How To Create Commerce

Apparently, not every Harlequin book that sells well in America meets with equal success in Europe, which is why the publisher put together a seminar in Italy to figure out how to appeal to women readers across the Atlantic. Sample findings:

“No cowboys,” pronounced Alessandra Bazardi, editorial director of Harlequin Mondadori, a joint venture between Italy’s leading publishing house and the romance fiction giant. “And no babies, or at least not on the cover. (…)”The truth of the matter is that I don’t think that military and American uniforms are as popular in the translation market,” Karin Stoecker, editorial director of Mills & Boon, Harlequin’s British arm, told the roomful of authors dutifully scribbling down notes. (…) Along with cowboys and horses, the authors were told to skip ethnic heroes and not to let family members steal too much of the limelight. “But secret babies sell quite well, as do marriages of convenience, or arranged marriages and, of course, alpha heroes,” Stoecker said.

This reminds me of the earlier seminar that Mills & Boon held for romance writers in Aberdeen.