If romance makes the changes that should have been made centuries ago, if romance opens its publishing houses and agencies and offers the same opportunity to authors of color as it does to white authors right now, we take away the excuse that it won’t work.
Why aren’t these books marketed as romance novels and why do so many stories have love-story plots or subplots but scoff at the ones that do so intentionally?
Romance is for the women of the world who don’t get to hear their stories told nearly enough. It’s for all people whose stories are silenced, it’s a beacon of hope and optimism when things seem really, really bad.
The Annual Romance Writers of America Conference makes up for a year of lonely workdays in a single week. I’ve been home from the conference for a few days now and I can officially look back and discuss some of the themes, trends, and moods that I witnessed this year and what excites me most about being part of the romance writers community.
We’re still here.
A year after the RITA awards were acknowledged as problematic and promoting of a biased system, we are once again, as a romance industry, fighting for inclusivity and equal opportunities for all authors.
If I were to explore one topic that ultimately ended up at the core of the story, it is this: Romance is a reflection of the world around it.
This is the only industry where those who don’t have to be nice, are.
Through that long and lasting journey, romance has cultivated a reputation. For the diehard enthusiast, it is a positive one – a love for books that represent female stories, friendships and love. For the uneducated, myths abound about the role of romance and how it impacts our world.
I’d like to set a few of those straight.
Because there is a fine line between being alone to write and being lonely.
The discussion is ongoing, but the panel was insightful, educational and full of actionable steps that authors, readers, and industry professionals can take to further an fully inclusive, fully intersectional romance genre.