Publishing Innovator of the Year: Harlequin
As an example, Lewis cites enriched e-book editions: “We put extra content into the e-book [such as] author notes, alternative endings, character backgrounds, etc. This has been a building process, and numerous efforts never saw the light of day, as we felt they were not good enough.”
Key to implementing innovative ideas, suggests Vallik, is the ability “to get past some of the existing systems and processes that could block you. I think a good example for us is just even launching e-books, where we quickly went from doing seven books a month to doing 120. It was a small, dedicated team, and we went out [and] figured how we could do it without putting extra weight onto the existing systems because there is a lot already going on.”
Vallik also stresses the importance of being willing to learn as you go. “I think it is part of trying new things, which [you] absolutely have to do. You are going to [learn] so much more on the day you launch than in even the six months or however long it took you to launch,” she says. “So, it is partly speed to market, to actually try it.”
For Harlequin, there seems to be no other option. “Innovation has been critical to [our] sustained success as a leading publisher for women,” says Hayes. “Women have changed and will continue to change; [we] must innovate to keep entertaining Harlequin readers”—wherever they are.