Thursday, July 28, 2005

Can't we all just get along?

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Since I missed the chick-lit party last night at National, I thought I'd have one of these as I watched 3 hours of Law & Order: SVU. Do I know how to party or what?

Sigh! I wish some of my friends would call me to let me know how it's going, so that I can live vicariously. Anyway, it's not like I'm not reminded of National. When I got home last night, my August RWR was in the mail with a snazzy new design (nice to see what my RWA dues are paying for!).

In the letters to the editor, the argument is still raging about romance vs. romantica or erotic romance. The only thing I have to say to this argument is: Why can't we all just get along?

Why are so many people getting their panties in a twist over this issue? The biggest complaint was the covers. Apparently Ellora's Cave paid for a huge ad on the back cover of the May issue, and this author was taking exception to the covers that were featured, hence this whole graphical standards issue that we're getting into.

Erotic romance or romantica is here to stay people. Why? Because readers are demanding it that's why, and it's selling. Publishing is a business, and romance publishers are trying to woo younger readers who have no interest in traditional romance formats. They are however interested in romantic, paranormal and chick-lit which is why these books are selling like hot cakes, and why Harlequin increased the number of Blaze books from 4 to 6 in July.

When I first started reading romance at the tender age of 12, the books that I gravitated to were the gothics, Harlequin Presents, and Dell Candlelight Ectasy. Why? Because there was sex. When Silhouette started, I read the Desires, and then Temptation back in the days when Barbara Delinsky and Jayne Ann Krentz were writing for them. I remember reading a Barbara Delinsky book where the hero and heroine saw each other across their courtyard and without words communicated their desire, until he came over and they had sex on her living room floor. It was hot, and it was a romance.

Then the babies, cowboys, virgins, angels, amnesia books started happening and I stopped reading category and started reading more romantic suspense and single title romances. I just didn't relate to these books, but I didn't demand that the publishers stop printing them just because they weren't my cup of tea, and I certainly didn't accuse the writers of writing drivel just because I didn't like the books.

What gets me about this whole argument is that the detractors of erotic romance probably haven't read any of them. Talk about judging a book by it's cover! One author, who published on her blog her objection to the books, and to the RWA recognition of the publisher, admitted that she'd only read like one book. Yet, she dares to criticize an entire genre?

The publishing industry is not the same as it was when RWA was founded, and RWA has to respond to the industry as it exists, not the way we want it to be.

The organization should be focusing on issues, like offering insurance to their members, and fair contracts, not on vilifying their own members.

Okay, I'm off my soap box for the day.


MaryF said...

Elizabeth, Tina St. John has some links to people blogging from conference.

Gabrielle said...

Oh, Lordie, how I agree. Why do people even care? You write your books, I'll write mine, let's just leave it at that!

Gabrielle--also feeling the Reno vortex

Elizabeth Kerri Mahon said...

Thanks Mary, not quite the same as being there, but at least I get to hear some great news!