Who Reads Romance?

Elizabeth Camden The Book World Leave a Comment

Who Reads Romance these days?  A lot of people! 

I was very gratified to see the following statistics of what is selling this past year:

Romance :  1.438 Billion
Mystery/Suspense: 728 Million
Religious/ Inspirational: 717 Million
Sci Fi / Fantasy: 590 Million
Literary Fiction: 470 Million

(source: Simba Information, 2012)

I was pleased to see romance maintain its dominant position in the industry, but was especially pleased to see the strong showing of religion and inspirational titles.  Sales of this category are hard to track because so many titles are sold through churches or Christian bookstores, which are not generally tracked by the traditional measures in the book industry.

(Photo courtesy of Rachel Sian)


Into the Whirlwind

Elizabeth Camden Recommended Reading 2 Comments

Into the Whirlwind: A Novel of the Chicago Fire.

When I told my husband my plans for writing this book, he asked, “No offense, but why would anyone want to read a book about such a dreary topic?”

Dreary!  Not at all!  The race to rebuild Chicago in the months following the fire is one of the most dramatic stories in American history, but surprisingly, there are almost no adult novels about the fire.

There are few stories as dramatic as what happened to Chicago in 1871. In the space of a single day, one-third of the city was rendered homeless and 17,000 buildings were destroyed. In many ways Chicago has always been the quintessential American city, a combination of ethnic enclaves, rugged ambition, and raw, brash talent. I wanted to show all those qualities rise to the surface in the months following the fire.

I wanted to write a love story set against this dramatic backdrop. At its heart, it is about a man who has always adored a woman from afar, and sees the fire as the chance to finally swoop in and sweep her off her feet.

So….. without further ado, here is a short blurb about Into the Whirlwind:

Mollie Knox is a woman whose comfortable world is shattered the night she loses everything in the legendary Chicago fire of 1871. As she struggles in the aftermath of the fire, two powerful men vie for her affection. One has always loved her, but the other has the power to save her. Into the Whirlwind is a turbulent love story set amidst the rubble of Chicago as Mollie endures the challenge of survival and the triumph of rebuilding the city.

It is available everywhere, so snap it up while its hot!

The J.K. Rowling – Robert Galbraith Scandal

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The J.K. Rowling – Robert Galbraith Scandal

I have renewed admiration for J.K. Rowling after I learned of her recent flirtation with a guy named Robert Galbraith.

For those who have not heard of the incident, a detective novel called The Cuckoo’s Calling was released by purportedly “first-time author” Robert Galbraith in 2012. It received no special promotion or advertising from its publisher, few noteworthy reviews in famous outlets, and sold a paltry 1,500 copies. Although plans were announced for a follow-up to the novel, this book caused barely a ripple in the literary landscape.

Then came the rumors that Robert Galbraith was a pseudonym for J.K. Rowling.

Apparently, the wife of a lawyer for the publisher of the book had gotten wind of Galbraith’s identity and let the secret slip in a careless Twitter post. It was noted that Rowling and Galbraith shared the same agent and editor. Sales of The Cuckoo’s Calling sky-rocked 4,000 percent after J.K. Rowling admitted authorship, and the book remains at the top of all the best-seller charts.

Rowling claimed to be heart-broken about the public outing of her pseudonym. She was appalled that a woman she had never met felt free to blow her cover, especially after Rowling had been carefully guarding the secret from most of her friends and family. She stated she wanted to write a novel without the ghost of Harry Potter hovering over everyone’s perception of the book. “It has been wonderful to publish without hype or expectation and pure pleasure to get feedback under a different name,” she said about her fleeting months of anonymity before her cover was blown.

The obscurity she craved is gone, but I am fascinated by this story. As a new author who is struggling to get gain in a foothold in the publishing world, I truly admire Rowling for going back to the starting line and trying to see if she could make a name for herself without the advertising, excitement, and general hoopla that would automatically attach itself to any project released under her name.

I’m also secretly thrilled that even J.K. Rowling had such modest sales for her pseudonymous book. I expect it gives all struggling writers a bit of guilty pleasure. Writing a novel is hard. Getting attention, acclaim, and decent sales figures is harder, and it was nice to know that J.K. Rowling, if only for a fleeting moment, was among our ranks.

Have you heard about Kindle’s Matchbooks?

Elizabeth Camden The Book World 2 Comments

Kindle Matchbooks on the way!

I am beyond thrilled by the recent announcement that those of us who purchased print copies of books from Amazon from 1995 to the present can buy steeply discounted e-book versions of the same titles beginning in October.

Ever since becoming addicted to my Kindle I have bemoaned my inability to read the hundreds (thousands?) of print copies of books I’ve got cramming my bookshelves, mounded in corners, piled on desks, and stuffed under my bed. I simply could not bring myself to buy an e-version of a book when I had a perfectly good print copy just a few feet away.

That ends in October! Publishers who participate in the program will be offering e-books at 2.99, 1.99, .99, or FREE! It will be fairly easy to log into your amazon account and scan to see which books you purchased through amazon that are edible for the steep discounts.

More information here.

Why are Love Stories and Disasters Natural Partners?

Elizabeth Camden Ramblings about Romance Leave a Comment

Why do we Love Disasters?

The two most successful movies of the 20th century both featured a love story set against the backdrop of a disaster. Titanic and Gone with the Wind both showcase the drama and intensity that comes from those crisis moments when life is on the line.

What makes this work? For me, I like to see how people respond in a crisis. Some people will draw on every bit of mental and physical fortitude to emerge as a hero, while others will revert to cowardly, selfish behavior. And you don’t really know who will emerge as a hero until their life is on the line.

Take Rhett Butler. He is a scoundrel throughout most of Gone with the Wind, but at a few key moments, he lays his life on the line to do the right thing, all because he wants to be a better man. Jack Dawson is a different kind of hero in Titanic. He’s a nice kid, but has been wandering aimlessly through his life. During the crucial moments as the ship goes down, this carefree kid emerges as a man of stunning heroism. I wasn’t all that taken with his character until the end of the movie when he hauls Rose up onto that floating door and orders her to survive…even when he knows he is doomed, he digs down deep and summons up that immense, golden streak of heroism that makes him an unforgettable character.

Into the Whirlwind deals with the Chicago fire of 1871. I put my two romantic leads onto the streets of downtown Chicago as the buildings burn and collapse around them. As in real life, there were plenty of people who panicked and acted selfishly….while others risked their lives to lead children to safety, shield women with their bodies, battled flames to haul out survivors. The fire was a crucible that tested them all.

I had a ball writing Into the Whirlwind, and hope to do another disaster story someday. The drama and intensity of a disaster is simply too much of a lure to resist!