Happy bride jumping on a bed_photo by Elizabeth Messina (1)We added several new categories this year:  New Adult, Young Adult, Best Novel with Strong Romantic Elements and Best Sci-fi/Fantasy Romance. We are pleased to see that the new categories also resulted in some new authors winning some of the categories for this year.

Most of the usual categories had tight battles for first place, none so much so as the Best Couple category in which not only did we have a tie for winner, three other couples tied for Honorable Mention.  That’s five couples from last year that had an impact on our readers.

This year’s ballot had a total of 23 different categories. On average, readers voted in 13 categories, but 2 percent of you actually voted in all 23 categories. The most popular category was Best Romance Novel, with 93% of you submitting a title. But over three-quarters of you also voted for Favorite Hero, Favorite Romance Couple, and Favorite Funny Romance.

We worried if we would get enough votes for two of the new categories suggested by AAR readers – New Adult and Young Adult. In fact, several voters asked in the comments section if anyone really reads these categories. But approximately one-third of all voters entered a title for each of these categories so they will definitely be included in the poll for best romances of 2014.

Unfortunately, we will bid farewell next year to a longstanding category, Best Women’s Fiction/Chick Lit. This year less than ¼ of all voters entered a title for this category, and there was virtually no consensus, meaning we could not announce a winner. And many of the entries in this category were actually books included in the contemporary romance category.

Another category with no winner is Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy Romance but it was not for lack of interest.  There were many titles nominated but because of its close relation to Paranormal Romance, votes were split.  This category will remain as a 1/3 of our readers entered a title.

This time, due to some last minute problems we switched to using an off-site provider – SurveyMonkey – to hold our poll. While we had to do a lot of last-minute scrambling, it ended up being much easier for us to deal with and we hope that the new system of voting worked well for you.

Click here to see the list of winners and hop over to the accompanying article to see author comments.  As always, we look forward to your thoughts.