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Silh Romance Author Reportedly Sells 1.3million Books in Her Career

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This morning I read a press release about former Silhouette Romance author, Leanna Wilson, who has switched publishers and genres to write inspirational fiction. Her current release, Elvis Takes a Back Seat, is not for Harlequin but for Christian publisher, B&H Publishing Group, and is about a road trip with three women who experience “discoveries that change their lives and faith forever.”

The thing that caught my eye was that the report stated Wilson sold 1.3million books. I looked up her backlist and it contains 12 books in all which means she sold over 100,000 copies per book. Somehow I think that was based in some part on the marketing scheme of Harlequin for its series books (I say only some part because Wilson is a RITA award winning author). I suppose we can laugh and point all we want about the titles and subjects but the uncomfortable truth is that these books sell and sell well.

Via Press Release

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

7 Comments

  1. Laura Vivanco
    Jan 04, 2008 @ 11:04:36

    I suppose we can laugh and point all we want about the titles and subjects but the uncomfortable truth is that these books sell and sell well.

    What’s so uncomfortable about these books selling? I’ve liked a lot of Harlequin Mills & Boon romances, and they’re pretty much the only romances that are easily available in the UK (with the exception of Little Black Dress, which is more on the chicklit end of the spectrum, and some US single-titles which make it through into the libraries and the small romance sections that exist in some bookshops).

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  2. jmc
    Jan 04, 2008 @ 13:05:44

    Interesting. If I read a blurb somewhere about a romance author selling +1,000,000 books, I would expect to recognize that author’s name, even if I hadn’t read her before or if she wasn’t an author writing in my favorite subgenre. I didn’t in this case, and I don’t think I’ve seen any of Ms. Ellis’s books on the shelves of my local stores. Now I’m wondering — is that simply a commentary on the diversity of the romance genre? a function of the sales volume? Or maybe my romance-reading horizons aren’t broad enough.

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  3. Sarah McCarty
    Jan 04, 2008 @ 13:07:25

    I have to say I don’t feel uncomfortable with that truth. Obviously Leanna writes books that entertain and entertain well.

    Congrats Leanna!

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  4. Laura Vivanco
    Jan 04, 2008 @ 13:18:58

    is that simply a commentary on the diversity of the romance genre? a function of the sales volume? Or maybe my romance-reading horizons aren't broad enough.

    jmc, it could be due to the fact that Harlequin sells worldwide, so even if an author isn’t well-known in any one market, their combined sales in all of Harlequin’s different markets can still be substantial (Harlequin say they sell in “in 25 languages in 94 international markets on six continents”).

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  5. Leslie Kelly
    Jan 05, 2008 @ 17:47:09

    I would suspect this includes sales in international markets. It’s not that difficult for a Harlequin author to hit 1 million copies when each book can be picked up in 10-14 other countries. I’ve had some books sell better in foreign markets than they did in the U.S. Germany and Japan can sometimes each add 30,000 copies to a single book’s sales.

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  6. Bronwyn Jameson
    Jan 06, 2008 @ 18:48:43

    As Leslie said, not unusual or questionable for Harlequin series book to sell those numbers when they go into international markets. My Silhouette Desires have releases in 20+ countries at last count. Royalties in those markets are paltry so this doesn’t mean big bucks (to the author — I wish!) just big numbers.

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