Twinsie Favorite Author Jade Jamison stopped by the write a quick Guest Spotlight on Why We Read Romance……so with out further ado…….Take it away Hottie!
Why We Read Romance
Last fall, I informally surveyed my readers. I’d been told for ages that I needed to know my demographic and, for purposes of marketing, I decided to ask readers to voluntarily answer some questions anonymously. I knew, long before reading the answers, that my main readers were female and most likely between the ages of twenty and fifty.
Well, I might have been a little off on the ages (my main readers are over 25 and don’t stop till their sixties), but I was right about the gender—not a single male completed the survey. I know I do have one or two male readers; I know they exist because I chat with them online on occasion, just like I do my female readers. But it’s no secret that the main demographic for romance novels is women.
One of the questions on my survey, an optional question, asked why my readers read. I received responses that were no surprise: people read to escape everyday life or to try to figure out something about their own situations by reading how a character solved his or her own issues. What I should have asked was why my readers chose specifically to read romance, but between their answers and my own know-how, I can tell you the main reasons why we read romance. Which reasons are yours?
Oh, very quickly, one aside—while I think we all might like the occasional romance with a dark ending, by its very definition, romance novels don’t necessarily have to have a happily ever after (HEA), but they should have an ending that is hopeful (whether that’s an ending with a HEA, HFN—happy for now, or just hopeful in general). And now, without further ado, a few reasons why we read romance:
- We read romance to escape. No, this doesn’t mean we’re unhappy with our relationships, but maybe we have stuff going on in our lives that we need a little time away from. Perhaps we have a job we dislike or our kids are struggling in school. We know we need to solve these problems and we want to, but it’s neither productive nor healthy to think and stress about our problems 24/7. In fact, it’s sometimes easier to solve problems when we’ve had a break from worrying about them. Think about it—how good are you going to be at solving that problem at work tomorrow morning if you can’t sleep because that’s all you’ve thought about? But, if you pick up that romance novel that has you instead fretting over a fictional character’s relationship, you can go to sleep with lighter thoughts and maybe get a good night’s sleep, allowing you to tackle that work problem fresh as a daisy in the AM…unless, of course, you stayed up all night reading. (Be sure to set healthy limits!)
- We read for hope. Sometimes our own lives will get us down. There’s no getting around it. We all have a few dark moments in our existence. We might have a time when we don’t have any hope for our future and just can’t find it within ourselves to try…but then, we pick up a book, and it gives us hope. After all, if Brad and Valerie can make it through their tough times, maybe there’s hope for us, right? Even when your future seems bleakest, reading a romance novel will help you see a little beacon of hope on the horizon.
On top of that, think of it this way: my life might suck right now, but compared to everything the protagonist is experiencing in the romance novel I’m reading? I’ve got it easy…and I’m not thinking about all the crap in my life when I’m reading about what’s going on in her life.
- We read to find solutions for our own problems. Yes, we can find solutions in other types of fiction as well, but what makes romance unique is its focus on relationships, and very often, romance is written for women, with women in mind, and by women, so even though reading John Grisham’s Rogue Lawyer kept me on the edge of my seat, intrigued me, and had me wondering what happened next, nothing that occurred in between the front and back covers helped me solve my own real-life problems.
But a story about a woman balancing being a mom and finding the love of her life, or a couple struggling to seeing eye to eye, or a gal trying to find peace at work—those are things I can relate to, and sometimes reading how a character resolves her problems will give me an idea of how to take care of some of my own issues.
- We read for ideas about how to handle our own intimate relationships. Most everyone will have problems with their partner once in a while. Part of being human is learning to deal with those kinds of difficulties and grow or learn from them. Sometimes, we’ll seek advice from a trusted friend about how to deal with a situation involving our partner, but those people we trust are not always the best at giving advice, because they’re on our side! And let’s face it—they are usually only hearing one side of the story. And, once in a while, one of our problems might be too embarrassing to share—even with a trusted confidante! Reading a romance novel will sometimes help you see your situation and give you ideas about how to handle it, and it does so without judging you or your situation.
- It spices up our lives! I can’t tell you how many of my readers have told me that devouring romance novels (especially steamy ones) has helped revamp their sex lives. You love your husband and always will, but after being together a while and dealing with bills, kids, and other stressors together, finding romance again or feeling aroused with each other becomes a little harder. “Not tonight, dear” goes on for more and more nights as time goes on. We get in a rut as things grow familiar.
Women aren’t typically visual creatures when it comes to our imaginations. Unlike most men who find porn or sexy pictures arousing, women usually tend to need to find stimulation in their minds—and reading can do that. Whereas a man can look at a few sexy pics and be raring to go, the same thing happens to a lot of women reading a steamy love story. That hot couple getting it on in her most recent romance read translates into the need to jump her husband’s bones that night at bedtime. Reading sexy books can help reignite that spark, creating a win-win for a loving couple who hasn’t experienced passion in a while.
So…the next time someone looks down their nose at you for reading romance, you can tell them that it helps with your outlook on life (saving you from hours and hours of therapy, not to mention the cost), not to mention the strength of your marriage. There aren’t many other hobbies that’ll do that, but I think it’s safe to say that reading is a healthy pastime, especially when considering so many alternatives. That said, pick up your next hot read and start flipping those pages!
When Jade C. Jamison’s not reading, she’s been known to write a romance novel or two herself. You can visit her at www.jadecjamison.com.