How Much Do People Hate Fantasy-Romance?

With the passion of a thousand suns?

Tonight I realized how many people actually hate the fantasy-romance subgenre (while lots of people seem to hate erotica just as much, sadly), and I found myself wondering two things. 1) Are my romances written poorly? 2) Do so many people hate fantasy-romance that I don’t even have much of an audience anyway???

I keep wondering how many people started to read one of my books, realized it had strong romantic elements, then barfed and put it down. There are a few people who’ve had my books on their shelves for weeks now, after all. Maybe they’re just too nice to tell me they hate romance and don’t like my book, in which case I wish they would just tell me (I’mma big girl, I can take it) so I can continue without wondering.

I keeping thinking about the anti-romance fans who read my work – unaware that it was romance – and reacted with “Ughhhhhh romance.”

Is all this groaning just a matter of taste? Or do I deserve it because I suck at writing romance?

As I said a while ago (on a post I may have deleted), romance is actually really hard to write. It’s hard to write well, anyway. So as a result, it has this reputation for being really, really bad simply because so many people get it wrong.

One problem with romance is that it’s hard to avoid being cheesy, cliché, or unrealistic, because for most people, writing is escapism and people wind up writing about love the way they want it to be instead of the way it actually is.

I think when I was younger I wrote about love the way I wanted it to be. Now I write about love the way it is – or I try to, anyway. I write about all different couples in different situations. Some couples start the story as strangers (Rigg and Lisa), while others have been together for a while (Wareska and Shadow), and still others start the story kinda disliking each other (Holonie/Elbryn, Mycaela/Rinnev, even Parmida/Azra a little).

I’m currently in the middle of a humorous story about a supernatural married couple who’s been bickering for centuries but stays together because they can’t be without each other. It’s actually really hard and kinda frustrating to write and mostly just exists right now for a laugh, something I work on between taking breaks from Dreamweaver.

Dreamweaver is also a fantasy romance. There’s a plot and Zorya has an ultimate goal, but the story is really about her journey toward finding acceptance through love and learning what it means to be human (instead of fancying herself a goddess and torturing random people because she can). Her love interest teaches her what it is to be human through teaching her kindness and compassion and mercy. I think it could be a great story, but I keep hearing anti-romance fans in the back of my head, barfing and groaning and whining because every single chapter I write isn’t about a sword fight.

Should I have to feel guilty, embarrassed, or ashamed because Ienjoy writing fantasy-romance??? What really sucks is knowing that people will actively avoid my novels with the assumption that they must be bad just because they have strong romances. It’s not like my novels don’t already carry the stigma of being self-published. Now their genre is working against me too?

What’s ironic about Tales of Talithia is that it was always my intention to spin five novels off it that weren’t romances, even though the first book itself is erotica.

Sometimes I wonder if TOT isn’t garbage. I know for a fact that I’ve written better erotica. If it’s bad, it’s because I was rushed. Later I will go back and revise it, make it better, more steamy, more romantic. But every book that spins off it will be an epic adventure, detailing the story of each hero born of the characters featured in the first book. The one thing that sucks is that people might think the five novels are erotic just because TOT was.

That the following series is not erotica is gonna be -sigh- hard to get across.