Loch Awe in spring - Photo courtesy of Neil Donald Photography






Monday, 14 December 2015

HAVE I MISSED A CHRISTMAS (NOVEL) TRICK? By Linda Mitchelmore

A couple of Sundays ago I was in my lovely, local, independent bookshop for their Christmas Event. (Okay, I was there as part of the event, signing copies of the third in my 'Emma' Choc Lit trilogy - but that's another story) Wandering around, as one is wont to do in a bookshop, I noticed a large display of Christmas-themed novels. And all in paperback I'm pleased to say. There were some big names in the display of books. Carole Matthews, whose Christmas novel, The Chocolate Lovers' Christmas, weaves a tale of an ex-fiance turning up, and girlie friendship tested to the limit over the festive season. Judy Astley's, A Merry Mistletoe Wedding, is a tale of will it, won't it go ahead? Not on that table but another big name writer with a Christmas novel out is Trisha Ashley with her, A Christmas Cracker, in which Merry - totally down on her luck - teams up with Mercy and together they save Marwood's Magical Christmas Crackers. Both Carole Matthews and Trisha Ashley have been in the top paperback bestsellers on various lists.
And, of course, as well as paperbacks there are numerous ebooks out for Christmas. My own publisher, Choc Lit, has published Jane Lovering's fabulously funny. feel good, Christmas story, The Art of Christmas. So, have I missed a trick? Ought I to have jumped on this bandwagon and produced at the very least a novella that people can curl up with by a log fire, a glass of something festive to hand?
Possibly, But I'm left with the question 'Who the heck has time to read a novel over the Christmas holiday?' Not me, that's for sure. I'm lucky if, in between peeling sprouts and pouring drinks, making coffee to cure thick heads and playing fantasy games with my grandchildren, I get a chance to look at the TV listings. Which leads me to the question, 'Did Charles Dickens start the idea of Christmas-themed novels when he penned, A Christmas Carol?' If I'm honest I'm a bit Bah Humbug about Christmas. I don't know that I could muster up comedy romance themes, or a Christmas in an exotic location. But hey.....maybe I could write one after all on the Bah Humbug theme? I've got a whole year now to do it in, haven;t I? HAPPY CHRISTMAS, EVERYONE.

12 comments:

  1. Ho ho ho and merry Christmas to you too, Linda ;)

    You raise an interesting point, I think. Not just about reading time, but also about whether there's a limiting effect on sales the rest of the year. I confess, I've never been tempted to try a Christmas - or any other seasonally-themed - book.

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    1. Yes, it is the shelf life I question, too. But the big names seem to get mega-sales. Us next?

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  2. Hello, Linda. As an author I was facing the same conundrum. I was tempted to write a Christmas themed novel like everyone else, but thought, like you, who has time to read a novel at this time of year? So I compromised. I wrote a novella of 20K+ words, using the setting and characters of my most popular series (The Kerry Romance Series) and published at the end of October. What happened? It's currently my most downloaded title. So it proves that, 1) yes, readers do want that kind of story and 2) making it a quick-read novella was the best option.

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    1. Well, here's proof that these sort of books do sell. Will now seriously consider joining the throng in 2016. Thanks for popping by, Susanne.

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  3. You made me laugh, at least, Linda! I think the publishers are going a bit over-th-top with all the theming of books (Christmas/Valantine's Day/Halloween/etc). I often find myself reading the books at the 'wrong' time of year. But hey, if they're good books that's fine by me. Susanne's comment gives an interesting insight, though.

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    1. I'm glad I made you laugh, Gill. Sometimes it's hard to know what sort of bar to aim for when doing blogposts. A smile was what I hope to raise, so thank you. I don;t know that I's even pick up a Christmas-themed book in July though .....?

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  4. I do think themed novels (and especially novellas) do rather well. Maybe they have a short shelf life, but books never go away these days, and who knows who might buy this year's Christmas book next year?

    However - there's no sense in forcing things. If writing a seasonal story doesn't appeal, get on with what does!

    Merry Christmas everybody!

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    1. Ah, but if a mercenary gene surfaces I might just have a go! Thanks for popping by, Jenny,

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  5. I think if you haven't reached the stage where Christmas has become more of a chore, it can be a romantic time, so perhaps there are people who will read about it afterwards, to recapture the mood. And I'm sure these books make good Christmas gifts, too. Susanne may be on to something with a seasonal novella : ))

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    1. Maybe I need to re-engage with my younger, more romantic self? As for ebooks...... I do like something to wrap up to give as gifts - but maybe I'm just showing my age!

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  6. Happy Christmas to you, Linda. I wrote a Christmas themed novel but there was no Christmas in the title - Seduced Hearts. It was deliberate, so it does not sound Christmas-ish when the season ends. And, I'm reading novels in between shopping and playing board games with my family.

    Merry Christmas everyone 😆😆

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  7. Now that's a clever idea, Stella. Must try harder here at the reading .... or delegate the other stuff??? Thanks for popping by.

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