Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Historical Romance in E-books.

As many of you know, I write for small publishers who produce work in electronic format first, before the print copy comes out.
Without a doubt the e-book market is more developed in the US than anywhere else, with readers like the Kindle and Ebookwise only available in that country, but with the new mini-laptops like the Asus eee, more sophisticated cell phones and the ready availability of the pda, more and more people are turning to e-books for their fiction fix.
So what has that to do with the historical novel?
The publishing business in the US is in a state of flux and editors are chasing books that will hit the market hard and bring them money fast. At the moment, the erotic romance rules. Tomorrow it could be Inspirational, or Western, or anything as long as it catches on. A few years ago, the historical romance, primarily the Regency romance, ruled supreme. Then came a spectacular fall when many writers of historical romance tried new genres, and sales plummetted. The reasons for the fall are still being debated. Now historical romance is making a cautious comeback.
All this time the historical romance flourished in ebook format and the one casualty of the collapse in the market - the traditional Regency romance (think Georgette Heyer, where the books are as much comedies of manners as romances) has found a foothold. Even Harlequin/Mills and Boon has revised its expectations, and now historicals are as likely to contain scenes of intimacy as anything else on the market and writers who prefer not to enter the bedroom have been phased out or persuaded to try their hand at a bedroom scene or two.
Several publishers, like Belgrave House, who publishes reprints of old romances in electronic form, Awe-Struck books which has a long-established imprint of Regencies called Phaeton and now Ellora's Cave which has brought out some excellent Regencies in its Cotillion imprint with its mainstream branch, Cerridwen, have stayed true and the books have been a modest success.
My historicals come out with Samhain, and while I do write the occasional hot and heavy scene, I do try to keep the history right, and use accurate and involving plots.
The return of the historical in the print market has mainly been for the sexy, heavy on the romance book by big name authors. A few new authors have emerged, but in the same type of book. The growth of the erotic has been influential in all genres (says the erotic romance author!)
Don't get me wrong - I prefer my reading to have a heavy dose of sex. I love reading about it, I enjoy writing it, but a diet of one thing alone leads to satiation and ennui. So I'm delighted to see certain publishers still believing in, and publishing, the traditional romance.
If you've never tried the electronic historical romance, give it a go! You'll discover new treasures and re-acquaint yourself with authors you used to love and who have now turned to e-publishers for their books.

Belgrave House:

Samhain Historical Romance

Cerridwen Cotillion
Awe-struck Phaeton line:

Lynne Connolly

Now out in print!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That was a very interesting post Lynne. I completely agree with what you say about e-books; they're great and I wish there was more popular titles available.

I loved Chance to Dream and thought it was a very well written, original story.