1. If you’re going to call a book The Billionaire’s Virgin Stable Girl because you know it will sell, then accept responsibility for a sizeble chunk of the scorn heaped on romance and readers who love it.
  2. And the same goes for cheesy covers.
  3. Leave it to Beaver is s-o-o-o-o over. We had some excellent suggestions about what to call faux-temporaries and I think Mayberry Romances really fits the bill.  If a book features Grams and PawPa and a 50 year-old mom who spends her leisure time in the sewing circle with Aunt Bea, kick it back.  Please.
  4. The whole destined lovers thing in paranormal romances is really getting old. Seriously.  Old as dirt.  Okay, so J.R. Ward gets a pass because…well, because she’s J.R. Ward, but genetic destiny does not excuse alpha-creatures leveling a heroine’s objections with a thrust of his massive supernatural dick.
  5. Meredith Duran, Sherry Thomas, Elizabeth Hoyt, Gail Carriger, Lavinia Kent:  May we have more, please?
  6. Please avoid the following descriptors:  Kick-ass, feisty, miss, tempestuous.
  7. If a book features a heroine running from ruthless pursuers while wearing stilettos, know that it will be ridiculed. It is the modern day equivalent of an historical heroine investigating mysterious noises in the middle of the night while wearing a nightgown and carrying only a candle.  The next time I come across this, I am going to call in the angry torch-carrying villagers.
  8. You all say that historical romance is limited to Regency or Victorian England because those time periods are the only ones that sell, but can you do more than pay lip service to trying something different? I’ve heard over and over again, a variation along the lines of “well, we tried that and it didn’t sell.”  Well, why didn’t it sell? Lack of marketing support?  A lousy cover? The fact is publishers don’t seem to know, which leads me to…
  9. Tail Wagging the Dog Syndrome. Publishers has it. Regency and Victorian may be selling because consumers have only Regency and Victorian to choose from.  Readers may actually like Regency and Victorian (I do), but if they had more choices, don’t you think there’s a chance they might be open to something different – just as they used to be?  Publishers seem curiously resistant to consumer research which might actually answer that question and that fact leaves me with my mouth hanging open in disbelief. Literally.
  10. Ebook pricing and release dates.  For God’s sake, can we just settle this already? For the record, when I buy an ebook, I am buying a book.  From a publisher.  Supporting an author.  It pisses me off when ebook releases are delayed.  It says to me as a consumer that you don’t care about me as a consumer.  And, just to put this on the table, I will not pay more for an ebook than a paper book.  Will. Not.  Do. It. (And, while I’m on the subject, ebook prices may piss me off, but they will not turn me into a pirate. I find those who say readers who are unhappy with ebook prices will turn to piracy presumptuous beyond belief.  You may speak for yourself, but you most definitely don’t speak for me.)

So, how about you?  Got something you want to get off your chest?

– Sandy AAR

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