Prejudice about romance in the book world and beyond 2

I already told you the beginning of the prejudices about romance yesterday. Today I want to talk about what we readers and authors all get to hear … And sometimes that is really bad. I have asked around with fellow authors, in my facebook group for this genre and collected personal experiences in this article.

How I started to notice the prejudices about romance

For me it started with discussing YA books. They would say: Mariel must have liked the storyline between character 1 and 2, because they liked each other.
In the beginning I wasn’t bothered by that at all. Yes, it was true, I liked that about the book and that kept me interested.
It became more annoying when comments such as: Mariel didn’t like it, because there was no love story in it.
Uhm, can I tell my opinion about the book myself?
Later I mainly heard: You could have appreciated this book because it contained a sex scene.
I listened with chattering ears.

My most shocking experience as a reader

There is more sex in this story than with Sarah J Maas books, but probably not what you’re used to

I was told that when I asked if there was a storyline about love in Jennifer L Armentrout’s From Blood To Ash. The only question my mind said to me was, ‘What the hell are we used to?
Mrs. Maas has a very steamy scene on the beach in the Throne Of Glass series and let’s not start about the adult book A Court of Silver Flames where there is fantasized about a threesome. WHAT IN GOD’S NAME AM I USED TO?

Till The Last Lyric by M. Robinson

This is a story about a leadsinger of a band, who is drowning in the world and his search for a normal way of life in the music world.
Yes, there is sex in it, but the story is not in the slightest about sex. There are significantly more scenes without sex. So again … what am I used to.

Experiences from Dutch authors

Those authors aren’t happy with their own lives

I received this. Really, what is such a comment based on then? I have been happily married for five years, have two lovely children and besides being an author, I work in education and I enjoy doing that. The romance authors I know have a similar existence. With or without children, doing what they like, working alongside their authorship and as far as I know doing everything with great pleasure. But yes, of course I don’t know how happy the life of that curmudgeon of this comment is (which I don’t know, because I don’t have this quote from my own experience)

It’s always written so badly and unrealistically. The author must have the iq of a shrimp.

This is really being said, folks. Why is romance unrealistic? I happened to meet my husband when I was sixteen and am still happy and well with him, so why are those romance stories wrong? Why are romance stories about people who are divorced and then find new love not correct? How are people who experience love unrealistic?
Why do we (authors with courses ranging from secondary vocational education to university) have the iq of a shrimp? We can do research just as well as someone who writes a thriller.

Yes, we need research. Do you think I know what it’s like to be in a band? I just had contact with music venues in the Netherlands for that. With a recording studio and with a company that provides transport for these types of people. It is not just throwing something out of my fingers. It has to be just as accurate as forensics.

And then this one:

that, as a writer of romance with sex scenes, you sometimes get emails from men who read it, who then think that you probably also want to be involved in sexting with randos

I know there are bastards, really. But seriously … this happens eh people. As if planning a murder, you are going to get information from Stephen King or something. Maybe he wants to participate?

Sunshine and Bullets by Coralee June

If you want to read about a gruesome serial killer who gets unmasked by his daughter and her four male friends.

Readers who read the genre

Most Common: Ooh you read porn?

Or: Looks like porn …

Reading a dirty book again?

Is that just another porn book?

Are you short of something?

You get the message. We just read porn and nothing else… because how in the hell could there be a decent story in a romance novel?

Oh, I prefer to read books with content.

You already know how it ends, don’t you?

Hopeless romantic characters.

Does it never get boring?

Never thought that you like potboilers.

Never get bored? Do those detectives ever bore you?
No content? See Sunshine and Bullets …
Hopelessly romantic … Poor world population looking for a partner.
Never thought that you like potboilers. Do you need a certain head for that?

I received a response from a non-novel reader. Which was:

I think it a bit old-fashioned and boring

Girl, try a dark romance. That’s certainly not boring and corny. But even the sports romances and band romances of today are really no longer the potboiler novels with the muscular chest and creamy white buttocks and the woman in distress. They are still there. Don’t get me wrong, but there is so much more!

Back to me

What I especially want to say is that I seriously have 2 girlfriends (married to Marc’s side) who have read my books and my father. Except for Daan, because he wasn’t going to read gay sex. (Don’t say anything …). And no one else ever asks about what I write or how my writing career is going at all. I know an author whose friends asked when she was finally going to write a real book.

Why are people so inferior about this genre? Why is it supposedly less than a literary book that few people actually understand when they read it. Why is it so bad that there are books that give people relaxation after work, where people can believe that there is such a beautiful thing as real love. Like them, or maybe just because they haven’t found it yet? Why does it always have to be slated like that.

Why do I get sex-referring comments when I ask about a book? As a reader, but sometimes also as an author for research. It’s no fun making fun of someone because they have glasses, because they have braces, a crooked nose, too fat, too thin, or because they read. But it’s also no fun to be slated to the genre you read. This happens on a small scale, but unfortunately also in the media. You don’t see a novel at a high end show on tv. You aren’t even taken seriously as an author. Your book doesn’t end up in the bookstore, not in the news, nowhere.

Just look at how many romance indie authors in America have made it to the NYT Bestseller list. BESTSELLER. But walk into any bookstore and most of them are barely to be found.

Fine if you don’t like romance. Read what you enjoy. You do you. But Can The World Stop With Those Prejudices About Romance? Please?

I’d love to hear your experiences, or your prejudices. Maybe I can recommend you something?


Mariëlle blogt hier als lezer, kijker en schrijver. Verder vertelt ze over haar leven als tweelingmama. Ook is zij schrijver van de New Adult-serie Structure en staat ze drie dagen per week voor haar SBO-klas.

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