Thursday, July 02, 2009

Setting my teeth on edge....

In my rwa enotes that came today, there was a link to a news story in the Rapid City journal about the popularity of the romance genre. Romance has experienced some great press this year so I forgot to go in with my "realistic" hat on.

The whole thing set my teeth on edge.

We start out quite promising: "She knew she shouldn’t be so drawn, but she couldn’t help herself. It was just so easy to do; the attraction was undeniable. She didn’t think she could bring herself to let go of the addiction. It always made her feel so good.

Even if it was just a trashy romance novel.Whether you favor a racy bodice-ripper with cover art of a half-naked woman in the arms of a shirtless lover, or a dive into the paranormal world of vampires and demons who interfere in the world of mortals, romance novels are seeing an increase in readership during these tough economic times."

I've seen this before - the cheeky, sensational opening followed by a strong article of numbers and support. But not this time. No, this wasn't done tongue in cheek at all. I couldn't believe a bookstore manager would call it "mindless reading" - shame on you Ms Barrows, for you've just insulted the millions of readers who support your business.

Not to mention Clare Hafferman, who used to work in a bookstore and was even more insulting by saying “I think a lot of the romance novels are drivel,...I was amazed at the number of romances that we sold.”Hafferman is a fan of mysteries herself, because “I like a plot.”“I wouldn’t waste my time,” Hafferman said.

Not only are millions of my readers wasting their time reading plotless stories, but I am clearly wasting my time by writing drivel. And horror of horrors, I'm making a living at it! Shame on me for selling out.

Newsflash, Ms. Hafferman. Mysteries are genre fiction, just like Romance. Just because you don't like the romance genre doesn't mean they aren't well written, at times thought provoking, inspiring, and entertaining.

I don't often get on my soapbox about this kind of thing and maybe it's a reaction to enjoying the GOOD press the genre has had recently. But the whole thing smacks of literary snobbism and totally made me grit my teeth (and just ask my dentist, I'm not supposed to do that).

Now, I'm going to go enjoy my company and vacation while plotting out my next book. And I'll thank my most lovely readers for keeping me employed in a job I adore.


  1. It does smack of literary snobbism and I am not happy. I am off to sharpen my pitchfork...

  2. “The one thing that I’ve learned in this business is you can’t judge people based on what they read,” she said. “You can’t judge a customer by its cover.”

    And, apparently, you can't judge a bookstore owner by the unintelligent crap that falls out of her mouth when her brain isn't looking. Egad.

  3. I wish I lived that side of the planet just so I can boycott that bookstore.

    But maybe I don't need to. Hopefully her offended customers will take their business somewhere they and the books they love will be treated with the respect they deserve.

  4. They should have read the latest RWA survey. 74.8 million romance readers in the US with 29 million regular readers.

    And if the woman likes a mystery, chances are she is reading romantic suspense. It is a bit like the teetotaller at the beginning of the 20th century who would never touch a drop of alcohol, but had a glass of her patent medicine (100% alcohol) every night.

  5. I get these same reactions from people at work when they see which Harlequin I'm reading. "I don't read romance" is what I hear a lot. I try to defend the genre, but after awhile these people are so close-minded, I try not to bother and I take a deep breath instead.

  6. Whether she thinks it's drivel or not, the numbers prove that people do love this genre and are snapping these books up. So if she didn't have romance books in her store, I wonder what her sales numbers would be like?

  7. Nina in Ohio9:03 a.m.

    Most romance readers are very eclectic readers and enjoy a wide variety of authors and genres. We're intelligent and discriminating and I'm quite disgusted that booksellers would insult the very customers that support their industry. Shame on them!

    I read everything from mystery to non-fiction to romance and I'm not ashamed to admit I'm a die-hard romance fan and, hopefully, future published romance author!