A call to authors and publishers to identify category romance imprints.
A recent conversation in the ARRA loop has raised an issue that I’ve been struggling with for some time now: How is category romance defined?
The answer used to be easy, because, well, that was pretty much the many flavours of Mills & Boon. Now, however, with new romance imprints popping up or being resurrected, and with the greater flexibility afforded to digital imprints, it’s become difficult to identify exactly which books are categories and which books are not.
Some of the issues that came up include:
– Word count limits (minimum and maximum)
– Imprints with specific story guidelines rather than simple subgenre branding
– Whether or not a publisher has to identify a book as a category romance in order for it to be considered as such
Although these questions stemmed from a desire to set guidelines around book awards, I think it’s a broader discussion worth having. My experience of category romances has been that while the shorter word count is a characteristic of these books, what makes them category romances are the set of reader expectations and writing conventions that form part of the line. So although we tend to lump these books together as category romance, in fact comparing them may be just as difficult as it would be to compare paranormal romance and historical romance, for example.
So there are a lot of things we can talk about when it comes to defining category romance, but for now let’s start with something easy: If you’re an author or you work for a publisher of category romance, I’d love it if you can identify which imprints publish category romance by commenting on this post. If you prefer, feel free to send me the information via email.
My goal is that once we have a definitive—though by no means static, as imprints tend to come and go—list, we can use it as a starting point to talk about the differences and similarities between the imprints, and also if how publishers define category romance is changing. More practically, I’m hoping that such a list will at least help ARRA when it comes to determining whether or not nominated books are eligible to be called category romances.
Get your fancy hats and fascinators ready, because it’s that time of year again!
Update: The sweep is closed and because we only got 12 entries, I’ve put everyone’s name in twice. Check the end of the post for your numbers. Good luck!
Yes, we’re using horses as an excuse to swap books. Because who wouldn’t, right? Today we’re running our annual readers’ sweep. Here’s how it works:
1. The first 24 people to comment here are in (subject to #2 below). If you’re commenter #25, that’s okay—we’ll keep the comments open, and if we get another 24 people, we’ll run a second sweep.
2. Entries close at 1.30pm (AEDT) today to give me time to allocate your horses. If a horse is scratched before I do the allocation, I’ll take the first x entries, where x is the number of horses still in the race.
3. Only participants who can supply an Australian address are eligible, but overseas readers can wear fancy hats and join in spirit.
4. I’ll assign random numbers against each participant. The numbers will correspond to horses as per this list. I’ll update this post with the horse allocations by 2pm AEDT. The race starts at 3pm AEDT (it’s race 7 on the race thingos).
5. Each participant promises to send a book to the winner. The book can be a used book as long as it’s in good condition, and it has to be a book you’d actually recommend to someone—not from your DNF pile, please.
7. If, for some reason, the winning number wasn’t allocated to anyone, then whoever has the highest placing horse will be declared the winner.
I’ll announce the winner after the race (usually just after 3pm AEDT). If you win, you’ll have to provide a mailing address to everyone who promised to send you a book. I’ll email you to get your details, then I’ll forward your details, via email, to everyone who entered, either.
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Click here for a round-up of all BDB-related posts on Book Thingo.
If you head over to J. R. Ward’s Facebook page, you’ll find a short excerpt of Lover At Last, book 11 of the Black Dagger Brotherhood series, featuring the much-anticipated romance between Qhinn and Blaylock. Here’s a tidbit (you need to click the link above for the entire excerpt):
“…oh, you having probs with Saxton? Really? How’d you like to go out and get a drink and talk about it? Yeah? Perfect. I’ll be your after dinner mint-”
Who knows if it will make it past the editing process, but I know all you BDB fans will take anything you can get. :D
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A sneak peek at the new Mills & Boon Riva covers.
Mills & Boon UK posted some cover images of their rebranded Riva line on Twitter yesterday. Here’s a sneak peek.
I’m not sure what to think of these chick-lit type covers. They’re certainly more attractive than some of the dual-image covers that the line currently uses, but they don’t scream out ‘category romance’ either. One can only hope they actually match the contents of the book. (If you want to try a sample of the Riva line, Mills & Boon UK has made Just One Kiss by Jessica Hart available for free online.)
I’m not sure if these cover images are still in draft, but as they are, I note the prominent plaecement of authors’ names and the relatively discreet Mills & Boon branding at the bottom of the book. The taglines ‘Fun, flirty, sexy and stylish’ and ‘Fun, flirty, sexy and romantic’ seem targeted towards a younger market.
What do you think? Do you like these covers better than the old one?
Today I’m celebrating the start of Book Week by showing off the latest additions to my TBR (to be read) pile.
Not to be smug or anything, but check out the books I brought home from the Gold Coast:
Some of these books were given away for free by authors at the ARRA signing, some I bought from Rosemary, who was the main bookseller at the conference, and some I bought for $1 (used books) at the QT hotel gift shop. I’m looking forward to reading them all!
I love Julie Anne Long, but it took me ages to finally buy this book because I thought I had already read it. Now I realise that Avon has reused the same cover image. No wonder I was so confused!
I’m curious to know—which cover do you prefer?
If you’re hungry for clues about upcoming books in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series by J. R. Ward, Decadence has put together what we think we know about what’s coming next. Includes excerpts from upcoming releases and dates for Ward’s virtual signing.
For a list of all BDB-related posts at Book Thingo, click here.
Okay, so I’ve been shamefully late with an update, but whenever something big happens like the release of the Lover At Last cover, I’m at work and Kat breaks the news first. But when I received a notification of two upcoming virtual signings, I knew I had to get off my butt and share all the little tidbits I’ve collected.
Lover At Last
The first line of the book will be (pending edits): ‘Now THAT is a motherf**kin’ whip!’
No context was given, but I think we could all guess who the obvious suspect is.
There has already been a quote from Rapture posted on Ward’s Facebook page, in which, although no names were used, I think it’s safe to assume it’s the heroine kissing the hero and wishing she could hold onto the moment but knowing that you can’t physically retain moments, despite the impact they make on you.
I’m sure we’ll see more closer to its release, scheduled for September 25.
Virtual signing news
The Fallen Angels series has been upgraded with a US hardcover release, so it will be included in Ward’s virtual signing program. It will be available for preorder from August 5, 8.30am New York time (August 5, 10.30pm if you’re in Sydney) until September 14. If you don’t like hardcovers, the local publisher will release a trade paperback shortly after the hardcover is published on September 25.
Lover Eternal (Rhage’s book) will also be reissued in hardcover and will available through the virtual signing from October 7, 8.30am (10.30pm in Sydney) until October 26.
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Readers subscribed to J. R. Ward’s fan page on Facebook would have heard the news by now, but the title and cover for book 11 of the Black Dagger Brotherhood series has been announced.
Qhuinn and Blay’s book will be called Lover At Last—a somewhat underwhelming title, but I seriously doubt that will affect the rapturous response to this tidbit. I say that as someone who is a sucker for the BDB. We all have our weaknesses.