Ebury's Gillian Green Chats Up the Strategy Behind Launching Digital-First Imprint Rouge Romance
In September, British publisher Ebury made a splash by launching Rouge Romance, a digital-first imprint dedicated to bawdy bodice-rippers that are saucily marketed as "sexier, longer and 100% more romantic." While romance readers' love affair with e-books is no secret (no more being judged for those steamy mass-market covers), Ebury's plunge is particularly noteworthy. This is no tentative leap; Rouge debuted with eight titles, with plans for four new titles per month going forward. We caught up with Gillian Green, editorial director at Ebury, to ask about the finer points of this venture.
Book Business Extra: First off, when did you decide to launch Rouge as an e-book romance imprint?
Gillian Green: We started talking about it seriously at the beginning of this year, but romance is something we’ve always wanted to publish as part of the Ebury commercial fiction list; it was just finding a way to make it work here, which is very different to the U.S. in terms of market support of the genre.
It’s also worth noting that I started out as a romance editor for Harlequin, so I’ve always had an affection for the genre, even though I’ve spent most of my career working in general fiction.
Extra: What market factors did you see that led to the decision?
Green: We know from research commissioned by Random House and by the industry at large that romance readers have been among the first to migrate to e-books; 1 in 7 romance readers in the U.K. have already bought an e-book in the last year and a digital-first list seemed an ideal way of getting to readers. We also watch the U.S. market to see what’s happening there, especially in terms of the changing digital landscape.
Extra: What makes a book a Rouge Romance title?