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Viscounts and Scoundrels and Vamps… Oh My! Romance Readers Advisory, or: They’re Not All Bodice Rippers Anymore…. MLA Annual Conference 2008 Genre Block: Romance Fiction Friday, May 9, 2008 Nanci Milone Hill, Presenter [email protected] Rosenberg’s First Law of Reading:.

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Viscounts and Scoundrels and Vamps… Oh My!Romance Readers Advisory, or:They’re Not All Bodice Rippers Anymore…

MLA Annual Conference 2008

Genre Block: Romance Fiction

Friday, May 9, 2008

Nanci Milone Hill, Presenter

[email protected]


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Rosenberg’s First Law of Reading:

Never apologize for your reading tastes.


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What Is a Romance Novel?

  • Has a satisfactory ending

  • May be multiple plotlines, but the love story is the most important facet.

  • The hero and heroine have a love/hate relationship in the beginning of the novel.

  • The romance is usually challenged, either by outside forces, or by the inability of the main characters to overcome their own fears.

  • Generally told from the P.O.V. of both characters.


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Why Do Patrons Read Romance?

  • They appeal on an emotional level.

  • They are predictable.

  • They are generally “quick reads.”

  • They are escapist in nature.

  • They contain strong, female characters.

  • The reader is allowed vicarious participation in the thoughts and actions of the hero and heroine.

  • They may contain elements of mystery, suspense, horror, and history.*AART Genre Study at http://www.arrtreads.org/romancegenrestudy.htm


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Busting the Myth: Who Reads Romance?

  • Half have attended college

  • Most watch less television than the national average

  • 40% work full-time outside the home.

  • 40% are middle class*Survey of 600 romance readers conducted by Carol Thurston.

  • Average romance reader is 39 years old.*Romance Writers of America.


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Statistics on the Romance Genre:

  • 6,400 romance titles published in 2006.

  • Generated $1.37 billion in sales in 2006.

  • 64.6 million Americans have read at least 1 romance in the past year.

  • 22% of romance readers are male.

  • In 2005, 25% of readers borrowed their romance novels from the library.


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More Statistics…

  • 65% of non-romance readers have read at least one romance novel in the past.

  • Out of these non-romance readers, three out of every ten may read another romance within the coming year.

  • Readers from 18-34 are more likely to read romance than any other age group.*Romance Writers of America 2005 Market Research Study on Romance Readers. Complete report available at http://www.rwnational.org



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How Much Are They Reading?

Andriani, Lynn. "Love for sale: what romance fiction may lack in literary cachet it makes up for in innovative marketing techniques that yield blockbuster sales." Publishers Weekly 254.22 (May 28, 2007): 30(3). 


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Where are Readers Getting their Books?

Andriani, Lynn. "Love for sale: what romance fiction may lack in literary cachet it makes up for in innovative marketing techniques that yield blockbuster sales." Publishers Weekly 254.22 (May 28, 2007): 30(3). 


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How do they Purchase Books?

Andriani, Lynn. "Love for sale: what romance fiction may lack in literary cachet it makes up for in innovative marketing techniques that yield blockbuster sales." Publishers Weekly 254.22 (May 28, 2007): 30(3). 


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Romance Subgenres:

  • Contemporary

  • Romantic Mysteries

  • Historical Romance

  • Regency Romance

  • Alternative Reality Romance

  • Sagas

  • Gay and Lesbian

  • Inspirational

  • Ethnic / Multicultural

http://worldoflongmire.com/features/romance_novels/


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Appeal Factors:

  • Language

  • Setting

  • Plot - Storyline

  • Characterization & Relationships

  • Pacing

  • Time Frame

  • Genre

  • Mood

http://worldoflongmire.com/features/romance_novels/


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The Readers’ Advisory Transaction

  • Elicit information from the reader about their reading interests.

  • Listen to what the reader is telling you.

  • Verify that you understood what the reader told you.

  • Show interest and enthusiasm about their reading interests.

  • Establish time perimeters.

  • Make suggestions based on the readers’ standards.


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The RA Interview Continued…

  • Be honest about your familiarity with the genre, author, etc.

  • Make specific suggestions and explain why you think the reader MIGHT enjoy them.

  • Lay the groundwork for further communication.

  • Keep a file of what you have recommended and add to it.


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Romance RA Resources:

  • Web Sites & Electronic Discussion Lists:All About Romance – www.likesbooks.comA site for lovers of romance. Offers almost 7,000 reviews using a sensuality rating system. Also includes a review time periods as they relate to romance novels.Gothic Journal – http://gothicjournal.comNews and review magazine for readers and writers of romantic suspense, romantic mysteries, and gothic, supernatural, and women-in-jeopardy romance novels.PNR – www.paranormalromance.orgA list devoted to the readers of paranormal romance. Their site offers booklists, reviews, interviews, information on the PEARL award, and more.


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Romance Resources Continued…

The Regency Page - http://locutus.ucr.edu/~cathy/reg.htmlDevoted to Regency Romance novels. Includes book lists, articles on regency topics and authors, and loads of links.

The Romance Reader – www.theromancereader.comGreat reviews by sub-genre, author interviews, and book lists. Particularly interesting is a “Readers Helping Readers” section which allows readers to help track books they don’t remember the title of.Romance Readers Anonymous - http://www.toad.net/~dolma/A list serve for romance readers. Includes information on authors who have not published in a while, an Annual Top 10 list, and access to their archives.


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And Even More Resources…

Romantic Times Book Review Magazine – www.romantictimes.comThis magazine is a subscription service, but their online presence offers information on authors and upcoming books, as well as book lists and reviews.Romance Writers of America – www.rwanational.orgLinks to book lists, reviews, the RITA Award, and much more. Make sure to check out your RWA local chapter at www.necrwa.orgTheir conference is open to writers and readers alike, and the local chapter can put you in touch with local authors willing to visit your library.


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Print Resources

  • Booklist. Chicago: ALA, 1905 - . Bimonthly. Romance spotlight every September. Romance coverage all year.

  • Bouricius, Ann. The Romance Readers’ Advisory: The Librarian’s Guide to Love in the Stacks. Chicago: ALA Editions, 2000.

  • Charles, John, and Shelley Mosley, eds. Romance Today: An A-to-Z Guide to Contemporary American Romance Writers. Westport, Conn: Greenwood. 2006.

  • Krentz, Jayne Ann, ed. Dangerous Men and Adventurous Women: Romance Writers on the Appeal of Romance. Philadelphia, Pa. Univ. of Pennsylvania Press, 1992.

  • Library Journal. New York: Reed Business Information. 1976 -. Semimonthly. Features romance six times per year. Includes five romances per year on their list of best books.


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Print Resources

  • Publisher’s Weekly. New York: Reed Business Information. 1987 -. Weekly. Includes romance reviews in every issue.

  • Ramsdell, Kristen. Romance Fiction: A Guide to the Genre. Westport, Conn: Libraries Unlimited, 1999.

  • Ramsdell, Kristen.What Romance Do I Read Next? Gale. 1997.

  • Romantic Times Magazine. Brooklyn, N.Y.: C. Stacy, 1981-. Monthly.Non-library industry review source. Exhaustive coverage.

  • Saricks, Joyce G. The Readers’ Advisory Guide to Genre Fiction. Chicago: ALA Editions, 2001.


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Articles of Interest…

  • Bearden, Michelle. "When romance gets religion." Publishers Weekly 242.n47 (Nov 20, 1995): 57(1).

  • Chelton, Mary K., Cathie Linz, Joyce Saricks, Lynne Welch, and Ann Bouricious. "What Kind of Romance Are You in the Mood For? A Recommended Reading List." Booklist 98.2 (Sept 15, 2001): 210.

  • Danford, Natalie, Lucinda Dyer, Karen Holt, and Judith Rosen. "Toujours l'amour: publishers are seeking to increase readership by diversifying subgenres and adding new category niches." Publishers Weekly 250.48 

  • Davis, Nina C. “Romancing the non-romance reader.” Booklist 103.2 (Sept 15, 2006): 38(1). 

  • Dyer, Lucinda. "Romance: in its own time." Publishers Weekly 252.24 (June 13, 2005): 20(5). 

  • Engberg, Gillian. "Choosing adult romances for teens." Booklist 101.2 (Sept 15, 2004): 237(1). 

  • Harris, Monica. "Guide to the evolving genres of women's fiction: as the lines blur between romance and 'chick lit,' how does a reader tell the difference?." Black Issues Book Review 7.1 (Jan-Feb 2005): 14(2). 


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Articles of Interest…

  • Pierce, Jennifer Burek. “Grassroots report: put some romance in your library.” American Libraries. 36.2 (Feb 2005). p45.

  • Ramsdell, Kristen. “Romance.” Library Journal 124.9 (May 15,1999) p82.

  • Robbins, Sarah J. "Textually promiscuous: romance readers definitely read around." Publishers Weekly 254.46 (Nov 19, 2007): p23(5). 

  • Shelly, John Charles, and Julie Havir. “The librarian as effete snob: why romance?” Wilson Library Bulletin. 69.n9. (May 1995). p24(4.

  • Tunon, Johanna. "A fine romance: how to select romances for your collection." Wilson Library Bulletin 69.n9 (May 1995): 31(4).

  • Wu, Huei-Hsia. "Gender, romance novels and plastic sexuality in the United States: a focus on female college students.(Report)." Journal of International Women's Studies 8.1 (Nov 2006): 125(10).


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Know Your Publishers:

  • Avon Books – Historical Romances. http://www.harpercollins.com/imprints/index.aspx?imprintid=517926

  • Dorchester Publishing – Publishes Leisure Books (Historical) and Lovespell (Paranormal and Chick Lit) http://www.dorchesterpub.com/Dorch/Genre.cfm?L1=2&L2=0

  • Hatchette Book Group, USA – Grand Central Publishing romances, including the Forever line. http://www.hachettebookgroupsusa.com/romance/index.html

  • Harlequin – Series romance. Historical Romance. Publishes Mills & Boon, Harlequin, Silhouette, MIRA, and Steeple Hill. http://www.eharlequin.com/

  • Kensington – Produces several lines, including Zebra, Brava, and Pinnacle. http://www.kensingtonbooks.com


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Romance Publishers:

  • Penguin Group - Most Romance Genres.NAL and Berkley/Jove lines. http://us.penguingroup.com/static/html/romance/index.html

  • Random House – Publishes Ballantine/Ivy, Bantam/Dell, Delacorte, and Doubleday.http://www.randomhouse.com

  • Simon and Schuster – Historical/Contemporary Romances.Pocket and Sonnet imprints. http://www.simonsays.com/content/index.cfm?sid=173

  • St. Martin’s Press – Their romance line is Tor. (Science Fiction & Fantasy, Paranormal Romances). http://us.macmillan.com/TorForge.aspx


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Appeal Factor: Setting / Time Period

  • Medieval Romances – 1066 to the early 1100sSerious in Tone:Beverly, Jo – Lord of My Heart (1992), Dark Champion (1993), Lord of Midnight Nal (1998), The Shattered Rose (2005)Jackson, Lisa – Dark Ruby (1998), Dark Emerald (1999), Dark Sapphire (2000), Enchantress (2003), Temptress (2005)Lowell, Elizabeth – Forbidden (1993), Untamed (1993), Enchanted (1994)Quick, Amanda – Desire (1993), Mystique (1995)St. John, Tina – Lord of Vengeance (1999), Lady of Valor (2000), White Lion’s Lady (2001), Heart of the Hunter (2004)Samuel, Barbara – Heart of a Knight (1997)


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Medieval Romances

  • These Medieval Romances are lighter in tone:Garwood, Julie – The Bride (1989), The Prize (1991), The Secret (1992), The Wedding (1996)MacGregor, Kinley – A Dark Champion (2004)Medieros, Teresa – Lady of Conquest (1989), Shadows and Lace (1990)

http://worldoflongmire.com/features/romance_novels/


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The Georgian Era

  • The Georgian era covers that period in British history from 1741 to 1830. These titles are serious in tone:Beverly, Jo – Secrets of the Night (1999), The Winter Fire (2003)Barlough, Mary – Heartless (1995)Coulter, Catherine – Devil’s Daughter (1990), Devil’s Embrace (2000)Gabaldon, Diana – Outlander (1991), Dragonfly in Amber (1992), Voyager (1994), Drums of Autumn (1995), The Fiery Cross (2001), Lord John and the Private Matter (2003), A Breath of Snow and Ashes (2005)Samuel, Barbara – The Black Angel (1999)Stuart, Anne – Prince of Swords (1996)


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The Georgian Era

Willing, Lauren – The Secret History of the Pink Carnation (2005), The Masque of the Black Tulip (2005)Veryan, Patricia – The Riddle of the Shipwrecked Spinster (2001)


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Regency Era

  • The English Regency period covers the time from 1811 to 1820.These titles are serious in tone:Gracie, Anne – Tallie’s Knight (2000), Gallant Waif (2001), An Honorable Thief (2002), The Perfect Rake (2005)Layton, Edith – The Abandoned Bride (1985), The Challenge (2000), The Conquest (2001), Alas My Love (2005)McRae, Melinda – The Rescued Heart (1997), The Temporary Duke (1998), The Unrepentant Rake (1999), Miss Chadwick’s Champion (2000)Maxwell, Cathy-In the Highlander’s Bed (2008) In the Bed of a Duke (2006)Simpson, Donna – Lord St. Claire’s Angel (1999), Lady Delafont’s Dilemma (2000), A Country Courtship (2002)


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Regency Era

These titles are lighter in tone:Chesney, Marion - Lady Fortescue Steps Out (1992), The Marquis Takes a Bride (1999), The Constant Companion (2001)Harbaugh, Karen – The Reluctant Cavalier (1996), Miss Carlyle’s Curricle (1999)Metzger, Barbara – An Early Engagement (1990), Lady Sparrow (2002), The Duel (2005)Michaels, Kasey – Dubious Mis Darlymple (1990), The Haunted Miss Hampshire (1992), Indiscreet (1998)Richardson, Evelyn – Fortune’s Lady (2002), The Scandalous Widow (2004), Lady of Talent (2005)


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The Victorian Era:

  • The Victorian Era covers the years from 1837 – 1901.These titles are serious in tone:Brockway, Connie – The Bridal Season (2001)Ivory, Judith – Sleeping Beauty (1998), The Proposition (1999)Kleypas, Lisa – Worth Any Price (2003), Secrets of a Summer Night (2004), It Happened One Autumn (2005), The Devil in Winter (2006)Lindsey, Johanna – Love Me Forever (1995), The Heir (2000)


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The Victorian Era:

These titles are lighter in tone:Cabot, Patricia – Where Roses Grow Wild (1998), An Improper Proposal (1999), Portrait of My Heart (1999), Kiss the Bride (2002)Dodd, Christina – Rules of Attraction (2001), Lost in Your Arms (2002), My Fair Temptress (2005), The Barefoot Princess (2006)Lee, Rebecca Hagan – Always a Lady (2002), Barely a Bride (2003), Hardly a Husband (2004)


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American Westerns:

  • These authors set their books in the American West, usually between the 1860s and 1900.Garlock, Dorothy – Home-place (1991), Larkspur (1997)Lowell, Elizabeth – Autumn Lover (1996), Winter Fire (1996)Osborne, Maggie – The Seduction of Samantha Kincade (1995), The Best Man (1998)

    Futuristic Romances:Asaro, Catherine – The Phoenix Code (2000), Spherical Harmonic (2001), The Moon’s Shadow (2003), Sunrise Alley (2004), The Final Key (2005)Cherry, Rowena – Forced Mate (2004)Grant, Susan – The Star King (2000), Contact (2002), The Star Princess (2003)Joy, Dara – Knight of a Trillion Stars (1995)Robb, J.D. – Eve Dallas In Death series.


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Appeal Factor: Characters

  • Contemporary Romances feature strong heroines. Many are light in tone. The storylines are often humorous.Bond, Stephanie – Our Husband (2000), I Think I Love You (2002)Cabot, Meg – The Boy Next Door (2002), Boy Meets Girl (2004), Every Boy’s Got One (2005), Size 12 Is Not Fat (2006)Cruise, Jennifer – Tell Me Lies (1998), Welcome to Temptation (2000), Fast Women (2001),Faking It (2002), Bet Me (2004), Don’t Look Down (2006)Delinsky, Barbara – Three Wishes (1997), Coast Road (1998)Gibson, Rachel – See Jane Score (2003), Daisy’s Back in Town (2004), The Trouble with Valentine’s Day (2005), Sex, Lies, and Online Dating (2006)


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Contemporary Romances

Isenberg, Lynn – The Funeral Planner (2005)Kinsella, Sophie – Can You Keep a Secret? (2004), The Undomestic Goddess (2005)Krentz, Jayne Anne – Perfect Partners (1992), Grand Passion (1994), Trust Me (1995)Lockwood, Cara – Dixieland Sushi (2005)McNaught, Judith – Paradise (1991), Remember When (1996)Phillips, Susan Elizabeth – Fancy Pants (1989), Breathing Room (2002)Yardley, Cathy – L.A> Woman (2002), Couch World (2005)


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Series Romances

  • The appeal of series romances are that the reader gets to follow a character they know and have come to love throughout the trials and tribulations of their lives.These series are serious in tone:Blake, Jennifer – Louisiana Gentleman seriesBrockman, Suzanne – Troubleshooter seriesPalmer, Diana – Long Tall Texan series, Soldier of Fortune series, Most Wanted seriesSt. John, Cheryl – Montana Maverick seriesThese series are lighter in tone:Anderson, Catherine Kendrick/Coulter seriesBeverly, Elizabeth – Fortune’s Children trilogy, Bride of the Bad Boy seriesMacomber, Debbie – Cedar Cove seriesPhillips, Susan Elizabeth – Chicago Stars seriesThompson, Vicki Lewis – Nerd series


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Where’s the Fire? Series romances with heat…

  • These series are HOT. They should not be recommended to patrons who don’t want a lot of sex in their romance reading:Bond, Stephanie – Select titles in the Wrong Bed and Harlequin Temptation series.Foster, Lori – Buckhorn Brothers series, select titles in the Harlequin Temptation series, and select titles in the Blaze series.Hamilton, Laurell K. - Meredith Gentry series, Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series.Kenyon, Sherrilyn – Darkhunter series.Moning, Karen Marie – Highlander series.Phillips, Carly – Chandler Brothers trilogy, select titles in the Sexy Single Nights series, select titles in the Midnight Fantasies series.Thompson, Vicki Lewis – Three Cowboys and a Baby series, select titles in the Crystal Creek, Blaze, and Harlequin Temptation series.


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The Book Tramp: Reading Anything, Anywhere, Anytime…

Book Tramp Blog:http://thebooktramp.wordpress.com/