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I have been privy to some of the planning that is going into this panel. It is going to be an in-depth discussion about the genre from the perspective of the writers, editors, and reviewers but it will also include asking the panelists to consider themselves as readers and Romance fans. There will be discussions about trends in the genre including the HEA requirement and trope discussions. It is going to be great.
But I also know many of you cannot attend and, as of now, ARRT does not offer taping or recording of our programs [it is in discussion, but understand we are an all volunteer group and this requires a lot of moving parts], but don't worry, I have you covered. For a wrap-up, you can look at the #ARRTReads thread or just wait until Thursday when I will post general thoughts, links, and the entire thread which will be accessible to all, no need to have a Twitter account.
But now onto today's topic-- Romance Resource. It is no secret that Romance is my least favorite genre to read for fun. However, I am also very vocal about the fact that Romance readers are my absolute favorite readers to help. Why? Because, one, romance readers know what they like and why, and two, they are not afraid to tell me all about it.
I also really enjoy learning about my least favorite genres from the genres' biggest fans. In general, this is good advice for all of you. You will enjoy learning about a genre you don't enjoy so much more by listening to and reading the work of its fans. They will give you the genre's best version of itself from its ideal reader.
I spend a lot of time reading romance resources and reviews, rather than the books themselves. As a result, I end up getting so much more insight into Romance. Think about it. Instead of forcing myself to read a few Romance novels a year, I read articles and review by those who LOVE romance [again, pun intended]. I get myself excited about the books and I learn about the genre in general. I then share that enthusiasm and knowledge with readers without letting my personal feelings get in the way.
This will work for any genre, but you have to put in some work. I spend about the amount of time it would take me to listen to 2 romance novels researching the genre-- every year. Now it is not all in one day, but rather sprinkled out over the course of a year. And sometimes, like today, I get 2 straight hours right from the experts themselves.
But you can't always be at a Romance panel 20 minutes from your house. So, here is my list of my favorite FREE romance resources [in no particular order] that I can access at any time, and what I like most about them:
- Romance Writers of America: This is where I go for award lists, industry statistics, and general state of the genre info.
- All About Romance: Reviews-- especially the Power Search! I can search by subgenre and heat level all in one place. And I can read those choices to the patron and let them decide the terms we are using as we search. I also love that there is a "varies" option for heat level.
- Smart Bitches, Trashy Books: I use this for everything. It is where I go to learn more about the genre because there are so many features, articles, reviews, even podcast episodes. I often spend a few days a year just going down the SBTB rabbit hole, reading everything I can get my eyes and ears on.
- The Ripped Bodice: The most well known Romance books store in America. See what is selling well. See who is on tour [maybe they can come to your library if there are coming near your town]. Read their annual Diversity Report.
- The ARRT Romance Genre Study: Although it is still in process, the genre study has created a wonderful resource-- the assignment reading lists, discussion notes and lecture slides. And they are available to all for free.
There are many more places to go for Romance info, but these five offer, in my opinion, a great cross section of points of view of the genre. When I use these resources, I get as broad a picture as possible of a genre millions love, even if I am not a personal fan.
Also don't forget to look for my report on today's great program coming on Thursday [I'm on location training all day tomorrow]. It will give you yet another resource.