Standing Proud – Fighting Romance Novel Stigma

I’ve written about book signings before, mostly about how depressing these events can be for a writer who nobody really knows, especially one who writes romance–the most popular and yet, also most snubbed genre in literature.

I spent this weekend in a signing, except this time it was one exclusively for romance writers. What a difference that made. The fact that I’m not well-known didn’t change, but the attitude of the general public was definitely different.

Rebels Table

How refreshing to be addressed and asked questions about your books instead of avoided or ignored. I don’t pretend to write high-brow literature and do not aspire at winning a Pulitzer prize, but I’m a good writer who writes fun and somewhat insightful stories that both entertain and excite the reader’s emotions. Very few people have read my books (a fact painfully evidenced by depressingly low royalties) and I don’t expect a horde of fans to descend upon my table at such events like a crowd of shoppers at a Best Buy on Black Friday. But I love being asked about my stories (the introvert in me won’t volunteer the information), having smart conversations about books (even about other people’s books), and generally just being acknowledged as alive and breathing.

Kudos go out to romance readers. They are amazingly welcoming and easy to talk to. They are also so enthusiastic about meeting authors, they make you feel like celebrities. I’ve been to quite a few events mostly attended by people who–by their own admission–only read “good” literature, or nonfiction, or–my favorite–anything but romance. Generally speaking, those crowds make you feel as if writing romance is some heinous crime for which you must feel terribly ashamed. They also lump all romance novels into one giant bundle of 50 Shades of Grey type stories when in fact the romance genre is widely diverse, both in styles, sub-genres, and quality.

Standing Proud (1)

At one point I was embarrassed to admit I wrote romance, but no longer. I’ve “come out” of that closet and I now proudly stand as a romance writer. If you’ve never attempted at reading a romance, you should give it a try. It is not everybody’s cup of tea, I understand, but with the overwhelming number of authors and books out there, there is a very good chance you may find a new favorite.

 

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8 thoughts on “Standing Proud – Fighting Romance Novel Stigma

  1. Agree completely!! the best book signings are the romance ones, where the crowd is so eager to gobble up all their fav authors new work. I’ve sat at regular book signings and been laughed at or sniggered at with comments like, “Oh, she writes that dirty stuff,, ” or “You write that 50 shades crap?” I never get asked that at a romance book signing. EVER!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve never understood why people are so snobby about romance. I write what many still refer to as ‘chick lit’ and that too often suffers the same kind of scorn; it’s deemed ‘trashy’ or ‘fluffy’ (as though that’s SUCH a bad thing!). Reading it and writing it makes me happy, and what’s the point of writing if we don’t enjoy it?

    Romance writers have always been, in my personal experience, the most friendly, helpful and encouraging group of writers around.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Exactly. I don’t get it. There are good and bad writers in romance just like in any other genre. And that’s exactly why I write romance.It makes me happy and I can only hope it makes others a bit happy as well. After all wasn’t Jane Austen a romance writer?

      Liked by 1 person

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