Misconceptions About the Romance Novel
by Dana Wayne
“You write and read trashy romance novels?”
That question is usually accompanied by a shocked expression, a raised brow and/or a gasp. Why? Because the romance novel has been burdened with a less than stellar literary reputation for years. I’ve heard it referred to as fluff, not real writing (formula), and of course, nothing more than a lot of sex, with no substance, plot, etc. Some critics sermonize they foster unrealistic expectations by presenting a world where fragile women wander around in a daze waiting for Mr. Wonderful Right to carry them away, while Mr. Real Man gets passed up in the process.
Excuse me, but I say hogwash.
While there certainly may be books out there that fall into this category, today’s novels feature strong, independent women for whom finding Mr. Right isn’t the goal, it’s an unexpected surprise. If there is a formula it’s this: two people facing challenges discover their once-in-a-lifetime love, securing a happily ever after.
It’s a misconception to say that those who enjoy romance novels lack romance in their own lives. I like this quote from Maya Rodale’s blog for the Huffington Post: “…for every desperate housewife, there’s a happily harried wife and/or mom taking a break with a romance novel. For every lonely spinster, there’s an unapologetic single woman. And for every sorority sister, there’s a proud geek girl who loves romance novels.”
Today’s authors are doing something right because the romance industry is booming to the tune of over one billion dollars in sales a year. Romance Writers of America has some very enlightening statistics on the subject. You can click this link to see the full report, which has stats on the various sub genres and formats as well.
- Women make up 84% of consumers (men make up 16%)
- 35% have been reading romance for 20 years or more
- The average female reader is between the ages of 30-54 with an average annual income of $55K+
- 64% read more than one book a month and 35% buy more than one book a month
Which tells me there needs to be more romance in our lives. We live in a hectic, stress-filled world. Reading, particularly a romance novel, takes us away for a while, allows us to forget our toils and troubles, and live vicariously through the author’s words. And we know that, no matter what happens, no matter how bleak things are, in the end, love will prevail.
There will always be a happily ever after.
We need that underlying message of hope and encouragement. The good guys will win. The heroine will find her hero, proving once again it is possible to overcome any obstacle in your way, achieve success, and find happiness.
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Dana Wayne’s debut novel, Secrets of The Heart, was awarded The Best In Texas for Contemporary Romance from the Texas Association of Authors, was a finalist for the 2017 Scéal Award for Contemporary Romance, earned Reviewers Top Pick, and was chosen for Top 10 Books to Read This Winter by Books & Benches online magazine. Her second book, Mail Order Groom, released in April 2017, garnered 5-Star Reviews from Readers Favorite and Books & Benches, and was selected as Reviewers Top Pick by Books & Benches. Read full bio.
Secrets of the Heart and Mail Order Groom are available in e-book and print formats through Dana Wayne’s website as well as the links below:
Contact information, social media links, and book trailers can be found here: Welcome Back, Dana Wayne!