A number of years ago at the height of the shirtless hero craze on romance book covers, one of my novels featured an artist's rendering of an impish little girl dragging angel wings. A television news anchor in Washington, DC, held it up on camera and asked, "Where's Fabio?"
Barbara Pym is the thinking girl's romance writer, the only one I'm aware of, outside of Jane Austen, who hits that sweet spot of an utterly unsentimental romance, one which can be read 1,000 times and never become annoying.
The requirement of pleasure, delivered by a gorgeous, skilled, and smitten someone who knows our bodies and desires better than we do.... Is there really any question as to why these books are so popular?
Romance writers are supportive of each other. They are the Sisterhood of the Traveling Laptops, quick to lend a hand or writing tip to an up-and-coming author. They jump at the chance to encourage their colleagues. They are also fans.
While "No-Sex" and "Romance" might seem incongruent, especially given those bodice-ripper covers we've come to know so well, Edenbrooke has proven itself to be a winner right out of the gate, receiving a coveted starred review from Publisher's Weekly.
So go ahead. If you're still feeling a little embarrassed, download a romance onto your e-reader. Aside from your blushing, you might discover a passion for a whole new genre. As it turns out, smart women read romance, too.
Make sure the book is thick by using a reasonably large typeface, ending chapters at the top of the page and including lots of unnecessary punctuation. Is Animal Farm a best-seller? No. Why? Not enough pages.