Ask many women and you will get a few different answers. For those that answer YES!! Great, wonderful, keep up the good work!!
Others will flat out REFUSE to consider reading anything associated with romance. This is a major pet peeve of mine. Personally, if you blindly refuse to read something because of it’s genre, then you are an idiot in my opinion.
Romance is in 90% of all fiction published. It accounts for more than 60% of all paperbacks sold.
It may not be at the root of the book but it is there, likely in the guise of a supporting element.
Of the negative responses, this is most likely what you will hear.
1) “NOT ME!! Those books are too trashy. ”
Granted some of the bodice ripper covers are beyond lame, but there are some damn fine stories out there no matter if Fabio is showing off his man titty on the cover. The less nekkid covers hide the same wonderful stories. If the cover art is all that stops you, then you’re probably the type that worries too much what other people think. You wold be well reminded that a pearl is buried in slimey smelly oyster guts.
And what constitutes trash? One womans trash is another’s treasure.
2) “Intelligent women do not read *curl lip in disgust* Romance books.”
These ain’t your Gramma’s books where a helpless secretary needs the fatherly older CEO or Doctor to take care of her wimpy ass. Today’s women are strong in their own right. They are business women, professionals, those with well established lives. They don’t NEED a man, they WANT one. They do the rescuing sometimes and take charge of their own destinies. The stories are universal, reaching across race barriers, educational lines and economic holds. It is not as if romance reader’s can not understand War and Peace. On the contrary, romance readers, by and large, are very well read in many genres.
3) “They are mostly just soft core porn.”
****and this is a problem because…?”****
If you don’t want to read sex scenes, then there are different categories still under the banner of romance that will give you the touching story without the touchy-feely. There are inspirational lines and tamer avenues for those that prefer the bedroom door stays shut. It is all good.
But many women actually like reading about a passion exploding between two characters falling in love. And do you think romance books are the ONLY ones with sex in them?!? Ever read Stephen King? The Bible? Shakespeare? Sex is what makes the world go ’round. Penthouse Forum Letters are widely popular among men AND women. Whether you prefer a kiss and a cuddle or explicit descriptions, there is a book out there for your tastes.
4) I prefer Sci-fi/fantasy/chicklit/blahblahblah…
Have you looked at the romance section of a book store lately? The shelves are jammed packed full of every type of story available. Paranormals are huge, historicals abound, urban fantasy is drool worthy and the list goes on and one. From the ancient world to space travel to otherworlds and realms, romance crosses all bounds. If you broaden your mind, you just may find something you like. You just have to be willing to crawl out of your comfort zone.
5) It is formulaic and predictable.
****Pot,kettle. Kettle, pot****
Raise your hand if you thought evil would triumph in Harry Potter? Raise your hand if you thought the Klingons would destroy the Enterprise in the final scene? Raise your hand if you thought the shark was going to eat Roy Scheider? If your hand is up, you are a pessimist. And you were WRONG!
The HEA (Happily Ever After) has gotten a bad reputation. It is not any less vital to story telling than any other ending. Folk stories and fairy tales, legends and morality plays all seek to leave the reader with something. Romance books leave you uplifted, if they are done well. That isn’t to say that we are all wearing rose colored spectacles. No, we know life doesn’t always ride into the sunset on a brand spanking new horse. Escapism takes many forms. Take me away from what I can not control(My life) and leave me feeling better than when I turned to page one. Nothing wrong with that.
As for the formula aspect of it…Where can I buy a copy of that formula? Seriously, as a budding romance writer, I wanna know. I fail to see where romances have any other FORMULA than other genres They have an antagonist, a protagonist, a plot line, a building period, a climax, a resolution. Hmmm. Apply that to almost every book out there. It fits. It is not some grand literary conspiracy. It is called a STORY.
Bottom line. Don’t knock it if you ain’t tried it.