Yes, the results of the Reader Poll for Best Romances of 2014 are in. Click here to see the list of winners and go to the accompanying article to see author comments.

The Annual Poll at AAR is a cooperative endeavor between readers and staff, and this year’s poll is no exception. Largely based on reader comments, we tinkered with the categories for this year’s poll. We separated two former categories into three: Science Fiction, Paranormal and Fantasy. We dropped the Best Chick Lit/Women’s Fiction category and added Best LGBT Romance. We’re happy with the results for all of these new categories, and you’ll see them again in next year’s poll.

This year’s poll had 24 different categories. On average, readers voted in 12 categories, but 5 percent of you voted in 20 or more of the categories. The most popular category was Best Romance Novel, with 90% of you submitting a title. But over three-quarters of you also voted for Favorite Hero and Favorite Romance Couple.

We frequently receive comments – either in the forums, the blog posts, or in the actual poll – that readers do not like the “Best Kick-Ass Heroine” category, suggesting it should be dropped. This year over 70 percent of readers cast a vote in this category, suggesting that while some dislike the category (or the label), many readers know exactly what the category means, and have a ready choice for a winner.

At this point in our polling history we can safely say we have created enough categories to cover the paranormal/sci-fi/fantasy genre. In previous years there were many overlapping titles when we just had two categories but this year, with three categories opened, there was little if any overlap. Approximately 65% of readers cast a vote in at least one of the three categories, while 19 percent of readers voted in all three categories. We did receive a few comments about Steampunk romances, expressing either uncertainty about which category the book fits into, or asking for a separate Steampunk category. We’ll try to clarify the situation next year.

Two of the new categories last year – Best Young Adult Romance and Best New Adult Romance – each received a vote on approximately 30 percent of your ballots this year.

We appreciate your thoughts on the poll, and included a place for you to list your comments along with your ballot. Many of you simply thanked us for running the poll, or expressed your enthusiasm for the process; we love the poll as well and appreciate your comments.

Some readers suggested changes to the poll, or the polling process, and we would appreciate your thoughts. One reader suggested,

“For the Best Historical Romance set in the U.K., could you break this into two categories: Best Regency Romance and Best Romance set outside the Regency time period?”

Several other readers noted that they miss the Best American Historical/Frontier category and asked if we would bring it back. The category was dropped several years ago both in an effort to streamline the poll, and to eliminate categories that generated relatively few votes. Is it time to reconsider this category?

We were delighted to see many first-time voters submit a ballot this year. But after polling at AAR for over 10 years, we’ve also come to recognize, and appreciate, the efforts many longtime AAR readers make in entering the various polls at AAR. Nearly 20 percent of the voters noted that they have voted in AAR’s annual Reader Poll for five or more years. Thank you!

As always, we look forward to hearing your thoughts on the poll. Look for another poll next year at about the same time.

Cindy, LeeB, and LinnieGayl