Wednesday, May 07, 2014

They're Still Trashing Romance Novels

I wrote romance novels for a while in my younger years. I wasn't successful in getting one published, but it wasn't for lack of trying. During that time, I was repeatedly, relentlessly insulted.




Comments like, "You're writing bodice rippers?" were commonplace. I brushed them off, deciding I'd laugh all the way to the bank someday. Besides, it beat whatever they'd be doing for a living for the rest of their lives.




I've been writing young adult and children's fiction for so long, I'd almost forgotten what it was like to be made to feel bad about your novel's subject matter. I've yet to hear anyone insult me for writing children's literature.

Late last week I received a painful reminder. As news broke that HarperCollins is buying Harlequin, I found myself wincing as I read one insult after another.




The whole thing made me stop and think--just what is it about romance novels that bring so much ridicule? Is it Fabio? 




Because we should be over that by now, right?

Interestingly, in the very articles that were ridiculing the genre, reporters repeatedly acknowledged how well romance novels sell. If something is that much of a hit, it will likely always bring negativity for one reason...




But I think a large part of it is that romance novels are a female-dominated domain. Women like Nora Roberts have built entire enterprises on those so-called "beach reads," bringing women together all over the world. Since sci-fi/fantasy, suspense, and horror novels are equally enjoyable on vacation, that leaves one differentiating factor.

Romance novels are read and written by women.

What do you think? Why are people so condescending toward the romance genre?


88 comments:

  1. I never understood why anyone would trash any genre. Reading is a personal choice. let people read what they want in peace.

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  2. Romance has always been popular and is here to stay. We all have our preferences, but you'll nearly always find some romance in any genre.
    I'm putting your book details up on my blog on Friday, Stephanie. Sorry, I couldn't join in the link. I'm still quite new to blogging, but I have the cover and details ready to go.

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  3. Every genre has its own design elements which fit the same themes and romance is a very popular one. I read nothing but Harlequin from sixth grade up until I was in my 20's. Then I switched to horror and suspense thrillers.

    It is something in our hearts we mock when we get older, somehow wanting to escape the naivety of love and romance. It's not for everyone.

    I made my husband read one once. He laughed, but in the end, he actually really enjoyed it.

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  4. Yeah, Diane, I've always found the vast majority of people who mock romance have never read one. When I was writing them, a male friend said, "They're just so predictable." We'd just left a highly predictable action movie, so I pointed out that every action movie we saw was predictable. He said, "That's different." I asked why, and he said, "Because I like those."

    Yep, that pretty much sums it up!

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  5. Thanks for this post,Stephanie. Romance authors are laughing all the way to the bank. I've read where about half of all published novels are in the romance genre. Very jealous making i suppose. But I think any genre is enriched by an element of romance.

    I just added your book cover release to my IWSG post..

    http://laussieswritingblog.blogspot.com.au/2014/05/insecure-writers-support-group-post.html

    Denise

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  6. All genres have value, regardless of their subject. We all have our preferences, but to look down on a genre because it's not what you like/write/publish, is petty and shows a lack of professionalism (those in the publishing world who knock down romance writers/genre).

    Great post today Stephanie!

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  7. Denise--Thank you! Yes, the most successful published writers I know are romance novelists. I can't even imagine Nora Roberts' bank account... That's crazy money.

    Finley Jayne--I was braced for it as a children's writer but it never happened. Only one guy, who told me I should try writing picture books because "they're easy." It's not even worth explaining why that assumption is wrong! I remember the story of the romance novelist who was told, "Anyone can write those things." The story goes that she wrote on a napkin that she'd give him a thousand dollars if he could write a romance novel and get it (traditionally) published in a year. Of course, she never heard from him again...

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  8. I'm like TB and have never understood trashing any genre. Worse is trashing someone for their reading tastes. I hate snobbery of any kind.

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  9. Julie--When I was in my early 20s, I interviewed for a job as marketing assistant at a huge independent bookstore. The interview was going really well until she asked what I liked to read. I think I said Stephen King and John Grisham? She looked horrified. She recovered quickly, but I knew then that I'd lost any chance I had. Stephen King and John Grisham are not acceptable answers in that world...and it's a true shame...but popularity seems to breed some kind of contempt.

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  10. I can't speak for anyone else, but I have very good reasons for how I feel about romance novels, specifically the Harlequin-type formulaic ones. It isn't the subject matter. It isn't the writers' gender. It is simply quality. I have read a few of them (even considered writing them for some extra cash). But I have found that I can't make myself write that badly. Every romance novel has one word (a different one in ever book, but always that ONE WORD) that gets repeated over and over and over. One of the most annoying things about bad writing is redundancy and they're full of that. Grammar is terrible in many of them and the editing is nonexistent (which is odd because I know those companies empoy editors ...). I'll happily read a well-written, compelling romance novel.

    All that said, after subjecting myself to E.L. James, Harlequin romance novels in comparison are Shakespeare.

    I find them fun for an easy, mindless read every once in a while, but I will never add one to my Goodreads list. :-)

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  11. Romance novels aren't my thing but I know plenty of people who read them. I have read a few that were ok, and I have also read other genres that sucked.
    Like music, to each their own.

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  12. I've read quite a few Harlequin novels--some are good, some are bad. I've read quite a few suspense, horror, mystery, women's fiction, middle grade, young adult, and chapter books that I could say the exact same thing about. I don't see any difference between romance and other genres in that regard. Sandra Brown, one of my all-time favorite authors, got her start writing for Harlequin, as did quite a few other authors who have gone on to become best-sellers. Jennifer Crusie was writing about romance for her master's thesis and fell in love with the genre. She got her start writing for Harlequin and now is a best-selling author. I could continue, but there are probably people far more qualified to speak on the many good Harlequin novels out there than I am.

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  13. Hmm, yeah, it could be a covert sexist thing, even though there are many women who like to put the genre down too. At work when I told a female coworker---who's been very supportive of my writing---that I just signed w/ a publisher called Swoon Romance, even she rolled her eyes and said, "Oh, God," as if it was obligatory to do so upon hearing the word "romance".

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  14. I'll take your word for it, but I have yet to pick one up that was any different from the rest that I've read, which is why I don't read them very often.

    And best-selling doesn't mean quality. Again, I point to EL James. And I could name plenty of othes (including The da Vinci Code). Maybe being an English major and working as an editor and journalist over the years I'm more picky than other people. But the "bodice-ripper" level of romance just isn't quality writing from what I've seen. And if there is quality in there, it's well-hidden and the casual romance reader is likely not finding it.

    I've read bad books in every genre. I'm not saying they don't exist. What I'm saying is that the criticisms I have of this particular genre occur across-the-board in every example I personally have seen.

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  15. Yeah... It think it's the covers. If the covers didn't make people blush, there might be less bashing. Regardless, they probably wouldn't sell as much either. I've got mixed feelings on the matter because I like the cleanliness of younger reading, but I love the plotting and complexity of adult stories. I wish we could edit out certain parts...but that's a discussion for another day.

    Love the new cover, btw.

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  16. Great post, Stephanie!! I don't write or read the "bodice-ripping" type of romance, but I don't understand why anyone would put down another genre. I guess there will always be that stigma with romance novels, which is sad. But I still enjoy writing them and those "naysayers" aren't going to change that.

    By the way, I tagged you in a writing process post. It's like a blog hop where you post about your writing process, what you're working on, how you receive inspiration, etc. If you stop by my blog you'll see what I mean. :)

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  17. A "bodice ripper" is one of those historical romances where the heroine's bodice was ripped at some point on a cover at some time, I assume? When someone asked if I wrote bodice rippers, I always said "no" because none of the books I wrote would have featured a heroine with an outfit that had a bodice. I wrote contemporary romantic comedies until chick lit came along and all of the romantic comedy authors started writing those. Then that genre oversaturated the market and soon, romantic comedy was no longer acceptable anywhere. I stopped reading and writing them when romantic comedy disappeared from the market, but I do love reading them from time to time, even if they're lacking the spunky, funny heroine who was always getting into trouble! I was just watching the first season of Desperate Housewives--Teri Hatcher's love story with the plumber guy was an example of the type of romances I loved.

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  18. We live in an age when women are supposed to be self-sufficient. Romance novels don't view women that way. Women actually want relationships, marriage, all those old-fashioned things. At least the characters did during the short time I read Harlequin Romances.

    A college friend, of all people, introduced me to them. They were an escape, a fantasy. But then, I began to use then to hide from real life so I quit, cold turkey. I still read an occasional classic romance, usually in its original language (Le Roman de la Rose, Manon Lescaut, Cervantes, etc.). But I do avoid modern ones so I won't become hooked again. (I avoid video games for the same reason.)

    As long as they're not taking the place of real life, romances can be fun. Harlequin Romances are a bit formulaic but formula can be soothing.

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  19. Drusilla--I was always drawn to the Harlequins with strong, spunky heroines. I recently read one by Phyllis Bourne where the heroine owned a group of successful spas. I never was a fan of the pregnant woman who falls for the mean cowboy but even in those, many of the heroines were strong, independent types. They evolved a lot from the 80s to the 90s and they've continued to evolve since. There may be romance novels where the heroines were weak and dependent on men, but I never read any...probably because I'd breeze right on past those based on the description alone.

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  20. It's not right to trash any genre. Maybe some of the criticism comes from poorly conceived plots or characters who are not well developed. I've read a few romance novels like that - where the focus is just on sex. But poor writing is not exclusive to romance novels - it can be for any genre. Nobody should trash an entire genre over a few bad books.

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  21. It is odd that people insult romance novels. Nothing about them makes them automatically worse than other types! Very entertaining post.

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  22. I agree. it's not right to trash any genre. I read all kinds, including romance. As a teenager, I was into reading the Sweet Dreams and Silhouette teen romance novels--remember those books? I also read a few of the Wildfire romances as well There were a few other teen romance series during that time--Magic Moments, Two-by-Two (books seen from both points of view) and Sunfire, but those didn't last as long as the others did. As an adult I still read romance from time to time. I've read many of the comedic romances and some historical ones and two years got into the idea of the erotic ones, with the "50 Shades of Grey" books. I have several of each of these lined up to read soon.

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  23. Jamie--I LOVED those teen romances when I was young. I was actually a "First Love from Silhouette" subscriber. Every month, I'd get a packet of books in the mail. One year, a girl in junior high gave me a bag of books including a lot of those Sweet Dreams books and I was in heaven!

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  24. I've nothing against the genre (I've even translated some back in my translating career) if the book is written well. I think the negativity comes because there are so many of those extremely cheap and bad weekend romance novelettes.
    But then again, as a professor of English literature I cannot stand Jane Austen and it was quite a shock for me, as a person who grew up on Dostoevsky and Tolstoy, to see her considered a quality writer by people in England and USA :)

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  25. Dezmond--I'd say that is statement enough that it's all subjective!

    As for everyone's comments about the # of poorly-written ones on the market, what about the poorly-written sci-fi, horror, suspense, and mystery novels? Why aren't those entire genres ridiculed based on the large number of really bad, campy ones out there.

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  26. Stephanie -- because the poor examples in those genres aren't as pervasive or as popular as the ones in the romance genre. A few bad books among many great ones doesn't taint a genre, whereas a few good books among many horrible ones does.

    For example, I have read a lot of fantasy. The A Song of Fire and Ice series is fantastic. I very much enjoyed LOTR and The Hobbit (though not as much, but they were at least well-written) and many others in that genre. In January I picked upa fantasy novel by a new writer that looked good, but turned out to be absolutely horrendous. But that's ONE book in the genre out of countless well-written, well-plotted, great books.

    Within the romance genre (and I'm specifically talking about the Harlequin-type romances) I have yet to read a single book that I consider well-written. Not one. If you go outside of the Harlequin world, you have writers like Nicholas Sparks, who may be successful and popular, but he is not a good writer. Proof of that is that the movie based on The Notebook is one of my favorites, but the book was awful. The story in the hands of a more talented writer worked.

    On the other hand, I read a book called The Gazebo by Emily Grayson years ago and loved it. It would be considered romance. Sadly, the number of really good romances is a minority compared to the bad ones. Some of them make good light, silly reading, though. I have nothing against the genre. But on a purely objective scale of what makes good literature, they tend to be way down at the bottom.

    Dezmond -- I am also not a Jane Austen fan, though I think Helen Fielding vastly improved on the story. The Bridget Jones books (aside from the last one) were quite brilliant.

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  27. I'm sorry you feel that way, Renee. I personally have read quite a few good Harlequin romances over the years. I cannot battle all the romance novel haters alone, so I'll just let it rest at that and say no more in the genre's defense. I just don't want my silence to make it seem as though I've created a forum for people to further trash the genre, so if anyone else would like to stand up for romance novels, please do!

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  28. Jealousy is probably the biggest factor. Let the comments slide off. As long as you're happy and feeling successful, it doesn't matter.

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  29. I don't get it either because we are all diverse in what we like to read and that's the way it should be. But, I do think that if men were *naturally* more romantic, it might not be so popular. Hee hee. :)

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  30. I don't read much romance, but I'd never say it wasn't as good as any other genre. I write Young Adult and Middle Grade stories and I remember someone asking me once, "Well, after you get good enough, will you write for adults?"

    There are those kinds of ideas out there. You're doing a good job of informing readers about them.

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  31. I think you're right that it's a lot about jealousy. And maybe people feel threatened by the success romance novels have so what else to do than insult and ridicule. That is so sad. It is a wonderful genre. Those novels make me smile and light-hearted and happy. I do not understand why people would react like that!

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  32. Great post, I've been following this issue too.

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  33. You were repeatedly, relentlessly insulted? Say it ain't so! Give me their names and addresses, quick! Who would dare insult you for writing children's literature? I'm a collector of special editions of children's books and annotated fairy tales, and the thought of anyone making fun of you for writing children's literature makes me sick. There, I said it. Women writers have been taken, say, less seriously than their male counterparts since Jane Austen. It's sad... but I think you're right.

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  34. I really don't understand the issue people have with romance books. Though I love your jealousy quote there :) I'll admit that I have had people comment on me writing YA a few times, often along the lines of "why don't you write *real* literature." It's always so frustrating! But, I do what I love, so sucks to be them! :)

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  35. Blue Grumpster--Your comments always make me smile! No, they haven't insulted me for writing children's literature yet, just romance. Although I was warned about what cleemckenzie said--people saying, "So when are you going to write a book for grown-ups?" Nobody has. In fact, people seem to have an amazing amount of respect for children's writers...I think perhaps YA novelists might get the "adults" comment...or at least they might have back in the day. YA and kidlit now touch on SO many important issues, anyone who doesn't realize that probably doesn't follow the genre!

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  36. Good question. I think for those of us who don't read the genre, there's a perception that formula dominates, one romance novel is essentially indistinguishable from all of the others. I realize that's not fair at all and certainly disrespectful to those who devote their creative energy to these books. I still don't read them but, through the blogosphere, I have grown to appreciate the variety on offer.

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  37. True, Armchair Squid. I find action movies formulaic, but that's only because I don't enjoy them. When you enjoy something, you get caught up in the story and you don't really care that it follows a pattern. In fact, didn't Christopher Vogler boil ALL fiction plots down to a set # of elements?

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  38. The current film industry is a good parallel, I think. The big blockbusters all look the same these days, but boy do they sell! The romance novel demographic is devoted and dependable. A publisher like Harlequin makes big money by sticking with what works.

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  39. I don't understand the trashing of a genre. It might be the bandwagon mentality, or it might be the unwillingness to acknowledge the level of enticement that comes from a relationship that may culminate in sex or not. It might stem from conservative roots where sex was a subject people blushed over, so instead of owning up to enjoying something "naughty", they simply started mocking it instead. Like high school crushes being mean instead of being teased.

    Not sure. But it sucks that they're bashing the genre. Sorry. :(

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  40. Yes, sex scenes could be part of it...some people still think all romance novels have explicit sex. I'm sure 50 Shades of Grey didn't help that perception! There are inspirational romances, sweet romances, etc...

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  41. People are uncomfortable with romance. Men think romance is take your clothes off and hubba-hubba and then they smile turn around and start to snore. Actualy romance where a man has to create effort and woo the lady is just not what most people feel comfortable with so it's better to just mock it. I have read some and there is a formula but there is in almost every genre. people are more comfortable with horror, fantasy, bios than romance. I watch my soap-now that is considered a d list ofr anything related to film. Theatre is first, movies 2nd, tv 3rd and then way down the list-the soap. Yet there have been great story lines and great acting along with the opposite. So i think more should say proudly they read Romance because Wuthering heights was a big Romance novel wasn't it??

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  42. I think you're right. After all, who were the witches? They didn't go after the old men.

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  43. With the term "bodice ripper", that's my guess. You don't typically think sweet when ripping someone's bodice open.

    That's the problem with stereotypes. They refuse to look past the preconceived ideas.

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  44. As a romance author, I know exactly what you mean. People think they are not real books. They are also often formula books. Mine are not. Romance sells, and we can't argue with that!

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  45. I've heard all sorts of genres get ripped at some time or another, romance included. I wouldn't be surprised that romance took the brunt of the ire, though, especially because they're considered "by women, for women", even if that's not always true.

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  46. I read lots of romance, so I don't know.

    But I also stopped reading Harlequin romances back in HS when I spent a whole summer reading romances because most girls read. I didn't (I was a fantasy/scifi girl!) and I wanted to know why they read them. I found a few writers I really liked, so I read those and others I have discovered since.

    A LOT of the ones I read were Harlequin romances. After spending a summer reading romance back-to-back it really felt like most of them were the same. That's the most common criticism of romance and there is some truth to it. That's one of the reasons why I'll probably never read a Harlequin romance again. But I read lots of others.

    But maybe some people never got past the Harlequin stage? When it works, a good romance novel is magic. But that's true for all genres.

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  47. It makes me angry that people trash this genre. I think they're snobs. I like romance, thrillers, cozy mysteries, nonfiction, literary, women's fiction. Depending on my mood. Romance is great escape. Too bad others have to pump themselves up by putting other things down.

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  48. i have not been a reader (except for a few spiritual / self help books) for years. but i read my share of romance novels in my youth. i think there is room for all genres in print and film. everyones' tastes are different.

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  49. I think it is because the don't understand it.

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  50. I think any genre that gets people writing and reading shouldn't be knocked. Not every genre is for every person- but the books wouldn't sell if there wasn't a market for them. I think some of the bad talk started from jealousy.

    Interesting post!

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  51. No one should judge what another person reads... Harlequin romance books are not my cup of tea but many people love them..I say there is enough books selections out there that people should read what they want and no one should care ;-)

    Thank you so much for your comment.. dating at 50 is awful... the men my age are old and boring or they are pigs...it's exhausting but I keep trying and hoping one day it will happen for me. Have a lovely day ♡

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  52. Genre snobbiness is just silly. Alas, it's human nature :(

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  53. I don't know why they're so condescending! It's sad :(

    Not everything we read have to be thought-provoking mind-blowing and jammed packed with information. Sometimes we want to be lost in the sweetness of love, and that's okay, dammit. lol

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  54. I actually had someone bring up Fabio when I showed them a promotional bookmark for my debut. (And my hero looks nothing like him... blond, cropped hair. LOL)

    Meh. People will think what they want. My book is anything but a cliche bodice-ripper. They're the ones missing out. ;)

    IWSG #224 until Alex culls the list again.

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  55. While I don't particularly like romance novels, I wouldn't knock anyone who would or the ones who write them, so I'm not sure why this genre gets a bad rap. Food for thought, need to spend some time thinking about this.

    betty

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  56. I'm probably in the minority of women because I don't like romance as a genre. But I like it mixed with SF or fantasy unless I read about open door sex. Too embarrassing. Makes me feel like a boyeur, LOL. Okay, voyeur.

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  57. Romance might be the most prominent category that's dominated by women, but I think all genre fiction gets a bad reputation for being inferior specifically because it is popular. Sci fi, horror and mysteries get much the same rap for being less "important" than literary fiction, but they are perpetually more lucrative and popular with readers. And it's not just books, it certainly happens with films and music, too. Popular somehow equals lowbrow. Seems like a very hipster attitude to me ;)

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  58. It's really sad to see that some persons act like that. You know I totally understand that a person can't love a book while other love them, it's not a problem it's totally normal. I love to read reviews bad or good because we know what the person though. But the comments doesn't have to be mean. Everyone can write what they want and readers can read what they want. I wonder if they realize that someone is actually reading what they say, a real person. I would really feel bad for that.

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  59. I believe it's trashed because of it being female-dominated and also because some literary snobs look down on it. Meanwhile, all types of literature usually have a romantic element in them.

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  60. I took a course in University called "Advanced Seminar in Media Fandom"

    One of the topics we talked about were Romance Novels and their fans.

    They tend to be looked down on because, especially in the early days they were written for housewives. It's like the soap opera equivalent of books. So they are looked down upon because they are for the "less educated".

    It really is a shame because romance novel fans are so much friendlier to new commer fans than any male dominated fandoms.

    LittleCely's Blog

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  61. LittleCely--That's the best explanation I've ever read on the subject! It does go back to those early days and the comparison to soap operas is definitely a valid one. I know RWA spends quite a bit of time showcasing readers that are well-educated career women, but that message never quite reaches the public. It's the same as Lifetime TV. Women are made to feel guilty for watching/reading things that are natural for us to enjoy!

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  62. I had a similar reaction to romance novels--until I met a Harlequin writer at a conference. She was one of the few authors who earned a good salary writing. Doing what she loved. Didn't matter the subject matter because she was living the dream.

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  63. Hi Stephanie.
    I managed to sort out the link thumbnail, so it worked.
    I'll post later on...

    I started off my reading "career" with romance.
    As a teen, I devoured every Mills & Boon I could lay my hands on, then I became hooked on Danielle Steele.
    In recent years, I haven't been reading as much romance, but that's because I've discovered new genres to try out... like space opera...

    People are condescending because they are ignorant AND jealous. That's a bad combination.
    Writer In Transit

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  64. I think all genres get miserable treatment EXCEPT literary. If you write so-called "fine literature," people respect it (but editors and agents groan). If not...ouch.

    I'm moving toward the horror genre, as my novels have gotten increasingly dark, and I know I'm in for some ridicule. If you write horror, the usual accusations are that you're sick or have a twisted mind or are creepy. Sigh.

    A friend of mine writes romance, and is very selective about who she tells. She uses a pen name. I think publishers like Harlequin have somewhat "cheapened" the genre by pumping out gazillions of books, some of them very bad and most of them formulaic. It's given people who don't read romance the impression that the genre is comprised of cheap, throwaway books.

    I think Stephen King said it best: "Almost every writer of fiction or poetry who has ever published a line has been accused by someone of wasting his or her God-given talent. If you write (or paint or dance or sculpt or sing, I suppose), someone will try to make you feel lousy about it, that's all."

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  65. Holli--I wrote romance while working at the Tennessee Arts Commission--so I heard it all! The point was made clear when the visual arts coordinator made fun of the Thomas Kinkade calendar I had hanging in my cubicle. He called it "hotel art." I asked if it would be better if I had a painting of someone holding a gun to his head. (A painting in our gallery at the time.) He said anything was better than Thomas Kinkade.

    I was young at that time--but it was my first introduction into that snobbery. Artists are going to judge each other, sadly. Anything that is popular is called "selling out" by the literary types. Yet when I read the work of people who won our literary arts fellowships, I could hardly stay awake. To each his own. Too many people want to believe their opinion is the only right one and anyone who disagrees is wrong--but we all have our own point of reference that shapes our tastes. Tolerance and respect for other people's views is the highest virtue, I think!

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  66. Crumbs, as my mother-in-law might say! I had no idea that you would be talked about so badly and insulted to be a romance novelist. They are sizzling hot these days. Sorry to hear that this is happening.

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  67. I wonder if romance novels are picked on because they are formulaic? I'm not really sure. I hate to admit that maybe it's because the authors are female. That's just sad.

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  68. I used to read romance novels all the time as a young adult. I now prefer mysteries - but often there is a touch of romance in them as well.

    If the story and characters are believable, I'm all in, no matter what the genre - as long as it's not trashy. I can't stand that.

    I think it is awesome you are writing children's and young adult fiction. We need great stories for them.

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  69. I don't get why they trash romance novels or any genre. And yes, people do make snide remarks about young adult novels too of the type "well, this might be okay if you're twelve." *rolls eyes* People should read whatever they want. My younger sister likes to read autobiographies. I prefer fantasies. My mom loves cozy mysteries. There's nothing wrong with any of it.

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  70. Why is it as people get older they gravitate toward murder mysteries? I find it fascinating...

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  71. You know, Ava Quinn made that point on my blog a couple of weeks ago, and I think you're both spot on. As she put it, we live in a male-dominated world, where the things that men value are deemed important, and the things that women value are deemed frivolous. I think that has a lot to do with it.

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  72. There will always be haters. Do what makes you happy and don't let them get to you. :)

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  73. So is it a sexist thing? Sad if that's the case. There are plenty of romance authors around here who support each other in any case, and today I read an interview with a male romance writer, so there you go. What about Shakespeare? I don't think romance is going anywhere for a while. :)

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  74. Nick--Not sure. Someone above mentioned soap operas and that provided a little insight. Think about soap operas, Lifetime movies... Like romance novels, they get a lot of disrespect. Women tend to get grief for saying we like them. I can't think of anything else people are truly embarrassed to say they like--except maybe Michael Bolton. :-)

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  75. Well, I think you know where I stand on this...lol.

    Thanks for the support. This romance writer <3's Stephanie!

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  76. I do, Elizabeth, and when people were saying negative things about romance above, I thought specifically of your talent several times! There are so many great romance novels out there, it's astounding to me that anyone could say they're "all" anything. I have a lot of talented friends who write for Harlequin specifically...and when I was trying to write for them I read (literally) THOUSANDS. There were some I personally didn't like, yes, but there were so many good writers. Elizabeth Bevarly, Jennifer Crusie, Stephanie Bond... One of the most talented writers I've ever read, Jamie Sobrato, wrote for them for a while. She's writing YA now. If you look at Harlequin's site, there are hundreds of authors listed. They're each so unique... Each person is entitled to his/her own opinion, but some of the negative comments about Harlequin here weren't phrase as opinion--they were stated as fact.

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  77. I think romance novels are easy targets mostly because they tend (please note I know there are lots and lots of exceptions) to follow the same formula and the ignorant believe that means 'any one can write them'. When it comes to judging the readers of romance novels I believe the impression in that there isn't much "substance" there, and somehow that's a bad thing.

    Which, whatever.

    I don't care what my daughter is reading so long as she's reading, am I right? LOL

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  78. Congratulations on your book! You're right- people who trash the romance novels certainly don't trash the money they bring in!

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  79. Haters for all things are out there. We should just do what we do without letting them affect us.

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  80. You pose a very interesting question. You can't say it's about the type of writing in romance novels, because you find similar writing across genres.

    And if there is one thing on this planet Nora Roberts can do, it's plot. I've picked up more than one of her books, completely disinterested, only to find myself suddenly a hundred pages in, not knowing how I got there.

    I hadn't considered the contempt for romance and its writers a gender issue, but you may have something there. Though there is the general "genre" sneer, I still wonder if there is even a hierarchy in that.


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  81. I read so many romance novels when I was younger, progressing through all the sub-genres such as gothics and historicals. One of my favorite series was Sergeanne Golon's Angelique. Now I read almost all genres, but a good mystery or thriller with a romantic sub-plot is my favorite. I'm in awe of the writers who can succeed writing romance because it's not that easy.

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  82. This genre has always had this issue
    and it orobably IS because primarily
    women read them and they read fast.
    I used to read the Harlequin and Silhouette romances but nit so much
    anymore.
    I do enjoy Nora Roberts, Fern Michaels and Debbie Macomber to name a few.

    Congrats on you on your upcoming
    book.

    Come back to Dreaming soon.

    M : )

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  83. I have no idea why Romance is treated the way it is. I don't want to think it's because the books are written and read primarily by women, but maybe that's the case. I do roll my eyes at some of the covers, but I do the same with all those cutesy cozy mystery covers. It's all about taste and what the reader wants from a book. Some readers want to be educated, others want to be entertained, still others want to escape. No one genre is superior to another just because it appeals to a particular audience.

    VR Barkowski

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  84. I say whatever floats your boat. I don't read much romance but I don't see any reason to trash it. There's plenty that could be said about other genres.

    "Oh you write YA? Are you making up for lost teenaged years?"

    "Oh you write fantasy? Can't deal with the real world, eh?"

    "Oh you write paranormal? You know ghosts aren't real right?"

    I could go on and on. Some people... :D

    Sam


    Writing Through College

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  85. Internet trolls who feel empowered by belittling others. Sad.

    Obviously a popular genre and will be into the future.

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  86. I'm not sure where the attitude comes from. It's unfortunate.

    Yvonne

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  87. As you said... jealousy. Maybe it's because you talented writers just make it look easy. I know it's not!

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  88. I think you hit the nail on the head - jealousy. I don't know why people are so quick to tear down anything they don't like. I'd rather they tell me the reasons why they LIKE something different.

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