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|Articles - March 2010|
|Thursday, February 25, 2010|
The center of the romance fiction industry may be downtown Manhattan, where most powerhouse publishers including Harlequin are based. But with a growing publishing house in Baker City, a top book review website out of Hillsboro and thriving communities of about 180 writers in Salem and Portland, Oregon is grabbing a slice of the $1.36 billion romance market.
Kerry Jones read her first romance novel, The Black Lyon (“The magnificent love story of a fearless lord and the woman who tamed him”) by Jude Deveraux, at age 13. She’s loved the books ever since, and three years ago she opened her own publishing company in Baker City. Black Lyon Publishing put out a book a month during its first year, some written by Jones, and is up to 20 titles a year and growing. It’s now the only Oregon publisher recognized by the trade association Romance Writers of America.
“The first thing that’s the most important is you have to get a good reputation in the industry. It’s touchy because there are so many companies out there charging authors as vanity or self-publishing firms,” she says. “Then you have to be picky with the submissions you accept. We only have maybe a 1% acceptance rate at this point.”
Paranormal romance stories, which Jones describes as “Twilight for adults,” are hot sellers right now, she says.
Paranormal is just one of many subgenres within romance, including historical, suspense and young adult. “All romances have a central love story and an emotionally satisfying ending,” says the RWA website. “Beyond that, romance novels may have any tone or style, be set in any place or time, and have varying levels of sensuality ranging from sweet to extremely hot.”
Elisabeth Naughton is a Portland writer who landed a deal with New York publisher Dorchester Publishing after writing for four years with no luck. Her debut novel, Stolen Fury, came out in 2008 with a run of 30,000 copies, which she says “seem to be sold out pretty much everywhere.”
The plot revolves around Dr. Lisa Maxwell, an archeologist hunting for valuable stone carvings in Italy, who becomes entangled in a love-hate relationship with the red-blooded Rafe Sullivan. “It’s a cross between Indiana Jones and Romancing the Stone,” Naughton says. She won’t know her take until she gets her royalties at the end of the year, but she’s already published two sequels: Stolen Heat and Stolen Seduction.
Romance is a volume-based business, with publishers cranking out more than 7,300 new titles nationally every year. Tammie King, owner of the Hillsboro-based review website Night Owl Romance (nightowlromance.com), sees about 200 of them a month. She and volunteer contributors review between 20 and 30 books a week on her site, which gets more than a million hits a month and brought in about $10,000 in advertising revenue last year.
Black Lyon Publishing plans to increase its collection of titles and sign more authors. But the next book is in an unusual subgenre — romance non-fiction. Jones is seeking submissions of true love stories on her site, blacklyonpublishing.com, and hopes to release them in a book this year called How We Met: Love Stories of Baker County. She also hopes to open a retail store sometime in the next year (and live happily ever after).
Thursday, July 31, 2014
BY MARY SPILDE | OB GUEST CONTRIBUTOR
Faced with the aftermath of the “great recession,” increasing concern about the environment and dwindling family wage jobs, we have some very important choices to make about our future.
Thursday, July 24, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR
Remember the naysayers? Those who called the South Waterfront aerial tram a boondoggle? Those who rejoiced at the massive sell off of luxury condos at the John Ross and Atwater Place?
Monday, July 14, 2014
BY VIVIAN MCINERNY | OB BLOGGER
Some people think Amazon’s winking eye logo is starting to look like a hoodwink.
Wednesday, July 09, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR
Scott Kveton, the CEO of Urban Airship is taking a leave of absence from the company. As the story continues to unfold, here’s our perspective on a few of the key players.
Tuesday, July 08, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR
The New Yorker recently published a sharply worded critique of “disruptive innovation,” one of the most widely cited theories in the business world today. The article raises questions about the descriptive value of disruption and innovation — whether the terms are mere buzzwords or actually explain today's extraordinarily complex and fast changing business environment.
Update: We caught up with Portland's Thomas Thurston, who shared his data driven take on the disruption controversy.
Tuesday, August 19, 2014
BY TOM COX | OB BLOGGER
Tom Cox interviews Steve Balzac, author of "Organizational Psychology for Managers."
Thursday, July 03, 2014
BY TED AUSTIN & MIKE BAELE | GUEST CONTRIBUTORS
The Office of Economic Analysis announced that Oregon is currently enjoying the strongest job growth since 2006. While this resurgence has been welcome, the lingering effects of the 2008 “Great Recession” continues to affect Oregon businesses, especially with regard to estate planning and business succession.
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