Monday, 5 November 2018

Who Reads Romance Novels?

Who Reads Romance Novels?


By Alyssa J. Montgomery

Romance novels have been outselling every other genre for many years. The most recent figures I found cited Romance/erotica sales as being at US$1.44 billion dollars and Crime coming in at second spot with sales of US$728.2 million. According to the Romance Writers of Australia website, of 10 million books sold each year in the United Kingdom, greater than 7 million are romance novels, and there is a Mills & Boon sold every three seconds in the UK!

So, who are all these voracious romance readers and is there a ‘type’ of person who’s more inclined to read romance?

In a fabulous article for Huffington Post, (see link below), Maya Rodale quoted facts and figures to dispel the notion that “It is a truth universally acknowledged that romance readers are single women in possession of cats and in want of a man”; “younger women who use them as emotional porn”; or “middle aged women who are bored in their marriages and want to fantasise about hard, chiselled men”.

A study of 2000 romance readers, published by the Romance Writers of America found that contrary to all the negative stereotypes, the basic demographic of the romance reader is a well educated woman aged from 25-64 years. 82% of the romance readers surveyed were female and 18% were male. A 2016 ARRA survey revealed that of 275 respondents, only one was male, and 78.1% said that 50% or more of the books they read were romances.

Now, on some level statistics may be interesting—particularly to publishers and authors who are trying to determine the emerging trends in the marketplace. To focus on these figures, however, is to overlook the essence of what makes a romance reader.

I believe the gender, sexual persuasion or age of the romance reader doesn’t matter, nor does their educational level or marital status. As far as I’m concerned, it’s of no consequence as to what sub-genre of romance he or she is likely to enjoy or whether they love billionaires, shape-shifters or cowboys. 

The crucial commonality is that all romance readers love to feel an emotional connection to characters as they read. It’s the emotional journey undertaken by the characters that the romance reader empathises with and finds satisfying. There’s your answer to the question ‘Who reads romances?’

Romance readers are generally compassionate people who feel deeply and possess great empathy. They’re usually positive people who love a happy ending, and have a knack of making others around them happy.

Sound like emotional claptrap? Well, just attend any romance reader event and see the friendships, the shared laughter and the sense of community! It's great to be part of the world of romance reading.

Who reads romance novels?

I do, and I’m betting if you’re reading this, so do you!

Love to love: Romance novels!!
Love to Laugh: Romance novels make me laugh just as much as they make me teary. It’s that satisfying emotional journey that counts!
Love to Learn: What other romance readers are reading and enjoying, especially finding a new author, so leave a comment below and perhaps make a recommendation of three romance novels you’d recommend to someone discovering the genre.


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11 comments:

  1. Hi Alyssa! Thanks for a lovely upbeat post about romance readers and the wonderful camaraderie we enjoy in being members of this 'tribe'.

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    1. It certainly is a great ‘tribe’, Marilyn!

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  2. I am team love romance and have been since i was 15. I suspect i always will.

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    1. I think you will too, Cassie! It’s reflected in your own wonderful novels!

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  3. Hi Alyssa, thanks for such an inspiring article. Two books I’d recommend to new readers of the romance genre are “Flowers from the Storm” by Laura Kinsale and “The Winter Bride “ by Anne Gracie.

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    1. Oh yes, Sharon. Those stories are brilliant!

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  4. Hi Alyssa. I've said it so many times, I'm sure it's a well-known fact by now. I read Cinderella as a preschooler and that was it. Instant love for romantic tales so it was no surprise I discovered Mills & Boon at nine years old. And my reading hasnth changed. Love feel good stories of happily ever after.

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    1. You make a great point, Enisa. We are raised on romance and the HEA in fairytales. You not only love romances, you’ve contributed so much over the years to the romance community through all your involvement with RWAus, and I know I’ve benefitted from your feedback on my early novels. Thank goodness you read Cinderella!

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  5. On the note of wonderful romance reader events and the fun to be had there, I’M looking forward to meeting more fabulous romance readers at the ARRA events in March next year (Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne) and the Booklovers Convention in New Orleans in May. Can’t wait!

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  6. I also love team Romance, and have since I was an early teen. It's not the only genre I read, I also love classics, thrillers, mysteries, inspirationals, girly novels, list goes on and on... But I always come back to romance for my romance fix. Long may it last. Thanks for a super interesting blog, as always.

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    1. Hi Malvina,
      Hope you enjoy another romantic read this weekend!

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