The newest romance imprint on the scene is Montlake Romance, a division of Amazon Publishing that's causing quite a bit of buzz. Amazon Publishing v-p Jeff Belle gave us a sneak peek into Amazon's first venture into the world of genre fiction.
The rumor is that you're going to be launching a number of genre fiction imprints. Why start with romance?
❤ Romance is a natural place for us to start. It's already one of our top-selling categories and growing very quickly, on Kindle in particular. And the fan base for this genre is very active and well organized (and, dare I say, passionate), especially online.
What subgenres of romance will Montlake be handling
❤ Montlake Romance will publish across a range of popular subgenres, including romantic suspense, contemporary, and historical romance novels, as well as fantasy and paranormal.
What will you be doing to stand out and compete for readers?
❤ Having an in-house publishing business, and working with authors who want to test new ways to engage readers, is a very helpful way to move toward a better overall bookstore. So in that sense, we aren't thinking about competition, we're thinking about ways to improve the experience for every reader that comes to our store.
Did you have a presence at BEA, and will you be at RWA?
❤ Amazon Publishing had a booth at BEA, and we enjoyed meeting with agents and booksellers there.
Are you planning to reprint self-published books, as Amazon Encore does, or will you be soliciting completely unpublished manuscripts? If the latter, are you looking for agented submissions or mostly drawing from your own slush pile?
❤ The acquisitions process includes agent-submitted unpublished works, in addition to the acquisition process we have established for our other imprints. We're looking for the highest quality stories, wherever they may come from.
What can you tell me about your anticipated pay structure for authors? Are you planning to offer advances over $1,000 to some authors to help them qualify for RWA PAN membership?
❤ Our acquisition process includes unpublished works, some of which we acquire through working with agents. Beyond that, we don't comment on the terms of our relationships with either authors or other parties like agents or publishers.
Who's on your editorial staff, and who are your launch authors?
❤ Victoria Griffith, formerly the senior manager of Amazon's Author Central, is the publisher of Amazon Publishing. Daphne Durham, another longtime Amazon staffer, is editorial director. We've announced that The Other Guy's Bride by bestselling author and Rita Award–winner Connie Brockway will be our launch title. We'll be announcing more titles soon.
Rose Fox is the SF/fantasy/horror and romance reviews editor for PW.