Romance and e-publishing have a long, happy marriage. Most e-publishers specialise in romance fiction, and romance authors have long used the freedom of the internet to push genre boundaries. Fans take to cyber space by the thousands to discuss all aspects of the genre.
While there are cross-overs—Ellora’s Cave, for example, now publishes their titles in trade paperback—for the most part, print and e-romance run on parallel tracks. Which makes romance superstar Julia Quinn’s latest venture that much more unusual.
A New York Times bestselling author, Quinn writes in the sub-genre of European Historicals. She is most famous for her Bridgerton series, about eight siblings in Regency England. Each sibling has a story, but play varying roles in others as well. The last book, On the Way to the Wedding, is available late June. However, it’s not the series that has Quinn fans debating on message boards across the web.
Quinn recently released second epilogues to two of her novels, The Viscount who Loves Me, and It’s in his Kiss. The controversy lies not in the content of the epilogues —according to her website, Quinn wrote them to follow-up on plot elements left unanswered in the actual novels— but on their form.
Realising that she wanted an epilogue for each Bridgerton novel, but wanting to write as inspiration struck, instead of forcing the issue, Quinn turned to e-publishing.
Fans are split. Some are excited. Some feel gouged. The epilogues are 30 pages long, so American fans are annoyed at the $2 price tag when they’re used to getting a 220-page novel for $6. Those of us in Australia are used to paying closer to $16, so $2 is not distressing. However, there is a principle involved.
Many authors write epilogues, prologues, and extra scenes for their fans and post them on their websites free of charge. Kelley Armstrong writes full novellas for those registered to her website. JR Ward has interviewed her characters and occasionally writes scenes to send around with her newsletter. These extras are provided as bonuses for loyal fans and teasers for potential readers.
Questions arise about motive as well. After all, Quinn has been writing the Bridgerton world for 8 years. Having a new Bridgerton-related project just as the series is ending might reflect a certain insecurity about moving on. However, Quinn’s early novels, while still in the same era, were not related, and therefore it cannot be assumed that she’s suffering from performance anxiety.
Regardless of her motives behind the writing and selling of her epilogues, long time fans will enjoy them. They are light-hearted, lively, and available at www.juliaquinn.com