Friday, August 24, 2012

Trends in Romance Reading

sweet and sassy short romance, Bliss at Entangled
Several years ago, the romance industry lunged in a "new" direction. Books had been getting steadily steamier, not only keeping the door open on love scenes, but bringing the reader deeper and deeper into the experience. Then came erotic romance. This was pioneered in large part by small publishers, led by the highly successful Ellora's Cave, among many others.

And erotic romance boomed. For a long time, sales were low for any e-published book that wasn't labeled "erotic." Envelopes got pushed further and further. Publishers demanded steam, and some authors and readers lamented the loss of the closed door, the sweet romances where sex wasn't the central focus of the story.

The boom faded, and over the last few years, the trend has been not so much trendiness as an opening up of every kind of romance (or other story) you could possibly want. And now, in a nice juxtaposition, we're getting a double surge of BOTH extremes! New readers are discovering erotic romance, and new avenues for sweet romance are emerging.

One of the best, IMO, (not that I'm biased) is the new Bliss line at Entangled Publishing. Bliss launches tomorrow (Saturday, 8/25) with three books by Kelley Vitollo, Roxanne Snopek, and Rachel Astor. Editorial Director Stacy Cantor Abrams says, "The books read like romantic comedy movies set to the page: Love, Actually for the romance reader. Though the focus lies on the characters’ emotional journey, at Bliss we like to say our heroes and heroines still jump in the sack…it just then fades to black." Read more at the Entangled Romance Blog, and check back there for information on their awesome contest and launch events.

Most of the time I lean toward the longer, more complex romances, especially those that are paranormal, suspenseful, or adventurous. But I've been really enjoying a variety of the lighter, shorter, more romance-focused stories that are being published lately, and can't wait to see what Bliss has to offer.

What have you been reading lately? Have you picked up anything outside your usual habits and found yourself glad you did?


Suzan Tisdale said...

I do like the steamy romance but only if it is tastefully done, like Victoria Vane's novels. As long as the story stands without the 'steam' I consider it a good book. I also like 'cleaner' romances, like Carmen Caine, Laurin Wittig and Amanda Forester. ;o) '

It is nice to know that we do have choices! ;o) Best wishes to the new Bliss line. ;o)

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I'm really loving romantic suspense if I'm not reading fantasy.

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

Hi, Suzan, thanks for commenting! I definitely feel the way you do, about a story standing without the steam.

I've read some good romantic suspense lately, too, Sue. I've drifted from fantasy a bit, though. I'll have to get back to it.