Romancing the Tablet

How Harlequin is revolutionizing the ebook market is in the Globe & Mail today. The writer has so many facts correct: how romance readers have embraced ebooks (because we are the biggest and most powerful group of readers and we understand the benefits of ebooks); how romance readers had been forming friendly online communities long before Indie bands started using Myspace or Jeff Zuckerberg had dreamed of creating something cool that would help him pick up girls (Facebook); how Harlequin hadslead the industry. Too bad he decided to use every bad romance cliche. Do article writers, especially male writers, not realize their parody never works and is insulting to the many smart readers who enjoy romance novels?

(At a dinner party I once tried to explain to an otherwise with-it woman why the term “bodice ripper” is insulting. She kept staring at me in wide-eyed incomprehension and admitted she had never read a romance novel but had lots of opinions about them. “Wasn’t using the term bodice ripper just funny?” she asked. I finally asked if she would refer to a mentally handicapped child as a “retard” and she blinked. But she didn’t get it.)

I am always amazed there are so many experts on the romance novel who have never read one. Neither Jane Austen or Will Shakespeare, both great romance writers, would be pleased.

I won’t even deign on comment on this article, Amazon Thrusts Into Romance Publishing, except to say anyone who is planning to write a feature on romance novels, look for a new angle!



  1. Tamara

    These accolades are well deserved! Remember when we used to get excited when a title would sell 1,000 units?

    As for the journalist, I feel like volunteering my services to help them eliminate this bodice ripper drivel. Can’t they come up with a new angle? I guess a headline like “Smart Women Read a Lot” won’t sell papers.

  2. rbswriter

    You are so right! People make disparaging comments about romance books and have never read one. They tell me they wouldn’t be caught dead reading one. When I ask if they’ve read Jane Austen, William Shakespeare, Margaret Mitchell, or Emily Bronte they say yes but those are classics, not love stories. *Heavy sigh* I have to agree with Tamara. Journalists go for the sensational, it sells more papers.

  3. I must agree here, but this attitude is not just aimed at romance writers. We who write sci-fi and/or fantasy, all too often suffer the same fate. Oddly, it seems that the less a person reads, the more they know about the subject in question. Isn’t that odd now?
    Thanks for a delightful rant.

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