November 30, 2009 1:03 PM   Subscribe

I've got some questions about romance novel blogs. Are there good ones that focus on historical romances, or that look at romances from a feminist perspective? What about blogs that are just plain good (on books or otherwise), and whose writers happen to write about romances from time to time? Are there any bloggers who write about romances and about other kinds of books as well? I'm trying to get a handle on this particular corner of the web, and would appreciate any insight.

I'm trying to figure out if a book I'm editing would be of any interest to romance bloggers. The book I'm working on is nonfiction, and tells the story of a woman in Victorian England who, after falling in love and getting married in a whirlwind romance, was jilted by her husband for another woman and was forced to prove in court that she was ever married in the first place. It doesn't have, as Wikipedia puts it, an "emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending" in quite the same way romance novels do, but it is positive (she was vindicated in court, and went on to have an adventurous career as a novelist and travel writer; she's quite a feminist role model).

I have a hunch that there are readers of romance novels who would really go for this; I'm just trying to figure out if they'd like it because of their interest in romance novels or in spite of it, and if, therefore, I ought to approach romance bloggers with it in the first place.
posted by ocherdraco to Media & Arts (12 answers total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
Smart Bitches, Trashy Books is a great blog written by some extremely sharp feminists. They are really jacked in to the romance novel community and have some great frequent commenters as well (it seems like 1 in 4 of their commenters are novelists themselves!)
posted by muddgirl at 1:09 PM on November 30, 2009 [2 favorites]

I second the rec for the Smart Bitches; I also recommend Dear Author, which is really focused on readers.
I will say, though, that the happily ever after (HEA) ending is incredibly important to a lot of romance readers, so make sure to be totally clear that you don't have one. Hell hath no fury like a romance reader who feels like she was tricked when she picked up a book.
posted by sugarfish at 1:19 PM on November 30, 2009

Thirding Smart Bitches, Trashy Books. One thing you'll notice there is how diverse the interests of romance readers are, and I could see this getting a good reception there.

Seconding Dear Author as another good fit. I am clearly too slow!
posted by asperity at 1:23 PM on November 30, 2009

(Not a romance blogger, but an editor for a romance publisher.)

As a reminder, if/when you contact any of these bloggers, I would make sure to stress that the book you're talking about *is not a romance*. Positive ending for a feminist role model isn't the sort of ending that romance readers are looking for, and they will be mightily pissed if they feel that they've been misled.

A few blogs in addition to Smart Bitches and Dear Author, who are really the romance blog heavyweights.

Historical Romance UK is a group blog written by a bunch of authors of historical romance.

Karen Knows Best is a very opinionated and popular romance blogger. (Mostly romance, though she talks about other things as well.)

Romancing the Blog is another group blog written by romance authors.

Romance by the Blog is a romance review blog.

Coffee Time Romance is a fairly popular blog, as well, with a little bit of everything.

The Misadventures of Super Librarian is a personal blog with occasional book reviews and lots of commentary on romance in general.

If you want a link-dump, let me know--there are about 100 romance-related blogs I read and could send them via memail if you'd like.
posted by MeghanC at 1:52 PM on November 30, 2009

Just a thought - the main character "Rose" in the Titanic movie fell in love but didn't have a happy ending. She then went off and had great adventures after that. How do people classify Titanic? If it's something other than "romance", then that might be a clue for how to classify your book.
posted by CathyG at 1:59 PM on November 30, 2009

Response by poster: That MeMail would be great, Meghan.

If anyone has any examples of nonfiction that's popular with romance readers, or books that lack an explicit HEA but that romance readers like anyway, that would be very helpful, too.
posted by ocherdraco at 2:13 PM on November 30, 2009

I don't have a suggestion for a blog but a friend of mine repeatedly gets called a writer of romance, which is something that makes him cringe. He always corrects people by saying he doesn't write romances, he writes love stories. Perhaps this distinction would be helpful to you.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 4:24 PM on November 30, 2009

Hmm, well I can try to speak to one aspect of this that maybe hasn't been touched on as much: I am a romance reader and I would not read the book as summarized if it was marketed to me through romance blogger channels (which, um, for me basically consists of Smart Bitches), however, I would read it were marketed as a nonfiction story of a woman who went to court to defend herself from charges or whatnot and then had a great life traveling and writing. Maybe some kind of modern day Eat Pray Love thing?

Admittedly, I have no idea what it's about really and I can understand why you want to market to as many outlets and niches as possible, but something that doesn't have a happy ending and is nonfiction to boot? I'm happy to read it, and I read nonfiction voraciously, but the romance blogs would have no impact on my decision to pick it up.
posted by librarylis at 9:49 PM on November 30, 2009

Note: I meant HEA as it's used in the romance genre, not happy ending to the woman's life since obviously she has a happy and fulfilling life beyond that. The HEA is a very closed resolution, though, and this book sounds more complex than that.
posted by librarylis at 9:52 PM on November 30, 2009

Racy Romance Reviews. It's written by a philosophy professor and this bit in the About page just about sums it up:

What you can find here:

1. Reviews of romances I read, often with links to others’ reviews. I tend towards feminist ethical criticism.

2. Reflections and commentaries on the genre.

3. Thoughts about the collection of romance blogs known as Romanceland.

4. Occasional meditations on the academic life, on motherhood, and yes, dear reader, even on my pets.

Also Teach me tonight The tag line of that blog is "Musings on Romance Fiction from an Academic Perspective"

I think those two would be more in the line of what you are looking for, more romance analysis, less blogland drama.

Oh, and your novel wouldn't be classified as a romance, since romance requires some sort of relationship confirmation. It doesn't have to be happy ever after with picket fence and babies galore, a Happy For Now is enough, but she will need to be both happy and in a relationship.

This is what the Romance Writers Association says about the romance genre.

Two basic elements comprise every romance novel: a central love story and an emotionally-satisfying and optimistic ending.

A Central Love Story: The main plot centers around two individuals falling in love and struggling to make the relationship work. A writer can include as many subplots as he/she wants as long as the love story is the main focus of the novel.

An Emotionally-Satisfying and Optimistic Ending: In a romance, the lovers who risk and struggle for each other and their relationship are rewarded with emotional justice and unconditional love.

posted by LenaO at 4:26 AM on December 1, 2009 [2 favorites]

Forgot to say this:
Therefore, Titanic is not a romance, Nicolas Sparks' novels are not romance, and "Love Story" again, is not a romance.
I also just remember something somebody said somewhere in Romancedia, that a novel marketed as romance and doesn't have a happy ending where the main character found love is like a murder mystery where the crime never got sloved.
posted by LenaO at 4:43 AM on December 1, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks, guys. This helps me immensely.
posted by ocherdraco at 6:30 AM on December 1, 2009

« Older This sounds really familiar...   |   How can I get myself to stop rationalizing bad... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.