Hey all and welcome to my vlog! My name is Erin and this is Romance 101 – Who is Romance for? If you’ve seen any discussion of romance online you’ve probably come across the phrase “by women, for women.” and while it is true that romance tends to be dominated by women, I think it’s important that we take a step back from what phrasing and see what it’s actually saying. If we’re going by the numbers, romance is predominantly written by white women, featuring white women in their heterosexual relationships with white men. And that’s not to say that books outside of those groups don’t exist, because they absolutely do but in terms of sheer numbers that has been the trend since the conception of modern romance. A lot of literature has been lacking in diversity and romance is no exception. The romance industry is not without its flaws, and while it is making strides daily there’s still a long way to go. I think it’s very important for women to have a space in literature where they feel safe and that they can explore, but I also recognize that there are people within the romance community and those who want to be part of the romance community that can feel very isolated by this whole “by women, for women” rhetoric. Nonbinary, genderfluid, genderqueer, and yes, even men should feel comfortable being part of the romance community. I’m aware that that statement might cause some friction because romance is one area of literature that women have carved out for themselves but we have to evolve like everything else and make sure that the people who love romance feel comfortable in our community. Happy endings and affectionate relationships should be for everyone. Women will keep writing, and there is an enormous backlog of books. Women are not going to be pushed out of the romance industry simply because we’re working to make it more inclusive. There are shitty people in every genre, but I’ve seen a very particular fear in romance that men are trying to make a quick buck off of women and they’re using female pseudonyms to do so. It’s a complicated situation. I’m sure that there ARE men who are using them to exploit for a quick buck, and I’m equally certain that there men here because they love romance. The issue that I’ve seen with these pseudonyms is that a lot of women feel like men are hiding behind them. The history of women using male pseudonyms has a VERY different energy than men using feminine ones. In the literary world, cis men are not oppressed or dismissed in the same way that women are. The sentiment that I’ve seen is that using initials is fine but using a feminine name to mask a male identity causes a lot of discomfort. And think of it this way: If I were to use, say a Korean name as a pseudonym, that would be pretty shitty of me because it’s taking advantage of a marginalized identity. The same applies in this case. Some readers ARE going to select authors by gender, but some won’t and I think that the only way men are going to have a comfortable space in romance is to be honest. Show people that you WANT to be here. Show readers that you ARE here. Even if you have a personal prejudice against men writing romance because you view it as a women’s space, there is one place that we very much need male writers, and that is queer men writing romance for other queer men instead of allowing that space to be filled up with straight women. The audience for romance is expanding, and that means that new types of authors need to be welcomed. Let men write soft stories. Let men embrace romance. Let nonbinary people explore the genre and tell their own stories. Let people love what they love, because after all, isn’t that what romance is about? Romance is changing. I see it happening every day, from the authors that are writing these stories to the characters and types of relationships that are being portrayed. If you’re a writer or a reader I encourage you to lean into stories by marginalized authors. Seek out stories that take into account racial and ethnic diversity, LGBTQ+ characters and relationships, disabilities, neurodiversity, religious diverisity, different genders, different body types and socioeconomic status. Support the creators who are helping romance represent a wider range of people. What do you look for in romance? Do you feel comfortable and included in the genre? What do you envision as the future of romance? Please let me know who your favourite romance authors are in the comments below. I filmed this video before my book was ready to go, so I’m re-filming the ending because my upcoming contemporary romance novel Heart and Seoul is now available for pre-order! If you pre-order a copy you can join the pre-sale giveaway for a chance to win some awesome prizes. All the links will be in the description below. You can also read the first 3 chapters on my website if you’d like to check it out sooner. If you liked this video give it a thumbs up and don’t forget to subscribe. If you’d like to be notified as soon as I upload then ring that bell. If romance is not your thing then you can check out my other two books Olympian Confessions: Hades and Persephone, and Olympian Confessions: Hera which are available now in ebook and paperback. If you would like your manuscripte critiqued by me you can check out my critique service and I will see you all next week with another video! Bye!