Romance 101 – Who Is Romance For?


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!

7 Replies to “Romance 101 – Who Is Romance For?

  1. romance is one of those genres I really want to like, but I just think it is so hit and miss. The thing is that it often and braces problematic tropes or tropes related to my personal sexuality that I find to be offensive. Bisexual people have historically been fetishized in romance novels at least as I understand them. it feels so frustrating to me that such things happen and sure, you might just say, "then write that romance novel that you want to see." Fair.however I often find that the novels that I enjoy most with a primary romance bent are those that splice romance with another genre. probably the one that I think does it best is a splice between dark fantasy and romance in The Savior's Champion by Jenna Moreci.

  2. "nonbinary, genderfluid, genderqueer, and yes, even men should feel comfortable being a part of the romance community"

    YES!!! Honestly, I got all giddy when you said genderfluid it really made my heart happy <3 <3

  3. It makes me think of industries (for example) where men think women are trying to take over just because we're trying to be taken seriously. The industry of romance is an example of it going the other way. It's ALL supposed to just be inclusion.
    Love your points. Well said. πŸ™‚

  4. I appreciate you including disabilities, body types, and socioeconomic statuses into this conversation about diversity. I'm mentally disabled with schizophrenia and autism, I'm three hundred pounds, and I can't exactly make it rain. To see my kind represented in romantic fiction would be a blessing for me. Thanks for posting this video, Erin. πŸ™‚

  5. Preach Erin!!! I've been getting back into romance, have just finished my first paranormal romance, tho only the 1st draft, and will be years before it comes out, but i adored exploring it, and it was through your channel that I even thought about doing so. I'm about to start a paranormal romance series and I'm super excited about it! I loved this video, and I agree that we need to be more inclusive, men included!

  6. Totaly Awesome, I really enjoyed it!, See this New Album 'Monish Jasbird – Death Blow', channel link www.youtube.com/channel/UCv_x5rlxirO-WKjLIyk6okQ?sub_confirmation=1 , if you like to πŸ™‚

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