Thursday, December 08, 2005

A rant on Harlequins

I’ve probably blogged about this before but it would take too much time to check the archives and besides, it bears repeating anyway.
I used to be a fan of Harlequin books, but it seems I grow less enamoured with them as time goes on. Although I didn’t read them extensively, they did take up 15 to 25% of my book buying dollars. And more importantly, I discovered quite a few authors I read in Harlequins before I tried their single title books. Linda Howard, Nora Roberts, Rebecca York, Suzanne Brockman, Anne Stuart, Justine Davis, Susan Mallery and many many more are authors that are either now or were autobuy authors that wrote for Harlequin.
Sadly however my Harlequin buying days are pretty much over and I mourn the loss. There are a number of reasons I’ve decided not to read them anymore.

Too many lines
There used to be how many? Historicals, Temptation, Desire, Intimate Moments, Special Edition, Presents were the main ones I read from – well, no not Presents. I’ve never read that line before. But now they have so many, I look at them in the stores and am lost on where to begin. Plus, I’m rather ticked off at them since they are like weeds at Wal-Mart. They used to take up about three shelves. Now they are up to nine and crowding out other romance books. Being less than rational at times, I won’t buy them because I’m mad at them for doing this. Plus there are too many to choose from so I’ve decided not to choose at all.

Too many authors
Who ARE many of these authors? I’ve never heard of most of them before. With the increased cost in books in general and the money I do allocate for new authors going more to single title authors, I don’t want to waste it on new Harlequin authors. When the lines exploded, so too did the number of authors and rather than guess who I might like – I don’t buy them at all.

The birth of Blaze
This marked the beginning of the end of my love for Harlequins. Now in case you are thinking I haven’t given this line a try before I dis' it, I have. I have tried quite a few. And while I have enjoyed a few, there hasn’t been enough to make me want to buy more. At times I think I’m out of step because I’ve read this is one of their better selling lines but I think they stink for the most part. I really think they gave up on character development and relationship building for more sex. Too often the hero/heroine jump into the sack way too soon with what I am comfortable with. They have sex then fall in love. I’m old fashioned enough to prefer it the other way around.

The death of Temptation
While the birth of Blaze marked the beginning of the end, the death of Temptation was pretty much the nail in the coffin. Now the Temptation line had both good sex and character and relationship development. I think they made a huge error when they cancelled this line. That’s where many of my favourite books came from.
In fact I was so annoyed with this decision, I’ve only bought one Harlequin since then – and I didn’t like it.

Lack of powerhouse authors
They don’t seem to have the big name authors anymore. No Nora Roberts. No Linda Howard. No Suzanne Brockman (at least not for quite some time now).

Larger sized books
This just annoys me. I’m not about to start paying more money for a size I don’t like.

Women’s Fiction line
I know there will probably be a market for this one – but I won’t be a part of that market. Again I’m probably being shallow and missing some potential good books, but I have as much interest in reading ‘women’s fiction’ as I do in ‘chick lit. – None

So, I’m down from buying 6 or 7 Harlequins a month, to pretty much zero. The only line I will continue to have any interest in is the Historical line. They better not screw that up too. They came close once to getting rid of it.

Pity this – I used to really enjoy them.

‘til later


Anonymous said...

Kristie-Thanks for the comment on my blog. I'm just beyond fed up and the drama is continuing on today. *sigh* I'm just tired. :(

I really enjoy your blog, which is why I put you on my sidebar. I like your reviews and have come across a bunch of books I never would have read otherwise. I hope you have a nice evening. :)

erika said...

I can understand your harlequin rant eventhough I'm a harlequin reader. While I'm a Presents fan, I'll occasionally buy one or two books from the other lines although years ago I used to buy more. These new lines don't interest me at all and what happened to the Superromance line? It seems that just about every book has a single mom/dad with child in it and I've been avoiding those since I noticed the frequency of them.

Karen Scott said...

I used to like Blaze when they first came out, but in those days I think there was slightly more plots and character development. I cancelled my subscription a couple of months back, due to the lack of good books.

A lot of authors have commented on how they think there are too many books being published, so much so, that the publishing standards have gone down the toilet.

I think I may have to agree.

CindyS said...

Kristie, you stuck with them longer than I did! I tried every line and picked the Temptation and Desire lines as my favourite. Also, you remember the Shadow line? Loved that one. Like you, I stopped being able to recognize authors and went with Howard, Brockman, Davis, etc when they went to single titles.

I asked a few years back for some recommendations but the ones I read were not exactly my thing.

When they announced the Blaze line I thought they were nuts because many of the Temp/Desire books were hot enough. I tried Blaze and had the same experience as you. I had no idea that Temptations were discontinued but then, that's how connected I was to them.

You should print this off and send it to Harlequin. I would think they would be very interested in hearing from someone who once bought 7 books a month to none. Your voice would be heard.


Gabrielle said...

Hey, baby, I'm in the women's fiction market, so you'd better drop by and see me if I ever sell the damn thing. In the meantime, though, I'm with you on the death of Temptation. Such a great line. And now they seem to be making Desire into the new presents, but didn't they kill presents??? Too much to wrap my head around without copious amounts of choccie!

Tara Marie said...

Kristie, I could have written this myself, only I would have written it 3 or 4 years ago. I haven't been a reader of series romance in years. I left around the same time Linda Howard stopped writing for Silhouette.

I'll occasionally pick one up on the recommendation of another blogger, but that doesn't happen very often. And, to be honest, I wouldn't even know one line from another anymore. I thought Blaze was part of Temptation, tells you how much I pay attention to them.

Wendy said...

I'm still trying to figure out what they've done with the Desire line. That one used to be my favorite and I can barely get past the plot descriptions these days.

I used to buy several books in a variety of lines - but these days I stick mainly to HSR and Next with a smattering of HA sprinkled in....

CW said...

I've read more of the Silhouette lines in the past than I ever did the Harlequins, but like you, after the big guns left, I haven't picked any more up.

I tried some of the Silhouette Bombshells, but wasn't too wowed.

Or are you counting Silhouettes in with the Harlequins? :)

Anonymous said...

Kaitlin: Thank you. I'm glad you like my blog :)
And that still bites about your department

Erika: I've seen some of those covers with babies. I know there is a market for them *scratches head in bewilderment* but they are totally unapealing to me too.

KarenS: I agree. When Blaze first came out they weren't too bad but I think they really have deteriorated. I think they went from 4 a month to 6. Same as a few other lines. The quality just isn't there anymore.

Cindy: I remember the Shadow line too! I have a couple of keeper books from that line. *sigh*

Gabrielle: WHEN you sell, you better believe I will so buy your book - not matter what kind. I have read and enjoyed some women's fiction.

Tara: it is hard to tell them all apart isn't it? That's why I don't even bother unless it's an author I've read and enjoyed before. But most of them wrote Temptations so I don't know what they will be writing now.

Wendy: I agree that Desires aren't what they used to be anymore

CW: I think Silhouettes are Harlequins - I haven't tried any bombshells since I heard they aren't really romance. A non romance Harlequin is almost an oxymoron isn't it?

CW said...

Yeah, Harlequin bought out Silhouette way back but I still think of them as having two different feels. :P

I think Harlequin's been trying to branch out--the Bombshells, women's fiction, even the erotica line. Whether it'll be good is another thing...

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