So Amazon’s got their Best of 2006 thing going on. Considering I’ve heard from authors who would know that Amazon is greatly overestimated as far as book sales, I don’t put too much stock in these things, but I’m a sucker for a “Best of” list. And an author should never miss an opportunity to see who’s doing what, who’s doing it with whom, and who’s doing what with whom well. It’s nice when such things are in a list.
First up, the Editor picks. I’m kind of “meh” about this, as I have no idea who the Editors are. Are they respected editors in the romance genre, or are they the people whose job it is to make sure nobody spells Amazon wrong in the company newsletter?
The Dream Thief by Shana Abe (Bantam)
Lover Eternal: A Novel of the Black Dagger Brotherhood by J.R. Ward (Signet Eclipse)
On the Way to the Wedding by Julia Quinn (Avon)
What Price Love?: A Cynster Novel by Stephanie Laurens (It says William Morrow, but I’m assuming it came from the Avon imprint?)
Unleash the Night (A Dark-Hunter Novel) by Sherrilyn Kenyon (SMP)
Devil in Winter (Wallflower Quartet) by Lisa Kleypas (Avon)
Lord Perfect by Loretta Chase (Berkley Sensation)
Second Sight by Amanda Quick (It says Putnam Adult)
Hearts Divided: 5-B Poppy Lane/The Apple Orchard/Liberty Hall by Debbie Macomber/Katherine Stone/Lois Faye Dyer (Mira)
Just For Kicks by Susan Andersen (Mira)
I neither read nor write that historical era, so I’ll take their word for it. Considering how often I hear that historicals are dead and it’s Avon that killed them, I just rolled my eyes and muttered, “We’re supposed to keep our fingers on the pulse of this industry HOW?”
I haven’t read The Dream Thief yet, but Lover Eternal is at the top of my Best of 2006 list, so I was glad to see it in the top 2, at least. Seeing only one straight contemporary single title didn’t thrill me.
The customer favorites of 2006:
Customers’ Favorites: (topselling during 2006, through October with 2006 publication)
Dance of the Gods (The Circle Trilogy, Book 2) by Nora Roberts (Jove)(10/3)
Dark Celebration: A Carpathian Reunion by Christine Feehan (Berkley Hardcover)(9/5)
Morrigan’s Cross (The Circle Trilogy, Book 1) by Nora Roberts (Jove) (8/29)
Valley of Silence (The Circle Trilogy, Book 3) by Nora Roberts (Jove) (10/31)
Angels Fall by Nora Roberts (Putnam Adult)(7/11)
Devil in Winter (Wallflower Quartet) by Lisa Kleypas (Avon) (2/28)
Dark Side of the Moon (A Dark-Hunter Novel) by Sherrilyn Kenyon (SMP) (5/30)
Scandal in Spring (Wallflower Quartet) by Lisa Kleypas (Avon) (7/25)
Dear John by Nicholas Sparks (Warner) (10/30)
Dark Demon by Christine Feehan (Jove) (3/28)
Okay, this is where it got interesting for me, for several reasons. The most important reason is simply that this list has more validity than the editor picks—readers speaking with dollars outweighs unnamed “editors”. If somebody sends me an email telling me Erika Tsang, Kate Duffy, Leslie Wainger, Shauna Summers and more made up the editor panel, I’ll give it a hell of a lot more consideration.
I found it interesting that two books with release dates within two days of the cutoff managed to sell more than almost all of the other bazillion romances released in 2006. Since I’m totally denying Nicholas Sparks’ presence on this list other than to make a brief gagging sound, I learned this—Nora’s Circle Trilogy kicked ass in a big way. Big. Nora always does, of course, but this list was through October and Book 3 had a release date of 10/31. That’s big.
What did I learn from this list? Not much, actually. Write a popular series. Other than that, there’s not much an aspiring/newbie author can take from that. What we really need is a Top 200, and then we could analyze 100 through 200. We already know what’s going on at the top of the totem pole.
I learned that if Avon really is killing the historical, they must have one hell of a diabolical plan, because they’re hiding it well.
I learned that plain old contemporary single titles didn’t blow anybody’s socks off.
I learned I need to go to the customer favorites for Science Fiction & Fantasy to find Laurell K. Hamilton, Kim Harrison, Charlaine Harris, Patricia Briggs and Naomi Novik. Janet Evanovich took the top customer spot in Mystery & Thriller.
I learned that while the Editors’ Picks column has a category for Women’s Fiction, the Customers’ Favorites column does not. On that list are at least three authors I consider romance authors—especially Susan Wiggs. Tell me Summer at Willow Lake wasn’t a romance. It kind of makes me wonder where all the other contemporary romance single titles ended up.
So after spending an hour doing this, what did I learn from Amazon? Nothing. Mostly that it’s fun to run around and read ratings and reviews and “Best of” lists, but not to take it too seriously.