As I was browsing through Facebook today I saw an honest and heartfelt post from an author about the shame that she feels about being a romance author (you can read the post here). She went on to describe how her family had been negative towards her chosen profession and had led to her thinking about what she does in very negative terms and language. She details how she was in awe of another artist being able to brag about what they have achieved, while she is too afraid of disclosing her pen name for fear of judgement. Which really is a shame because I can attest to her phenomenal writing (check out her books on Amazon).
It was this post that got me thinking about the parallels of being a romance reader. Isn’t this really the way that many romance readers are made to feel by those around them? Shameful of their reading choices to the point that they don’t want to even bring it up anymore?
There are many negative connotations that come with admitting to family and friends that romance is your preferred genre to read. I have heard it all – “why don’t you read something with a bit more intelligence and sophistication”, “I know why you read those books Samantha *wink*”, “You only read it for the sex, there is no real story line.” And so many others that I, and am sure that many readers, have also heard.
It is also why a lot of my family and friends have no idea about me being a book blogger, or that each week I create and publish a romance magazine to promote authors. Is it that I am ashamed to be heralding about a hobby that has turned into a passion? I am sure that is part of it, as well as the total lack of understanding of why I would actively spend time blogging about books that I love when I could be doing so many other things with my time.
But what a lot of these naysayers don’t realise is that for many romance readers out there, these books have given women, who had no-one in their immediate circles, the power to connect with readers that are as drawn in and passionate about book boyfriends, explicit sex scenes, fabulous writing, favourite authors and books that we would choose over sleep because we are that excited, as they are.
These books and the communities created have made it easier for strangers to become well-loved friends. It has given us readers the ability to share, giggle, connect and find a common ground that allows us to escape without feeling judged.
So I say that it is time to shrug off the shame of admitting you are a romance reader when asked about what you are reading or what books you love. There is a reason why our communities are so large and new authors take a chance of entering this genre. The romance genre is one of the strongest and most passionate out there.
Another person’s opinion on your reading taste is not going to dictate what book you pick up in the future. So I say, proudly admit who you are – a lover of romance, erotica, paranormal – whatever. The best thing you can do is be yourself and do it your way – always. Because I sure as hell am.
**post mentioned and used with the author’s permission