Sunday, October 30, 2011

TSS: Genre Ruminations and NaNoWriMo

romance kitteh

Two of the biggest events in book blogging are behind us, BBAW and Dewey's Readathon; and while I had fun participating in both, I couldn't help but notice that both had a noticeable lack of romance bloggers. Only two romance blogs were shortlisted for Best Romance Blog during BBAW; and of the 249 participants in the Readathon, less than a handful were dedicated romance blogs (that I recognized, anyway). In other reading events and memes, romances seem to be taking a back seat, as well--FridayReads, for example, doesn't have a single romance blogger on staff and the closest thing to a romance novel I've seen on the "Best Read" list is Jane Eyre.

All of this would make one think romance was a small portion of the publishing market and that romance readers and book bloggers were a minuscule and inactive part of the community, but I think even people who don't read romance know that isn't true. Two of the most successful book blogs out there, Smart Bitches Trashy Books and Dear Author, are dedicated romance blogs; and some of the most prolific, well-read, and smart writers I know are romance bloggers.

Are romance bloggers being marginalized in the community, or are they just doing their own thing? I don't know, although I think it's probably a combination of both. If the bloggers running these events specialize in literary fiction or young adult, naturally the prizes and marketing for the event are going to be more prolific within those genres. But the main reason I'm concerned is because, among the more ridiculous things I worry about (aside from what job I'll be qualified for in our dystopian future) is if romance as a genre is dying.

Have you been to a bookstore lately? I admit I haven't because I don't have the monies; but the last time I was in one, it seemed like the romance section was taking a serious hit in shelf space. Even what was there wasn't necessarily romance, but YA and UF. Where haz all the romance gone? Are the sales all digital nowadays? Are people even capable of believe in romance anymore? I'm not sure I want to live in a world where truly romantic novels have to struggle to be noticed even among their own genre.

ANYWAY. I'll be the first to admit that although I still self-identify as a romance reader, I haven't been reading a lot of romance lately. Of what I have read, only a few in the past year have been "really like" books for me. This might have something to do with blogging--other books seem much more shiny when the people you know are also excited about them--but I don't think so. In 2008, I took a bunch of new releases I was really excited about with me on vacation. They included the new Mercy Thompson book, a Christina Dodd novel, and several other romances. On that vacation, my grandfather died and we wound up attending his funeral instead of doing any vacation things. When I got home, I put all those new releases on the shelf and I never finished a single one. I picked a few up and tried to read them but wound up DNF'ing them, and others I just gave up on and donated to the library. I also haven't pre-ordered a single new release since then.

That was really the start of my extended break-up with romances. It's not that I don't like them anymore or aren't interested in them, because I still do want to read romantic stories; and when I do go to the bookstore I buy a lot of romance. But once I have them here, on the shelf, I can't force myself to actually read them.

But the recent lack of romance representation within book blogging in general has inspired me. In the near future, I plan to read a lot more romances and do a lot more features about them here on my blog. I have several ideas in the works, so stay tuned for announcements pertaining to that in the future.

nanowrimo badge

In other news, I plan on participating in National Novel Writing Month this year for the first time. Since I don't currently have a full-time job and aren't in school, I thought this was the perfect time to try something different. What this means for you, my lovely blog readers, is that I probably won't be posting very much this month. I will try to have at least one post a week (even if it's just Schnauzer Saturdays), but I will be focusing mainly on getting my 1600 words a day (cough cough cough) in. Don't worry, though, I'll be back in December with a vengeance!

Are you participating in NaNoWriMo or any other special projects in November?


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