If you read or write romance, I want you to go outside right now, stand in the middle of your street, fling your arms in the air and shout "I love romance!" Shout it loud and proud. Make sure every person for miles hears you.
Okay, okay, I'm exaggerating but as romance lovers, I think that's what we have to do.
We have to be proud of the romance genre.
We have to hold our head up and meet gazes head on when people ask what we do and we respond 'romance writing.'
We have to proudly display that cover of a bare-chested hero in a steamy embrace with a gorgeous heroine while we're reading on the train.
We are romance ambassadors, every single one of us.
Last night, I was interviewed by several journalists in India to coincide with Harlequin Mills and Boon's 100th anniversary and the writing competition they've just launched there (more about that on Monday.)
The interviews went for 50 minutes total with a wide array of questions and the one thing that struck me, that has struck me repeatedly when I've done library talks or been a guest speaker elsewhere, is how fabulous romance is and how lucky I am to be part of it.
It's a genre that generated $1.375 billion dollars last year, with the biggest seller being contemporary series romance (Mills and Boon series romances), with 25.7% of the romance pie, followed by contemporary romance 21.8%, historical romance 16%, paranormal 11.8%, inspirational 7.1%, romantic suspense 4.7% with other subgenres to follow.
Harlequin sold 130 million books worldwide, equating to 1 book every 4 seconds and is the biggest romance publisher in the world.
These are statistics to be proud of.
These are statistics we should know as romance ambassadors.
Say it loud and say it proud.
"I love romance!"
That's my 'write not-so-whisper' for the day.