McCartney Green

Author ~ Speaker ~ Spiritual Mentor

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Are You a Closet Romance Reader?

Posted on July 2, 2010 at 10:15 AM

Many times since I began writing romance/women's fiction, I've run up against what I call 'the snobbery of the publishing industry.' It comes from everywhere but mostly from educated individuals who sincerely look down on the romance genre. I believe the words I've heard associated with it are .... silly, cheesy, porn, worthless, waste of time, .. just to name a few.

I've always found those who judge something harshly usually have not given it sufficient consideration, or are merely, "protesting too loudly," for fear they may lose some credibility for themselves. Maybe if they actually took the time to read a few mainstream romance novels they would begin to understand the pull. Here are a few statistics. Click on the link for more detail.

In 2008, romance was the top performing category on the New York Times, USA Today, and Publishers Weekly best-seller lists.

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

Romance fiction: $1.37 billion in estimated revenue for 2008

Religion/inspirational: $800 million

Mystery: $668 million

Science fiction/fantasy: $551 million

Classic literary fiction: $446 million

In Wikipedia it states... "By the 2000s, romance had become the most popular genre in modern literature. In 2004, romantic fiction generated $1.2 billion in sales, with 2,285 romance novels published. Almost 55% of all paperback books sold in 2004 were romance novels, and this genre made up 39% of all fiction sold that year.

Why do I love romance fiction? For its entertainment value of course. Why do people go to movies, most of which play just as a romance novel reads? Why do we watch romantic comedies? Why do movies like Pirates of the Carribean pull so many? Romance... who can resist Jonny Depp in anything and who wanted to see Orlando Bloom get together with Keira Knightley... we did! As artsy as a sad ending is, wouldn't you prefer to walk away from a movie or book with a smile on your face and a warm, fuzzy feeling in your heart?

A friend of mine who is working on her PHD in English, doesn't really read romance, or like it per se. As a favor to me, or possibly out of boredom, she read Dandelions Never Die. She came back with the report that she was surprised. She found it was really very entertaining and she went on to read my other books and even took the time to write a review on Amazon for two of them.

I was on Amazon the other day and stumbled across a discussion "Finally comfortable with being a romance reader." Click on the link and check it out, but I saved a few comments (with permission) to post here on my webstie. Here they are....

MK says: I think it is kind of funny...I have been reading romance novels for over 25 years, since I was in middle school basically with the "teenager" versions of Harlequin novels. I have hidden this from everyone I know forever. It just seemed so embarrassing to me for some reason. I am a scientist who spent many years studying chemistry, all of my friends belong to book clubs where they read thought provoking "literature". I have no interest in that...I want to read something that helps me escape for a while! I love to laugh and cry while I read a book, but I always want to know that there is a happy ending. I am a fortunate person, but like anyone out there I have a lot of things to be sad about. I read books to feel better and cheer myself up!

I have finally started telling people proudly (Even the book club literature friends) that I read romance novels. I read them because they make me happy. And by the way- I aced all the verbal/written standardized tests in high school (SAT etc) because of what I picked up from romance novels. I think they have given me a better vocabulary than most people, and I know a lot about history that many people would never be aware of.

Ansyway- here is a "hurrah" to all of us romance novel readers. I think we are an awesome group of people!

R. Huang says: Hi MK,

Congratulations, you are finally out of the romance "closet"! LOL I am so glad to see a fellow smart and intelligent scientist admitting to the love of romance novels. I am also a scientist in academic biological science and like you have been hiding my passion for romance novels from my friends and colleagues. I've only started reading them about a year ago. I was working on a difficult project at work and stressed to the hilt so I was looking for something else other than Nature, Cell and Science to read so I can escape for a little bit each day. I started reading the Bronze Horseman trilogy by Paulina Simmons that I picked up from Borders and fell in love with romance novels. At first I was a little bit embarrassed to admit to my friends that I read romances and my bf made fun of me when he found my stash under the bed. Then I realized hey some people turn to drug, alcohol or sex to distress and I turn to romance novels, at least my method is way more harmless to both my health and wallet. So I just didn't care anymore and have them to think or ridicule all they want to, I even told them they should try to read a couple themselves and see if they'll change their attitudes toward romance novels. Later on I found out all my colleagues have their own indulgence, one guy reads sci-fi fantasy novels, another plays the computer game Civilization for hours and hours each day, and another watch Japanese anime on a regular basis. They are all brilliant scientists with PhDs by the way but none of them are embarrassed about their hobbies, they talk about it all the time. One of them joked that I should consider putting romance novel reader on my CV because I am sure to pick up skills from those that I won't be able to pick up from the lab, he said it makes me more well rounded...LOL.

Its time to shout to the world that you are a romance reader and be proud of it!

McCartney says:  I love romance novels. I write romance. Still, it took time to bravely lift my chin when someone asks, "You're a writer? What do you write?" I think it stems from the snobbery I encountered from many English majors and self-help gurus who intimated that a romance novel was a waste of good time. Contrary to that belief by the "intellectuals" of the world, romance is not only entertaining, but helps to empower women, helps all to search for their ideal career, and even gives us goals and ideals to work for. They uplift and yes, even educate. And so..... My name is McCartney Green and I read ... and write.... romance!

Deanna L. Fisher says: Which is ridiculous because some of the big names in romance have phd's and other various degrees...Eloisa James has a PhD in English (Shakespeare I think); Diana Gabaldon has a PhD in Ecology (or something like that)

The discussion had so many wonderful people and discussions I wanted to copy and paste the whole thing here!

And so, in closing, I stand proudly to say, I love romance!

Categories: love