On September 30th, Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group launched a new crowd sourced romance imprint: Swoon Reads. It’s a young adult romance community for both writers and readers alike, and could potentially change the way self-published authors approach the industry.
Jean Feiwel, publisher for Swoon Reads as well as Feiwel & Friends, said Swoon Reads came from a number of different things, a large part being self-publishing and the rise of romance.
“I was on the train one day and saw this book Slammed by Colleen Hoover on the USA Today bestseller list. My first thought was ‘What is this?’ So I read the book, loved it, tracked her down, talked to her agent, and lost the book at auction. And then I did almost exactly the same thing again with Abbi Glines. It was incredibly frustrating, but also very interesting that the most exciting things we’d read lately were coming from the self-publishing world. I realized that there must be another way to find these, and the light bulb went off,” said Feiwel.
There was never any doubt that Swoon Reads would focus on young adult romance.
“There’s something so refreshing about a romantic story with an emotionally satisfying ending. There’s something irresistible about being in a story where these two people in love is the whole world, because really, who cares about anything else. That’s the mood I’ve been in lately, and the place I am in my career,” said Feiwel.
‘Falling in love with falling in love,” the Swoon Reads slogan, came from groupthink and collaboration.
“It stands for the fact that this is a great way to feel and a great experience for both readers and writers – just like falling in love,” said Feiwel.
Swoon Reads allows readers to participate in the publishing process by allowing them to read, rate, and comment on submissions. Feiwel believes this will bring a lot to the community.
“Just as Swoon Reads became a company initiative, sparked by me, but grown by the group, the Readers’ opinions, their experiences, and their passion is the engine of the website – without them it doesn’t run. I like the idea of working with people, the more voices involved, the richer the experience,” said Feiwel.
While Feiwel says she can’t speak for the other publishers in the industry, she believes that Swoon Reads will definitely be a part of Macmillan’s future.
“[The response has] been very gratifying and positive from both readers and writers – and we want more of both,” said Feiwel excitedly.
The top goals for Swoon Reads right now include building a great community and publishing great books. She added that Macmillan would consider expanding the Swoon Reads community if its success continues.
“Currently we have plans to add some features to the site. Things like a Swoon Reads Soap opera, more appearances with Avon, our Swoon Reads Mascot, opportunities for direct conversations with some of our publishing professionals, and eventually, if the site really takes off, Macmillan is considering expanding the concept into other genres,” said Feiwel.
Feiwel believes Swoon Reads will make it easier for those taking the path of self-publishing.
“Swoon Reads is intended to open the doors to the publishing world. We want to break down the obstacles here. Writers no longer have to have an agent, or have been published before. When they submit their manuscript to Swoon Reads, it will be read, and gain comments, ratings, and criticism,” said Feiwel.
As for the quality of the manuscripts?
“The bar is set by the community itself. It’s not like we are lowering our standards for publication, after all, not everyone will be published. But, everyone will be read and will benefit from that experience. Self-publishing can be a lonely experience, but Swoon Reads should never be lonely. The community is there, reading, rating, and being involved. As our Henry Holt Books for Young Readers publisher Laura Godwin says, ‘Friends shouldn’t let friends self-publish.’ Come to Swoon Reads instead,” said Feiwel.
But one thing is for sure: this community is here and ready to rock.
“Swoon Reads is here. It’s open. And we need you. It won’t work without you,” said Feiwel.
For more about Swoon Reads, visit their website.