Romance writers, and often readers, deal with some interesting preconceptions on a daily basis, frequently from strangers. Often, though, we deal with the exact same preconceptions from the people in our lives, those who are supposed to make up our support system as we navigate the world of publishing. When it comes to our careers (regardless of how close we are to them otherwise), these people can be split into four groups:
- The Super Supporter
- People in this category are the best. They volunteer to beta read your manuscripts; offer opinions on the text, and cover design, and promotional items, and anything else; talk through contract and other business issues with you; tell their friends about your book when it comes out; participate in your cover reveal and blog tour; share the information on social media without being asked; and really do just about everything they can to support you as an author.
- These are the people who are impressed you wrote a novel, and often no less impressed that it's a romance.
- Sometimes, prejudices make even these people hesitate (before they've read your book), but they will get over themselves and give it a try for the sake of helping you, because you are the part of the equation that matters to them, not the genre you write.
- These people are no less busy than those in the other categories, but they make the time to ask how your projects are doing, and how they can help, and then they do those things.
- This category can include virtual writer friends, who know exactly what it takes, and virtual blogger friends, both of whom will support you along the way because they understand how necessary a support system is.
- Often, these are the people who end up in your acknowledgment pages, and not because the politics of publishing requires that you include them, but because that's just how much they rock.
- These are the people who support you, when they have a spare moment.
- They may even ask about your progress and how to help you, but they'll rarely follow through.
- They're excited you wrote a book! Until they hear it's a romance, and then really, "eh."
- They'll often ask when you'll move on to writing something more "serious."
- Still, they may share the news on social media or possibly purchase a copy of your book. If they get a chance, they may even read it.
- When it comes to your virtual connections, these are the people who will retweet/share your posts, possibly even tweet about exciting moments like a cover reveal themselves, but they won't go all the way to posting about it on their own website.
- If they do actually read your book, though, these people will likely take the time to leave a review, though they often need to be reminded that that's important.
- These people aren't as enthusiastic as the Super Supporters, but they do help out, and they're a nice cushion to have.
- These are the people who, really, are mostly talk. They say they're proud of you, or excited for you, but they can't really be bothered, especially when they hear you write romance, because that's "not real literature."
- These people occasionally believe they fall into group 1, when really they're just a step away from group 4.
- Sometimes, though, they'll retweet or share a post, and you keep them in the loop on your big news in case they have the 5-30 seconds it takes to share.
- They might attend your release parties and will often enter giveaways. When they're not "too busy," they will express how awesome it is you wrote a book, even if it is a romance novel which they will probably never read.
- Some people in this group will be happy to support anything that isn't strictly speaking related to your romance novel—like discussing pros and cons of business decisions you make along the way. That's awesome and very helpful, even if they do look down on you for writing romance (and do a horrible job of hiding it).
- When it comes to the virtual world, these are the fellow authors who interact with you once in a while, but really only because they want you to share news about their projects. Sometimes, if they happen to see it, they might consider retweeting a post about your book.
- These are the people who believe all those horrible stereotypes about romance, like that all of romance is antifeminist, filled with clichés, mindless drivel, porn on paper, etc. They're shocked someone they know to be intelligent would "lower themselves" to writing romance.
- These people care about you as a person but don't have a single clue what it means to be an author—nor do they want to. They'll ask about your projects only if they have pretty much nothing else to say to you.
- These people will absolutely never read your book, because they believe they're too intellectual to read "trash" like that.
- People in this group might do things such as "liking" your Facebook page when prompted, but they will absolutely never interact with anything posted there.
- Sometimes, these people will do you the great honor of buying your e-book. Often when it's on sale.
- Don't get me wrong, I love it when people buy my books! But people in this category make sure you know the great sacrifice they've made by shelling out $1-$3 to "support" the project you've spent years working on, and they often expect effusive gratitude for the gesture.
- These are also people who need a better name! Suggestions welcome.
Of course, the categories are fairly fluid, with ranges within each one. Not everyone falls exclusively into one of the categories above, and some people might jump around. Some people who will absolutely never read your book will turn around and tell their friends all about it. These people are awesome in their own way (and they definitely don't fall into category 4), even if they don't think much of romance. But hey, not every genre is for everybody.
The best people, aside from the Super Supporters, are those who (however reluctantly) actually end up reading your work, recognizing how fantastic it is that you wrote and published a novel, and progressively support you more and more. If you have a romance author in your life, and especially if you've never read a romance novel, please try to stay out of group #4.
- And if you need suggestions for incredible romance novels, for yourself or to help educate those in your life, ask in the comments!
p.s. If you know the episode the first GIF comes from, it's actually a much better visual for group 2 or 3, I know. But out of context, they're excited!