Patterns and Trends in Harlequin Category Romance

Publication year

Authorship of Harlequin Presents is dominated by a few ‘super-authors’. [...] The top 20 authors, out of 190, are responsible for roughly half the novels. [...] While Harlequin has sourced roughly equivalent amounts of fiction from the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand, Harlequin’s third-largest market, India (Flesch 2004, 48), is not represented at all. New Zealand is extremely over-represented, as authors from this nation of four-and-a-half million people have written almost as many novels as Australia, with roughly five times the population. (55)

The first major change in Harlequin Presents titles occurred during the mid-1990s, when Harlequin lost more and more of its authors to publishers of so-called ‘single title’, as opposed to category, romance. [...] They began to give the readers more revenge, blackmail, demands and marriage. [...] The second shift in the titles comes in the mid-2000s, a particularly challenging time for Harlequin, as readers moved away from category romance. [...] The solution to the crisis was, in part, to change up the title mix. More emphasis was placed on the hero, and the titles were made more masculine. (64)