Tuesday, September 2, 2008

You Write What?

What is so wrong with what we do?

I've been pondering this question quite a bit lately. What is so bloody wrong with being a Romance author/reader?

A friend of mine (You know who you are) recently spoke of this and I've been thinking about it, off and on, ever since. A Romance Writer gets a bad rap, and we get painted with the smut brush for writing... trash. For some reason Romance is not considered a respectable fiction genre to write. I don't understand the reasoning behind this opinion. What is better than the give and take of a couple as they find their way in the world together? To me there is nothing more beautiful than a couple in love, whether they are made up of a man and a woman, two women, or two men... Or any other combination thereof. There is still the romance, the give and take and compromise and the utter romance of getting to know someone so intimately. Are these critical people unaware that Romance sells? Why when Romance sales are astronomical does no one seem to want to admit that they read them? So, who IS reading them? How do they explain that at a recent book signing I attended there were over 300 people in attendance? Shouldn't they get a clue that we're not going to agree with them, so stop harping on us about it.

Now, as Erotic Romance writers we face an even nastier stigma. We not only write "smut", we write "Pornographic Smut". Again, I ask, what is so wrong with what we do? I personally enjoy romance, and sex (much to my hubby's delight) and I am very comfortable in my sexuality (see hubby's previous response). Maybe it was the way I was raised, but I don't see what is so wrong with that. That being said, I don't really see me telling my inlaws what I write anytime soon. They're not bad people, just... conservative.

And while I love them dearly, I don't think they'd take it all that well. I refuse to let someone make me feel dirty because I'm comfortable with sex and everything THAT entails.

So, what do you think? Why do Romance writers, and more specifically, Erotic Romance writers get such a bad rap?

So, that's mini-rant today. I love what I do, it makes me smile and keeps me busy between ... well, life stuff. So, I dare them to come at me... I'll come right back at em with guns blazing. Yes, yes, a little militant, but I just spent the weekend with people who turned their noses up to Romance novels in any form and it got my Irish up.


Helen Hardt said...

Hey Kealie, great post. I haven't told my mother or my sister that my first book is out, LOL.

But as far as the rest of the the romance bashers go, here are some statistics to rub their noses in (courtesy of the RWA website):

Romance Sales
(source: Business of Consumer Book Publishing 2008)
Romance fiction generated $1.375 billion in sales in 2007.
Approximately 8,090 romance titles were released in 2007.

Market Share of Romance Fiction
(source: Business of Consumer Book Publishing 2008)

Romance fiction is the biggest fiction category in 2007.

Romance Market Share Compared to Other Genres
(source: Simba Information estimates)

Romance fiction: $1.375 billion in estimated revenue for 2007
Religion/inspirational: $819 million
Science fiction/fantasy: $700 million
Mystery: $650 million
Classic literary fiction: $466 million

Of those who read books in 2007, one in five read romance novels. (AP-Ipsos Poll)

Romance Fiction Breakdown by Subgenre
Of the romance releases tracked by Romance Writers of America in 2007:

Contemporary series romance: 25.7 percent of romance releases in 2007

Contemporary romance: 21.8 percent
Historical romance: 16 percent
Paranormal romance: 11.8 percent
Romantic suspense: 7.2 percent
Inspirational romance: 7.1 percent
Romantic suspense (series): 4.7 percent
Other (chick-lit, erotic romance, women's fiction): 2.9 percent
Young adult romance: 2.8 percent

Marianne Arkins said...

You GO girl!!!

Lise said...

I, too, seethe at the condescension directed toward romance authors in general, and erotic romance authors in particular. But I think it is a very simple reason that romance is belitted and held in such slight regard:

It's written by women for women.

Despite the fact that it's the most popular form of fiction and makes the most money. How good could it be? If it was REAL fiction, it would be written by MEN. You know, like The Bridges of Madison County and the stuff by Nicholas Sparks - who get feature films made of their stuff with Hollywood legends starring. Bet if there was a "blind read-off", people wouldn't be able to tell the men from the women - except that the stuff we ladies write is better.

And another reason we're looked down upon: We write heroic men. Hunky men. Sensitive men. Men who care that we get ours, too.

Makes the general male population look bad.

Hey, as the old saying goes, Ladies, Laugh all the way to the bank!

Kealie Shay said...

Helen ~ Thanks a bunch for stopping by and sharing those stats. I wrote this post while traveling, and by the time I got it posted it was post it or have it be late. I appreciate you looking for those stats. Muah

Marianne ~ Thanks, hon. Us Romance goyles have GOT to stick together!

Lise ~ That is what I was hoping would be understood. I was trying to say... you just did it so much more eloquently. I have a hard time readng some men's romance simply because I don't think they fully "get" it, even if they do write a good story. Thanks for stopping by.

Glad I could make y'all think and maybe get you up on my soapbox with me. :-D

AJ Llewellyn said...

We get a bad rap my lovely friend, because we have more FUN than other writers. They're jelli! Great post hon,


Anonymous said...

Begs the question why is it acceptable to have a murder writing in all it's glorious details when the minute you start taking off your characters clothes and have them rub up against each other all hell breaks lose.
Is it just me or is there something seriously wrong with that?

Kealie Shay said...

AJ - You betcha! I have a blast doing what I do. Thanks, hon.

Rhian - I couldn't agree more. It's so very literary to write in depth details on how the Manson family butchered a house full of people, complete with pictures. But write about something beautiful... and FUN and we're deviants.

Stepping down off my soapbox again.