Friday, January 27, 2012

Is It A Romance? (This Genre Is A Tough One)

As an indie author, you will be responsible for selecting the genres you want your book to appear in.  On Barnes & Noble you get up to 5 to add.  On Amazon you only get two.  That is really difficult for many of us.  For instance, my books are drama, historical fiction, romance, steamy romance, historical romance, saga, and book one is coming of age.  See what I mean?

I also wish they had a better selection of genres.  Some are missing.  Some get further broken down and the wording sounds so stuffy I almost go to sleep!

However, today my blog is about the romance genre.  There are many that argue that if a story does not have a "happy ever after" ending it does not fall into the romance category.  They almost have a stroke if a book dares to fall out of that old "woman meets man, they fall in love, there is a misunderstanding, they fight, they get back together, they marry" formula.
There are many readers that DON"T want to read that formula anymore or never did.  What fun is it to read a book when you know exactly what is going to happen?  Why not just read the same book over and over?   Those of some of the things that run through the minds of readers that do love romance but don't like predictability.

I would fall into the category of those that don't like a standard formula.  It bores me, and it bores me quickly.  I have been reading for decades now.  That same old formula just doesn't excite me anymore.  Sorry.  This is not a knock on those who write formula romances.  God knows you have a huge following.  It is just not for me and I can't write it.  I am probably in the minority. You who write it will make a hell of a lot more money than I ever will.  Still, if I am bored writing I may as well go back to work for the feds typing social security numbers all day.   At least I would have some benefits.
Here is a thought for those of you that insist on the same old, same old.  If we use your formula, then Romeo & Juliet, Wuthering Heights, and Gone With The Wind would not qualify as romances.  They can't, if you use the formula.  They certainly are not feel good stories.  Yet, they are love stories.
Romantic/Sexual love is at the core of each of them.  As it is in 1984.  Does that have a happy ever after ending?

Some say they are "only" love stories and not romances, Or they fall under another category (Of course, don't most great books?).  Only love stories??? Isn't that what romance is part of?  Personally, I will take a romance with surprises and real life dysfunction and angst any day over a 'they met and kissed and lived happy forever' type of book.  I want to read about characters who seem to have a real life.  In real life, we seldom exist in a state of eternal bliss, even when we end up with our soul mate.  I get that it is fiction.  Still, I want to be able to believe it might happen. My mom used to say if two people live together and never fight, one is kissing the other's ass.  She was right.

I am not saying the story cannot have a happy ending.  It could. But, it just as easily could not.  Isn't that what life is like?  Isn't that what makes a book something you don't want to put down?  A book where you aren't sure how it will end is much more addicting than a book that you know the ending to before opening it.  

Be forewarned: I write romance, but it will never be typical.  If they gave me "love story" as a genre choice, I would move there.  They don't-so thar ya go. I write about love. I write about love and romance in a way that appeals to both  men and women. Imperfect characters.  Raw sex. Both beautiful and ugly emotions and actions. You will never know what to expect and you will never know if it will be "happy ever after".  I want to take you on a ride.  Even more, I want the destination to be a secret until we get there.

Surprise!  Fasten your seat belt.


  1. You are so right! Some books don't neatly fit into a certain genre. It's hard to know how to classify them. Great post!

    1. Thanks for the compliment and thanks for joining!