What are some upcoming trends for the next year?
We’re a relatively new, award-winning hybrid publisher of fiction and nonfiction (in our fourth year) and we have nine imprints, so we are in an expansion phase right now. We just started a new nonfiction lifestyle imprint, Verve, last year with Naked in 30 Days by Theresa Roemer, and we’re starting a horror imprint this fall. I strongly believe that horror has the potential to be as consumable as romance because it can bring in three generations of readers, of all genders. Plus, it’s been a passion of mine since childhood. The first adult book I was allowed to check out of the library was Dracula, and I cut my teeth on [the TV show] Dark Shadows. We’re also staring a subimprint next year of romance for “women of a certain age.”
I also know diversity in content is going to happen, and quickly, across all genres, so get ready for some Hispanic science fiction, some trans romance, and some pan-Asian westerns. It’s a brave new world. Let’s read about it!
What book/genre/topic would you like to see cross your transom?
I have strange and eclectic taste. I like to think of our publishing company as Grove Press of the 21st century meets Cannon Films, which means classy and quirky yet commercial, so I like things that are wonderfully weird with a pop-culture bent. Since 80 percent of people who read books in America are women, I am looking for books that excite that audience. Maybe even feminist fiction. I am really looking for erotica and erotic romance featuring women over 35 as well as diverse main characters. I still like vampires and zombies. I believe we are ready for the vampire mythos to be revamped, if you will, because vampires never die. I want to see BDSM explored passionately in fiction, especially the female domme/male submissive. And horror featuring women and children who kill. I want men to be afraid for a change.
We have a memoir/biography imprint, and I love sexual memoirs. I would have gladly published [Jane Juska’s] A Round-Heeled Woman, [Catherine Millet’s] The Sexual Life of Catherine M., or [Suzanne Portnoy’s] The Butcher, the Baker, the Candlestick Maker. Or the diaries of Anaïs Nin.
As a former newspaperwoman, I can publish a book at lightning speed, so it’s conceivable that we could be the next publisher of something like the Pentagon Papers. One of our partners is a lawyer.
I like to cross genres, so send me that as well. We have published lesbian historical mysteries, vampire BDSM, [and] gay fae ménage.
What topic don’t you ever want to see again?
Dystopian fiction. I still want a future of potential, not children killing each other to save the world. I can live without the new-adult subgenre. Not interested in children’s books, plays, or poetry.
What is unique about your corner of the publishing industry?
Riverdale Avenue Books is a product of traditional New York publishing and the successful erotic romance presses that were born in the digital age. I have been an agent for 30 years, an editor for eight, and a newspaper publisher before that, and I am a published author as well, so I know the industry from all sides. I bring newspaper speed and turnaround to an industry that had lost its cultural edge because it had not joined the digital age.
And I take risks. Some of our recent titles include: Ménage a Musketeer by Lissa Trevor (winner of the Gold Award for Erotica from the Independent Publisher’s Association);Finding Masculinity: Transition from Female to Male in Adulthood by Alexander Walker and Emmet Lundburg (winner of the Silver Award in LGBT nonfiction from the Independent Publisher’s Association); 50 Shades of Gay by Jeffery Self (No. 1 on Amazon’s Gay and Lesbian Fiction list when published); The Bossman by Renee Rose, a Mafia spanking series by a USA Today bestseller; the Magic University series by Cecilia Tan, a fantasy set in a Hogwarts-like college where students study sex magic, by an award-winning erotic romance writer; and The Tattered Heiress by Debra Hyde, a Lambda Award–winning author, nominated for a 2015 Lambda Award.
Lori Perkins is the founding agent at L. Perkins Agency who has sold more than 2,000 titles in her two decades as an agent. Her authors have had seven books on the New York Times bestseller list including How to Make Love Like a Porn Star: A Cautionary Tale by Jenna Jameson, which made the list for seven weeks, J.K. Rowling: The Wizard Behind Harry Potter by Marc Shapiro, andThe Hunger Games Companion by Lois H. Gresh. Perkins is also the founder and publisher of Riverdale Avenue Books, an award-wining hybrid publisher, and currently splits her time between the two successful publishing businesses. She is also a published author of fiction and nonfiction as well as the editor of the first zombie romance anthology, Hungry for Your Love, and Fifty Writers on Fifty Shades of Grey.