Guide The Virgin Secretarys Impossible Boss (Mills & Boon Modern) (Mills and Boon Modern)

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Remember: this is before big-box bookstores spread across America, before Amazon and long before the rise of digital self-publishing. There just wasn't as much to read, and romance devotees are famously voracious. Harlequin promised consistently entertaining books you could read in a couple of hours, clearly packaged, available for purchase without so much as driving fifteen minutes out of your way.

Imagine you're a woman with three kids and maybe a part-time job, on a budget that's far from unlimited, and think about the power of that promise. And, oh, the marketing! Never has a publishing company gone to such dedicated, batshit-crazy lengths to move its product. They plowed money into TV advertising, sure, running commercials during prime-time programs like Kojak and Laugh-In , which catapulted Harlequin into a household name.

But the variety and range of promotional capers is truly astounding. Other promotional ventures done on a contractual basis include a complete romance published in Good Housekeeping that was followed by a coupon the reader could send in to receive a free Harlequin; a romance packed in the large-size box of Kotex feminine napkins and Bio-Ad detergent; romances given away to customers at McDonald's restaurants on Mother's Day; romances given away with purchases of Avon products and Jergens lotion and a free romance given in exchange for a coupon found on the bottom of Ajax cans.

I would not be at all mad at more Kotex gifts with purchase.

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It's pretty clear these sorts of wildly successful! It offends delicate literary sensibilities to see words packaged and sold so nakedly like a TV dinner, no matter how successful a moneymaking strategy. And too, Harlequin was unashamed about going where its customers were—and its customers were women, often housewives. They knew they were selling to women, and they chased women's dollars without embarrassment or apology.

The Virgin Secretary's Impossible Boss (Mills & Boon Modern) - Carole Mortimer - كتب Google

And let's face it, being associated with women is often the shortest route to being dismissed in the broader culture as fundamentally unserious. But it damn sure worked financially. After the TV advertising push, sales jumped 30 million books in two years, hitting 72 million in Grescoe says that by the mids, the company printed , copies of every single fucking book.

By the end of the decade, Harlequin had spent several years perched atop a golden goose. In the book business, stores can return unsold inventory for a refund, which often screws with publishers' balance sheets.

Reward Yourself

Harlequin's returns were the envy of the industry. Their market share was unrivalled. The world was theirs. And they'd done it all without especially dramatic changes to the books. Via Grescoe, here's author Violet Winspear explaining her approach:. I put all these cruel manly words into these men's mouths… and then work so as he makes a grab for the girl. And then she's half fainting, you know what I mean, with a burning desire, which she doesn't even understand herself. And then he's bruising her mouth with his urgent, demanding kisses, and he's got this strange steely light in his eyes.

And I get it so the girl says to herself, 'What does it mean, what does it mean? Even outside Presents, it was increasingly explicit that the tension simmering between hero and heroine was sexual in nature, even if it was never consummated outside the bonds of holy matrimony: these were the glory days of the punishing kisses. His power over the heroine is exercised mainly through sexual domination, but he is also the richer and more powerful of the two; often, he is her boss.

There are always exceptions when you talk about something so diverse as Harlequin, but I think it's fair to say the s were peak jerk. The absolute low point of reporting this article was reading a Harlequin Presents by Anne Hampson, in which the "hero" kidnaps the heroine and tells her either they get married or he rapes her. I couldn't even make it halfway through.

While they published authors from around the Commonwealth lord, the Australian romances!

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They turned Nora Roberts down multiple times; in a interview with the journal Para-Doxa , she said: "I received my manuscript back with a nice little note which said that my work showed promise, and the story had been very entertaining and well done. But they Harlequin already had their American writer. Roberts means Janet Dailey, who wrote hugely popular westerns. For Harlequin, Dailey was all they needed.

They'd gotten a little too comfortable. Harlequin's monopoly on the market was a state of affairs too good to continue forever, and it was inevitable that other publishers would take notice and start angling for their own cut. In the late '70s, Harlequin made it easier for everyone by shooting themselves in the foot.

Best Selling

They decided they could handle American sales with their own team, cutting ties with Simon and Schuster's Pocket Books, previously their distributor below the 49th parallel. If you have this on VHS somewhere, I am begging you to send it my way. Silhouette had plenty of manuscripts to pick from, because there were scads of American women who wanted to write romance but didn't have a snowball's chance with Harlequin and their Brit-controlled editorial department. Company politics made the situation even worse: Grescoe reports that a Canadian-based editor had made multiple attempts to launch an American line, commissioning manuscripts that would ultimately get scotched.

Guess where agents went to sell those finished but homeless books? You guessed it—Silhouette. In magazines from the period like McCalls, you'll see giant full-color advertisements for Harlequin and Silhouette practically side-by-side in the same issue, jostling among the consumer packaged goods and the coupons. Silhouette eventually sweet-talked Dailey onto their list and made her their star attraction, parking her square in their TV commercials and magazine ads, too. Yet another giant fuck-you to the Canadians:.

The shadow sister

Meanwhile, other publishers were piling on; seemingly every company decided to launch its own category line. Dell had Candlelight Ecstasy, whose covers alone are enough to tell you these were sexier, more explicit reads. Berkley launched Second Chance at Love. Bantam had Circle of Love, which, judging by the ads, were sweet enough to make your teeth hurt.

Fawcett made a crack at the model with historicals sold as Coventry Romance. You get a category romance line! And you get a category romance line! Everybody gets a category romance line! The fight was vicious but brief.