You may have seen me mention on Facebook or Twitter that I now have a part time job in a book store. Basically for four hours a day I look over books and type their descriptions into a database that is uploaded to Amazon and ABE Books. It's the perfect job for me. I sit mostly alone in a room surrounded by books, looking over books, and writing about books.
One thing this job has seriously opened my eyes to is a whole slew of authors I've never heard of. Why not? I honestly don't know. At the moment I'm working mostly on general and literary fiction. I do read those genres but haven't really read any contemporary authors. I am noticing a trend though. Part of what I do is type up a little summary about the book for potential buyers to read. This means I get to learn about the plot of the books. And I'm seeing a whole slew of romance.
Now, these books aren't called Romance and they're certainly not categorized that way. But why the hell not? And when you get right down to it, don't nearly ALL stories have a romance somewhere in them? As I was looking over the books in my hands today I came to realize that every one was a romance story at it's most basic plot point. However, the author has won numerous literary awards and according to the quotes on her covers is God's gift to the literary world. Well, that's nice. I read the first few pages of at least four of her books. The writing is solid and imaginative...but the story is still a romance.
What bothers me about this discovery is that romance authors still get a bum rap. I mean, even with the hoopla over Fifty Shades... there are still other authors who look down their noses at us because we're not ashamed to admit we write love stories. And God forbid I mention my erotics! So what is it going to take for romance authors to earn equal respect? We earn royalties just like other genre authors. We use our creative juices to make stories that people want to read. We create and destroy whole worlds in our spare time. What's not to love and respect?
Maybe I'm asking for too much, or just being completely naive. And to be honest, I don't care a whole lot what people who don't read my work think of me as a writer. So long as I can still make someone happy with my books I will continue to put them out there. Even if that someone is just me.