Hatin’ on Harlequin
I had a wonderful time signing at the Kentucky Book Fair in Frankfort. I sold a decent amount of books, got to meet lots of people, and had a great time gabbing with author Annie Jones, who was my table mate. The fair was very well organized and the volunteers were fabulous. I was looking forward to getting a peek at Robin Givens, who was also supposed to be signing at the fair that day but she was a no show.
The one negative thing that happened that day was an encounter that I had with a fellow author who was also signing at the book fair. This author was taking a break and walking around to the other tables looking at all the books. When she came to my table, she said hello and asked me how I was doing and if I’d sold many books. We were casually chatting, and she had picked up one of my books, when she suddenly asked me who my publisher was. I told her Harlequin, at which point she promptly replied with undisguised distaste, “Oh, I don’t read those books.” Wondering if she had some kind of an aversion to romance novels, since everyone thinks all Harlequin publishes is romance, I told her it was a mystery novel, to which she replied, “It doesn’t matter. All their books follow the same formula.” She put my book down and left me sitting there with my mouth hanging open in shock.
I have to admit to being a little sheltered as an author. I don’t do a lot of book signings or attend many book fairs or conventions. I’ve encounter some negativity from readers who don’t enjoy mysteries, or only read serious literary fiction, or non-fiction. But, I’ve yet to encounter this kind of a snotty attitude from another author and about my publisher no less. It really pissed me off. I couldn’t believe this woman made assumptions about my books and writing based on who my publisher is. I know that certain genres really get a bad rap, but I had no idea people were turning up their noses at books published by certain companies. I told this story to another Harlequin author and she laughed and said that this is nothing new. She’s been dealing with Harlequin bias for years.
As an author it’s hard enough finding an audience for your work, but discovering that there are people who won’t even give you a chance because they have pre-conceived ideas about your publisher is infuriating, frustrating, and downright depressing. So, my questions for my fellow authors and readers is: What turns you off as a reader? Are there certain genres you refuse to read. Do have a bias against a certain publishers books? Have there been books you won’t touch because of the cover art? Seriously, I’d really like to know.
PS: And just in case you were wondering, I had a fabulous time in Vegas too. I especially loved this place! I highly recommend their buffet.
I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving!
Angela, who for the record has never been made to follow any kind of a formula.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Hatin’ on Harlequin