Overcoming Judgement as a Romance Writer

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Dear romance author, I hear you...

There is a strange stigma attached to being a romance author. Have you ever seen the excitement in someone's eyes when you tell them you're an author, only for that light to dim or disappear when you say romance is your genre? 

If so, you are not alone. 

There are a lot of people who believe that romance is a pointless genre. Something that suggests a lack of intelligence or substance. And that is before you even factor in any kind of heat level. Even clean romance gets a hard time from those who don't read it. Yet, romance is still one of the bestselling genres every year. That doesn't happen by accident. 

The truth is, all writing requires intelligence. It takes no less talent to write a romance than it does to write a thriller that keeps people on the edge of their seats. Why? Because it's about what the reader FEELS. A thriller or horror writer exercises a particular skill they have to make their readers feel engaged, afraid, or on edge. Those same emotional manipulations are needed to make a romance fan feel swoony, or horny, or captivated. To craft a character someone falls in love with is no simple feat, and whether that is a sweet, misunderstood nerd or a bad boy with an attitude, it still takes talent. 

There will be new romance writers out there who will be experiencing such judgements for the first time. And there is no mistaking that raised eyebrow look that says "Well, if it's romance, it must be smutty - and by default - you must be smutty too!"  It's as if people believe that romance writers sit around in lingerie with a box of dildos beside them, and it's just not true. (But if you do, fair play to you!)

The reality is that it's trying to grab a spare thirty minutes to hammer out some words in between family life. It's thinking about your sub-plots, and deciding if your characters are behaving in ways that make sense, and if they are relatable. It's stressing over whether THIS word accurately conveys the point, or whether THAT word makes more sense. Just because a story is romantic, it doesn't mean it's lacking in depth. Themes covered in some of my romance novels are: addiction, grief, divorce, and domestic abuse - and none of it in a way that glamourises those things. Actually, it's ugly, raw, and painful. 

The fact is, you are an author. Be proud of what you do. Own it. For every person who looks down on you, there will be another five who reach out for your book BECAUSE it's romance. 

And if you ever start to believe that romance isn't valid, know you are wrong. Just ask Nicholas Sparks, or Nora Roberts, or Jackie Collins. ;) 


You can find my books here: https://kyralennon.com/books 

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