A couple years ago, inspired by the e-revolution that has exploded around us, I got the idea to start an online site to sell romantic literature in e-format. I bought the URL HeartThrobBooks.com and set up a web page and then promptly forgot about it. Over the past couple of years I've sold a few books through it but it became obvious that there were far more web sites offering far more variety who had a much better plan for selling them. So I let it languish.
Since I have recently been getting more interested in marketing my own e-books I've been haunting a number of web sites, blogs and discussion boards devoted to e-book sales. One of the things I read over and over is authors want more exposure for their books. Also, I have been in a lot of discussions about what is a romance novel and why are so many of the most classic of romance novels frowned upon by contemporary romance enthusiasts. All of this gave me an idea.
Yes, yes, I know, I don't need another project. But since I already have the URL it seems a shame to waste it. So I have been dreaming about a different sort of romantic novel web site. This one would offer authors the opportunity to list and promote their books for a very low fee. It would not actually sell books but rather allow authors to list several places where each of their books could be purchased. Where this would be different would be that it would feature books that are both classic romances (like Wuthering Heights and Last of the Mohicans) and contemporary romances – both traditional (mandatory HEA) and non-traditional (HEA not mandatory though may end happily) AND there would have to be a commitment to a certain level of quality.
What do you think?
The site could include book reviews, discussions of books, author profiles, etc. The categories could include historical, paranormal, contemporary, etc. I would like to see a section for novels with a strong romantic theme that feature mature lovers (say, over 40 for instance), as well as younger chick-lit type books. There could be a category for books with an erotic component but I'd prefer to stay away from pure erotica. The only requirements would be that the story line encompass more than just the romance, that it be well edited and proofed, and that the cover art meet a certain standard.
Cover art is a tricky business. I personally am completely turned off by endless nude male torsos or nude/semi-nude emale backsides. What do you think?
I'm going to give this more thought and shop the idea around to a few discussion groups. The big thing is, I want this to be a sophisticated site – romance for romantics with taste and style. How does one accomplish this? It will be interesting to see what the answers are. Please post feedback and, as always, thanks for reading.