Harlequin's new book line romances younger crowd

NEW YORK: Hoping to tap into a whole new market, Harlequin

Enterprises, the world's largest publisher of romance fiction, is

launching a new division: Red Dress Ink.

The new book line is being pitched as Sex and the City meets Ally


That is, Red Dress appeals to single 20- and 30-something women. Current

titles include See Jane Date, Milk Run, and Slightly Single.

The PR division of Trahan, Burden & Charles (TBC) has been tapped to

launch and brand the new imprint.

Traditionally, the Harlequin titles have appealed to baby boom women,

according to Pam Spengler-Jaffee, TBC's account supervisor. Therefore,

the book publisher, which was founded in Canada in 1949, realized a need

to capture younger readers.

As part of the launch, the agency developed a "Single Woman's Tool Kit"

for media, that included a nail file, recipes for apple martinis, red

pens, and aromatherapy products. The media response has been very

positive, said Spengler-Jaffee. Stories have run in outlets including

USA Today, the New York Post, Chicago Sun-Times, Fox News Network, and

Entertainment Weekly.

Spengler-Jaffee said that one of the books almost made it onto Oprah

Winfrey's list, but got cut from a segment due to time limitations.

While some critics dismiss this genre of novel, Spengler-Jaffee said the

authors are "serious-minded, intelligent writers dedicated to their


Red Dress has also launched a competition throughout North America that

challenges high-school- and college-age writers to submit published

features or news articles. The winner will receive $5,000 toward

educational expenses.

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