found this blog and do not know if it will too late to be seen again. However, I do have a question for Lara. Do you acquire for only spice or for Mira also? If so, is it possible to submit directly to you a novel I wrote targeted for Mira or do I need an agent?
Johnny Ray