Why romance? In the end, love always prevails.
February 15, 2017
In todays’ hectic, unsettled world, we need that underlying message of hope and encouragement.
I AM A die-hard romantic. I love romance and all the hearts, flowers, sappy songs and sentimental accoutrements that go with it; which probably explains why I write and read romance novels. But why are they so popular?
That question has bounced around my head like a BB in a bathtub for a while so I did a little research. The first thing I found is the answer to that question is as varied as the number of readers out there. Romance Writers of America, of which I am proud member, has a lot of data on the subject. To my surprise, I discovered that 84 percent of romance readers are female, and 16 percent are male, which is double what is was a few years ago – and climbing. It never occurred to me that guys would read a romance novel.
A couple of days after I read that statistic, a male friend stopped by the house to buy a copy of my book. I assumed it was for his wife and asked how he wanted it signed. Needless to say, I was taken aback when he said it was for him. The industry has changed a lot over the years but in essence, it is still the same. The core of the story is the developing relationship between two people. Everything else is secondary to the love story. And here I thought guys didn’t get into such touchy-feely emotional things.
It is a misconception to say that those who enjoy romance novels lack romance in their own lives. I like this quote from Maya Rodale’s blog for the Huffington Post: “…for every desperate housewife, there’s a happily harried wife and/or mom taking a break with a romance novel. For every lonely spinster, there’s an unapologetic single woman. And for every sorority sister, there’s a proud geek girl who loves romance novels.”
RWA statistics show the average female reader is between the ages of 30 and 54 and college educated; 59 percent are in a steady relationship and have an average income of $55,000 or more a year. Readers of general fiction read about five books year while forty-six percent of romance consumers read at least one book a week.
That would explain why the romance industry is booming to the tune of over $1 billion dollars in sales a year, accounting for about one-fifth of all adult fiction. Harlequin, one of the world’s leading romance publishers, issues over 100 titles a month in 34 languages on six continents and to date have shipped more than 6.38 billion books worldwide.
So, I guess that answers the who, but what about the why?
My personal theory is they provide hope. No matter what circumstances the heroine finds herself in, no matter how bleak things are, in the end, love will prevail.
There will always be a happily-ever-after.
In todays’ hectic, unsettled world, we need that underlying message of hope and encouragement. The good guy wins, and the heroine finds her hero proving it is possible to overcome any obstacle in your way, achieve success, and find happiness.
Long live romance!