Friday, August 08, 2008

Trends, new lines and revamped websites

A few years back, many pundits in the publishing world were predicting the demise of the Historical Romance, a slow lingering death. Never, ever to come back. Funny things predcitions...
Several of the more traditional Regency lines closed, and Harlequin Historical clung on in retail, thanks to its dedicated fans. I can remember Deborah Hale remarking that half- dead was also half alive. Personally, I knew historical romance would never die as too many people love reading historicals.
What a difference a few years makes. As far as I understand it from reading reports of the RWA Nationals, the over all historical romance genre experienced double digit growth. Historicals are once more a happening genre. They are alive and kicking. The cycle reversed. Historicals are here to stay.
It happens that way in publishing. This is why if you are writing, you need to follow your heart and write the sort of book you want.
By the time, a trend is spotted, it is quite possible that it is reaching its peak. And I suppose the reverse is true, if pundits are predicting the demise...
Anyway, as I adore historical romances -- both reading them and writing them, I am really pleased that there is an upward trend.
As a sign of the revival -- Harlequin Historical Undone! debuts in November. It is short --10 -15,000k e-book exclusive line, but is also the sexiest series Harlequin Historical has ever produced. Mainly it will be either prequels or sequels so that readers can visit the worlds that the authors create in greater depth. Eventually, it may include stand alone stories. If you are interested the writing guidelines are here.

Mills & Boon has revamped its website. As you can see by the cover of my latest book, An Impulsive Debutante, they now have a browse the book function.
As An Impulsive Debutante is out next month, I am having a contest for readers of Tote Bags. It is the sequel to A Christmas Wedding Wager and you can read the excerpt here. It is however a stand alone book. My daughter insisted that I write Lottie Charlton's story and it proved to be a great deal of fun. Lottie went from being a mean girl bit part to becoming one of my favourite heroines, and hopefully readers will enjoy her as well.
The prize is a signed copy of An Impulsive Debutante.
The question is where and in what year does the book take place?
Please send your answer to I will be drawing the winner on 15 August.

UPDATE: THE WINNER IS feline wyvern . Many thanks to all who entered.


Pat Cochran said...

I'm a longtime-reader of Regency and
Historical Romances, at least some
50 years that I have invested in
this interest. I began by reading Cartland, Heyer, the early Mills and Boon, the early Harlequins, and continued on from there! My reading
has opened up to various other genres
through the years and I plan to keep
reading all my life.

Pat Cochran

Michelle Styles said...

Pat --
Yes, I know the feeling.
As a slightly ironic addendum to the post, I was trying to find out a bit more about what happened at the RWA and went to the Kensington blog. There, longtime editor Kate Duffy admitted that one of the things she HATES about the RWA or the RT is some pundit going on about the demise of historicals. They are a live and kicking at Kensington and she gets tired of repeating the broken record...

Nathalie said...

I visited the new website and it is great! And I also agree that I prefer Historicals, even if they somwhat have a bad rep!

Cheri2628 said...

I entered your contest. Thanks for offering one!

I love historical romances...all locales and time periods!

Lois said...

I've only been reading romances of any sort for a good few years now, and since then I've seen the news that historicals are on the way out. The thing is, since historicals (mostly only Regency for me LOL) are most of the books I get (though not all) and there has not been a month where I didn't get any, or had plenty more on my wish list. So while I'm a plain and simple reader and not a writer, so I don't have any connection with the publishing business other than what I see authors mention, I think all that talk has been, well, a load of crap. LOL :) And I think if anyone repeats it, yep, it will continue to be so.

Although I would argue that traditional Regency as a large group, probably are gone (darn it), and my guess would be probably aren't coming back.


Michelle Styles said...

Harlequin Historical does publish traditional Regencys but only in their direct to consumer programme. You can buy the books on eharlequin. Traditional regencies also remain popular at Christmas time. For example, Signet is still putting out its Christmas anthology.
I do know as well that Regencies/Georgian /Victorian is the most popular time period and its popularity shows no sign of abating. The type of story shifts a bit.
I suspect it says more about the pundits and people who are trying to chase trends. Everyone always want to know which thing is hot or which genre a publisher is less likely to take a chance on.

Jessica said...

So I'm wondering, since chick lit is pretty much dead (I think?), do you think it will come back?
I don't write it, just am curious.

Michelle Styles said...

I think light hearted romance will make a come back at some point. I suspect that chick lit over expanded because it burst on the scene so suddenly and was so very popular that people became tired.
But that does not mean there is not an appetite for sparkling light hearted romance. It simply means the bar is set higher. Certain authors remain popular.It is just harder to break in...if that makes sense.
Same thing with single title straight romance. It has not been subsumed in Romantic suspence. It is just harder to break into.

Virginia said...

I love historical romances, they are my favorite type of book to read.

kimmyl said...

I love historicals too. I love reading different time periods and different places.

Michelle Styles said...

Yes, I love historicals as well.
It is why when a few years ago the rumoured demise of the genre shocked me.
Luckily HH with the help of its readers saw sense and kept HH in retail. I understand that all Barnes and Noble stores will be carrying HH now. They used to have a choice...