I became fascinated with the romance novel industry this spring.
It all began when a friend recommended that I check out a romance novel with an autistic hero, The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie. For multiple reasons, I found this book pretty horrifying. In order to purge my mind of this book, I decided that I had to read a different book pronto. Based on recommendations by Amazon readers, I downloaded In Bed with a Highlander and two other books, by Maya Banks, while sitting poolside on vacation in Puerto Rico.
I blogged about these books in a rather disdainful manner and was promptly smacked down by my readers, many of whom are highly educated women. They told me that I was unfair. They gave me a whole lesson about the academic journals that are devoted to the subject. They pointed me to Mary Bly, an English professor at Fordham, who writes best sellers under the pen name, Eloisa James. I learned about websites, like Smart Bitches, Trashy Novels.
The Romance Novel industry is big business for publishers. According to the Romance Writers of American website, romance novels brought in $1.4 billion in sales in 2010. They far outperform other genres of literature, including religious/inspirational books, mystery novels, science fiction and classic literary fiction.