I haven’t read the book(s). Though there is a side issue, raised by Julia Molony, which is that romance novels in general (and their sluttier cousins erotica) have been “hijacked” by consumerism. As though it’s not bad enough for women to be swooning over impossibly handsome men with bulging muscles, rapier wit, and the ability to read our minds and bodies at every moment, we also are swept away in rapture by the size of their enormous … wallets.
This disturbs Ms. Molony. If it’s not some glittering duke in his obnoxiously huge castle (with a swanky townhouse in London, natch) or a swaggering hunk of a pirate captaining the largest ship on the seas, it’ll be a ruthless CEO in an Armani suit slitting the financial throats of his competitors. Why can’t heroes be math teachers or cable guys or pharmacists? Must they always supplement their mad bedroom skillz with gifts of expensive jewelry and luxury cars and tropical trips for their ladylurves?
Oh, I don’t know, Julia. Why doesn’t Playboy ever have a 45 year old overweight centerfold? It’s so bothersome…
Actually she’s wrong. Like many writers these days, she has to find something to complain about to get an article published and bashing romance novels is always popular. In fact, there are plenty of ordinary guys in romances. Cops are a big fave and last I heard, they don’t make zillions of dollars. The novel I have slated to read next features a hunky Idaho veterinarian who is holding a kitten on the book cover (he’s bare-chested, so this is very brave). In 27 Dresses the actual hero Kevin was a struggling journalist.
So yeah, there are insanely wealthy men featured in some romance/erotica lit. And there are normal middle class heroes in other books. (True, you probably won’t find the unemployed drug addict. That’s a different genre.) And while back “in the day” romances did over-feature the 17 year old impossibly beautiful slim goddess virgin heroine, that isn’t true now either. You’ll find older women, heavier women, women who’ve been married and divorced, with kids, with problems, et cetera. There are a lot of books out there ~ all kinds of shades of grey, as it were. But sure, take a few and do your selection bias, Julia.
Well, I don’t care anymore what people think of romances/erotica. It’s one of the hottest markets and not easy to break into, despite the piles of trash out there. But that’s true for any genre and even “literary fiction.” This is why I’m thinking of going the self-pub route, for both romance and my other stuff. I work full-time and writing will always be a hobby, not a career, so I don’t want to spend much of my free time on researching various publishing houses, fretting over query letters, making submission/rejection charts, etc. I just want to write when I’m in the mood to write. That’s it.