For years one of the more difficult categories in the AAR Annual Reader Poll was the Best Category Romance. It was never a certain thing that we would be able to announce a winner. Why? Because readers split their votes among a lot of different titles. Not surprising given how many category romances get published in a year. Last year, we were delighted when the category not only wasn’t a problem but was included on many readers’ ballots. We’re hoping things stay that way for the 2013 poll as well.
We pollsters (Cindy, LeeB, and myself) figured out that one of the problems with the category was that on the ballot (prior to last year’s poll) it had been labeled “Best Series Romance.” Well, many readers voted for things like the In Death series by JD Robb, and JR Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series, and….you get the idea. No, this category in the Annual Poll is designed to feature the best of category romance; series category books published by Harlequin, Mills & Boon, Entangled, etc. So we changed the name on the ballot last year with a brief definition and believe that helped.
But we don’t think it was just the change in title that helped. It seemed as if a whole flurry of category romance authors caught the attention of AAR’s readers last year, chief among them Sarah Mayberry. (more…)