Thursday, March 02, 2006

What's Wrong With Romance?

I know this subject has probably been talked to death, but I got slapped in the face with it again today. I got the weekly email from Writers Village University that includes a writing market at the beginning. I read through, and think it's sounding pretty good. They even encourage beginning writers to submit their stuff and simultaneous submissions are okay, too! Woo Hoo!

Then I read this: Does not accept science fiction, erotica, westerns, horror, romance, or children's stories.

For crying out loud... what's left?

It's discouraging because I have a really, really difficult time finding short story markets and flash fiction markets that accept romance. And though, occasionally I do write something that isn't overtly romantic, romance has a strong hold on my heart, my brain and on my typing fingers.

It's written off everywhere as drivel. Sub-standard writing. Only for people with an IQ of 7.

And yet, take a look at what the vast majority of book buyers are buying. Why is that? Well, IMHO it's because romances make you feel good. They end happily. Real life does not.

I took a look at the RWA website where they list fiction buying statistics for 2005.

Check this out:

• 54.9% of paperback sales in 2004 were romance fiction

• 39.3% of all fiction sold is romance.

And a breakdown of fiction sold by genre:

• Romance -- 39.3%
• Mystery/Thriller -- 29.6%
• General Fiction -- 12.9%
• Other Fiction -- 11.8%
• Science Fiction -- 6.4%

If you were a marketing major and opted to start a magazine, do you think you might include romance and mystery as an accepted genre? So, why oh why do I only have a handful of short markets I can submit to?

Is it all about image? Like tucking your romance into a copy of Tennyson?

Argh.

That said, I was watching American Idol last night and wishing I was young enough to justify a crush on this guy (man, he's cute -- singing voice okay, but he'll sail into the top six on his looks and personality):

1 comment:

Charity said...

You’d think all those romance sales would translate into a short story market, but they don’t. I think part of it is, in general, romance readers want to spend more time with the couple falling in love, getting involved with the romance, etc. Even super short category romances of 50,000 words are significantly longer than your average short story.

The only place I managed to sell my (quirky) romances was to Futures, back when they took all genres and not just mystery/crime. Funny thing is, they lost a reader (that would be me) when they switched formats because I liked the eclectic mix. But I was one of the few, I think.