Monday, February 07, 2011

Avon Historicals

Today, the topic of discussion is Avon - the romance branch of Harpercollins Publisher. I know that Avon releases both contemporary and historical romance books, but I tend to associate it with historical romance more. It is also towards that publisher that I'll gravitate when I'm in the mood to read historical romance. There is just something about their books that seems to suit me. However, I feel that in the past few years, Avon historical romance books seem to have become a little too generic. Many of my favorite historical authors' past couple of years releases with Avon have been bland books - Suzanne Enoch, Laura Lee Guhrke, Lorraine Heath and Victoria Alexander just to name a few. All of these authors had have amazing books in the past and as a result, readers have high expectations... Unfortunately, their recent books have not met those expectations and I have to wonder if it's due to a lax in Avon's editors. I also remember that Kristie complained about the fact that all the heroes in Avon books tend to be aristocrats and set in regency England in recent years. So there's been a definitive shift somewhere along the years... All of this combined have made me almost give up on Avon historicals. Oh I continued buying my favorite authors, but every time there was a new author or a new series, I was very hesitant to pick it up. 

However, it seems there's been another shift in the past few months... It seems to me Avon has come up with a new release strategy... Did you notice that many authors have had new trilogy with back-to-back releases for their first two books? These are the ones that come to mind: Lorraine Heath's London's Greatest Lover (Nov and Dec), Laura Lee Guhrke's Abandoned at the Altar (Dec and Jan) and Lynsay Sands' Madison Sisters (Jan and Feb). However, we don't really know much about the third book - the title and release date. Is it to build up the anticipation? Why not do release the whole trilogy back-to-back like some other publishers? Still, it seems to be working. Plus, the most important is that the quality of these books has definitively increased, which is good for us readers :)

So kudos to Avon who seemed to realize that they were in trouble and did something to rectify it :)

What are your thoughts? 
Did you notice their new strategy? 
What do you think of it all? 
Is it going to work?


  1. You're so observant, nath. I don't really pay much attention to publishing trends, so am not in a position to comment constructively on this topic. It's pretty interesting, though...

  2. You know, now that I think about it, you're right. I hadn't associated it to Avon specifically, but going over the authors I've noticed it, yeah. Bland books is an excellent way to put it, not bad but not good either, just meh.

    And I hadn't noticed about the back to backs, but you're right again. As an strategy, I'm not sure it will work, I do tend to finish the series I start, so it might work in that aspect.

    What I've noticed however is the lack of sex scenes. Usually in HR, you got a big sex scene when the hero and heroine first came together, but there were still a few other sexy-scenes in the book, often even a couple more full-fledged (though not as long) sex scenes.

    Now, instead of a First Get together awesome sex scene, you get FINALLY get together sex scene. Of the last 5 new HR that I've read, it happened in 4 of them.

  3. I still say they need to get out of their aristocratic, England only box :-) With a few exceptions, I'm not even tempted to read most of their historicals. When Lorraine Heath goes back to Texas, then I'll see *g*.

  4. Christine - It comes from running after new releases, Christine LOL.

    Alex - Yeah, they lack the usual bang I associate with these authors.

    I think it'd be much better to release the whole trilogy at once, instead of waiting so long for the third book. I've just checked and the next Laura Lee Guhrke doesn't come out till January 2012!! Of course, it also seems like the characters are not really related to the first two books, so it kind of softens the blow.

    I agree with you about the sex scenes, Alex... However, at the same time, it makes it more realistic in my opinion. I mean, the fact that most of these heroines have sex before marriage is stretching already ^_^; So the fewer the better with me LOL.

    Kristie - I think so too, Kristie. That's another problem with Avon - how much margins do you have when everyone is writing something similar? Still, I'm happy the stories are more interesting :P

    I say you should give a try to Lorraine Heath's new series, Kristie :P You might end up really enjoying it :)

  5. I don't notice publisher as much as you do but it does seem like back to back releases are getting more popular.

    It seems like new authors are doing it more often too. Maybe keep the momentum going that the first book generates?

  6. LOL, I guess it's true that it's stretching it for them to have sex before they got married, but when I think of books like Dreaming of You (where the story followed for a while after they married) or even Devil in Winter (where a long time passed between when they got married and when they had sex again), I don't know, I miss a little of the hotness of before.

    In many books I've loved, all the sex happened after they got married, but, like, in the books coming out now, most of them seem to neatly end in the wedding. They don't follow up afterward.

    I hope I made some sense :P

  7. BTW, I meant that I miss books like Dreaming of Your or Devil in Winter :P I don't think I made it sound that way at first.

  8. Leslie - I think it's a way for new authors to garner more attention at once :) especially with a series... Wait too long and ppl might forget about you ^_^;

    Alex - Nod nod, you're making sense, Alex. I guess it really depends on the storyline.