Typecasting Readers

I read a comment in a blog the other day that advised writers to read outside their genre and made the comment that romance readers were more like to read Harlan Corben than visa versa (or was it the other way around?) Either way, I was a little offended. I read both (love Harlan & I've read every one of his books) and I realized that to categorize a reader is just ludicrous. I'm not a "romance reader" or a "Harlan Corben reader." That would be like saying, "I'm a corn-flakes-box reader." I'm a reader.

It seems silly to me to put readers in a box. You've got "romance readers" over here and Harlan Corben readers over there, segregating them as though they can only be one thing. Today I may be a romance reader, tomorrow it may be science fiction, the day Harlan's new book comes out, I will be a Harlan Corben reader (I'm rabid about his books.) The day after it may be Frank Turner Hollon. Or Dean Koontz. Or Barbara Hambly. Or Milton Friedman. (all of these authors have books on my keeper shelf.) And I think that when someone says it's a stretch for a Harlan Corben reader to pick up a Jennifer Crusie, they've bought into the propaganda that romance isn't as "smart" as other genres. Too many people already look down on romance, just as they looked down on SF&F in the 30s and 40s because so much pulp was published. It took SF&F a long time to live down that reputation, and I think when those within the romance genre perpetuate the image that readers of more complex, "smarter" books won't stoop low enough to read a romance it does a disservice to the genre.


  1. Do I get to be the first to comment on your blog?
    Nice post. I also hate the stereotypical file romance falls into. With any genre there are good writers and bad writers.

  2. Hi, Jo!
    I get so angry at writers or readers who put down romance. There's a place for all of us. And just because I love romance doesn't mean I can't appreciate other genres. I have personally shown at least 4 men writers, though, that it's not what they thought.

  3. Good for you, D'Ann. Men can be converted if they're exposed. I grew up in place where construction stopped in the winter. It was fun come spring and all the carpenters and such had to go back to work and give up their soap operas. hee-hee. They were shocked at how addicting they were.

  4. I read many genres and never thought about it until I started writing. I just bought books that seemed interesting. Thrillers, tear jerkers, chick-lit, and especially Nicholas Sparks. I love the man. When I started writing I was asked by a fellow critter if I;d ever read Nora Roberts. Um, no. I hadn't at the time. I never really read romance. I had this love story in my head but I didn't read the genre. Sparks only.

    I am a reader and a writer. I don't like boxes. I never fit into them. LOL.