A few weeks ago, I listened to a podcast interview with author Marlow Kelly. She and the podcast host talked about why we apologize, or feel we need to, for being “just a romance writer.” Readers, too, often apologize for reading them. A shrug of the shoulders, an embarrassed smile, a redness in the face.
But the fact is, the romance genre sells somewhere between $1.3 and $1.5 billion a year. That’s billion with a “B.” Romance novels comprise about 17% of the fiction market, bigger than any other genre. It is about the same sales as all sci-fi and mystery sales combined.
Yeah. We’re here. We’re reading, and we’re writing. Why should we feel embarrassed about that? We make the publishing world go around. We earn publishers a lot of money. Arguments are made all the time about romance being “just for women” and “junk food.” This may be more a matter of the marginalizing of women than anything else, but the truth is, romance novels are consumed regularly and voraciously by women all over the world. And women buy and read more books than men.
Thus, the thriving market for them!
I used to apologize for my writing. I could be found saying, “oh, it’s just a contemporary romance” when people would ask me what I was getting ready to publish. It is not “just” anything. My novel took as much work to write as literary fiction. There was research to be done to create the right setting, create believable characters, and write a plot that (in my case) contained a bit of mystery and suspense along with a standard love story and a Happily Ever After ending. Writing is not easy. Writing a believable story is not easy. Writing characters that a reader will care about is not an easy thing. Editing is not an easy thing. Getting a publisher to look at a manuscript is hard. Getting published is even harder.
I didn’t publish “just” a romance novel. I published a romance novel. Let me repeat that in my big-girl voice: I WROTE AND PUBLISHED A ROMANCE NOVEL. My novel will be read by women in many walks of life, with many different life circumstances, and for a few hours, I will have given them a romantic escape with my characters. I didn’t JUST write a contemporary romance novel. I WROTE A NOVEL.
I am proud of that, and all of my sister-writers should be proud of themselves as well. No apologies, no blushing, no “just” anything. Read what you want proudly. And write what you want, proudly.
Fairest of the Faire – available now!
Schoolteacher Connie Meyers is suddenly a young widow, her husband killed in a horrific car accident. Heartbroken to find out he had gambled away everything they had, she moves to her sister-in-law’s Midwest home to rebuild her life. A trip to the local Renaissance Faire with her nieces leads to a summer job as a costumed storyteller.
Avowed bad boy and fair performer Gage Youngblood is infatuated with Connie at first sight. Despite his deliberately commitment-free life, and Connie’s don’t-touch-me attitude, he soon has her in his arms, realizing quickly she is also in his heart.
When she is threatened by her late husband’s bookie, he steps into the role of protector, his fate forever sealed with hers.
“Who said anything about a relationship?” he said, standing up so he could tower over her again. “I’m just trying to have a little fun. You know, fun?”
If he’d been an animal, she was sure he’d have had hair raised on the back of his neck, he seemed so angry, and it struck her painfully. She hadn’t wanted to anger him or hurt him. She turned away from him and closed her eyes to tamp down the tears she knew would come if she let them. She crossed her arms over her chest, to hold in the pain. Being tired made her much too vulnerable.
“Yes,” she finally said. “I know about fun. Life isn’t always fun, though.”
“Princess.” His voice was soft, tender. “I won’t hurt you. It’s not in my plan.”
Despite herself, she felt the shivers of desire race down from her shoulders, down her arms and legs, and back up to that secret, soft place at her core. She bowed her head and gritted her teeth, hoping for the feeling to go away.
“And what is your plan, Gage?”
“It’s a simple plan. I want you to feel good. I want to feel good, too.”
Buy at Wild Rose Press: (eBook and paperback)
Buy at Amazon (Kindle and paperback)
Buy at Barnes and Noble (Nook)