I read about people all over the place being in reading slumps. I’ve seen reviewers on major, long-established book blogs saying they’re not reading much at the moment, that they’re burnt out and struggling to find books that interest them.
So I assumed some of my own thoughts about recent fads in romance fiction were held by a lot of people.
One thing I know I’m in the minority on is romance covers. I hate many of them, and disagree with authors who argue it’s not the naked-people covers turning people away from the genre. (I say this because *I* didn’t read romance for years – mostly because of the trashy covers.)
However, after thinking I just had no clue what most readers enjoyed, I’m starting to think it’s actually the publishers who are doing crazy things to the genre and turning devoted readers away.
Recently I blogged about Avon’s bizarre Wish List for Historical Romances, which really should have been named What Not to do When Writing Historical Romance, if readers’ opinions are anything to go by. It’s no wonder people are struggling with many recent historical romances if this is what publishers are asking for.
Now I’ve been reading the editors’ threads over at the Harlequin discussion forums, and I’m confused all over again.
While I agree on some points, many of the themes and tropes they’re requesting more of are the EXACT tropes many people say they hate. I know I can’t speak for everyone, but I’ve seen enough people ridiculing these tropes to know they’re largely out of date.
Some of the tropes they’re requesting more of:
Secret Babies. Amnesia. Twins and Triplets.
The secret baby trope, particularly in contemporary stories (which is what they’re requesting them for) is just awful. Almost 100% of the time, that secret baby is the hero’s. Heroes aren’t known for being so evil a woman could be justified hiding his child from him. Either the hero or the heroine in this type of book has to be an awful person, and then I definitely don’t want to read about them getting together.
Even though I just reviewed a good book involving amnesia, amnesia is the joke trope, and the one you’ll find quoted most often in articles ridiculing the romance genre. The romance world’s version of amnesia is nothing like the reality of the condition, to the point it’s often insulting to read.
As for the multiple babies, I know there’s a certain readership who still loves that sort of thing. But if Harlequin is on the lookout for new generations of readers, they might want to rethink the number of that type of book they put out there!
It just seems to me that every time I read an article written by an editor with a major publisher, their idea of fixing the romance genre is to keep on doing exactly what readers don’t want!