It’s really strange, so much so that I felt my eyebrows pinching just between my nose line and started to get a headache. I told this very well known bookstagramer that I am an author, and his response, “Oh, romance writer are you?”
Now, I feel like that could be taken several different ways especially from an Instagram DM. It could have been meant sincerely. And yet it bothered me to no end because it’s not the first time (nor, I’m sure will it be the last) that I heard a man say this to me.
Why, because I am a woman, do men automatically assume that I write romance? I will tell you WHY…check out this list:
The World’s Highest-Paid Authors Of 2018
10. E.L James (tie) – Earnings: $10.5 million
10. Rick Riordan (tie) – Earnings: $10.5 million
8. Nora Roberts (tie) – Earnings: $12 million
8. Danielle Steel (tie) – Earnings: $12 million
7. Michael Wolff – Earnings: $13 million
5. Dan Brown (tie) – Earnings: $18.5 million
5. Jeff Kinney (tie) – Earnings: $18.5 million
4. John Grisham – Earnings: $21 million
3. Stephen King – Earnings: $27 million
2. J.K. Rowling – Earnings: $54 million
1. James Patterson – Earnings: $86 million
Now I am not bashing on these writers, though I wouldn’t call them all amazing in my definition, they are all VERY savvy business people. They figured out their platform and they carved out their place amongst the giants. The problem I have with this list is that their are only 4 women on the list and of those 4….THREE OF THEM ARE ROMANCE WRITERS! I mean, what the heck writing community? I know there are more women out there that have INCREDIBLE stories and platforms that write fantasy, sci-fi, adventure, horror, and drama. This list, though reflective of our culture and what the industry deems we consumes also reflects how the industry has shaped what we are told we WANT to consume.
I’ll be honest, I love a good romance book. I mean it, I do. Outlander is one of my favorite romance stories but it ISN’T a romance book, it’s an incredibly written historical fiction that spans centuries. The characters are in depth, the writing and historical research is incredible and it also has an amazing story line following a love story. My point is that you don’t have to write “trashy romance” to write romance. Which is where I feel a bit stuck as a writer.
People ask me, “What do you write?” And I respond by saying, “Fantasy Adventure.” They follow up with a question of, “Is there a love story in it?” And I want to almost shake my head and laugh because OF COURSE there is a love story. All of the great stories have drama, suspense, mystery, intrigue, anger, and LOVE!!!
So my point; just because I am a woman doesn’t mean I am not capable of writing a really good story with more than one woman in it, that talk about other things OTHER THAN A MAN AND KINKY SEX! (Stay tuned to my next blog post where I go IN-DEPTH into why writing to pass the Bechdel test is the MOST important part of being a woman in writing)
To wrap this up, I am a woman and I am an author. I write fantasy and there is a CRAP load of other labels you could slap on this book of mine, but one of them is absolutely NOT trashy romance.