Shannon Stacey

What was the marketing department thinking?

They were thinking ka-ching would be my guess.

There’s a conversation going on at the Smart Bitches right now about category romance titles. While I’m usually highly aggravated by the way these kinds of discussions always turn derisive, today I’m actually amused. (Although, that could be because, when I tried to put ointment on a weather crack in my finger, I accidentally grabbed the extra strength arthritis cream instead, and there ain’t much that’s worse than that. I know because I’ve done it more than once.)

But anyway, here’s a little 2006 info from the Business of Consumer Publishing via Dear Author:

The most romance fiction sold?…

Harlequin ($418 million)
Random House ($81 million)
Penguin Group ($71 million)
HarperCollins ($64.8 million)
Kensington ($37 million)

Let’s see…

Random House (Bantam Dell), Penguin Group (Berkley, NAL, Signet), HarperCollins (Avon), and Kensington (Zebra, Dafina, Brava, Aphrodisia) sold a combined $253.8 million. Harlequin sold $164.2 million more than the combined sales of the other industry big dogs.

So the marketing of Harlequin’s core editorial doesn’t appeal to readers who neither read nor greatly respect that core editorial?

I’m sure they’re losing sleep. Absolutely.

5 comments to “What was the marketing department thinking?”

  1. vanessa jaye
      · January 19th, 2008 at 9:23 pm · Link

    Thing is, Shannon, the *majority* of romance readers are *not* online much. The average romance reader *by far* probably couldn’t give a hoot about half the stuff that gets knickers in a twist online. They just want what they want. I’m not even sure that epub readers are the exception to this–even though they’re online plenty. Let’s face it, the titles? The sucketh; but Harl/Sil knows their audience for each category line and they know how to effectively market to him her to the tune of 1/2 billion dollars per year. nuff said.

  2. Shannon
      · January 19th, 2008 at 9:37 pm · Link

    Yeah, absolutely the majority of romance readers aren’t online. Sometimes it’s hard to remember that when Romanceland seems like the whole world.

    Sometimes I just get tired of listening to the same song over and over again and like to sing a different verse.


  3. Charlene
      · January 19th, 2008 at 9:43 pm · Link

    Hey, those titles sell me. They’re like shorthand. Got a Mediterranean man bent on revenge? I’m all over it! :mrgreen:

  4. Jaci Burton
      · January 19th, 2008 at 10:31 pm · Link

    Those titles have been working for me for years. And years. And years. And uhh…years.

    i wuvs them.


  5. Karen Templeton
      · January 20th, 2008 at 6:57 pm · Link

    Hey. This is the chick who was trying desperately to figure out a way to work in “Irish cowboy” into her next title. (I didn’t, alas. But I did ask for a horse and the dude in cowboy duds on the cover.)

    I know there are those readers who lament the passing of those “evocative” titles from days of yore, such as “The Scent of Jasmine.” Evocative of what, exactly? Readers today don’t have time for evocative. You got roughly 1.2 seconds to snag their attention, hopefully enough to make her reach for the book. Shorthand rules, baby.

    Not that I “like” the titles. And there have been some I’ve adamantly refused to link with my name (THREE KIDS, ONE VIRGIN comes to mind. :crazy: ). But my hookiest titles/covers sell the best, no doubt about it.

    And maybe I should stop preaching to the choir and go poke my nose in over there and see if I have anything pithy to add, huh? :eyebrow:

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