I liked this blogpost written by Audrey from TipsyLit: Reading, Writing and Drinking In That Order. So I thought I'd repost and share.
With the success for EL James 50 Shades of Grey trilogy selling over 70 million copies and having the record for the fastest selling book of all time, topping even J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series you’d think the genre would have been cut some slack. The numbers don’t lie. I’ve mentioned this little tidbit but I’ll mention it again for factorial reasons. Last year alone the romance fiction genre generated $1.4 billion dollars in sales and was the top-performing category on the best-seller lists across the nation. So why is it snubbed? Why do people look down on the genre as if it’s less than? I’ve read everything from soft sweet romances to deeply beautiful, to erotic romances that were both sweet and beautiful with so much depth I got a book hangover. I can’t imagine why there is such a stigma when it comes to the romance genre.
If I analyze the negativity it gets me thinking about the greats in my genre of choice aside from our newest queen EL James. Shakespeare was many things but known for his love stories and tragedies. Most of the time they were one and the same, Romeo and Juliet ring any bells? What about Margaret Mitchell who won the Pulitzer Prize for one of the most well-known love stories of all time, the historical romance Gone with the Wind. Was her book any less meaningful, less poignant, less literary for being a romance novel? I don’t think so, but some would beg to differ with me.
Even the youngsters have romance novels that are the biggest sellers in their genre. Twilight comes to mind. Yes, the books are directed at the young adult paranormal genre but when you really look at it, the books are ultimately at the core, a love story about vampires, humans and werewolves. And over 110 million copies of the books have been sold since they released in 2005. I even remember Burger King jumping on the bandwagon of the love triangle asking what team were you on, Team Edward or Team Jacob. Again I wonder…why the stigma? What is it about the romance genre that puts people off?
When people in my everyday world find out that I write romance they look at me in one of two ways. Either with great excitement and practically scream that they want to read my work or they politely smile and say, “Oh,” and proceed with the head nod. It’s odd the dichotomy between the two. What does it matter that my muse is stroked by a juicy, erotic love story with a happily ever after? How is that any less exciting then the fella that writes sci-fi or suspense novels? I do the same amount of research as the next aspiring author. I have my work critiqued, beta read as any caring author would do. It doesn’t change that what I write is romance. But in the end, I’m proud of it. A well published author I’ve interviewed here before, Ms. Jess Dee told me that two things happen to her every time she mentions she writes romance. She is either scoffed at or told that they have an amazing love story and are dying to tell it to her in the hopes of being the “couple” used in a future novel. I asked her whether or not she ever wrote their love stories and her answer was, “they are always quite possibly the most boring love stories I’d ever heard.” It seems that when it comes to romance there’s always going to be a fifty fifty mentality.
I think the end result is that I’m going to have to accept that as with any facet of the word there is always the yin and yang. Love and hate. Loyalty and Betrayal. Rich and Poor. Boy and Girl. Fiction and Non-Fiction. Romance and Everything Else. I wonder if Margaret Mitchell were alive today and I asked her what she thought of her beloved genre and what the naysayers think of romance novels sharing space with the likes of King, Rowling, Grisham, Tolkien and her thoughts of the literary world, I think she’d probably quote herself, “My dear, I don’t give a damn.”
I guess I shouldn’t either. Instead, as your resident romancer I’m going to try and enlighten you about how lovely my genre is. Here’s a list of my favorites romances that fit any style reader:
Angsty – Wrecked Series by J.L. Mac. Book 1 – Wreck Me (Warning: Book 3 not out yet)
Paranormal Romance – J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood Series. Book 1 – Dark Lover
Tear Jerker – Circle of Friends Series by Jess Dee. Book 2 – Steve’s Story
Erotic – Crossfire Series by Sylvia Day. Book 1 – Bared to You
LMFAO Funny – Emily Hemmer’s Just One followed by full Novel – Plus None
Deeply Moving – Ella Frank – Blind Obsession
BDSM – Songs of Submission Series by CD Reiss. Book 1 – Beg
Sexy Suspense – Heart of Fame Series by Lexxie Couper. Book 2 – Muscle for Hire
Contemporary – Christina Lauren – Beautiful Bastard
Best of All Time – E.L. James – 50 Shades of Grey (Book 2 is my favorite) – Trilogy
Would love your feedback and thoughts. Are you a naysayer? Why? Are you a romancer? What’s your favorite book?
To quote my favorite romance…“Later’s Baby.”
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