Why this Romance Graphic Novel thing?
You should know by now that I believe romance is a big deal. I base this on the fact that it shows up in just about every medium of entertainment there is. But, that might just be because I crave it in all forms of entertainment. So, to prove my point I had to gather some stats to justify my crazy endeavor to head a publishing house that specialized in romance graphic novels.
Take a look at the stats of just one medium, novels, at Romance Writers of America. Here is the statistic I needed you to see:
Estimated annual total sales value of romance in 2013: $1.08 billion (source: BookStats).
I hope you noticed that the red word there started with a “B.” That has to show that there is a really large segment dedicated to the romance industry. You won’t find stats like this in the romance graphic novel industry. Is there really an industry for it? I believe so. Graphic novels are a pretty much an untapped medium when it comes down to a dedicated romance genre. At least not with the full elements of romance at this time.
Let me throw something else out there. ICv2 has a lovely statistic up stating that $460 million of the $935 million in sales of comics in 2014 came from Graphic Novels. That’s so great! Consider the diversity of the market and what part do you think would be catered to romance. They even have a lovely graphic for us to make the connection.
Another statistic on RWA states that 84% of romance book buyers are female. Did you know that 46.67% of comic readers are female (Feb 2014) of 24 million (source: Comicsbeat)? How many of those ladies would like to read a romantic graphic novel? No idea on an exact number, but I’m sure it’s pretty high.
Romance has always been a big reward in my everyday life. I may not have acknowledged it or really even knew that fact until my twenties, but it was there. It didn’t matter what genre I was reading, there was always the base need for having at least one couple come together strong by the end. Even if it was just a buddy love (becoming the best of friends) situation, as long it ended with a solid and healthy relationship, I was happy.
I’ve been writing short stories for many years and all of them have had a romance. Not very good ones, in the beginning, mind you. They were fighting one chapter then experiencing unconditional love the next. No real fun in the setup at all. After some much-needed research and writing classes, I was finally able to put out some work that actually passed as a short romance. But, in the end, that’s not what I wanted to do.
Romance may have been a reward, but comics were becoming my life. I got into them pretty late (around 2000) and most of that came from the small selection of manga available in Media Center and Borders (remember them?). They became a really big fixture in 2006 when Guilty Pleasures from the Anita Blake series by Laurell K. Hamilton was turned into a comic.
The notion of having this great mystery series that morphed into a romance and morphed again into an erotic adventure as a comic was the best! I signed up for a monthly comic shipment service and ate up every issue. The wait between each month was painful and I just wanted the whole book in front of me as a graphic novel. Having only pieces at a time really took away from my enjoyment. I loved the visual attraction that was slowly building between Anita and Jean Claude though (the side eyeing was the best). I sort of fell off of reading it when I saw that only the first three books were slated to be made into comics. The course of their relationship was a slow build over several books so, I knew I wasn’t going to see their connection grow to fruition.
Not to say I haven’t read most of the Anita Blake comics and books, it was just that my high expectations for the relationship and later, full-blown escapades were already shot down. So, this project is my attempt to fill that paranormal romance graphic novel sized hole in my heart and put it out there for the world to see.
Well, once I get over this super irritating budgeting issue.
So, do you have a giant paranormal romance graphic novel hole in your heart?