I was lucky enough to be up in Toronto last week and had a chance to visit with Dianne Moggy, Editorial Director, Global Single Titles right when something amazing was happening. Here’s what she said:
“The numbers kept growing until I quickly realized that 10% of the titles on the New York Times hardcover and paperback bestseller lists—the top 35 on each list—were our books! Its particularly rewarding to have The Island by Heather Graham in the top 15, as our hardcover program only launched in 2000. And I think I actually yelled when I realized that Mercedes Lackeys second hardcover with Luna, our romantic fantasy program, was on the extended list!
“Wednesday, the day the list is released, is quickly becoming my favorite day of the week as our bestseller news has been so positive this year. And just wait until we launch Spice, a program of erotic fiction in May—watch for Tease by Suzanne Forster and Getting Even by Kayla Perrin in book stores in May.”
So to review the many recent successes, Heather’s The Island will be on the March 19th New York Times hardcover list—totally excellent. And it will debut at #14 on the Publishers Weekly hardcover bestseller list for March 13th. Heather is one of those amazing authors whose work with us has included titles at Harlequin, Silhouette, MIRA and in HQN as Shannon Drake. Her Killing Kelly is on the paperback NYT list as well, but this is our first Heather hardcover to hit the top 15 on the NYT, so there was dancing in the corridors!
HQN is delighted to be represented on the New York Times list by Linda Lael Miller’s McKettrick’s Choice. It has been very exciting to have launched HQN and created a home for authors of Linda’s caliber and a place that welcomes sweeping romance. Here, her McKettrick Brothers Trilogy, begun in 2002 takes a new turn with Holt’s story.
HQN has also been home to a lot of NASCAR excitement. With a licensing deal signed between Harlequin and NASCAR, the gang headed down to Daytona and Pam Britton signed hundreds of copies of In the Groove for men and women alike. As many of the male persuasion said, “Got to get something to take back to the woman.” Hey, it’s a special kind of chivalry, don’t knock it! The racing circuit has some 70 million fans, 40% of them women, and as Kerry Tharp, NASCAR’s Public Relations director said: “Women are rapidly becoming the most active and dedicated fans of the sport. These Harlequin books are a way for the sport to reach out directly to them.”
Also truly delightful to see is Mercedes Lackey’s One Good Knight on the New York Times hardcover list—her second hardcover for Luna. Mercedes is no stranger to bestseller lists, but Luna was just “born” in 2004 with Mercedes launching the line with The Fairy Godmother—a wonderful book I might add—so it is especially nice to see this kind of success and recognition. Misty is a spellbinding storyteller too!
It gives me a warm glow to see Sandra Brown’s A Secret Splendor on the New York Times hardcover list no less. I have been in this business so long I remember the original Silhouette Intimate Moment cover on that book! And what a fabulous story it was. It is very satisfying to know that so many new readers are continuing to discover and rediscover what great storytellers and what compelling stories are told in series.
And of course, no week would be complete without tribute to the quintessential dream-weaver of all time, Nora Roberts, with Cordina’s Royal Family: Gabriella & Alexander and The MacGregors: Alan ~ Grant on both the NYT and USA Today lists. When it comes to creating families that live in our hearts and minds long after the page is closed...she wrote the book!
And let me just mention a few USA Today best-sellers this week—Candy Camp’s An Independent Woman, Stella Cameron’s Body of Evidence and Kasey Michaels A Gentleman By Any Other Name.
Did you know that the New York Times won’t list a title without having a physical book in hand? Well, the call came in for The Island, but when Eva Steinberg, our New York liaison with TheTimes for many years, went to get a copy, there were none on the shelf! An advanced reading copy would not do. Undaunted, she headed for our local book store, purchased a copy & messengered it over—she was delighted to hear it hit the list the following day.
I don’t like to be too bestseller centric—we’re focused on growing authors, increasing sales and building readership. Sometimes that’s reflected by bestseller performance, but not always. Each bestseller list counts sales in different places in different ways. Publishers have different distribution patterns that sometimes favor being well represented at stores that are counted by certain lists…or not. So while it’s truly delightful to celebrate these occasions, it’s important to keep our eye on the “donut”—that is building sales and a readership, whether that real growth is reflected in list performance or not.
Sometimes it takes every member of the village pulling together to make things work!