WELCOME TO RWA/NYC’s HAPPY ENDINGS BLOG TOUR!
June being the month of Brides,
we thought it apropos to talk about Happy Endings.
Visit us daily this week and learn what some of our members think about the much sought after and often elusive “Happy Ever After.”
A happily ever after for the romance genre? I’m not sure what that would mean. But I honestly think that a great deal of it would be what I witnessed over the two days of the Popular Romance Project Event that took place at the Library of Congress. What do I mean by that? Or more importantly, what did I see?
1. Romance treated with respect on an academic level.
It’s wonderful to see people who read romance discuss what they love with the respect the genre deserves, but seeing academics discuss the genre in the same way they’d discuss works by authors like Dickens, Austen and Shakespeare gets me every time. As someone who didn’t study Literature at university, I was never bothered by the wholesale academic dismissal of the genre. That was, until I began to write and read romance on a wider scale. Seeing the genre discussed with RESPECT, with give and take about the genre’s classics and whether there is one single list of important romance novels was one of the things I really enjoyed.
2. Romance treated as a technological innovator.
When speaking about technological innovation in publishing, the romance genre is rarely touted as the innovator it actually is. What we as readers and writers of the genre know is how the earliest e-presses served as our genre’s small press, and that the history and development of the ebook (and ereading in general) has been made possible by the voraciousness of Romance readers. Sitting in the middle of the Library of congress, and listening to people who stand at the front lines of the technical innovation on the writing, the editing, the sales and the publishing sides of the genre was simply fascinating.
3. Recognizing the romance fan community in a way that shows the smart and powerful women we are.
This was, far and away one of my favorite parts of this two day event. Seeing romance readers and writers presenting and moderating panels, acting to diffuse speaker snobbery and speaking with each other in the audience. Even the WRW chapter was involved in this event, both ushering and helping to staff the event.
These three important steps towards a HEA for the romance genre were well reflected in the film ‘Love Between the Covers.’ This documentary was screened the night before the panels, and it exceeded my expectations. It showed the romance genre, and more specifically the romance community, at its best. There were shots of Lady Jane’s salon, two different RWA conferences, conversations with readers, writers and publishers. It was fantastic.
Unfortunately, we’re not at the point where you can say the romance genre has received its well-deserved happy ending. But with events like this one, it’s easier to say that that such a HEA is closer than it’s ever been.♥
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: In 2013, Stacey Agdern was named RWA/NYC’s Bookseller of the Year. Her reviews and commentaries have appeared in publications as diverse as 50 Writers on 50 Shades of Grey to USA Today’s HappilyEverAfter blog, Heroes and Heartbreakers and Barbara Vey’s column at Publisher’s Weekly. Her short stories have appeared in three wildly different anthologies (one under a pseudonym) with more on the way. Stacey was the two- time award winning romance specialist at Posman Books. She lives in New York, not far from her favorite hockey team’s practice facility.