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October 29th, 2008

2:15 PM

Unspoken Things

It occurs to me that any serious discussion between readers and authors on the quality of the genre is going to be go nowhere unless we admit the following:

  1. Authors sometimes write what sell rather than what they want to write. It's all in the intense competition between authors to stay published.
  2. Editors need not be telling the truth when they claim that they are looking for "good stories" - they are looking for stories that can make the publishing house money and help them keep their jobs.
  3. All that talk about "we write/are looking for stories that move our hearts" is sometimes feel-good PR stuff designed to let readers believe that the industry is one happy family.
  4. Readers self-identify with/wishes to live vicariously through the heroine. Or else, we won't be getting so many readers getting worked up whenever a heroine turns out to be far from perfect.
  5. Readers read romance novels for the sex scenes as much as the romance. Of course, readers who read exclusively inspirational romance are excluded from this. And frankly, we should stop acting as if enjoying the hot sex scenes in our romance stories is something to be ashamed of.
  6. Readers love covers with naked men. Okay, so online readers are too intellectual for that, but let's face it, those covers sell. Authors have reported again and again that their naked men covers sell much better than their flowers and scenery tasteful covers. Same with titles. Titles with identifiable key words and naughty puns sell much better than something arty-farty. And authors will happily grab such covers and titles if it means that they will be given the slots and publicity push as Gena Showalter and Sherrilyn Kenyon.
  7. Readers who claim to want something new may sometimes be saying, "We want something new, but you better don't expect me to read those new stuff!"
  8. It is very easy to become strident online activists for the genre when all you really need to do is to post plenty of bluster and accusatory posts on blog comment sections and forums before logging off and... doing nothing.


3 user comments.

Posted by Ann Bruce:

Tried #1. Got bored with my own writing and had to stop.

#6 applies to online readers, too. My books with naked guys sell better than non-mantitty.
October 30th, 2008 @ 10:08 AM

Posted by Lynne Connolly:

"1. Authors sometimes write what sell rather than what they want to write."

Tried it, can't do it. If I'm not invested in the story, it gets boring and I refuse to spend umpty hours a day doing something that bores me. However, I know at least two people that can and do.


" 2. Editors need not be telling the truth when they claim that they are looking for "good stories" - they are looking for stories that can make the publishing house money and help them keep their jobs."

That's their definition of a "good story." Mine might differ.

"3. All that talk about "we write/are looking for stories that move our hearts" is sometimes feel-good PR stuff designed to let readers believe that the industry is one happy family."

Anybody say my publisher is a big happy family gets me looking elsewhere for another publisher. Done that, disaster struck.

"4. Readers self-identify with/wishes to live vicariously through the heroine. Or else, we won't be getting so many readers getting worked up whenever a heroine turns out to be far from perfect."

No argument here. Just that they want different aspects of themselves in different heroines.

"5. Readers read romance novels for the sex scenes as much as the romance. Of course, readers who read exclusively inspirational romance are excluded from this. And frankly, we should stop acting as if enjoying the hot sex scenes in our romance stories is something to be ashamed of."

High five there. Do my used book test. Go into a used book store, find a book you know has one or more hot scenes in it, put book on flat surface, let it fall open. Hey presto, sex scene!

"6. Readers love covers with naked men. Okay, so online readers are too intellectual for that, but let's face it, those covers sell. Authors have reported again and again that their naked men covers sell much better than their flowers and scenery tasteful covers."

Not naked men, I've found. I've had a couple of those. Half naked men, or n
October 30th, 2008 @ 12:07 AM

Posted by Nathalie:

Woman, there's a hug right here with your name on it.
October 29th, 2008 @ 5:50 PM