Friday, March 10, 2006

Disbelieving. Disgusted. Discouraged.

Sorry for the spotty entries. I'm actually finding myself kind if in a lull as far as things to say. If my hubby is reading this, just shut up.

This did catch my eye. Yesterday, HelenKay posted the top 15 best selling romance novels for the week ending February 26, according to Bookscan. With complete admission to my laziness in copying, the list is as follows:

1. Impossible by Danielle Steel
2. Cordina's Royal Family: Gabriella & Alexander by Nora Roberts
3. Red Lily, Nora Roberts
4. The Quinn Brothers: Sea Swept/Rising Tides by Nora Roberts
5. Jude's Law by Lori Foster
6. The MacGregors: All the Possibilities/One Man's Art by Nora Roberts
7. The Truth About Love by Stephanie Laurens
8. The Barefoot Princess by Christina Dodd
9. Sex, Lies, and On-Line Dating by Rachel Gibson
10. Breakwater by Carla Neggers
11. Black Rose by Nora Roberts
12. Hearts Divided by Debbie Macomber, Katherine Stone, Lois Faye Dyer
13. Blue Dahlia by Nora Roberts
14. The Hunt by Allison Brennan
15. The Quinn Legacy by Nora Roberts

Okay. As HelenKay pointed out but you can also see and do the math for yourself, Nora Roberts holds 7 out of the top 15 slots, which is 46.7%. Nora Roberts owns almost 50% of the top selling romance novels out there for this particular week.

I did a bit of digging and found out the following:

Cordina's Royal Family: Gabriella & Alexander was first published in 1986. The edition appearing on Bookscan's list is the rerelease that came out this past February.

Same thing with The MacGregors: All the Possibilities/One Man's Art. The two original titles were released in 1985. The appearance on Bookscan is due to the rerelease on March 1st.

The Quinn Brothers: Sea Swept/Rising Tides both came out in 1998. I couldn't find a rerelase with just these two titles, but I can assume it must be one of the half-dozen re-releases I did find. This also applies for The Quinn Legacy holding the #15 spot.

Blue Dahlia, Black Rose, and Red Lily are part of a series released in Fall, 2004 through May, 2005.

So, assuming La Nora runs a tight turn-around with her work and was able to whip off her Flowers books and have them on shelves within less than a full year, she hasn't worked on any one of these books since sometime in 2004.

Books that Nora Roberts wrote 21 years ago are still appearing in the top 10 best selling romance novels for the current time period. She is sitting on 46.7% of the top 15 best-selling romance novels with books she hasn't touched in years. The phrase resting on your laurels comes to mind.

I can't begin to describe the depths of discouragement this makes me feel. Not only are all of us new writers working on an uphill battle against each other and the new work Nora cranks out by the freight-train-load every year, but also with books she wrote when many of us were in junior high or high school. How in the world does this make any sense at all?

And I'm sure I'll never be in this position, but I have to wonder if I were La Nora, would I feel maybe just a tiny bit embarrassed? I don't know. It's like going to the year-end awards banquet where you receive award after award after award. After a while, you kind of squirm in your seat when they keep calling you up to the podium. Like, maybe you think other people might deserve a nod here or there. That all of this is a little bit over the top.

Not that Roberts can do anything about her book sales. After all, she didn't even write these books recently. She's being applauded and cheered for stuff she did in an entirely different millenium. I suppose she might say "maybe not" to those rereleases, if her publishers even give her an option. But, what, is she stupid?

Okay, no more thinking about this kind of stuff. My head is starting to come off my body.

Instead, I went out and bought The Hunt by Allison Brennan. And renewed my vow, taken on that stack of holy bibles I keep for just such occasions, never to contribute to the titanic pile of books La Nora has already sold, which I imagine stretches somewhere past Pluto by now.

She's probably reached the aliens in other galaxies. So she certainly won't miss my $6.99 in the least.


HelenKay said...

And...each of the books in the The Blue Dahlia etc. trio has sold more than 500,000 copies. Just thought I'd throw that out there.

Her hold on the bestseller lists is incredible. if you've ever heard her speak, she talks about how at one time she wasn't Nora Roberts either. She got rejected. She worked her butt off. All that. But, I agree with you that it's hard to imagine anyone else attaining this kind of romance super stardom.

Scrivener said...

I can't even read Nora Roberts. Her writing feels amateurish to me and I don't think I've ever been able to finish one of her books. I'm baffled by her success, to be honest. Compare her writing to that of a Mary Balogh, Jo Beverley or Jean Ross Ewing/Julia Ross - why does she sell in the zillions and they don't?

Lynn M said...

The one Nora Roberts I read was a novella, and I wasn't very impressed. Or at least, I didn't see anything in it that answered the question of why she is so incredibly popular. The story was fairly simplistic and not even memorable.

Not to say that the woman doesn't work hard to earn her success. I have no doubt she paid her dues before taking off as she has. But has she paid that many *more* dues than so many other writers? I mean, many writers have struggled - in fact I think the list of writers who haven't struggled is all of, what, three people long? - but not a one has achieved her level of domination.

I just don't get it. But, I suppose I don't need to because everyone else out there seems to be. :)

Stacy~ said...

I love the JD Robb books (which I note none were on the list LOL) but I'm not much of a Nora fan. I loved her Dream trilogy, but haven't really connected with her other books.

Yet I know people that enjoy them without being caught up in the phenomenon that is Nora. I'm a reader so I can't really relate to the frustration a writer might feel, trying to break into the industry and having to go up against such a powerhouse. Hey, look at Danielle Steele - I gave up on her books years ago and she's #1 on this list. But I couldn't say that I'd want either one to stop writing (especially not the JD Robb books).

I wish all of you working your own butts off much success. I know it's not easy, especially with the fierce competition, but just do what you love. Somewhere you will find your audience. Most likely it will be me :)