26 June 2007

REPOST 1/20/2007 Is it romance?

It comes to this, every once in a while. Someone gets up in arms, because the new lines aren't making the distinction between a true romance genre book and what isn't. The readers are being upset, and that is never a good thing. And on and on we go.

Someone recently asked for my opinion, knowing I write both romance and dark romance, and this is what I replied with...more or less.

I won't go into the fight over what romance is and what it isn't. The dictionary has one definition. The industry has another. For the purposes of books, the industry standard for "romance genre" includes a HEA. What you see is an artificial expectation of romance today that did not exist in the classic romance period. But, that is neither here nor there. We're talking about the world of TODAY and the expectations that today's industry sets forth and readers have come to expect.

All of that stated to set the mood, let me say that I write BOTH romance and non-romance genres, one of which is DARK ROMANCE. Dark Romance is a term that originated back in the 60s and 70s to describe the sort of classic love story, tragic love, and other non-romance genre expectation books that would be romance but for a few small changes.

As an author, I make it plain on my site what is romance and what isn't. IOW, I have my own rating system that lets readers see which books have a HEA and which don't. It allows them to avoid breaking a PDA in anger, if they choose to use it.

As an author, I am APPALLED when I see dark romance offerings without a HEA touted as romance. The expectations of romance genre as set forth by the industry of today give ASSURANCE of a certain experience from a romance genre book. Calling something that doesn't conform to that expectation "romance" is bait and switch. It's not fair to the reading public. And, do you REALLY want to upset the buying public?

Further, I am APPALLED when book stores choose to shelve dark romance OR straight genre written by authors who ALSO write romance in the romance section. Anyone who's seen the fiasco with Luna books knows what I mean.

That doesn't mean I have anything AGAINST dark romance, tragic endings or even atypical HEA (where someone dies but it's a good ending for that character). I write it and read it. I will write and read standard romance, as well. It DOES mean that I expect those putting it out there to be HONEST in what their product IS and what it is NOT. If they are in the industry and not cognizant of the industry-accepted definition of romance genre, there is a problem, IMO.

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