Meet Executive Editor Birgit Davis-Todd

- by BlogMistress

sailboatWelcome Birgit Davis-Todd, an Executive Editor with Harlequin Books based in Toronto. When she’s not looking for that next new voice she’s out sailing the Great Lakes and enjoying hockey. She’d love to see submissions from both new and veteran writers.

This is Harlequin’s 60th anniversary — how long have you worked for the company, and what are some of the ways it’s changed during your tenure?

I’m delighted to drop by to visit with everyone from NINC.

60thAnniversary

No question the big news in 2009 is our 60th anniversary. We’ve been celebrating with our readers and our authors all year long—and what a party it has been!

We put a different series in the spotlight each month featuring diamond themed miniseries and popular authors. Our Famous Firsts reprint program highlighted some of the very first series books by bestselling writers such as Debbie Macomber, Linda Lael Miller and Jayne Ann Krentz. In May we sponsored a wonderful art show in New York featuring book covers from every decade.

From our humble beginnings as a small reissue house in chilly Winnipeg, Canada to our emergence today as one of the world’s leading publishers of books for women, it’s been quite a journey. One I have been proud to be part of for over twenty-five years.

I think one of the biggest changes has been the breadth and variety of programs we publish. We launched many new romance series in the 1980s such as American, Intrigue and Temptation. After 2000 came innovative programs such as Blaze and Nocturne never mind Steeple Hill and Kimani Romance. Currently we offer our entire front list in e-book format as well as continuing to create original e-book programs such as Nocturne Bites and Historical Undone.

Certainly one other change of note is the launch of our website www.eharlequin.com. It’s a great place to meet editors and authors, check out our podcasts and guidelines and look for our new releases. I encourage every writer to visit!

In your position as Executive Editor, what kinds of things do you tackle on daily basis? What can you share “from the trenches”?

A big part of my job is overseeing the American, Blaze, Intrigue and Superromance programs, working with all the staff. But I also work closely with my editorial colleagues from Silhouette, Mills & Boon, Kimani and Steeple Hill. We all share the same goal—finding talented authors with a great story to tell.

This year alone we published over forty new authors. The market might seem tough to crack at times but there are always opportunities at Harlequin.

I work with a number of authors personally and am always on the lookout for new voices.

I also work on sampling with our Marketing team. It’s so important to get books in the hands of potential readers. We know once they have a chance to sample what we publish they are hooked and will likely buy books on a regular basis. One of our biggest sampling initiatives took place this year in conjunction with the 60th anniversary. We set up a special website www.harlequincelebrates.com where visitors can download 16 series books for free. It’s been a wonderful promotion for all our authors!

We also work with many other partners such as Harrah’s and Women’s Day magazine on sampling opportunities.

Do you have any favorite Harlequin moments that have been a part of your work over the years?

Harlequin is a wonderful company. I’ve had the opportunity to work with and meet so many talented writers. Some of my favorite moments include making “The Call”. There’s nothing like calling an author for the very first time to make that person’s dream come true—to be published.

I love working with writers. Often you start with just an idea, which then becomes a synopsis, followed by a great opening chapter. It’s a privilege to work with writers, to get inside his or her head, help shape a book and ultimately edit the entire manuscript. It’s a wonderful creative process that I enjoy year after year.

I hope to hear from writers who might be interested in writing for Harlequin. Maybe you are new but have a great story to tell. Or perhaps you are a veteran of another house or genre. I’d love to hear from you if you have a story that’s right for us.

Thanks for the chance to stop by!

And thanks to Samantha Hunter for inviting Birgit to blog with us.

11 comments

  1. Hey Birgit, great to see you here!
    As one of those 40 new authors you mentioned were published this year, I wanted to say I’m delighted to be with Harlequin and look forward to a long and productive relationship.
    It sounds like you’re just as keen after 25 years with the company as you were with the first.
    Hope you’ll be able to visit us all downunder again sometime.
    Meanwhile, see you in Nashville!
    CC

  2. Hi Birgit–

    Thanks for sharing some of your time with us. I love all the 60th Anniversary celebrations that have been going on.

    I’ve written more than 30 books for Harlequin and I’m so glad to be part of its umbrella of authors!

  3. Hi Birgit,
    I’m glad we got to visit at Nationals.

    I too am delighted to be one of Harlequin’s authors! It’s a wonderful place to be.

    See you in Nashville.
    BJ

  4. Birgit,

    I wanted to agree with you on what a useful website eHarlequin is. The whole section on writing is a goldmine. The support of the whole community, published and unpublished, encourages my dream of being one of ‘your’ authors.

    Angelina

  5. Hey Birgit! I’m bringing up the rear here in comments since I have been out all day, but I appreciate you taking the time to come by for the blog. :) I know you are on vacation, but planned to get by to chat… hope you still can. But if not, hope your vacation is going very well!

    eHarlequin is amazing for writers before and after they publish — it’s been a part of writing for me since I started, and still is, as I run my online read there now, and just chat with friends and readers. It’s truly unique — I don’t think there’s any other place like it.

    I had the wonderful experience of working with Birgit, Angelina, for the first four years I was with Blaze, and it was a pleasure — as is working for my new editor, Kathryn, now. It’s a win-win proposition working with this wonderful group.

    Sam

  6. Hi Birgit,
    Another one of your new authors chiming in to say hi and how excited I am to be a part of the family. :) Thanks for stopping by.

  7. Thanks Patricia, Samantha and Birgit,

    It’s always exciting to hear from the people who help bring all the wonderful stories to life. Being an editor sounds like hard work but incredibly worthwhile. Thanks for keeping us, the Harlequin readers and hopeful writers, in the thick of the tales.

  8. Hi Birgit,
    It’s so great to see you here. It’s always a pleasure to see you at conferences. Maybe next year we’ll have a moment to visit.

    It’s a dream come true to write for Harlequin.

    See you in Nashville.
    Linda

  9. Hi Birgit,

    I stumbled on the NINC blog and I’m so glad I did. I’m so proud to be a Harlequin author and I was very excited to help promote the 60th anniversary by sharing the website offering the free downloads. What a great idea! I also wished I’d been able to see the art exhibit featuring the classic HQ cover art. From the pictures I’d seen it seemed fabulous. But I have my calendar of cover art hanging in my office at work and it’s a huge hit.

    Thanks for stopping by to chat!

  10. Hi Birgit,

    I’m one of Harlequin’s ‘Down Under’ authors, hoping we can meet in person one day!

    Like Kimberly, I love the cover art calendar and have it in my office.

    cheers,
    Nicola

  11. Nice to hear from all our authors! We really appreciate how everyone has been onboard and featuring the special links.

    I also want to say Happy Anniversary to Ninc. I can’t believe it’s been 20 years since the organization began. I have attended a couple of the conferences and found them very professional. I have also enjoyed the newsletter over the years.

    Birgit