Amazon Publishing buys Avalon, gets 3,000 squeaky-clean titles

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On Monday, Amazon Publishing announced that it had purchased Avalon Books, a 62-year-old publisher. The acquisition means that Amazon Publishing has just added 3,000 titles to its list.

Avalon is an independent publisher that has focused on specific genres. In the past, that included science fiction. Now it primarily publishes mysteries, westerns and romance. While romance is hot right now -- hot and heavy, like ’50 Shades of Grey’ -- these novels are anything but. The books Avalon has published are, it writes, ‘good stories and wholesome entertainment.’


How good and how wholesome? Very good. Very wholesome. ‘There is no explicit sexual content or profanity in any of our novels,’ Avalon states in its writers guidelines. ‘It is the author’s responsibility to heighten the romantic atmosphere by developing love scenes with tenderness, emotion, and perception.’

In other words, none of that ’50 Shades of Grey'-style hanky-panky.

From the FAQ regarding manuscript submissions:

Q. WHAT IS TOO SEXY FOR AVALON? A. Sexual tension is fine but not more than a kiss or embrace is allowed.

Q. WHAT ARE THE RULES ON ROUGH LANGUAGE? A. No cursing throughout all of our books. Nothing heavier than a “hell,” “damn” in Westerns and Mysteries. We don’t like cursing at all in our romances. We do not accept racial epithets, no harsh language, and no sexy talk.

Q. WHAT ARE THE RULES ON LIQUOR? A. In our Romances keep it minimal, if any. In our Westerns and Mysteries it is okay within reason.

The writers guidelines go further in describing what kinds of characters and content are appropriate for Avalon.

AVALON ROMANCES / HEROINES: Every Avalon heroine should be an independent young woman with an interesting profession or career. She is equal to the stresses of today’s world and can take care of herself. She should be smart, capable, and likable. AVALON ROMANCES / HEROES: Avalon heroes should be warm, likable, realistic, sympathetic, understanding men who treat the heroine as an equal, with respect for her intelligence and individuality, and with courtesy. The hero should be a fully-realized character, someone the reader can warm up to and be happy to see with the heroine. AVALON MYSTERIES / HEROES: The hero can be male or female or a team of people with sound values. The hero must be someone for whom the truth is paramount. AVALON WESTERNS / HEROES: The hero must be a strong individual with sound values. He’s excellent with his fists and his gun, but not overeager to use either.

There are no guidelines for heroines of Avalon Mysteries or Avalon Westerns; I assume there are none.

‘Avalon has a long tradition in publishing wonderful stories that affirm a positive way of life,’ said Amazon Publishing’s Philip Patrick, director of business development, rights and licensing. ‘We are thrilled to have these talented writers join our publishing program.’

Other than squeaky-clean content, Avalon had something else going for it: None of its books has been published in e-book form. Yet.


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-- Carolyn Kellogg