We plan for AAR’s Annual Poll for months and since January 16th we’ve been frantically entering your ballots. Now, as hard as it is to believe, the AAR Annual Poll for books first published in 2011 is nearly over. Yes, this year’s poll closes at midnight Eastern Standard Time on Sunday, January 29th.

Have you voted yet? If you have, thank you! It’s truly a joy to look at all of your votes and tally the results In the past we would receive a flurry of votes the first few days and then things would die out until the last days of the poll. Not this year. So far, we’ve received a large number of ballots each day since voting opened. This keeps us busy, but very happy.

If you haven’t voted, don’t despair. There’s still plenty of time to vote. And more importantly, your vote can make the difference in many categories. Right now most of the categories – including Best Romance of 2011, Best Romance Hero, and Best Romance Couple – are wide open with just days remaining in the poll.

In most of the cross-genre categories (Best Romance, Favorite Hero, Favorite Heroine, etc.) the top vote-getters represent a variety of genres. In the Best Romance of 2011, the top five books are within ten points of each other and represent a wide range of romance genres. In the Best Kick-Ass heroine category, three heroines are tied for the lead, with the next two just a few votes behind.

With a tight voting period we no longer do interim vote results. However, we did want to share some general observations based on the voting so far. First, while we’re seeing votes for some perennial AAR favorite authors, many authors are getting votes in large numbers for the first time.

Second, in some years we see one or two books dominate many categories. So far, with less than a week remaining, that isn’t the case for romances first published 2011. A number of books, representing a variety of genres, are getting votes in each of the categories. And for the first time, we’re seeing romances published strictly as eBooks get votes in several categories.

Remember, the Annual Poll for 2011 is a poll for books published for the first time in 2011 and with a copyright date of 2011. Unfortunately, some popular books released in late December of 2011 are not eligible for this poll, as their copyright date is 2012. So keep those books in mind for next year.

Also, we’ve seen a lot of authors writing books under new pseudonyms. Because these authors were already published before 2011, they are not eligible for the Best Debut Author of 2011.  But their books and characters are eligible for all the other categories.

How soon will you find out the results? With the three of us entering ballots, we should be completely finished data entry, and checking and verifying tallies and winners within a few days of the close of the poll. At that point, we pass along the results to the AAR Publishers. They then contact the winners while we prepare a brief write-up. Look for the results to be posted at AAR in early February.

Are you ready to vote? Click here.

– LinnieGayl, LeeB, CindyS