Charlie Stella; Robert Ludlum; Romance novels
Ed here: I was privileged to read Charlie Stella's knockout novel Johnny Porno in manuscript. I mentioned it to Greg Shepard at Stark House and he said that while he might like it he wasn't sure about publishing an original novel. He read it and changed his mind immediately: Here's what Greg wrote today:
"Up until now I've resisted publishing anything that wasn't a reprint of what I considered a classic or long-neglected mystery. But when Ed Gorman introduced me to Charlie Stella's new book, I simply couldn't resist. Johnny Porno is set in 1970's New York when Deep Throat is being hustled around town by the mob and a guy named John Albano is just trying to get by. This book's got it all: gangsters and wannabes, cops both crooked and not, hustlers and informers, crazy ex-wives and resourceful girlfriends; and crackling dialog that's so real you can hear it. I couldn't put it down. Because nobody writes mob fiction like Charlie Stella. He's the real deal. And it's a real pleasure knowing I'll be working with him on Johnny Porno. Stark House Press steps out."
THE BOURNE FRANCHISE
Publisher's Weekly carried a piece about the enormous success of the Bourne novels written by Eric von Lustbader. Agent Henry Morrison was interviewed:
While Morrison admitted the success of the Bourne films can't be underestimated when discussing the continued success of Ludlum's books, he noted that it was imperative that Lustbader's Bourne books stand on their own as solid thrillers. He called Lustbader's novels “Ludlumesque in terms of intrigue and plot twists,” but Lustbader's Bourne is “neither Ludlum's nor the movies'.”
Today, two Ludlum novels a year are released, according to Morrison, with one book from the Bourne line and another from the Covert-One series, and Morrison sometimes worries about market saturation. (In fall 2010, the Paul Janson books will be relaunched, and Grand Central, which will publish the second Janson book in 2011, will continue that series if it fares well.) But referring to the management of the James Patterson name—Patterson publishes more titles annually than Ludlum—Morrison said he's watching how other literary brands work out. “If we're careful,” Morrison said, “I think we can do it, too.”
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ROMANCE NOVEL SALES
The Huffington post filed a story about how, with other genres failing, romance sales conntinue to grow:
Love may not conquer all in real life, but its power in relatively inexpensive books is quite a comfort in this economy. Publishers are seeing strong sales in the romance genre as other categories decline and consumers cut back on spending.
Harlequin Enterprises Ltd., a global giant in women's fiction, reported fourth-quarter earnings up 32 percent over the same period a year earlier, with U.S. retail sales up 9 percent in 2008.
For the week of May 10, romance book sales overall were up nearly 2.4 percent compared with the same week last year, according to Nielsen BookScan, which covers 75 percent of retail sales. Travel book sales were down 16 percent, detective/mystery and self-help were each down 17 percent and adult fiction overall, of which romance is a subgenre, was up 1 percent.
Jennifer Enderlin, associate publisher for St. Martin's Press, said romance is doing so well, the publisher is releasing 32 titles this year (more could be added), compared to 26 last year.
Books from notable authors, including Lora Leigh, Lisa Kleypas and Sherrilyn Kenyon, are experiencing healthy sales, she said.
Enderlin and other publishers said they're not surprised by the genre's success.
"If you really think about it, there is a little romance in virtually every book," said Laurie Parkin, vice president and publisher of Kensington Publishing Corp. Kensington has seen a 5 percent increase in sales for mass market paperback romances for its fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, she said.
"But especially when business is bad or business is down, people want to escape a little bit," Parkin added. "I think romance offers that in a wonderful, wonderful way."
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