I'm not actually going to rant about 'romance' I'm going to rant about people's misconception of the genre.
Our Utah chapter holds a conference every fall and we bring in many big names in the publishing industry. This year, in order to spread the word I began sending media alerts to all the Utah newspapers sometime in June. The Salt Lake City Tribune has the most readers and this is the one I really wanted to have something posted in.
As all of you know, we're having a bit of a slow economy--I know that's an understatement--but most people can't fork out $175 at the drop of a hat. I emailed the SL Tribune books editor personally to explain we'd like to have the conference information in the paper a month or so early so people can plan and save. And also because there is a late registration fee after the 6th of September.
Yes it has come and gone. In fact our conference is Friday October 8th and Saturday October 9th. When did the editor put this information in the paper? Today. Yes October 3rd which is 5 day's prior to the conference. Not only have we stopped taking registrations with a check, we only are taking PayPal registrations and there is now a $10 fee and we've already turned in our final head count for food.
The post in the paper doesn't advice of the late fee, and makes no mention of the booksigning that will be held Friday night with our special guests NY Times Best Selling Authors Christine Feehan and Lynn Kurland. Not to mention USA Today Best selling author RaeAnne Thayne and many other authors. And yes, I've been sending information on this since June also.
As you can tell, I'm frustrated. I go through this every year. It's our state, everyone believes romance authors are a bunch of bodice rippers. At booksignings people will stop by your table and as soon as they find out it's romance, they walk away. I have seen this happen at almost every booksigning I've attended for the chapter.
If James Patterson were at the table, no one would walk away as fast as their legs would carry them. Nor would they for Nora Roberts. Around here, romance authors are not considered serious writers. In fact some people dare to say we write porn. I wish I could shout, NOT TRUE, from the tallest mountain. Not that anyone would believe me.
In fact, we have a locally owned bookstore in SLC called Kings English. A few years ago I called them about their local author page on their web site. There were none of the Utah RWA authors listed on it. When I inquired I was told, "We don't carry romance." Yet when I saw their bookstore booth at the art festival they had, Nora Roberts, Karen Robards, Jayne Ann Krantz, and several others. I would have said something to the owner had she been there, but it was manned by two young students. What good would it have done for me to point out to them that although they claim to not carry romance, they sure had a lot of books by romance authors?
It this just a Utah thing, or is this everywhere? And why? I know I work just as hard on my manuscripts as an author who writes any other genre. What about you? If you do have this problem in your area or state, who do you work around it? How do you convince people that we have something of value to offer a reader?
I'm done ranting--for now.