June 2012 • Vol. 23, No. 06 • Download pdf version
Use Your ImaJinn-ation
BY NANCY GIDEON
When the paranormal wave in traditional publishing began to ebb in the late 1990s, Linda Kichline, author of a successful trio of witch/warlock books, as well as series contemporary romances, was frustrated. A shrinking market made it hard to find the kind of books she loved to write—and read.
Following the inspiration of her good friend Debra Dixon, one of the authors who founded Belle Books, Linda surveyed readers and found the interest in supernatural romances was still strong, if not New York big. Her answer was to offer paranormal and fantasy romance as a publisher of niche genre books alongside other small-press trailblazers Belle Books and Ellora’s Cave. ImaJinn (pronounced Imagine) Books put out its first edition in 1999 in trade paperback and has steadily produced several titles a month.
At the same time, I was a burned-out author looking for a way to restart my creative fire. I’d begun a vampire romance series that got critical raves, but awkward marketing had the books disappearing before readers could find them.
Those readers wanted more books and I was sulking because I wanted to write them. Then I was approached by ImaJinn.
The advance wasn’t much by New York standards. It was a startup company without a track record (at that point, hadn’t even launched!), so there was no guarantee of sales. But ImaJinn had some things I needed: a passion for the paranormal fueled by a writer/publisher who understood the industry from an author’s perspective, insightful editing with the reader rather than the bean-counter in mind, an enthusiastic team approach to cover, title, and blurbs, and a writer-friendly contract.
From December 1999 to December 2002, I wrote six more books in my vampire series—and I still get royalties every period. Those books with ImaJinn jumpstarted my career with great reviews, reader exposure,
Profitable Partnerships: Barbara Freethy
continual award nominations and, best of all, the chance to rediscover doing what I loved within a supportive environment.
Like all publishing houses big and small, ImaJinn has gone through changes to stay relevant in a quixotic industry. It still publishes trade paperbacks, but now they’re print-on-demand backed by competitively priced e-book editions. The initial focus on the paranormal and urban fantasy genres has expanded to Regency romance, erotica, and soon, mystery, suspense, thriller, and romantic Continued on page 3