Calling all paranormal romance readers!
Yes, you’ve read the headline properly. I am talking about that genre and the respect it’s long overdue to earn. Honestly, if I had this conversation a few years ago…No, scratch that. I would never have had this conversation before. Ever. And I’m not being dramatic either.
You obviously know what’s on my mind though. So in the next installment of my discussion series, Beyond the Blurb, I address the lack of respect this genre gets from a select few readers. You may not agree, or you may feel the same as me. But I’ve wanted to talk about this topic for some time. So I’d avert your eyes you aren’t a PRN reader. Yes, now is the right time.
Have readers decided it isn’t of a high caliber as other genres, like high and epic fantasy? Has it become so saturated with series that PNR is too repetitive? Or has this subgenre simply fallen out of popularity with readers?
According to the Romance Writers of America, or the RWA, romance makes up 23 percent of the US fiction market. PNR isn’t much different from fantasy or urban fantasy. Other than the romance, the paranormal or science fiction elements are an integral part of the plot itself. But PNR gets a bad rap. It honestly does. But why?
It’s seen as mommy porn
Okay, 82% of romance readers are women, while only 18% are men. And the typical age of the reader is between 35 and 39 years. More women either decide not to have children or put off motherhood until they’re older. So is it mommy porn? Not really. Younger readers prefer to read PNR books though. I picked up my first PNR book when I was a teen, but I didn’t appreciate it until I gained a stronger control over my life and my emotions. PNR isn’t “bodice ripper” porn. It isn’t mommy porn. Moms can easily watch porn if they want. When they pick up a PNR book, they’re looking for substance.
Majority of authors in this genre are women
Is that thought so awful to get past? No, it isn’t. I love when I find another female writer, someone I can support and follow throughout her career. She understands what my fears are and precisely writes them in her books. She knows what we readers are going through. And we won’t see a female author romanticize a woman’s body like you’d see with a male author. Women aren’t afraid to show their emotions through their writing. And blending emotions and sex is beautiful to read, but some snobbish readers may object to that.
Even though it’s saturated, it’s evolving, and we need to embrace the change
We see more readers who are gay or are POC taking the plunge in PNR and overall romance. And I am seeing more diverse storylines. J. R. Ward took a risk in writing an installment with a gay main couple in the Black Dagger Brotherhood. Years, maybe even decades ago, you wouldn’t see that. Now, more readers are welcoming this diversity. But authors need to tread carefully though. They shouldn’t use a gay storyline to sell books or to attract readers who have a “kink” for it. They simply need to write a gay storyline for a gay reader.
Now, reverse harem is growing in popularity. And yes, I fell victim to it. I have no shame. But what I love is how the RH community is so accepting of diverse reads. And readers and authors engage with each other on social media. Even though the subgenre needs a bit more POC characters and authors, I’m rather surprised by the RH community.
Just like any other subgenre, paranormal romance deserves the literary respect it deserves. It isn’t easy to write, it isn’t easy to read, but it’s worth the time. Readers need to stop kink-shaming others who enjoy PNR books. It’s progressing into a well-loved genre.