Why do you buy romance books?
Romance has so many sub-genres these days. I find myself scrolling through more and more choices of what to purchase. This is not only wonderful, but also confusing. It is wonderful to see the romance industry thriving. It is confusing because do I decide by price, a familiar name, or an excerpt?
How do you buy your romance books? As a writer of gay romance, I want to attract more readers. My publisher controls the price of my book, and my name is not that familiar to folks, so what is a poor gal to do? Do you buy books if you engage with the author on social media? Do you buy books if another writer praises it?
To be fair with this inquiry, I turned the question inward. I’m a reader of romances too. I buy my share. Why do I buy romance?
Here are three reasons that came to me:
For Cathartic Release
I did not think about the individual author or the price when this entered my mind. What is this then? It is what I want my product (in this case a romance novel) to deliver.
The promise of why I buy dictates what I buy.
If I know an author writes light and “beachy” books, for example, I might pick her when I want to escape. If I do not know any of the authors, I might skim the books with covers that look as if there is a fun escape to them. I might then compare the prices or read the blurbs to decide my final purchase. Another option is to look at list on Goodreads and Amazon for “escape romances” or “beach reads.”
My favorite romances offer cathartic experiences. I feel purged when I read them. These are the deeply emotional romances, where the heroes might go through some serious shit. I want to go through it with them. My emotions are on a rollercoaster, and I love it. These are also the books I tend to write. I love strong character-driven romances. Any book in my Guy series revolves around emotion and family, for instance.
Other readers, might get this type of cathartic thrill from romantic suspense. Those might be more plot-orientated, where the cathartic release is from the pulse-pounding action. I find it interesting how so many bigtime romance writers went from the emotion-packed romances to the suspenseful ones. Of course, a good novel can have both types of cathartic release.
Buying a book with the promise of hope often makes me choose either the totally sweet, low-angst read, or the romance book where opposites attract. The sweet book is like eating cotton candy—sometimes that is just what I want. But a hopeful read can also be about two people who should not be lovers, but find themselves in love against all odds. I’m not thinking about the enemies-to-lovers trope as much as two main characters who are from vastly different worlds. Because, for example, if the bad boy rocker can love the do-gooder animal rights activist, it means there is hope for any two people out there to fall in love.
I think about my book The Holiday Hoax for a sweet fix. http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6988
My “two world colliding” books do tend to go for enemies to lovers like Exposed or The Last Guy Breathing, but I do think Lovers, Losers and You has a sweeter version of two world’s colliding…
Why else do you buy romances? I’d love to hear your thoughts!