In a discussion currently going on in LinkedIn I had the misfortune to read a post from another writer who is of the misconception that romance writers are not serious writers! Really? This person (whose name I will be good enough to omit) is also of the opinion that romance writers are not quality writers. Really? Mind you, I love romance and it is my writing genre of choice, and yes, I am a serious writer, and who is this person to judge the writing abilities of those who choose romance, probably the highest selling genre available.
Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with those who choose not to read romance: after all, I don’t like science fiction or horror. I’ve said many times when the subject of Stephen King came up in discussions that while I don’t like WHAT he writes, I will not say he isn’t a good writer. Having never read his work, how would I know that anyway? He must be doing something right though, to make the amount of money he does and continue being on the NYT Best Seller’s List. My complaint is not with people who don’t like romance but who attempt to degrade it into a lower style of writing.
Do you prefer literary fiction? There is nothing wrong with this type of fiction, either–if one can even put a definition on it in the 21st century. What used to be called “literary fiction” may no longer exist, and even love stories from centuries gone by may not exist as they once did. For instance, Romeo & Juliet would not be called a romance in today’s market because it ends with a tragedy instead of Happy Ever After or even Happy for Now, especially elements in today’s romance genre.
Where does this leave those of us who enjoy reading and writing romance? We should be free to do both as we feel the mood. It is not up to other writers to say we are not serious writers and do not write well but the buying public. They are the most important elements, after all. If you can’t present a good plot along with a great romance you won’t retain readers. What should you do with naysayers? Do as I do and don’t pay attention to them or tell them to read the statistics and then get back to working on that wonderful romance novel.