Wednesday, June 28, 2006

The Heart-Shaped Book Cover

The magazine cover instantly caught my attention.  For their June 19th issue, which I pulled out of my mailbox yesterday, a red heart-shaped hardcover book with simply “XXOO” graced the cover of Publisher’s Weekly. Each week PW covers a different aspect of the book publishing industry.  While I have varied interest, some weeks contain more interest for me than others. I could tell this week was going to be about romance fiction. The headline teased, “Romancing the Author, How a publisher turned a housewife into an industry.” While I know a number of housewives turned romance authors, one author popped into my mind as a possibility—Debbie Macomber.

Debbie MacomberOver a year ago at the Frontiers in Writing Conference in Amarillo, Texas, I met Debbie and her husband Wayne. She was the keynote speaker at the conference and is one of the most personable and approachable authors—especially when you understand that she’s regularly on the New York Times bestseller list and has sold over 60 million books during the last 25 years. More than a simple housewife, Debbie is a savvy businesswoman.  I purchased one of her books carry home from the conference. As she signed it to me, Debbie said, “Now, Terry, you know this book is the second of a five book series.” Talk about the power of suggestive sales. I admitted my ignorance about where this book fell into the sequence of books.  I recommend you carefully read this link about how Debbie entered the publishing world. It’s a fascinating story about how she read, studied and wrote to begin her career on a rented typewriter.

Back to my guess about the subject of the Publisher’s Weekly cover story.  The story was about Debbie Macomber with a quick search online I found this article for you to read.  When you read this article, make sure you notice several key facts:

* “Romance dominates the American fiction market, accounting for 40% of all sales.”

* Debbie was not an overnight success.  She began writing for the Silhouette Special Edition series at Harlequin which dozens of authors write and it contains more than a thousand different books.  When I go to writer’s conferences, I meet so many writers who want to instantly land on the bestseller list but Debbie has been in the trenches faithfully writing and work for years. Now she’s written more than 150 books and each year her sales continue to increase.

* She’s grown her audience and fan base. Craig Swinwood, the executive vice president of retail marketing at Harlequin said in this article, “Debbie’s writing is consistently high quality. But we're careful not to drive new readers to an old series that doesn’t relate to a new book they might just have read. But in general, new readers want to read all they can. There are probably 200,000 core Macomber readers who we can count on to read everything.”

While I’ve only heard a hint of this project, Debbie has a forthcoming nonfiction book and I’ll be watching for it. I was celebrating this exposure for Debbie’s work. It couldn’t happen to a nicer writer.

1 Comment:

At 7:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous Left a note...

Hi Terry,

Boy, did I need this entry! 'Took a huge obedience step shortly after the Blue Ridge Conference and signed on for CWG's 2-yr Apprentice Course. The materials, lesson deadlines, and pure panic arrived simultaneously. Prayed my way through the first assignment, then found this post. It was true soul food to learn about this author. Thanks for this and all the info you share.



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