Friday, February 13, 2009

Love of Romance

Is Romance, or at least the writing of it, all fluff? If you think so, then you might consider this:
Publishing, romance fiction generated $1.375 billion in U.S. sales in 2007 - a 5 percent increase over 2006 - which made it the biggest fiction publishing category for that year. In fact, romance consistently holds the largest market share for fiction; in 2006, for example, the next largest market (sci-fi/fantasy) generated $495 million. And Harlequin Enterprises, the Ontario-based queen of romance publishing, celebrates its 60th anniversary this year; in that time, it has shipped more than five billion books worldwide.
What do you think now?

But what about Romance writers? They’re all fluff heads, spending time either alone at their typewriters or with their two dozen cats, right?
Shobhan Bantwal, 57, of Robbinsville, N.J., has two master's degrees. She works as a supervisor in the New Jersey state government and came to this country from India 35 years ago …
Well, but, those books, they’re all clothes ripping and hair flowing, both men and women, right?
"Romance authors are some of the most creative and prolific writers with their capacity to take the basic theme of boy-meets-girl and make it uniquely theirs by adding intrigue, drama, suspense, horror, paranormal elements, and a whole lot more."
Hmm. In honor or tomorrow’s Valentine’s Day, you might want to read up on Romance. Check out for the full story.


  1. Romance writing is BIG business!

    And I'm really surprised sci-fi/fantasy was number two. Must be because of Harry Potter...

    L. Diane Wolfe

  2. I don't know the reason for sci fi/fantasy being so big, but I do feel it's become more "mainstream" with Potter, the Meyer books, and the rise of mainstream vampires and werewolves. I guess the YA books are classified as YA and not another genre. But Meyer's books tended to be almost adult. Hm...

  3. How timely! I was just discussing returning the romance genre to my community site (grand unveiling on Valentines of course) - it had been removed because of the difficulty of finding writers for a genre with such lousy preconceptions - but it really is a very popular genre with a lot of creative potential.

    Wyatt at Pan
    We don't just write the stories, we live them at Pan Historia

  4. I do think Romance as a genre has been unfairly panned as fluff and escapism. But suspense is escapism, as is mystery, sci fi, fantasy, action-adventure, westerns, and even memoir. It all takes us out of our world and into the book's world. And you can't deny that Romance sells.

  5. Hear hear! And while you're at it, check out my regency romance Miss Delacourt Speaks Her Mind. It has been out 6 weeks and already sold out its first print run. Regency romance is different than "bodice rippers"--they are smart books for smart women. Jane Austen time period for those who don't know . . .of course that genre is gone so mine is published under historical fiction but one does what one must.

  6. Hi Heidi. I like books with smart women in the lead, be they romance, mystery, or any genre. But I think I especially like smart women in Romance. That didn't always seem to be the case in Romance, but it is now.

  7. I don't write romance novels but like to include a little romance in my mystery/suspense novels.

    The most romantic mystery/suspense novelist I know is Mark W. Danielson, an international airline pilot who writes his novels during layovers in foreign countries. He's featured today at Mysterious People: And you've got ot read his Valentine's Day article tomorrow.

  8. It's always fun to meet an author, especially one with such an interesting background. Thanks for the link Jean.

  9. Hi Helen,

    Thanks for coming by and posting to my site Fiction Authors Need Better Software To Write at Hope you'll come back for another visit!

    Best, Theresa.

  10. You're welcome, Theresa. And thank you for stopping by Straight From Hel.

    I'm glad you left your link so others can pop over to your blog.

  11. Romance writers are serious at their craft. My Chicago North RWA chapter takes writing seriously. I keep telling everyone it's like going to class when I go to a meeting.

    Morgan Mandel

  12. Hi Helen,

    I'm Shobhan Bantwal, the author you have cited and quoted here. I'm honored to be mentioned in a popular blog like yours. Not only do I write romance, but my characters are Indian women with arranged marriages and dowries and conservative-as-hell in-laws at times.

    Great blog! Keep up the good work and thank you for giving romance writers a thumbs up.

    Shobhan Bantwal
    The Forbidden Daughter - 2008
    The Dowry Bride - 2007

  13. Morgan, I've only been to one Austin RWA meeting and it was great. Quite a few people there (we took up a whole room at the restaurant) and the speaker was fabulous. Everyone there seemed dedicated and active and friendly.

  14. Shobhan, thanks for stopping by. Your books are just what started this whole conversation -- well-written, interesting, informative Romances.

  15. I've always been fascinated with romance novels. I've always dream of writing one someday. Right now, I ma focused with my career as a freelance coursework writer. Don't get me wrong, I love my job. I really do but there is something about romance novels that make it stand out. Soon, I will know what when I start writing my first romance novel.

  16. Best of luck on the Romance! Just put the first word down on paper and go from there.


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