Meet Sylvia Day: The steamy baroness of book deals

A selection of Sylvia Day's novels.

Romance novels are big business these days.

That may seem like the 'duh' statement of the year, but finding out how big the romance novel industry really is still surprises you. Romance novelist Sylvia Day started writing just a decade ago, and she's now is a #1 best-selling author in 21 countries.

Her most popular work is the book series "Crossfire," which helped her land three seven-figure and two eight-figure book deals with different publishers in a three-month span last year.

Oh, and Lionsgate also bought the rights to turn "Crossfire" into a TV series. 

Day says self-publishing and eBooks once carried a stigma in the literary world, but that stigma has been blown up, especially in the world of contemporary women's literature.

On digital vs. traditional paperback books

"I love digital books. And I actually started digital-first publishing back in 2005. Of course, now with the novels I release today, I sell on average three eBooks to one paperback. Traditional publishing has a lot of work to do to catch up to that." 

On the digital-first movement that puts power back in the hands of authors

"The shift in power from publishers to authors has been massive. And really the driving seat now is no longer the sales and marketing department of a publisher who is on an acquisition meeting saying, 'I really don't know how we're going to sell this,' to the reader who just can surf on Amazon or Barnes and Noble or Kobo and just say, 'Boy, that sounds interesting, I'll pick it up.' That's why we see these self-published books that just explode and publishers are like, 'how did people hear about that?' Well, readers are in the driver's seat." 

About the author

Kai Ryssdal is the host and senior editor of Marketplace, public radio’s program on business and the economy.

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