first published in the Brisbane Courier-Mail 20 January 2007
New Year’s Resolutions the Romance Industry should make:
1. Dump the covers
Yes, we know that it’s a form of branding now, and some people actually find John De Salvo fun to look at. But just how many billowing shirts and flowing locks—and that’s just the men—can one genre stand?
2. Respect your Reviewers
The vast majority of internet dust-ups this year sprang from author vs. reviewer death matches. Unfortunately, reviewing is a much-belaboured job. If you love a book, you’re a gushing fan girl. If you hate a book, you’re a bitter, twisted, loveless, soulless, bloodsucking fiend. Sure, there are examples of unjust reviews, but there are some excellent sites with well thought out, well written, balanced reviews. Don’t trash them because they didn’t like your book.
3. Buck the trends
We all understand that publishing is a business, and businesses are designed to make money. But trust us. We’re more than happy to spend our book buying dollars on new, interesting, and innovative books. Copycat and ‘in the style’ of books only make us mad. Then we write bad reviews. See #2.
4. Check out E-books
Sure they have the reputation (and maybe a little history) of being poorly written, poorly edited, generally all round poor cousins of print, but e-books have grown up in a big way and are set to take the share they deserve of the market. Best not to ignore them, else you’ll find yourself behind the times.
5. Stand up for yourself
Romance is the biggest selling genre in the world, with an active, involved readership. Be proud.
It’s a bright new year, with lots of exciting things in store for romance, especially down under. While romance might still be marginalised in Australia, our writers have made quite an impact overseas. Here in Brisbane, we have some big up and comers who are already making a splash. This year sees the debut of two area writers in the historical market.
Up first, in April is Anna Campbell’s Claiming the Courtesan, which made quite a splash last year when it was announced that Avon would be releasing it as a Romantic Treasure, a line normally reserved for the big name authors. Campbell has also recently been featured on the cover of Publishers Weekly as an author to watch.
And, later in the year, September sees Christine Wells’ as-of-yet-untitled debut from Berkeley. The manuscript won the Golden Heart (for best unpublished manuscript) at the Romance Writers’ of America conference in July of last year, an honour that has launched more than one promising career.