“It is a truth universally acknowledged that romance readers are single women in possession of cats and in want of a man.”
I read a great article several months ago, which separated the myth and reality of the Romance Novel Reader. It also brushes on the ‘type’ of person who reads romances. I had it bookmarked to send to friends who mocked me for my reading habits, but lately I’ve come to realize that there are, in fact, some pretty identifiable categories that romance readers fall into.
These are the five that I encounter the most often:
I respect the hell out of stay-at-home parents. I can barely handle taking care of myself most days, so to take care of yourself and other, small human beings? Mad props. So yeah, these awesome parents deserve some downtime to kick back and read a book, and romance is a great choice.
Maybe they’re bored with their marriage, or looking for some excitement now that the fire has gone out of the bedroom. Or maybe they have a fantastic relationship, and they just want to read something sweet. And there’s the added bonus that romance novels are easy to pick up and put down, which means you can change the baby’s diaper and not lose focus.
I used to be this person… especially back before e-readers were so popular. You’re reading a book in a café or on the bus, but the cover has Fabio and a skinny blonde entwined on the cover, and you just know everyone is judging you.
Ebooks make this easier, because the only way anyone can tell what you’re reading is if they ask or if they read over your shoulder (creepy!). But STAND TALL, BLUSHING ROMANCE READER! Because I can pretty much guarantee that someone else in that café would love to chat with you about the dashing hero and beautiful heroine!
Yes, I’m guilty of this sometimes. I’m out in public, and someone asks me what I’m reading. “Oh, you’ve probably never heard of it,” I respond.
Unless it’s Nora Roberts, or the person asking is a big romance reader, this answer probably holds true most of the time. But there are also people who make it their goal to only read indie. Book hipsters.
Good on you for reading non-mainstream and supporting indie authors, but telling whoever is asking a summary of the book might get that author a new fan… or maybe you’ll ramble on for half an hour about the characters, their eyes will glaze over, and they’ll learn to never interrupt your reading again.
You know what I’m talking about… the romance reader who devoured 50 Shades. The one who has a perfectly satisfactory vanilla relationship but craves the raunchy erotica of a romance novel.
I actually see this a lot. Women who love reading filthy smut, but would never admit it in real life. Some of them just like the idea of it, and get a thrill out of the forbidden, but others are genuinely learning something new about themselves, and it’s something they’re only comfortable exploring in fiction for now.
Isn’t this why so many people read… to escape and daydream for a few hours? The dreamers are the ones who are so frequently attacked by non-romance novel readers. They may be single, or they may be married, but they fantasize about having a handsome man sweep them off their feet, or a beautiful woman fall madly in love with them at first sight. These are the readers who want billionaires and werewolves, who fall asleep at night wishing tomorrow will bring true love.
I really love meeting readers who dreamers. It’s beautiful that people still believe in the idea of true love. Most of these dreamers are realistic, too; they know the real world doesn’t work the same as a romance novel… but they keep on hoping that maybe, one day, their prince (or princess!) will come along!
What kinds of romance novel readers have you encountered? Are you one of the types above, or something else entirely?
Books used for banner backgrounds, in order:
Billionaire’s Jet Set Babies, by Catherine Mann
Shh!, by Stacey Nash
I Want You To Want Me, by Erika Kelly
Cuffs, by Georgie Tyler
The Pirate’s Desire, by Jennette Green