After a strong launch in 2005 that featured a handful of critically acclaimed titles, Houston-based yaoi publisher DramaQueen suddenly went quiet. The company has not published a new title since September 2007, according to publisher Tran Nguyen. But that’s about to change.
Nguyen said she has reorganized the company and found a financial partner, and she is preparing to send a new round of books to the printers—which means they will hit bookstores around the end of May. Nguyen spoke to PWCW at the DramaQueen booth in the Dealers Room at the Anime Boston convention held in mid-March.
“The downtime was necessary for us to go through our personal growth and company growth and build a stable financial structure,” Nguyen said. Part of that was finding a private investor, whom Nguyen declined to name. “We needed outside capital coming in,” she said. “It was very important to find the right partner, and we did. It’s an individual, a small private investor, someone who understood the entrepreneurial vision that we have as well as understanding that the mission of DramaQueen is to do phenomenal work in the manga sector.”
The whole staff had to back off a bit as well, she said. “We found out that we needed to balance our lives,” she said. “For the past two and a half years, all of us have been nose deep in DramaQueen, and we haven’t had any personal growth. There was a huge need for growth, a need for us to rest.”
Nguyen plans to publish six to eight titles every two months. And Nguyen is ready with a backlog of books that her staff has been working on during the downtime. “We haven’t been inactive,” she said.
The new titles will include several 18+ yaoi titles aimed at older readers: Tyrant Falls in Love, a follow-up to the well-received Challengers; Worthless Love; The Cage of Thorns; and Naked Jewels Corporation. Also in the works are The Summit, a PG boys’ love title; third volumes of two shoujo manhwa, DVD and Audition; and two romance manhwa, Peter Panda and Promise. In addition, Nguyen said, Challengers will be going into a second printing, and she expects several other titles to go back to press as well. The third issue of Rush, DramaQueen’s global boys’ love anthology, is also slated for the first wave of releases, Nguyen said
“We don’t want to be a big fish,” she said. “A medium-size fish is good. It’s great to have a passion for your work, but you have to have a life outside your work. That’s what I’d like to encourage for myself and my team. We need to focus on building ourselves inside so we can sustain it for the long run.”