Being a lover of the romance genre doesn’t come without it’s pitfalls. Unfortunately, I happen to be an author and a reader of romance, so I end up getting whammied from both sides.
I can’t speak for everyone, in fact, I can truly only speak for myself. But I am tired of the romance genre getting such a bad misrepresentation.
As an author, I’m really tired of hearing these things:
“You’re so talented. Why don’t you write a real book?”
“Oh, so you write mommy porn?”
“Romance novels are trashy and unrealistic.”
“Those covers are so tacky.”
“Do you really have to put sex in your books? Sex isn’t a spectator sport.”
Oh, my darlings, the list goes on and on and on. And frankly, I’m exhausted trying to defend my genre. I should not have to defend my passion for writing or enjoying a good, strong love story.
As readers, neither should you. It’s time we take our genre back.
The genre of romance is defined by only two criteria. (This information is taken directly from the Romance Writer’s of America’s website.)
- The story MUST focus on the relationship.
- The story MUST have a Happily Ever After (HEA) or a Happily For Now (HFN) ending.
That’s it. It can have whatever other elements the author chooses as long as it doesn’t break these two commandments.
So why has reading romance become a “guilty pleasure”? There’s not a damn thing to feel guilty about when you’re reading a romance. NOT. ONE. DAMN. THING.
We’re human. We crave relationships with other people. We desire intimacy and connection. We LOVE to be LOVED. So why should we feel guilty about following a couple on their romantic journey to happiness?
I don’t. And neither should you.
We’ve all heard the hater’s commentary:
- Romance novels will give you unrealistic expectations for relationships.
- They’re basically porn for women.
- My Grandma/Mom reads those kinds of books.
- Is there even a plot?
- Don’t you want to read a real book?
- Romance novels are all the same.
The list could continue for days if I asked you all to contribute a piece of what you’ve heard from the naysayers and romance-haters.
Look, I get it. Romance novels aren’t for everyone. Just like I don’t enjoy reading high-fantasy or horror. And not every romance novel is suited for every palate within the genre, for example, the preference between steamy and sweet romance.
But our differences in taste are what make us who we are. If everyone liked the same thing, life would be boring and bland.
We need to stop feeling like we have to defend our love of romance. Authors and readers alike. There is nothing to defend. Instead, maybe we should share the love.
The next time someone decides to throw one of those tired cliched questions at us, our response should be simple and direct:
“Have you read one before?”
If they answer no, then offer them a taste. Give them a recommendation. Let them discover the wonderful world of romance for themselves.
They may not like it. And that’s fine. But just like I tell my kids, you can’t say you don’t like something if you’ve never tried it. So, take a few bites.
Sometimes one taste can change someone’s mind.
So carry that paperback with pride. We are the genre of love.
LOVE makes the world a better place. ❤ So let’s sprinkle that glorious stuff everywhere!
Until we meet again, may your bookshelves be full and your hearts even more so.
All my love,