17th Annual Reader Poll Analysis
Thanks yet again for your continued support of the Annual Poll. We would also like to thank all the authors, publishers and readers who publicized the poll, whether online or just by word of mouth.
This year’s AAR Annual Poll for Best 2012 Romance Books had some pretty interesting new obstacles. With the proliferation of so many ebooks being published, the votes for authors, titles and characters were incredibly wide-ranging. Publication dates also caused some confusion for readers and for us. As a result, we took extra precautions to make sure books were published for the first time in 2012 and were not previously published in a digital format. Another interesting outcome is that only two categories yielded honorable mentions meaning almost every category had a standalone winner showing that this year our readers were very decisive about the books they loved. And finally, there is a phenomenon that we pollsters are familiar with called ‘vote splitting’. This is where an author has more than one book published in the year and each title garners its own set of votes thus splitting the author’s chances of winning in a specific category by up to 50%. Many authors have had this obstacle in their path and still found their way into the winner’s circle, for example, this year, Sarah Mayberry had two books vying for attention, nevertheless, she won a category while Sherry Thomas was able to pull off an outright win even with a three title handicap. So without further ado, here are some favorite authors and a newbie who received wins and an Honorable Mention. (Note: Honorable Mentions are awarded when a second (or third) place title receives within 20% of the votes cast for the winner.)
The winner for Best Romance Book of 2012 was Julie Anne Long’s A Notorious Countess Confesses, which also won for Best Hero, Adam Sylvaine. Ms. Long’s book also is honored with an Honorable Mention for Best Historical Romance Set in the UK. Last year, Ms. Long won Best Historical Romance Set in the UK and Best Love Scenes (in a Mainstream Romance) with an Honorable Mention for Best Romance. She is proving to be an AAR reader favorite. Ms. Long’s first appearance in the AAR Poll was in 2009 when she received an Honorable Mention for Favorite Funny for Like No Other Lover. Last year, Ms. Long’s What I Did for a Duke won Best Historical Romance Set in the UK and Best Love Scenes in a Mainstream Romance, as well as an Honorable Mention for Best Romance.
Tessa Dare’s A Week to Be Wicked won in several categories, including Best Historical Romance Set in the UK, Funniest Romance, Best Romance Heroine (Minerva Highwood) and Best Romance Couple (Minerva Highwood & Lord Colin Payne). Tessa Dare won Best Debut Author in our 2009 poll. This is the first time one of her books has made the list since then and what a great showing Ms. Dare made as she took home the most wins for 2012 by winning in four categories outright.
Ravishing the Heiress by Sherry Thomas was the runaway winner for Best Tearjerker, her second time winning this award. Ravishing the Heiress also won an Honorable Mention for Best Historical Romance Set in the UK. Ms. Thomas won her first AAR award in 2009 for Best Debut Author as well as an Honorable Mention in the Best Historical Romance Set in the UK for Private Arrangements. The next year, Ms. Thomas won Best Historical Romance Not Set in the UK forNot Quite a Husband, proving she can write award winning books set pretty much anywhere. That same book won Best Tearjerker, as well as Honorable Mentions for Best Romance of the Year and Best Heroine.
Pamela Clare’s Defiant won Best Historical Romance Not Set in the UK making this the third year in a row that Ms. Clare has won a category. Two of her I-Team series books won for Best Romantic Suspense in both the 2012 and 2011 polls. It is wonderful to see authors who can excel in more than one genre.
Kresley Cole’s Lothaire won Best Paranormal Romance and with this long awaited story Ms. Cole takes home her first win in an AAR Poll. An Honorable Mention in this category went to Riveted by Meljean Brook who won this category in the 2011 poll with her first steampunk book The Iron Duke.
Bared to You by Sylvia Day won for Best Erotica/Romantica and for Most Tortured Hero, Gideon Cross. For those wondering about the impact of last year’s media hit Fifty Shades of Grey, there were 20% more ballots with the Erotica/Romantica category filled in than last year.
Best Kick Ass Heroine went to Ilona Andrews for Andrea Nash in Gunmetal Magic. Ms. Andrews’ character Kate Daniels from Magic Slays tied in this same category last year.
Best Series Romance went to Sarah Mayberry for Suddenly You. Last year Ms. Mayberry received Honorable Mention in this category for All They Need. Once an endangered category in the poll, nearly 15% more ballots included a vote in this category this year.
Best Women’s Fiction/Chick Lit went to Sophie Kinsella for I’ve Got Your Number. Ms. Kinsella’s Remember Me? received an Honorable Mention in this category in 2009. This is the second year in a row a British author has won this category (last year Jill Mansell won for To The Moon and Back).
Two authors reclaimed last year’s wins with their latest releases: Julie James won for Best Contemporary Romance for About That Night. This is the third year in a row she has won Best Contemporary Romance. And Courtney Milan won again for Best Short Story, this time for The Governess Affair. This is the third time in four years that she has won Best Short Story.
Elizabeth Hoyt continues to burn the pages as evidenced by her win for Best Love Scenes in a Mainstream Romance for Thief of Shadows. Elizabeth Hoyt has won outright, tied or received an Honorable Mention in the Best Love Scenes category in all polls except 2010 since the 2007 Reader Poll making this her 6th book to receive such high praise from AAR readers.
A perennial favorite, Nora Roberts, scored big for Best Romantic Suspense for The Witness. Ms. Roberts’ first big win (minus Honorable Mentions) was Best Romance in the 1999 Poll for Sea Swept. Her last win in the Romantic Suspense category was in 2008 for High Noon.
The Best Debut of 2012 was won by Cecelia Grant. Last year she received many, many, many votes but her debut book had a 2012 copyright making her ineligible last year. But now she can celebrate.
Three categories did not receive enough votes to declare winners: Guiltiest Pleasure, Best Inspirational and Most Disappointing (authors are probably thinking “Whew!”). As a result, we are dropping all three categories from the contest ballot next year.
But for next year’s contest, we will be shaking things up a bit and making the following three changes:
(1) We will add a new category, Best Young Adult/New Adult Romance
(2) We will split paranormal into two categories (Paranormal and Sci-Fi/Fantasy)
(3) We will add the category Novel (non-romance) with strong romantic elements.
AAR’s Pollsters – LinnieGayl, LeeB, and CindyS
Again, we look forward to reading all your thoughts about the results in the AAR Forums. To get the conversation going here are a few questions to consider:
Did any of the winners surprise you?
How well did your ballot suggestions do?
If you haven’t already read the winners, will you do so now?
Post to the Let’s Talk Romance Novels Forum