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Whilst I was linking up to that old Elizabeth Bevarly post, I decided to actually go and look at the last non-spam comment on her column. This was from an anonymous author, and took me slightly aback:

When she says that she doesn’t attract the same readership as an erotic romance author, it seems to me that she’s saying that people who read traditional romance don’t read anything else. Is that your interpretation?

Does she have a point? How true is her statement? Would readers who only read traditional romance be put off by the presence of an erotic romance author at a booksigning?

Now these are serious questions, so if you feel the need to post anonymously, go forth and do so, because I’m looking for frank and honest answers.


  • Dawn
    June 2
    10:45 am


    What does she mean by traditional romance? The type that fades to the next morning the minute the hero tries to go any further than laying a masterful kiss on the woman? Your average Mills & Boon Presents?

    Anyway, read both romantica and “straight” romance, I flip between them. But even if I did only read plain romance, I wouldn’t let the fact that my fave author was sitting next to an erotica author put me off. Jeez, are these women gonna suffer from the vapours or are their eyes going to burn out of their sockets if they lay them on a writer of smut.

    Grow up for Christ’s sake!

    This anonymous author is talking out of her ass as far as I’m concerned. She’s losing out because of her “principles”. IMO


  • Ann Wesley Hardin
    June 2
    11:35 am

    I was recently at the huge RT booksigining, and while I felt lucky to be sitting next to a Blaze author (only because we wouldn’t feel uncomfortable with each other for any reason) my impression was that romance readers turn out no matter what.

    I highly doubt my presence next to an Inspie author, if that had been how it worked out, would’ve made anyone afraid to approach her. I mean, I showered and wore a suit ya know? Now maybe if the erotica author wore chains, bustiere and a holster with a whip…

    People who form these crazy opinions need to ask themselves: Would an Inspie author keep an erotica fan away? Would a male romance author scare Lesbian readers away? The whole idea is absurd, if you ask me.

    Why, there was even an African American *gasp* author nearby. Did I witness any white flight? Um, nope.

    Karen, you know I’m usually too scared to respond to anything even faintly controversial. Don’t know if I’m being brave or stupid this time. I even posted links to the rabid fangirl issue–basically because I want to write a new book and had to leave something for my handful of faithful followers *gg*

    I wonder what next week will bring?


  • Valeen
    June 2
    12:10 pm

    My understanding is this anonymous author is saying that her readers are so fanatical about having tunnel vision on traditional romances that they couldn’t possibly wish to stand next to someone who may wish to read something sinful in case it rubs off.

    I think there are readers out there who’d think this, there’s foolish people involved in everything. But what? Maybe one in an entire group of readers who’d make a fuss?


  • Milady Insanity
    June 2
    12:11 pm

    Either I’m stupid, or she is, because I can’t figure out why it would matter!

    And I want to know the answer to Dawn’s question too: What does she define as traditional romance?


  • Tilly Greene
    June 2
    12:49 pm

    I was so very disappointed in reading these comments.

    “Anonymous”, it will come as a big surprise to you but the world does not evolve around you and your likes. My advice is to stop finding evil and conspiracies that keep you down at every step and work on your own thing, and then you will be proud to put your name to your beliefs.

    So lets see, will a “traditional” romance reader not show up at a booksigning/event because of an “erotic” romance presence – NO! It seems to me the box bookstores are doing very good business these days so the readers must still showing up there to buy their favorites – despite being GASP! mixed on the shelves.

    In my wee erotic romance authors brain it believes that if a reader is a fan, wants to meet you, talk to you, get your autograph, [and don’t forget has the time and money to get there] then they will show up. If they like your books, will purchase them but don’t feel the need to meet you or have your autograph [or the money and time], then they won’t.

    HA! I am betting this author is alphabetically right next to a really hot erotic author and does not have as many fans! Chin up “anonymous” if the publisher is still contracting your work then you have at least one fan that wants your autograph 🙂

    As for what “anonymous” sees as a “traditional” romance…I think it is any romance that is not sensual nor honest in its sexual aspects and goodness gracious does not use “those words”.


  • Shiloh Walker
    June 2
    12:53 pm

    It would be my guess if she really thinks her readers would be turned off because she’s sitting next to an erotic romance author… then she doesn’t have too many faithful readers, then. Might sound a little harsh, but it’s been my experience that if a romance reader loves a particular author, neither hell nor high water will keep her from meeting her if the chance comes up.

    I’ve met people who’ve driven three hours to meet authors they enjoy. People who go to RT spend hundreds of dollars and a lot of them are readers, not authors, not aspiring authors. They go to meet their authors.

    Yes, I’ve had some people approach me who once they found I wrote erotic romance they weren’t too interested in my books, but that didn’t stop them from going to the people sitting beside me that wrote the more traditional type of romances.

    Chances are she’s the type who thinks somehow sitting by an erotic romance author will contaminate her.

    Just as well~who wants to sit next somebody that uptight?


  • Jade James Truth or Dare
    June 2
    1:57 pm

    I agree with Shiloh. I don’t think she has faithful readers who are willing to go down and meet her.

    She’s making erotic authors sound like a disease. If she’s so turned off by knowing erotic authors will be there, then you know what don’t show up.

    Because like I said if you had faithful readers who would do anything to meet you, then who your sitting next to shouldn’t be a problem.


  • azteclady
    June 2
    2:10 pm

    Swimming against the current, I do think that the anonymoust author has a point. Before the stoning, let me see if I can explain what I think is her point:

    First, if I understood correctly, anonymous is not talking just about huge events like RT, but smallish ones like those held at your local B&N perhaps, with a couple of authors at a time.****

    How often people who read romance bemoan the clinch covers and the disdain they get from all and sundry if they are seen holding one of those trashy romance books? Quite often I read about people not reading a book in public because the cover is just too lurid, regardless of the quality of the story inside (check the Smart Bitches cover snark, for example).

    These people, people who spend good money month after month on romance novels, are ashamed of what they read already. They are fans, and may even be rabid fans of a particular author, but they are also ashamed of their reading material.

    It is no stretch to imagine many of them hearing about a booksigning that includes one of those *gasp* erotica authors and being scared away from meeting other authors they do like.

    Second, from the tone of the comment, this is probably a midlist author, someone who sells enough books to get a contract for the next, but not one of the big names–her position in the industry is likely shaky as it is, which I don’t think helps with self confidence.

    I don’t think she made a statement about her own opinion on whether erotica is romance or not–though she did make a sweeping generalization; there are many more people who read widely different subgenres that she seems to think.

    ****And let me say that any bookstore manager who organizes a book signing with authors of radically different books deserves to be stoned for stupidity.


  • Rosie
    June 2
    3:03 pm

    I have to say my opinion falls more along the lines of azteclady. I do think some fans might not approach an author if the writer is seated next to someone they don’t like…for alot of different reasons, being an erotic writer next to a traditional romance writer could be one of the reasons.

    OTOH, Shiloh makes a good point about fans in general. If you really like an author and have gone to great lengths to meet them it is unlikely that where and who they are seated with will make a difference.

    So at the end of the day, both things are true, yes it will probably make a difference to some fans and to a writer trying to get better known it could hurt. But if it bothers your readership to the extent they don’t want to approach your table, then you got bigger worries than where you are seated.


  • Eve Vaughn
    June 2
    4:23 pm

    Respectfully speaking, I think this author is full of it. Does she think she’ll catch erotic cooties by sitting next to an erotic author? The fact that she didn’t post her names shows me that she doesn’t stand by her own convictions.

    I write erotic romance, but I’m also an avid reader and to tell the truth, I enjoy tradition, “sweet romances” as much as I enjoy the hot stuff. Heck I even enjoy a well written inspirational romance.

    It sounds like she’s a little misinformed. I don’t know what the deal is. Give the readers a little more credit. They know what they want. If they want erotica they’ll find it, if they want traditional, they’ll also find it.

    I think it shows a lack of maturity on her part that she can’t see that there’s room for everyone and most people like variety. I think this underlines one of the very reasons there’s so much cattines and back biting in this industry. Instead of uplifting each other we’re too busy tearing other people down.


  • azteclady
    June 2
    6:12 pm

    Eve Vaughn, please forgive me but I find these two statements rather ironic, myself:
    a)”Respectfully speaking, I think this author is full of it.”
    b)”I think this underlines one of the very reasons there’s so much cattines and back biting in this industry. Instead of uplifting each other we’re too busy tearing other people down.”

    No foolin’

    But maybe I’m having a Pollyanna/blonde moment, because I still don’t see that anonymous attacked erotica nor erotica authors in her comment. To quote, “My only deal with erotica is simple and market driven.”

    As far as I can see (and granted, I may be misreading her all the way to hell), she’s not passing judgement on erotica or its authors at all. She’s saying that her readers are timid and would be ashamed of being seen in the vicinity of an erotica author–presumably because of the explicit covers?

    I am not sure I have the answers to Karen’s original questions, but if what I read online mirrors even partially what happens in the real world, I think that even some people who read erotica may avoid erotica authors in person. Not everyone–maybe even a rather smallish percentage of romance readers as a whole–is brave enough to admit to all and sundry that hell, yes, s/he reads romance of all stripes, so what?

    Anecdotical evidence (trash bin near the door for proper disposal of such): my mother was a librarian and her father was a diplomat and a poet. For decades I got drummed into my head that romance novels were trash. The literary snobbery quotient in my family is sky high. It’s only in the past five years or so that I’ve stopped hiding my reading preferences from everyone in my life. However, I’ve been reading romance and other trashy books for almost three decades.

    So I can relate to the hordes of timid readers who may wish desperately for the cojones to step up to that table and ask for authographs from both the traditional romance (whatever that may be for her/him), and the erotica authors.


  • Jaci Burton
    June 2
    7:16 pm

    I participated in a group book signing for my local Romance Writer’s of America chapter a year ago. There were about 10 authors, myself included. I was the only author there who writes erotic romance. There were mainstream authors present as well as several inspirational and traditional authors.

    No one gasped in horror when I took my seat next to an inspirational author. No ones readers shunned me. No author looked down on me.

    Everyone was charming, gracious and friendly.

    Some of my readers came a long way to see me and buy my books. I believe they also bought books from some of the authors there. I also believe some people there had books from me as well as the traditional authors.

    Imagine that…everyone buying was just ‘a reader’ and lover of books.

    My covers didn’t horrify anyone…of course they weren’t trashy at all, despite how a lot of people label erotic romance.

    Or maybe it was just this particular group of authors and their readers embody the true Christian spirit and didn’t pass judgement on me because of what I write. If only more were like that.

    Just one person’s experience, for what it’s worth.


  • Ann Wesley Hardin
    June 2
    8:55 pm

    There were high-quality fabric bookcovers for sale at RT. I noticed men using them *gg*.

    Have to say I’m glad EC is putting out gorgeous, more mainstream covers no one would be ashamed to display!


  • Julie Leto
    June 2
    10:21 pm

    My experiences are very much like Jaci’s. My local chapter has group signings all the time and we have EC authors, inspie authors, romantic suspense, sexy romance, historical, chick lit, all bunched together. Who sells the most? Just depends. Do some readers hang back? Who knows? According to the booksellers I’ve dealt with over the years, LOTS of readers hang back and buy copies after the signing is over.

    I understand this anonymous author’s concerns, esp. if she is an inspie author, though I didn’t get that impression, but I don’t think one or two sales makes a hill of difference.


  • Eve Vaughn
    June 2
    10:58 pm

    azteclady, I forgive you although my first comment was meant sarcastically, I guess that’s the problem with communicating online, it gets lost in translation.

    I stand by my second comment. Her point may make sense to her and you, but not to me. I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree on this topic. Making sweeping generalizations is the fastest way to get anyone’s back up.

    -I do not want to sit by an erotica author or an erotic romance author at booksignings or attend events that publicize her books because WE DO NOT ATTRACT THE SAME READERSHIP

    How does she know what other books her readers buy? As I stated in the above post, she’s doing a discredit her readers by pigeon-holing them and I think herself if she limits herself if she boycotts events that have erotic writes, that’s just about every major book lovers conference in the country. Perhaps I’m the pollyanna, because the way I see it, she’d have to do smaller signings, or single author signings because she’d rather risk losing potential readers who attend large cons because she thinks so little of her readers to not know that they have minds of their own to choose what they want to read. It’s really too bad anon hasn’t realized that yet.


  • Desiree Erotique
    June 2
    11:42 pm

    Whether we attract the same readership or not, I -as an erotica writer- would never consider not sitting beside someone in any situation due to differences in our literary work. And if my readers were to avoid approaching me because some traditional romance writer is sitting next to me, then shame on them.


  • azteclady
    June 3
    12:24 am

    Eve, I got the sarcasm, truly I did.

    The point I was unable to convey is that I think that you are doing with that comment exactly what you accuse anonymous of doing.

    As I said in my first comment, I agree with you on the generalization issue–it is anonymous’s loss not to realize the wide diversity of romance readers out there.

    But just as there’s reverse snobbery, there’s reverse generalization. Her experience (or maybe her assumption, since I really can’t tell whether she does speak from experience), may very well be the opposite from Shiloh’s, Jaci’s and Julie’s. I don’t think it is a universal truth, but it may very well be the truth as anonymous has lived it.

    Desiree, my impression (again based solely on anecdotical evidence), is that people who have reached the point of not caring what others think of their reading/writing choices or tastes, are much less likely to be stopped from doing what they want, the rest of the world be damned. If I’m reading anonymous’s comment right, she’s not anywhere close to that, and therefore she is assuming that her readers aren’t either.

    Of course, we all know what happens when one assumes–again, anonymous’s loss.

    I guess what I’ve been trying to say is that I don’t get hatred nor disgust towards erotica nor its authors from anonymous’s comment. What I get is underlying despair that her readers are such a timid lot that they wouldn’t dare approach her were she sitting next to an erotica author at a signing. Isn’t that sad?

    PS In my previous comment I said that “I’ve been reading romance and other trashy books for almost three decades.” I wish I had worded that better–that is most of my family’s opinion on romance, mystery, fantasy, science fiction, etc. I do not think these genres are trash at all, though there are poorly written books of all kinds, IMO.


  • Eve Vaughn
    June 3
    2:01 am

    –Eve, I got the sarcasm, truly I did.

    The point I was unable to convey is that I think that you are doing with that comment exactly what you accuse anonymous of doing.—

    I understood what you meant the first time. I guess it was misunderstood that I did that on purpose. It looks just as bad when it’s done to that person as when the person does it. Again, I’ll say lost in translation. It’s hard to convey intention and thought through the internet.


  • Stacy~
    June 3
    2:21 am

    I had to take a moment and compose myself because anonymous really tweaked my temper. So now that I’ve had a moment, I can (try to) be mature in my response.

    I read all across the romantic genres: sweet, sensual, erotic and everything in-between and sideways (suspense, paranormal, etc) and most of the people I know also have varied tastes. So the comment about her readers only reading one form of the genre wasn’t completely accurate – unless she had, say, 2 fans, and even then she runs the risk of being at least 50% wrong.

    Next weekend, I will be going to Ohio to Lori Foster’s 2nd annual get-together. Included in the list of almost 50 authors is a wide range of tastes: Lora Leigh, Erin McCarthy, Cathy Liggett, Madeleine Oh (Rosemary Laurey), Susan Crandall, Dianne Castell (sadly, Shiloh won’t be there). I attended last year, where I first discovered Shiloh’s books, was already a fan of Lora’s, and picked up a couple of inspirational titles to add to the old tbr mountain. The atmosphere was welcoming and encouraging, and maybe I wasn’t paying too close attention but I didn’t feel that any of the authors were slighted for any reason. I would be truly surprised if an author who was there wouldn’t wish to be seated next to someone who writes erotica.

    As for my opinion on anonymous’ comments – I didn’t sense despair or sadness, but an almost acusing tone as to why readers didn’t approach her, as if there had to be some other reason other than herself, and that’s what I find sad. Please don’t blame another author, another genre, or the full moon if your fans don’t approach you. It very well could have been the fact that you did not have a smile on your face, for all you know. Pointing fingers doesn’t get you fans, either.


  • Millenia Black
    June 3
    1:18 pm

    Well, I don’t mind reading both and I’m not sure I agree that most readers of one genre are so stringent that they steer clear of the other.


  • Reese
    June 3
    9:39 pm

    God I hate when these writers who are all over the Romance blogs will write something anonymously because they feel that what they have to say is controversial.

    What the hell is wrong with having an opinion and standing behind it? This woman doesn’t sit beside an erotica writer for fear of losing readers. Doesn’t want to give her name for fear of losing readers.

    Get a fuckin backbone, bitch.


  • Eva Gale
    June 3
    9:59 pm

    What I’m getting from this is that there are a TON of women out there who still won’t buy a box of condoms.

    Meaning, if you can’t walk up to an author because an erotica author is next to her, then you can’t manage to buy a box of condoms.



  • Lauren Dane
    June 3
    11:40 pm

    I don’t think booksigning events are that mysterious or daunting. Most readers of romance read across the spectrum. And that doesn’t necessarily mean inspirational to erotic but certainly I know *I* read everything from closed door regencies to hot erotics.

    When I go to a signing as a reader and see multiple authors, I might browse through to see if I’d be interested but if I was interested, most certainly who the author was sitting next to would have nothing to do with my choice.

    Simply put, I think the argument is a straw man. Readers are so much smarter than people give them credit for. Certainly, I fail to see how any of them would run screaming from an author they liked if she was seated next to someone who wrote a genre they didn’t. It’s just not something I find a credible worry.


  • Karen Scott
    June 4
    12:03 am

    My take on Ms Anonymous’s claim that her readers would be put off if she was sat next to an erotic romance author is this… wait for it..

    Maybe her fans just aren’t that into her.

    Because if they were, nothing would stop them from going to her table.

    Either that, or the readers are just plain embarrassed to be there in the first place, let alone being seen to be associating with authors who write ‘those’ books.

    Whatever, I’d say this points more to her inability to inspire loyalty in her readers than anything else.


  • Bam
    June 4
    2:30 am

    Maybe it’s because she thinks erotic romance writers are whores and she’s so goddamn pure. Like it’s the 19th century and her good reputation will be tarnished if she sat too close to them.

    What an asshole.


  • Jazz
    June 6
    7:00 pm

    WOW, what a thing to say! I don’t really understand how an author can say that, how can she judge what everyone reads? What makes her think just cause she doesn’t write erotica that her readers don’t read it? Me personally? I enjoy it all, traditional romance (which I’m assuming is what we’re calling non erotic romance) romantica, and straight up erotic stories. And there is no shame in that. If anything I would think it might drum up more buisness for her, who’s to say that someone going to the erotica book signing doesn’t happen to also like her type of writting and then picks up one of her books. You know all erotica readers are smutty pervs! But honestly it’s a good thing the author posted anonymously because if I knew who she was I might just not buy her books anymore because of her comments.
    The only exception is if this author is an inserational romance author. Which would still make her comments rude and judgmental but at least I would kinda get where seh was going with it all.

    I really like your blog! I’m adding you to my blogs I visit on my page! Always looking for some honest fun blogs to read.


  • Jazz
    June 6
    7:02 pm

    You know all erotica readers are smutty pervs

    I meant to say “aren’t smutty pervs” lol, my bad. ha ha.


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  • R. Theda
    June 6
    9:16 pm

    OK – here’s a comment from a reader of erotica – posted anonymously because no way would I feel comfortable admitting publicly what I’m going to write.

    So, all the fuss about a certain series of erotic romance finally got me to take a peek at this genre (I usually read newspapers, historical novels, sci fi, magazines, and I’m a big fan of arts & letters daily). So I never would even walk by the romance section of my bookstore. Then I read the first Shades novel and was really quite surprised by a couple of things — 1) it really wasn’t very well written and 2) I didn’t much care because – well – it was hot! Kind of like in a wake-up call kind of way.

    The result of the read? Renewed romance between my husband and me (which we are both enjoying immensely), and a real interest in finding well-written erotica. I’ve been exploring the genre a bit and finding what my tastes are and buying erotic romance novels primarily through my Kindle.

    If my kids got a hold of my Kindle I would be horrified!

    I hate the covers of erotic novels. I wish more books would have a cover like the Shades series. Frankly, my imaginary vision of the characters doesn’t need a cover illustration, and usually the illustration is too cliche and doesn’t quite fit what my imaginary ideas are. And I don’t want to be seen buying books with covers like that. That’s one reason I like my Kindle.

    Maybe one day I won’t be so embarrassed about this.

    So perhaps you can be a bit more understanding of readers who are not quite comfortable being seen with their head in a sexual book in public.

    Would I avoid a book signing? You bet. But I’ll still read the books – so don’t worry too much. Just keep writing the good stuff – and I’ll find them! Thanks for listening!


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