I just told a male co-worker not to buy my new book. “Thanks for the support,” I said, “But it’s a racy romance and I don’t know if you would be comfortable reading it.” He looked around and whispered, “Are you embarrassed about it? Is it like a Penthouse letter?” To which I replied, “I don’t know. I haven’t read Penthouse.” After I told him that it was no sexier than anything else on the market right now, he said he would still buy it for his wife. And I felt bad that I was almost embarrassed I wrote such a story.
Because I’ve also told my parents not to buy it. And a couple of friends. Why would I do that when they are all very pleased for and proud of me? While I would appreciate the sales, I don’t want them reading my book. Unfortunately I keep falling into the trap of thinking it’s because it is not a nice girl book and I’m supposed to be a nice girl.
And then a former First Lady whispered in my ear.
You wouldn’t worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do. – Eleanor Roosevelt.
I wrote a romance novel. My friends and family are happy for me. I should be celebrating with them. I am not refusing to let them read it because it is a dirty book. It’s hot but not bad. I’m asking them not to read it for the same reason I ask them not to read other books. I don’t think they’d enjoy it. I have some religious friends with whom I am very careful with it comes to book recommendations. I wouldn’t lend them any of the edgier romances in my library. I wouldn’t lend them any of my horror or occult books either. I wouldn’t recommend science fiction or racy romances to my father. My book just happens to fall into those categories.
As for the guy at work, I may have misjudged. After all, he has apparently read Penthouse. In general – and this is an assumption on my part – I think he (as a man) would be embarrassed to read it. Although I’m not sure because when he asked if it would put his wife in the mood if she read it, I grinned and nodded. I may have found a new marketing ploy.
In the future, I may have a sweet romance published that I would happily recommend to everyone. But for now I wrote a racy romance. I’m not ashamed of it. And I won’t let anyone make me be. I can certainly write hot scenes in 2012 if a First Lady who passed away half a century ago said:
Once I had a rose named after me and I was very flattered. But I was not pleased to read the description in the catalogue: “No good in a bed, but fine up against a wall.” – Eleanor Roosevelt.
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This article is also available at Romance Divas.