BRINGING YOU THE BEST IN ROMANCE FICTION
We hear it so often it’s a cliché; love comes in many forms. Sometimes they’re talking about the many types of love, including friendship, motherly love, and love for all mankind. Other times, they’re talking about variety among romantic relationships, in the shape of different gender combinations, numbers, and interests. We can’t all be polyamorous lovers of were-wolf tales, but there’s certainly someone out there who is. And shouldn’t they be able find their perfect story?
You see, romance publishers very much like to find what I’m going to call the wide-niche. The specialized tastes that are specific enough to need seeking out, and broad enough to have a lot of eyeballs. An easy example is Harlequin, the well known publisher of romances established in 1949. According to their website, they’ve been very successful finding niches:
Harlequin publishes over 120 titles each month under the Harlequin, Silhouette, MIRA Books, Luna Books, Steeple Hill Books, HQN Books, Gold Eagle, Worldwide Mystery, Kimani Press, Spice and Harlequin Nonfiction imprints in North America. In addition, Harlequin publishes five Spanish-language series in North America, with 16 titles monthly.
However, recent word is that they’re closing five lines.
Harlequin is closing Kimani, Western, Superromance, Nocturne, and Love Inspired Historical lines. (2/3)
— Courtney!!! Milan (@courtneymilan) May 15, 2017
It isn’t as if lovers of these types of tales will be unable to find stories to read, since good stories find a way. It just might be a little more difficult to find them once they’re scattered and no longer have a dedicated line.
I imagine a day is coming where we have a curated line, designed for us. Perhaps it will look a little like what Netflix does for movies and television series, where it comes with a match-up rating saying how well it fits your tastes. How appropriate, really. It’s like online dating for books.
Until that day comes, we will continue to read back covers, pass books to friends, read reviews, scan Goodreads, and hope that we can discover the book we didn’t even know we were looking for.
Because, in the end, the best books are the ones that surprise us. Can an author, series, line, or algorithm guarantee that?
How do you find new books to read? Are you disappointed that Harlequin is dropping these lines? What new lines makes sense for romance publishers to pursue? Let us know in the comments.