What? Yes, of course that’s a click-bait title. It worked, didn’t it? You’re here, aren’t you?
There’s been some changes recently to how authors can categorize their works when uploading them on Amazon. Amazon has implemented the following restriction: Do not add books from any Romance category to these categories: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Children’s.
(Children’s? Who puts romance in a children’s book? What the hell is wrong with some of you people?)
And of course the butt-hurt has been epic. A casual scroll through the comments quickly revealed some of the women who write “blended” novels will be putting them in the science fiction and/or fantasy sections rather than the romance section (which is where they probably belong).
But that’s okay. I don’t get my recommendations for what I read from Amazon very often. Usually it’s from people whose taste I know aligns with mine.
They want to write and read that stuff, that’s their business, and I have no problem with their doing so. As long as they don’t scold me for not reading it or invade my space with it, we’ll be fine.
Here’s the type of romance I’m advocating:
That’s from dictionary.com. You’ll notice that I’m not suggesting what in publishing terms in known as a category romance, where two people (these days “people” can be pretty broadly defined) end up united after struggling to overcome great opposition to their being together. These stories always have a happy ending, and their emphasis is on the inner emotional lives of the characters.
The older, some would argue old-fashioned, definition is the one I prefer. There is swashbuckling. There is derring-do. There is adventure, frequently in exotic foreign lands or other planets or realms that never were. There are heroics. There is often a damsel, or a beauty to be won, but there doesn’t have to be. She many times kicks butt without any help while not being portrayed as a man with breasts, but rather retains her femininity. The characters are noble but not perfect. The hero does manly things with manly men, even if he doesn’t have a square jaw.
Hmm, sounds a lot like pulp fiction, doesn’t it?
There was a series of commercials for Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups that got a lot of airplay when I was a kid. They always involved two people, one eating chocolate and the other eating peanut butter, who have a collision. One says “You got your chocolate in my peanut butter.” The other says “You got your peanut butter in my chocolate.” Then they each taste it, like it, and walk off together the best of friends. The tag line was always Two Great Tastes That Taste Great Together.
And when it comes to category romance and fantasy or category romance and science fiction, well, um, no. No, they don’t go great together.
To put it bluntly. I am not interested in the inner emotional lives of women. Or of men. Or of space squids. Or of space raptors, but let’s not go there. I am interested in action, intrigue, adventure, exotic locales, and a hearty dose of the fantastic.
I realize there are people who disagree with me. That’s fine.
It’s a free country, and you can be wrong if you want to. I mean, you’re free to read and write what you like. Just don’t force it on me. And don’t invade my space with it (with space raptors or anything else).
I applaud Amazon for this move. The people whining about it, boo, hiss. I don’t mind a love interest as part of the story. I just don’t want it to be the entire story, or even the central focus of the story. Writing a romance novel with science fiction or fantasy elements and calling it sf or fantasy is, IMNSHO, dishonest. And it’s the quickest way I know to guarantee I’ll never buy another book of yours. Give me old-fashioned romance, with or without a love interest, and you’ve probably got a fan for life.
And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to read what was once called a planetary romance.