You see, Harlequin has always had its finger on the pulse of what’s new, what’s hot, and what readers want. Through chick lit highs there was Red Dress Ink. With the woman-as-hero influx came Bombshell. No matter the demand, Harlequin has consistently stepped up to bat to give their readers satisfaction. While it has been a long time in development – wanting to do things the right way – we all knew it was only a matter of time before this mega-publisher introduced a program featuring books for the YA market.
What is noteworthy is the crafty marketing behind the imprint. The team behind this new adventure decided to use the Harlequin brand to their advantage, while offering something new, young, and cutting edge that distinguishes it in a class of its own. If you go to the Harlequin website, you won’t see the Teen books splashed all over the main page. However, in targeting the appropriate audience, you will find a devoted website to the new imprint. Oh yes, they have done their research. In fact, an entire Teen Panel website is dedicated to the lengthy research conducted with readers aged 13 to 17. What better way to discover the types of stories teens want to read than by asking them directly?
With the mega-parent Harlequin brand backing them, the new Teen imprint aims to give young adults exactly what they want: a variety of stories about them and the various challenges young people go through and push to overcome. It’s about the kinds of characters teens and tweens can relate to. That doesn’t exclude adults from enjoying the scope of titles coming soon to a bookshelf near you. In fact, as editor Natashya Wilson has discussed all week in her Harlequin Teen blog tour, the authors and stories will likely appeal to a much wider audience than your niece, nephew, and babysitter. Adults are eating up the YA market, too, which is no surprise when you consider the quality of character development, story arcs, and author voices houses like Harlequin are seeking.
In writing, and especially in teen fiction, it’s impossible to keep up with the trends. By the time a writer realizes a trend is hot, hot, hot… the trend is already on the downswing. Considering the diversity of the scheduled titles Harlequin Teen is touting for the next year – and beyond – the one thing they are guaranteeing is variety. Whatever those teens in the research panel said must have taken hold with the editorial team behind Harlequin Teen, because we – the readers and the writers – are in for some surprises, bodice-rippers not included. But that’s exactly the kind of fiction-forward thinking that is behind the scenes at this new imprint.
So what about you, dear reader? Are you a fan of Gena Showalter and can’t wait to devour Intertwined? Have you already consumed Rachel Vincent’s My Soul to Take? Are you like me and eager to get your hands on Tagged? Share your thoughts here and be sure to bookmark the Harlequin Teen website and share it with your younger friends. Also, I highly recommend following Harlequin Teen on twitter so you can catch links to the rest of Natashya Wilson’s blog tour.