Well after the complaints about "Wendy ordering too much romance" I did warn my boss that I have been ordering a butt-load of inspirational fiction. Why? We had holes. Big, gaping ones. I suspect because, like romance, a lot of inspirational fiction doesn't land in review journals and the people who had this job before me didn't go out looking for it. That, and I'd say about 50% of the patron requests I've had so far have been for inspirational titles (titles we should have had on the shelf somewhere but didn't).
No complaints from the branch managers yet - but I suspect I won't get too many. Why? Because patrons do ask for it. While a lot of romance readers merely scuttle off into the corner if they can't find the book they want, inspirational readers ask. Why? I don't know. I mean, I know why romance readers don't ask (the whole "avoiding ridicule" thing). Maybe inspirational readers have thicker skins? Who knows.
There's no doubt that inspirational fiction has increased in popularity over the years - and while there are scores of reasons why, I'll illustrate (no pun intended) one. The covers. Oh man, have the covers gotten loads better over the years. Take a look at these examples and then tell me that the romance publishers couldn't learn a thing or two.
This cover appeals to the historical slut in me. I know many readers hate the "headless" people covers, but they've always been some of my favorites. It allows me to "imagine" the characters as I "think" they are. Also, I just plain love this dress - and while you probably can't tell from this image - the colors are fantastic.
With Freefall - again I love the colors. Also, the way the woman's hair is blowing across her face - it just does something for me. Also, this image doesn't do them justice, but the cover model has arresting green eyes.
Best for last. I love this cover. Doesn't it just scream World War II homefront? Those dresses! That hair! Those great shoes! And the backdrop is fantastic. When I see this cover, I want to pick up the book. Why? Because I suspect I'll know what it will be about! Four women, keeping the home fires burning, the challenges the war has brought to them. Really, really great.
Coincidentally, I notice a lot more WWII books in the inspirational market than anywhere else. I am completely puzzled by the fact that the romance genre has completely ignored this time period. For me it screams romance. Also, I would think it would be a gold mine for authors who wanted to explore womens' changing roles in the work force and at home.
But what do I know?