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Sunday, August 3, 2014

Sue Grimshaw: Random House: What Makes Romance Go Round and Round

Giveaway Alert:  Sue Grimshaw is giving away 3 ebook copies of Desired (by Stacey Kennedy) so be sure to leave a comment AND your email address. Giveaway ends 5 August.

Industry trends in romance are cyclical -- cover looks change from year to year, storylines have their ups and downs, even the telling of a story has its transitions -- whether to tell it in first person or third. Romance readers may be loyal to the genre but they do like it when we change things up a bit.

I know as a reader, I too enjoy variety. Most of us have our favorite sub-genres, and contemporary seems to be it these days, but we do like to read other types of stories too.

Remember the strength of paranormal romances just a few years ago? Although I still enjoy reading them there are many more stories that are grabbing my attention.

Fifty Shades of Grey certainly drove reader interest to erotic romance - Loveswept's USA Today's bestselling author Stacey Kennedy has benefited from that trend and continues with her Club Sin series, DESIRED, -- just released last month. BDSM and dungeons are hot!

 New Adult continues to appeal to readers and really has become more of the norm. Readers now are looking for younger heroes and heroines. Cecy Robson will benefit from this trend with her Loveswept release, ONCE PERFECT, on sale in October -- "His life was never easy. Hers wasn’t supposed to be this hard. They come from different worlds, but fate lures them together in a way neither expected in Cecy Robson’s raw, steamy series debut." The more angst an author can incorporate into her story the more appealing it will be to readers today.

But, there is room for sweet and sassy too! Lauren Layne has defied odds within the NA genre with ISN'T SHE LOVELY - - her next release in September, BROKEN, is sure to win readers hearts too. Who can resist a girl with secrets, a guy with scars, and a love that could save them both. Now that's romance!

Smart, clever writing is always appealing to romance readers and Cassie Mae follows Lauren's footsteps with, THE REAL THING, on sale this month. If you like wit you'll adore both of these authors, very smart and talented storytellers.

As mentioned earlier, contemporary trends are hot - really hot, and they come in a variety of stories too. I think that is the biggest challenge for us all -- to keep things the same but different. For example:
How many billionaires can a romance reader read? A lot, especially if we keep the story and characters unique  - perfect examples of this include New York Times bestselling author Tracy Wolff's recently released, ADDICTED.

Laura Marie Altom's, CONTROL, also has that special touch to endear readers to the H/h from the start . . . Liam Stone is equally as fabulous as Ethan, but maybe not quite as wealthy.

SEALS continue to appeal to fans, and when wrapped in small town settings you're sure to have success, like Claudia Connor's, WORTH THE FALL.

And readers are still very sports minded. Hockey resonates with romance fans, which always sort of baffles me as in real life few have a full set of teeth! But, they are very resilient and maybe that is what makes them so hot - Sawyer Bennett's, ALEX, will release in October and he definitely fits the bill. Alpha heroes rule!!

Every month readers have a vast variety of romances to choose from -- and the trends are almost organic. The trick is to be able to monitor what is working and what doesn't and hope that you've got a strong enough idea of what readers want.

Bottom line - a good book is what sells, and that could mean something different to you than to me, but whenever I find wonderfully written characters I'll follow them anywhere and I think readers do too.

So - whatcha' reading?

Don't forget to leave a comment (with your email address) for a chance to receive one of 3 giveaway copies of Desired by Stacey Kennedy!

Happy Romance!
Sue Grimshaw ∙ Category Specialist & Editor at Large - Penguin | Random House Publishing Group | BBD - Loveswept, Flirt
Twitter - @SueGrimshaw or
Flirt  Loveswept
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E. Ayers said...

Thank you for your take into what is trending. It was interesting. I'm obviously ninety degrees from the trend and I'm perfectly happy with what I'm writing and so are my readers. There are plenty of readers and room for all of us. I don't think readers have ever had so many choices.

D'Ann said...

Good God those covers are hot! I want them all!

Mary Preston said...

I don't follow trends. I just read what appeals to me at the time. Of course if the writing follows trends then chances are I may be too, without consciously knowing it.


Debby said...

I enjoyed the post. I have not as yet read very many of the new genres. I am still in love with shifters.
debby236 at gmail dot com

Melissa Keir said...

The books sound amazing and I know Stacey is a fabulous person and author!

I like hearing about the trends but you are right Sue, we read what's good and what we like- such as cowboy romances, paranormal romances and small town loves. I don't know that I've met a book I haven't loved!

daringzoey at

Penny's Tales said...

I loved this post. I have written a few romances and feel like I'm still breaking into the genre. Thanks for this....

Books look fabulous!

Edita A Petrick said...

Romance is and alwyas has been pure escapism - for the writer and for the reader. I don't care much for the amount of steam in any romance novel. And I've always thought that perfect bodies and faces of men on the cover actually "spoiled" the book for the reader because, let's face it, every female reader will have her own "instinctual" feel of what her perfect man should look like. If the cover has a brooding, dark-haired hero and the reader is into Thor's descendants, well, the story might be great but that image on the front cover will intrude on the reader's fantasy...for the duration of the read.

What I like is a well-told story and interesting motivations. I prefer imaginative, whimsical covers that hint at the story within and female heroines who at some point in the story stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the hero - on all fronts; social, economical, academic-intellectual, physical and emotional. Just my take on this topic.

Sandy said...

I have never followed trends. My love of reading is with romance and suspense.

It's great to hear an insider's view, Sue. Thanks!

Denysé Bridger said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Denysé Bridger said...

Interesting about the various trends, but like many other readers, I jump all over the place depending on author and the appeal of the story. I love historicals, and paranormals, though contemporaries appeal less. I'm also not a huge fan of the billionaires, but hey, variety is what keeps things interesting!!

Have a great Sunday everyone!!

Diane Nelson said...

Variety is truly the spice of life. I like to try everything, without prejudice.

Teresa K. said...

Great article! I was fortunate enough to win an ARC from Jeaniene Frost called The Beautiful Ashes. I just received it the day before yesterday so this is what I'm reading.
It's a NA book. I'm finding lately more and more authors are writing in this genre and I'm liking it. This book has Jeaniene's snarky way of writing and it keeps you on the edge. I'm loving it.

I'm a huge paranormal reader, but sense my mother has become a big reader I find I'm buying more contemporary books now so I can share them with her, since she loves that genre.


Tina Donahue said...

Great post, Sue. Love the covers. Thanks for dropping by RB4U. :)

bah said...

Ijust can't read fast enough to get everything I want to read done, but I'm trying!!

Meg Bellamy said...

These days I'm big into mysteries/suspense and historicals. I love reading a good historical mystery/suspense. I did have the experience of reading a 4-book series which I totally adored. The last book ended on a major cliff-hanger -- and, in real life, the author died. I'd known she'd died when I was reading. When I realized the book would end on a cliff-hanger, I actually yelled at the book. "No, don't end." Moral for authors: Please leave notes as to your intentions for sequels.

Janice Seagraves said...

Love the covers, and thank you for the advice on writing trends.



bn100 said...

Not reading anything now

bn100candg at hotmail dot com

Chrisbails said...

I am rereading the Chase brothers series by Lauren Dane. Love Stacy Kennedy.

Mindy said...

Interesting Blog, Sue. I like your take on what's trending in books.
Currently reading "A Devil named Desire" by Terri Garey, and "Possessed by an Immortal" by Sharon Ashwood.
Thanks for the cool contest!

Mindy :)

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