What Is So Bad About Romance Novels?

I guess when I screenshot this last night, everyone at the offices of Bon Appetit were still tucked in bed, unaware that they’d managed to offend a pretty big (and vocal) group of people.

Needless to say, they received quite a number of responses to their tweet and Facebook post, and by morning, the tweet was gone and they issued an apology at the end their article. It’s so small I almost missed it.

Still, it made me wonder. Really? Are romance novels really that bad? Is this why I used to lower my voice when someone would ask me, “So what do you write?” and I’d answer (in that lowered voice), “Romance.”

But three years since hitting that Publish button, I’ve changed. I’ve seen some amazing things, like how my stories have changed people’s lives and made it easier for them to go through tough times. I’ve seen more than a million words written on my Ulysses app to the point that the middle row of my Macbook keyboard is useless. I’ve seen myself go from overwhelm mode while learning all about marketing as an author to being able to manage it and see a profit each month from practicing the things I’ve learned. I’ve gone from, OMG I got a 2-star review and they called my hero effeminate–are they blind?! to eh, everyone’s entitled to their own opinion and that’s theirs.

I also started to believe in myself.

I trusted without any doubt that what I do is an honorable thing and not something to be ashamed of. It’s a life that I wouldn’t trade for anything else. It’s knowing that if I were to do this all over again, I’d write my heart out and not worry too much about family or friends watching and judging. They’re going to judge anyway and all I can do is adjust the way I deal with whatever judgment they come up with… and that in the grand scheme of things, what they think about my books doesn’t matter.

Still, seeing that tweet last night made me realize that while not much may change when it comes to the way people see romance authors (and by extension, their readers), what matters is how you see yourself.

And the way I see myself is this: I’m an author and a self-published romance author at that. And no way am I hiding my pulpy romance novels with someone else’s book covers, thank you very much.