A few months ago I was in my town’s public library. I picked up a flyer announcing a book fair, featuring authors signing their books, storytelling for kids, and other activities. I scanned the list of authors and their book topics and discovered not one romance author listed, although there were authors of books on dogs, planning weddings, and some other pretty obscure topics. I bellied up to the counter to check out my book, brandishing the flyer to the librarian. “No romance.” She looked up and said, “Excuse me?” I said, “You don’t have any romance authors scheduled for the book fair.” She looked down her nose (well, sort of – I may have imagined that part) and said, “Oh, I don’t read that stuff.” First, was I asking her what she read? Second, how condescending is that? I may have even been checking out a romance, and the library sure is full of them. So I looked down my nose at her (and believe me, if you’ve seen my nose that’s some feat) and said, “Too bad. I write that stuff.” With a smug smile on my lips I watched Miss Thang get all flustered. “You do?” she squeaked. “You should talk to the coordinator about participating in the book fair.” I told her I’d do it next year, since my books weren’t published yet. Then I walked away with my head held high.
If we expect romance as a genre to get some serious respect, we need to seriously respect it ourselves. So the next time someone scoffs or smirks when you tell them you write romance, get fierce and let ‘em have it right between the eyes. (Wait until I tell that librarian I also write erotic romance!)