Ok, bear with me here. I’m going to rant a little about something that’s been on my mind a lot lately. Why as romance writers are we looked down upon? You know you tell a friend you are writing a book and they ask what it’s about. All of a sudden you want to run for the hills. The looks and the comments. “Oh you write those kinds of books.” Most people see romance novels as trash and not worth the paper they are written on. I think it is a very sad point of view on the genre. We get a bad rap.
The funny thing is romance novels are selling even when sales of other genres are down. This is what Harlequin had to say.
Harlequin Enterprises, the queen of the romance world, reported that fourth-quarter earnings were up 32 percent over the same period a year earlier, and Donna Hayes, Harlequin’s chief executive, said that sales in the first quarter of this year remained very strong. While sales of adult fiction overall were basically flat last year, according to Nielsen Bookscan, which tracks about 70 percent of retail sales, the romance category was up 7 percent after holding fairly steady for the previous four years.
At Barnes & Noble, the country’s largest book chain, where its chief financial officer, Joe Lombardi, recently warned that overall 2009 sales were likely to fall between 4 percent and 6 percent, sales of romance novels are up. And in the first three months of this year Nielsen Bookscan tracked a 2.4 percent rise in romance sales compared with a slight decline in sales of general adult fiction for the same period.
While people may be hiding their choice of books in shame, their still buying them. I really don’t understand the taboo that is following romance readers and writers. Romance writers are just as talented as their fellow writers in other genres. But because our books are centered around romance we don’t measure up to the writers of other fiction genres, even though we are in the top sales and stay on a steady incline.
Who are the readers of our romantic fiction? Well Romance Writers of America said this.
Average reader being forty years of age. Sixty three percent are married. Fifty two percent work outside the home. Twenty two percent work in the home and eighteen percent are retired. Also the average reader is very well educated. Fifty six percent of current readers attended or graduated college. Forty three percent for the average U.S. woman. You won’t be surprised to learn that reading is their primary leasure activity.
To me this says the women that read our books are hard working, educated and need an escape from the stress of their everyday lives. As romance writers we supply them with that fantasy. With so many genres in romance, we can pretty much appeal to anyone’s taste. Whether it’s suspence, paranormal, historical, contemporary and many more in just about any flavor you can think of. Romance novels range from sweet to hot and steamy. The thing about todays romance is women can relate to the characters. The heroins in modern romances are strong and know what they want. Their not the inocent please don’t hurt me types they use to be. I think this has made a big difference because the modern woman has changed so much, we work, raise our kids on our own and are much stronger than we used to be.
Personally I am very proud of my hard work and accomplishments. I’m lucky enough to have friends and family that support me in all my efforts and love my writing. It’s a true blessing for people to believe in your dream. I refuse to hold my head down in shame. I work just as hard as any other author and write stories about love and triumph. How can you go wrong with love. If we had more love in this world it might be a better place. I encourage all romance writers and readers to hold your heads up and be proud. There shouldn’t be any shame in the fact that you enjoy reading or writing about two people who love each other dearly and would go to the end of the world for each other.
I would love to hear your thoughts on the subject.
Happy reading and writing.