Yep, a romance writer took top prize.
Most people look down or romance books - usually because they haven't read a one - or they read one that completely turned them off to the genre. That's because they didn't read the right one for them.
Let me give you some facts (taken from the RWA site).
- Approximately 6,400 romance titles were released in 2006.
- Romance fiction outsold every market category in 2006, with the exception of religion/inspirational.
- 26.4% of all books sold are romance.
- Romance fiction: $1.37 billion in estimated revenue for 2006
Religion/inspirational: $1.68 billion
Science fiction/fantasy: $495 million
Classic literary fiction: $448
Mystery: $422 million
Graphic novels: $128 million
RWA - aka Romance Writers of America - is the largest writer's organization in the world. It is also one of the few that takes unpublished writers into its ranks and helps and encourages them to become professionals.
Most people have preconceived notions about romance books - that they're either namby pamby torch books about a man and a woman and an unknown baby, or they're "bodice rippers" that touch on porn.
Sorry. Those misconceptions went out with the 70's. Today's romance books range in heat from the sweet (they don't even kiss until the end) to the hot (and yes, some do classify erotica as porn). They also take in every sub-genre you can think of. There are contemporary (takes place in the here and now), futuristic, fantasy, paranormal, historical, inspirational, and young adult. The heat level varies within each genre as well. The one thing all these have in common is the story about the relationship between the hero and heroine.
Note, I said "the relationship". The stories are not about the sex. They are about the emotions. And with almost all of the sub-genre's, there is an unwritten rule that by the end of the story, the two main characters have to be involved in a committed relationship. How they get there is as varied as the 9000+ romance writers out there.
When I said someone who disses romance has probably never read one, or never read one they liked, I meant that. In conversations where someone is putting down the genre, you ask them what they've read and they admit to never having read one. How can you discuss something intelligently without knowing the subject? Okay, I know, people do that all the time. But... I am a dyed in the wool romance reader - and writer. BUT there are genre's I will not read because I don't like them. And I've tried. You can look at my bookshelves to know I've tried. There isn't a sub-genre I haven't read. But I've settled into the paranormal, fantasy, and futuristic ones because that's what I like the most. I also like a good historical. I'm not so hot on contemporary series - but that is a personal like/dislike. I have read some I enjoyed. And I've read some paranormals I hated. Like anything else, there is variety within the genre.
But with Nora Roberts' win, we've finally made the top of the list. Here's to you, Nora. And to all the romance writers out there. We've finally arrived.
Birthdays: Robert Bridges, Emily Kimbrough, Michael Crichton
Tips and Teasers: It is the middle of the night and the phone rings. The voice on the other end says: "You won't get away with it. I'll see that you pay." There is a scream and a loud crack and the line goes dead. Caller ID is "unavailable". What, if anything, do you do? Did you deserve the call? Why?
Thought for the day: "Most writers enjoy only two brief periods of happiness. First when what seems a glorious idea comes flashing into mind and, secondly, when a last page has been written and you have not yet had time to consider how much better it all ought to have been." – J.B. Priestley