As some of you may know, I have been dreaming of working at Harlequin since I was a teenager. My grandmother subscribed to the books (and still does!), then would pass them on to me. Nothing else could keep up with my need to read! I adored having a love of Harlequin novels to connect over as it was really the only thing we have in common.
For me, the company had always been so reliable. I could pick up any book in whichever line and they would have the same aesthetic –good writing, good editing, good ending. It got to the point where I was choosing my books based on who published the stories rather than who wrote them. Serious branding skills right there.
I tried applying to the company shortly after graduating from my publishing course, but I just did not have enough experience working with authors yet. I did not give up hope that someday I would end up working in the editorial department there, though. I just put it off to gain more experience in publishing and in life. Now that I am heading back to Canada soon, I started thinking about where I want to live and work… and that is when I saw a tweet from Angela James saying she would be looking for freelance editors soon!
Needless to say, I became extremely excited at the fortuitous timing and planned to apply at the moment the call came. But then a few short days later the message vanished and been replaced by the news Ms James was leaving the company. I was in shock at the sudden change of direction, but it turns out the company is doing a restructure making at least two prominent editorial director positions obsolete… which included hers.
Not a lot was being said about the changes as I could only find a couple of articles discussing it. From what I gather, each of Harlequin’s imprints had their own director and they will now be consolidated under one of two “business groups” with each being led by an executive vice-president/publisher.
Rumour has it romance novels are not as lucrative as they used to be and the company is broadening their scope to stay relevant and profitable. While I cannot yet imagine a world where Angela James is not heading Carina Press, I would also hate to see Harlequin cease to exist if they don’t make some changes. This reorganization is supposed to “foster strategic alignment” to include initiatives like Feel Good events and Harlequin Studios.
Feel Good Project was launched about a year ago and, to be honest, the webpage did not give much concrete information. The promotion for this year’s even in Texas added a bit of clarity by stating there would be a panel discussion, self-care workshops, and an awards ceremony to celebrate inspirational people. There also may or may not be some research being done to study how uplifting experiences encourage helping others in a sort of “pay it forward” manner—not quite sure.
In regards to Harlequin Studios I did not locate a website (nor an address), but there are a couple articles announcing the launch in mid-July. It seems Harlequin and CTV formed an agreement to produce movies based on a selection of novels the company publishes. Given Hallmark had turned a few books from Harlequin imprints into movies already plus book-to-screen programs are doing well on Netflix, this seems like it has the potential to make a decent profit.
All of this leaves a few questions on my mind. First, what will Angela James do next? It is sure to be awesome and I’m almost hoping she starts her own publishing company. Two, will Harlequin Studios be a Canadian company producing Canadian content or, as it is owned by HarperCollins will it be American despite being on CTV? And last, will this restructuring cut more jobs that went unannounced or will it create an opportunity for me to finally work there?!