Romance Coloring Books?

Recently, I read an article at the Publishers Weekly blog which reviewed the ups and downs in the categories of books sold in 2015. What was most surprising to me was the powerful impact which coloring books had on book sales last year. Several of my friends have taken up coloring and I must admit I am also considering joining in the fun. But I had no idea how widespread the interest in coloring books is among adults.

Which got me thinking, how cool would it be to have coloring books based on our favorite romance novels? My guess would be that coloring books based on the novels of Jane Austen would do quite well, since so many people love her books, and the look of the Regency. Of course, I think coloring books with scenes from the novels of Georgette Heyer would also sell very well. I certainly would buy any which were published. What do you think about the idea of romance coloring books?


14 thoughts on “Romance Coloring Books?

  1. My mother tried colouring books and hated them because they were too intricate and fiddly because the artists seem to have the idea that every space has to be filled with pattern. Regency colouring books of scenes from Austen and Heyer sound a lovely idea if made complex enough not to be a children’s colouring book but without the eye-wrenchingly migraine-inducing complexity of many of those commercially available. I can’t even look in the things, I start throbbing behind my right eye and the ‘bright blacks’ start to flash. Are you considering doing some?

    • To be honest, I do like the very detailed images in some of the coloring books. However, some of them seem rather daunting to color with anything but a fine-pointed colored pencil.

      I have no plans to produce any coloring books. My adventures into publishing are over. But since coloring books are selling so well, it did occur to me that at least some authors, or their publishers, might be able to boost sales by offering a companion coloring book, or even a set of cards, with images from their story which can be colored. Based on what I am seeing, it looks like authors will have to become more and more creative in order to market their books, as they get less and less support from their publishers.



    • The artists among my acquaintance are mostly painters and crafts-people. I doubt any of them have the patience, or the interest, to do the many fiddly drawings needed for a coloring book. But it did occur to me that romance authors, particularly those who are self-published, might contract with an artist to do some sort of coloring booklet as a companion item to their novel. Many art schools around the country, at least in the US, have online bulletin boards where people can post jobs for art students. By working with an art student, an author might be able to get the artwork they need done at a reasonable price. The art student, in addition to making some money from their art, would also get credit in the booklet or other item they produced for the author. Who knows where that might lead for author or artists?


          • Thank you! It’s something I need to think about, and to decide how much complexity to put in [I may use some complex wallpapers to go with simpler images]. On thinking about it, I can’t use Heyer directly as she’s not out of copyright and her estate get antsy. But Regency romance situations, in which it might be possible to recognise favourite characters who are unnamed, like a family watching a balloon ascent say … I reckon it’d take me about a year to put together between other things.

            • I think your idea of creating coloring books, coloring booklets, or coloring card decks, or any other thing that can be colored, using generic Regency themes should do very well. I love the idea of a coloring book page of a balloon ascent.

              Some other ideas which leap to mind are:

                a ride along Rotten Row
                a drive to Richmond (or Finchley Common 😉
                a picnic alfresco
                a couple entering, or emerging from, a shrubbery maze
                ladies shopping on Bond Street
                a race between a pair of high-perch phaetons
                a pair of gentlemen duelling
                a dandy or three riding velocipedes

              A rich contemporary source might be the prints of the time. Certainly Cruickshank and others did mostly satirical prints, but they tended to satirize things that were fashionable at the moment, and they can be mined for ideas for more formal images. There were also many prints published in periodicals like Ackermann’s Repository which might lend themselves to conversion to coloring book images.

              I eagerly await your coloring books, &c.



              • I love all your ideas! and fortunately I can actually draw horses… I was considering taking Ackermann as a starting point, using some of their famous houses as backgrounds to copy with foreground figures, and an al fresco meal is a grand idea. Ackermann also has fashionable furniture, curtains a la mode, and garden scenes to work from, and I have several books on the history of wallpaper [which usually emerge in one-liner throwaways in my books because right is right]. A young lady arranging flowers and lingering over something significant as a young man stands in a doorway also springs to mind as a subject.
                I had considered duelling and was wondering whether to use it or not [Pistols for two sprang to mind, though I have a feeling you were thinking about fencing]
                Tom, Jerry and Logic have a wealth of London activities to draw on, and one might take caricatures and iron out the extremes that they are satirising, making use of the background for the ideas. Heh, out with the dip pens and Indian ink!

              • Here, here!!! I am all for dip pens and India ink!!!

                I was thinking of duels with pistols. Swords are less appropriate for the Regency period, but much more romantic. I also love the ideas of garden scenes, and either just furniture, or rooms from the period. Delicate ladies sitting rooms to more manly book rooms and everything in between.

                Forgot about Tom & Jerry! Most definitely some good stuff there! And, of course, Regency-era soldiers in their dress uniforms would be another good subject. Maybe on the seamier side, rakes out on the town, maybe boxing the watch; or smugglers or highwaymen plying their trade? Then again, a blacksmith’s shop in Gretna Green?

                I can hardly wait to see your coloring book designs!!!


              • Just want to finish the WIP before embarking on a new project, 14 chapters in, and going well. Hope to have finished it in the next week or two. But in the meantime, the ideas are busy buzzing around in my head…

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