Chatting with The Hot Bed girls
By Jade Craddock
Today we welcome the wonderful team behind Simon & Schuster UK’s amazing NA project The Hot Bed to talk about all things New Adult. ♥
1. You set up The Hot Bed to bring readers the latest New Adult reads, can you tell us how you came up with the idea and your ambitions for the genre?
The idea came about because we all loved reading the books; it’s what brought us together as friends. Spending our lunch breaks discussing book boyfriends, or sequels, or upcoming titles, and somewhere out of all of that The Hot Bed came about. It suddenly jumped from having chats in our lunch breaks, to this massive community that has just gone from strength to strength and we’re only eight months old!
2. What first brought your attention to the New Adult genre?
We work closely with our US team, who had a lot of titles coming out, which we then took on. In the US they call them ‘Indies’ as they were predominantly independent authors who self-published in e-format, before being approached by publishers. However, it seemed at this time in the UK they were all coming together under the New Adult label (which has now broadened to Contemporary Romance) and it all seemed to be tying in together through our various jobs in the company – suddenly NA/CR was everywhere!
3. Why do you think it’s had such success?
We think it’s a success because of the readers and the ability of the authors to have such a fast turnaround on titles. Traditionally, bringing a sequel out less than 6 months after the original would bring total fear to our production teams, but now with these authors it’s expected that there will be a new title every six months, or less! It’s really pushed traditional publishing to create ways in which to turn titles around from prolific authors with a speed that hasn’t previously been encountered. This is obviously hugely influenced too by the ebook market, being able to publish a title at the click of a button has really put the pressure on publication schedules in-house because we have to be able to keep up with demand.
4. What makes a great New Adult/contemporary romance book in your mind?
It’s all about the man! We love a good book boyfriend – there has to be that chemistry there that just sucks you in so that you end up missing your stop on the bus!
5. What can aspiring authors do to make their book stand out?
Although promotion would be the obvious answer here, there are two very distinct ways in which to promote your book. In the last year alone, the market has become flooded with authors all competing for the same readers, so making yourself stand out is tricky. However, there are definite lines between promotion and bombardment. Emailing someone 6 times a month about your book is not promotion. Your main goal needs to be to get readers reading – there’s nothing better than a reader recommendation. Approach blogs that take review copies, set up Twitter and FB groups, get involved with the various author events and tours, most importantly make friends! These are the people that are going to pimp your book out, so don’t bombard them with weekly review requests, instead say hello, chat about your favourite books and just try to get a relationship built up before you ask them to review – it makes all the difference!
Anna Todd, author of the amazing After series, is going to blow NA/CR out of the water for 2014 – if you haven’t heard of her, all you need to know is that over a billion people read her Wattpad title, yes that’s right a billion! Victoria Walters, who won our ebook competition, is definitely one to watch as there’s going to be loads of chatter about her – coming in January 2015!
7. When the genre first came on to the scene it was something of a surprise, do you think it is here to stay?
We think the best thing about NA is that it all came about because of reader demand; it covers that area that YA, Romance and Erotica don’t quite seem to meet. As long as people want to read it, it’ll be here – maybe not always under the same label, it’s already switching into subcategories and being overarched in Romance more, but where there’s demand, there’s going to be product!
8. What does it give readers that other genres don’t?
As NA/CR is so home grown, we think it gives readers an author approachability that they maybe haven’t had before – so many of these authors are active through Twitter and FB and happy to chat to bloggers, readers and fans alike, it really makes the difference and has helped to build this massive community that’s so interlinked – it’s great!
9. What makes a great heroine/hero?
We all want different things in a book, but NA/CR covers it all. Kate loves the raunchiness, which is definitely there! Victoria loves the romance – a hero that will sweep you off your feet and take you on the road trip of a lifetime. And Emma loves the feisty heroines. It’s all about getting sucked into the story so that you believe in these characters and you are cheering for them to get together as you read the book.
10. How should a book make the reader feel?
This is tricky … we’ve read books that have made us cry, have given us horrific emotional hangovers, have made us laugh out loud and have made us blush! If you can get swept along into a book, enough to have these responses then you’re onto a good one!
11. If you could name one thing a New Adult/contemporary romance book can’t do without, what would it be?
Chemistry. It’s all about the chemistry! And good editing!!
12. What advice would you give to any aspiring authors?
There’s a lot of NA/CR out there, in fact loads, so you need your title to stand out and to be something different to the usual boy meets girl. Dark romance has come to the fore lately because it offers that something different, similarly crime romance is pushing through too. Whereas the Cinderella story has become a little overdone, in its place is more of a ‘regular’ romance – no billionaires sweeping poor barmaids off their feet, just regular boy meets regular girl.
13. If you could sum New Adult up in one word what would it be?
Crazy-fun!? (yes, we have hyphenated two words to make one!)
14. Is there anything you’d like to see from New Adult/contemporary romance in the future?
We’re always looking for the next thing to come along. We are constantly reading NA/CR titles and across the three of us we pretty much cover all elements of the genre: bikers, alphas, erotica, dark romance, contemporary romance, love triangles, one-offs, series, published, self-published. But what we look for is the book that knocks your socks off. There’s been a few this year that have really taken us by surprise, either because they weren’t expected, or because we’ve simply fallen in love with them. It’s hard to know what hasn’t already been covered because even with the amount we’re reading, there’s still more out there, but there has to be something out there that someone’s yet to write about!
15. If you had to choose one book that all aspiring authors should read, what would it be?
Kate – Beautiful Bastard by Christina Lauren – for me this is the book that started my love affair with NA/CR. It’s my must-read for fans and authors alike, and Christina Lauren are fantastic examples of how to build your readerships/fans and become pillars in the genre.
Victoria – The Edge of Never by J.A. Redmerski – She takes the bar up a level. I love travel writing, and I love romance. This ties my favourite subjects together and has opened my eyes to places I never knew existed.
Emma – Thoughtless by S.C. Stephens – This book has everything you could want from a contemporary romance – love, betrayal, broken trust, love triangles, friendship – I could go on! It is a passionate portrayal that crams in a lot without overdoing it. Also, S.C. Stephens has nailed the non-whiny female protagonist, not to mention the sexiest damaged bad boy!