I’ve been running into this once or twice a month in blog postings and on email loops. It’s insanely frustrating, for a lot of reasons. One big one is that people have been saying, “Well, if the line’s going away anyway, I’m going to stop buying Luna books.” Well, the line isn’t going away, but saying so will help it to. :/
Two is that the line has been restructured and a lot of people have read that as being a death knell. From what I understand, the parent company is considerably more brutal about cutting off books, even mid-series, that aren’t doing as well financially as they’d hoped, than most publishing companies are. Ironically, apparently the reason many publishing companies will continue to produce books even that are losing money is because they don’t want rumors of their impending demise to spring up and strangle the sales of other books.
Three is that part of the reason people are apparently frustrated with the line is that it’s a fantasy line, not a romance line. Luna’s never been pitched as a romance line. It’s been pitched as fantasy with romantic subplots, but never as romance. Unfortunately, romance readers–who are supposed to be the most voracious readers of all, willing to give anything a fair shake so long as it holds still long enough for them to read–are apparently expecting romance novels, and are frustrated and disappointed when they don’t get them. I have read many, *many* people who’ve said they bought all the Luna books the first year and only liked two or three of them, which was totally outside their expectations. They’ve got the Luna line idea set up in their heads like it’s series romance: all books published under the Luna imprint will have a similar quality to them, and therefore it is to be expected that if you like one, you will like them all.
But that’s not how fantasy publishing works, and to me it’s like expecting to like every single movie Paramount produces because you liked MI:3.
I know part of the problem is that the parent company is Harlequin and nobody can wrap their minds around the idea of Harlequin doing something that’s not romance. There’s absolutely nothing that can be done about that except for non-romance lines to succeed, which, of course, is only going to happen if readers can learn to play along.
I’ve been rebutting, as politely as I can, the comments about the demise of the line when I come across them. Rebutting people’s expectations of the line is more difficult to do politely, because I’m dealing in fact with the line’s survival, and in opinion with the expectations. I don’t want to find myself attacking, or giving the impression of attacking, people’s opinions, but to me it seems like a matter of education about what the line is and isn’t. I suspect it’s painfully easy for education to look like nastiness. :p
Possibly the entire thing is an exercise in frustration, but it seems like addressing the demise of the line issue, at least, is critical. I feel like Mark Twain…