Who doesn’t love a good romance novel? Maybe I should rephrase that. Who isn’t afraid to admit that they love a good romance novel? Read below; you may be surprised!
For the past two Labor Day weekends I’ve traveled to the Decatur Georgia Book Festival with my publisher, Southern Yellow Pines (SYP) Publishing. Both years were exciting and eye opening, because I found out that a lot of readers are ashamed to admit that they like reading romance. Case and point. I’m pretty good at engaging with people so I I tried to encourage them to stop into our booth by asking them “What kind of books do you like to read?” Or “What’s your favorite genre?” Or even “What are you looking for today?” Of the hundreds of people I spoke with not one said “I’m looking for a good romance novel.”
Okay, maybe I was talking with the wrong people, but the romance novel industry garners sixteen percent of all books sold each year and brings in a whopping billion dollars! Yes, that’s billion with a BIG B! Yet here I was talking with people who either truly didn’t like books about love, or they were ashamed to admit it in public. Hmmm.
Is it that people aren’t interested in love, connection, and intimacy? I don’t think so. 53,000,000 romance novels were sold last year, so there’s a lot of people who still enjoy a good love story. And I’m not talking about the old “bodice rippers” from our parents day, but a book about relationships…both inside and outside of the bedroom.
One issue that Romance Writers of America has dealt with recently is lack of diversity. Just like with every other entertainment segment, there’s talk of racism, or awards not being given fairly. I’m staying out of that debate, but one person who isn’t is Stacey Abrams, a rising political star. She realized that the books she was reading didn’t accurately depict the women she knew, so she started writing her own! Selena Montgomery is the pseudonym that Abrams writes under, and some of her titles are quite steamy. Hidden Sins, The Art of Desire, and Power of Persuasion, just to name a few.
So if Stacey Abrams, a lawyer, businesswoman, and politician is willing to admit she not only likes romance novels, but writes them, why should the rest of us be embarrassed to stand up and say we do, too?
I’ll lead the charge! My name is Dana and I love romance novels. In fact, like Stacey Abrams I like them so much that I decided to write one. And that one became two, and two became three, and the fourth will release later this spring. My book boyfriends have gotten me through a lot over the years, and I’m not ashamed to admit it. I’ve had people tell me that they don’t like books about romance, and maybe they really don’t. Or maybe it’s that they don’t understand romance on a personal level, so the books make them uncomfortable. Whatever their reasoning it’s their choice, and I’m not going to argue about it with them.
But, for the rest of us, who get lost in someone else’s life and love, I say refuse to let anyone make you feel badly about a book with a shirtless man on the cover, and continue to support your favorite authors. And if I’m one of them I want you to know how much you, and every person who buys and reads my books means to me. Oh, and FYI. I did end up selling books from the AMI Series at the Decatur Book Festival, so either I’m a really good salesperson, or people gave in to their hidden desires to read a story about love.
Romance might not be the most respected genre in the world of books, but their market share is more than respectable.
Wishing you a wonderful February 14th, the official date for love stories in life and in books!!!
Until we read again…📚