Romance Writers Breaking Stereotypes

A few days ago, I met with my author friends, Kate Bateman, Tara “TM” Cromer, and GP Ching. We were interviewed by Pam Adams, journalist with The Peoria Journal Star. I firmly believe Pam deserved combat duty pay for trying to keep up with the minds of four authors!

We discussed many things, from our writing process to publishing, balancing home and family, and everything in between. You can’t possibly squeeze a three hour interview into a page and a half, but Pam did an awesome job catching the ‘vibe’ of our meeting.

You can read the article here.

Even though 34% of books published today fall into the romance genre (historical, contemporary, paranormal, Amish, SEALs, Hockey, etc.) and 80% of those books are written by women, there are still people who look down on us. Even though the romance genre is a multi-billion dollar industry.

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LTR: Kate Bateman, Me, GP Ching, Tara Cromer. Photography by David Zalaznik/Journal Star 

Some statistics from Romance Writers of America:

Romance Fiction Statistics
These statistics offer insights to help you understand this billion-dollar-a-year industry.

Estimated annual total sales value of romance in 2013: $1.08 billion (source: BookStats)
Romance novel share of the U. S. fiction market: 34% (source: Nielsen BookScan/PubTrack Digital 2015)
Who is the romance reader? (source: NPD Romance Book Buyer 2017)
Female: 82%
Male: 18%
Average age of the romance reader: 35–39 years old (source: NPD Romance Book Buyer 2017)
Formats read (source: NPD Romance Book Buyer 2017):
Print readers: 92%
E-book readers: 64%
Audiobook users: 35%

a $1.08 BILLION dollar industry and we still get a bad rap?

Here is another article on the subject. 

Sometimes our books are referred to as bodice rippers or mommy porn. Nothing could be further from the truth. There seems to be an elitist attitude from some non-romance writers and even journalists about what we do and why we do it. Thankfully, not everyone has that attitude, as evidenced by Pam Adam’s awesome article. 

Kate Bateman said it best: 

“I have a degree in English, I’ve read fantastically good literature, but they’re all so depressing. Everybody dies. The “happily-ever after” is part of the appeal of romance novels.”

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Kate Bateman. Photography: David Zalaznik/Journal Star

We read to learn, to escape, to hope, to dream. There is not a damned thing wrong with that. We want to believe that happily ever afters do exist. We want to believe that the good guy will prevail. Romance novels not only allow us to escape, they give us hope.

So to those who look down their noses at us, I give to you a big old ‘PLLLLTTT!” (Insert raspberry noise here.) You can scoff at what we do. You can laugh all you want. We simply Do. Not. Care.

We — romance writers — are building businesses and, dare I say it, empires. This is especially true with Indie Authors. We’re forging paths, building dreams, and setting trends. So to you nay-sayers and elitists, I say: BITE ME.

While you’re looking down your pinched noses at us, we’re laughing all the way to the bank, baby. And we’re not looking back at you. We’re looking forward. That’s what separates us from the rest of the pack. We’re not afraid to take chances, to learn, or to grow.

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LtR: GP Ching, Tara Cromer, Me.  Photography by David Zalaznik/Journal Star

Most of us write really good books. Books our readers love and clamor for. We give our readers a means of escape and hope.

When you make fun of romance authors, you’re also making fun and light of readers. I wouldn’t do that if I were you. No one has more power in this entire business than our readers. (NOTE: I happen to believe I have the BEST readers ever!) None of us, regardless of the genre you write, would be where we are today if it weren’t for readers. Who in the hell do you think is buying all these books?

GP Ching

Kate Bateman

Tara “TM” Cromer

Lauri Larsen (A CIA Member who was basking in the warm, sunny beaches out east during our interview)