Saturday, December 20, 2008


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.


Anonymous said...

Who doesn't love statistics when they look like that?

Anonymous said...

Oops that last comment was from me :)


Gina said...

l am one who can shout it in the street. I LOVE ROMANCE thanks for the stats

Monique Wood said...

It's funny, we were discussing this topic at our writers' lunch the other day. We really need to fight the negative opinions of the genre.


Dena said...

I might have shouted it if it weren't snowing right now and it's freezing outside. I think snow is pretty but I hate the cold! Did I mention that I really hate the cold?
With statistics for sales so huge you would think the snobs and other naysayers would stop talking trash about Romance! It really makes me mad when hear people say Romance isn't real writing. I Love Romance too!!!!!! Wolfgang Puck would say at the end of his show; Live, love, eat! I like Live, Love, Read!

Eric said...

Oh I don’t know Nicola. I was just outside. I could hear some moron in the next street ‘playing’ burnout ‘games.’ My guess is that he looks at the pictures Hot Rod Magazines and probably Man. I don’t think we need more evangelists wanting to cry aimlessly around here.

Better to display confidence and demonstrate our correctness by keeping on course with a full set of sails. Those with their heads screwed on will know to follow. The remainder can flounder in our wake. Who cares what the three of them say to each other. For every knocker there are at least six quiet, determined, passionate supporters who comfortably carry the romance movement. You do so much to promote romance being available on the shelf. Your words always offer courage and hope. You remind me why I’m happy to set this course. --- Thank you, Eric

Nicola Marsh said...

You guys are all fabulous :)

Proud supporters of romance are!

rayannelutenerblog said...

I found myself having to explain the value of romance fiction to business folk - and they certainly understood the economics of why I am thrilled to be published by Mills and Boon.
109 markets in 26 languages - oh yes, they could well understand why I would want me some of that!
The fact that I love the genre and consider myself blessed - that is just between us. LOL

Nicola Marsh said...

The business side is certainly a great argument, Rayanne.

I'm with you :)

Joanne said...

I don't bother justifying myself anymore (although I think I'll keep a copy of those fab stats!). I just tell my friends that "I love romance", easy!

Cheers, Joanne