Harlequin is doing all right. Actually the publisher of the potent formula, the Mad Libs of female desire, is doing better than everyone else.
Even as its parent company, Torstar Corp., has laid off staff and has reported sharp declines in newspaper and digital revenue during the first quarter of 2009--down $27 million compared to the first three months of 2008--Harlequin revenues increased to $124.5-million from $109.7-million over the same period.
And as a tribute to its virility (probably not but go with me), The Heart of a Woman: Harlequin Cover Art 1949-2009 opens in New York. Here's the full story at Globe & Mail.
I have always been fascinated by Harlequin, probably because of my time spent working in a used bookstore, watching them carted in by the boxful, "this week's reading, DONE!" harhar. But seriously, you can get through one of these badboys in 2 hours and their sexy trajectory cruises along at a breakneck and deliberate pace. Harlequins may be the only series of novels almost completely determined by, and crafted to adhere to, reader's specifications.
Poking through the Harlequin website, there are strict guidelines for the aspiring romance writer. And the specifics for each type of Harlequin; Tender Romance vs. Blaze.
I admit to having read a handful of imprint title from the Harlequin oeuvre and they were kind of awesome in their own way. Although they should exhibit some of the funnier titles such as The Brooding Frenchman's Proposal.