Shannon Stacey

Pioneering…or jumping on the bandwagon?

Ellen wrote up an entry about recent articles on erotic romance that pretty much sums up what the reaction has been from the erotic romance writing crowd.

This is the second article I’ve read in two days on the topic. Both of them talk about how Avon, Kensington, and Harlequin are expanding into hotter erotic romance, and both of them seem to suggest the major publishers invented the concept out of whole cloth.

I’ve read the USA Today article Ellen linked to, and I totally agree. And backing up their article with stats from Borders without mentioning who those stats are actually accredited to seems like a fairly deliberate omission.

From the USA Today article:

Kensington introduced its erotica line, Aphrodisia, in January. Harlequin’s Spice imprint hits stores in May, and HarperCollins will publish the first two titles in its Avon Red line in June. Berkley was a pioneer with its Heat line last May.

Berkley was a pioneer among the NY crowd, perhaps, but raise your hand if you really believe EC’s bookstore numbers didn’t play a factor in the development of Heat. Or if you haven’t noticed how many of EC’s top writers have been tapped for those various lines.

Five years ago or so, Tina Engler recognized an unfulfilled need in the romance market and launched a business that’s been an incredible success for her, the authors and countless readers. At least a nod of acknowledgement from the journalists would have been nice.

5 comments to “Pioneering…or jumping on the bandwagon?”

  1. Anna Lucia
      · February 22nd, 2006 at 12:23 pm · Link

    But since when have journalists been about telling the whole story, or the true story, or about giving credit where credit’s due? It serves them better to send their accolades the mainstream way, and ignore a hugely successful enterprise that is not a part of that NYC power brokerage.

    Which, of course, sucks. But I’d be stunned if it had gone the other way.

    But EC has pushed a publishing revolution, and mainstreaming of stories, attitudes, authors and, let’s hope, the money, can’t help but be a good thing.

  2. Karen Templeton
      · February 22nd, 2006 at 4:29 pm · Link

    Of course, I was so busy shaking my head at the other major point the article missed — which is that (at least in Harlequin’s case with Spice) these AREN’T romance novels. They’re erotica. Which has also been around for, oh, a millenium or two, give or take. :eyebrow:

    Yes, these are big romance houses delving into what had always been a niche market, which is noteworthy in itself. But as you say, other houses already did that with erotic romance, so fuggedabout the pioneering thang. And if these AREN’T romances, what are we talking about again??? :shrug:

  3. Shannon
      · February 22nd, 2006 at 6:45 pm · Link

    But since when have journalists been about telling the whole story, or the true story, or about giving credit where credit’s due?

    Oh, I know. But it seems so unfair when respect isn’t given to an uber-successful business woman. (You know, and her authors. *g*)

    I happen to reading a Spice ARC right now, and I’m enjoying it a lot. But it’s very much chick lit with hot sex, in my opinion. It reminds me a lot of the Cheek books I’ve read, actually. And since it appears that it’s going to be about these women finding themselves rather than finding their Princes Charming and living HEA, I definitely wouldn’t call it an erotic romance. I’d call it erotica, so yeah, fuggedabout the pioneering. (Although it’s too soon to really tell as to the ending.) The book jacket of the other one gives me the impression that it will be slightly more traditional with the HEA, but I don’t know. But overall I don’t think HEA is the focus of the those imprints/lines, so yeah. Apples and oranges maybe.

    And the Spice guidelines say: Not a big traditional romance with lots of sex

    That’s too bad. I like those. :rofl:

    Of course they also say: We want novels that will take the genre above and beyond today’s stereotypical erotica stories.


  4. Anna Lucia
      · February 23rd, 2006 at 3:24 am · Link

    Yeah, it’s completely unfair. But the people that matter know the truth, and know quite how amazing she, and her company, and their authors, are. :clap:

  5. Cece
      · February 25th, 2006 at 4:14 pm · Link

    Here here!!!!! I completely agree!

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