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Writing Books/Romance as Lesser Art?

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Oh, Vincent! You have no idea how glad I am to come across you at allexperts!

    I love writing. I've always excelled in writing assignments and have earned my B.A. in English. I want to be a writer. I write every day now.But, like most other artists, I have bills to pay. Very real bills that demand a regular stream of income, hence my day job.

    Even at work, I'm a "send an e-mail" person when it comes to requests and assignments because my responses are clearer and more well-thought out when I can write instead of converse on the fly.

All those things said, I am trying to get published. I have researched the process with regards to romance novels. I feel a little sheepish doing so, as in my college courses, romance novels were definitely looked down upon as a lesser art, paling in comparison with canonic novels and poetry. I have been hesitant to do things other than academic work of my own, or editing for other people (my loved ones) because I feel so overwhelmed at birthing "The Novel" all at once. I have a notion that seeing my work published a little now will bolster my endurance for my "greater work".I have also read that romance novels, if purchased, pay out quickly in comparision with other genres and I surely could use the income this year.

Are romance novels a lesser art than novels of other genres?

Do the writing and publishing communities look down upon romance writers?

What about a pen name?

Do you think I would regret having a romance novel in my history, provided I am published in my preferred genres later?

Please accept my thanks in advance for any advice you can offer!

Sincerest Regards,
Jennifer

P.S. I am already working on a novel of the romance genre, if that matters...?  

Answer
Jennifer:

1)  My personal opinion is that "art" is highly subjective.  Asking if Romance is a "lesser" form than other genres is like asking if Impressionism is a lesser form of painting.  You can find absolutely awful examples of Romance writing... but then, you can find terrible examples of any genre you mention.  And great ones.  Don't judge the genre.  Judge the individual work.

2)  I don't know that there really ARE any "writing and publishing communities" that agree on anything.  I wouldn't worry about them.

3)  Pen names... largely a thing of the past.  If you're worried about becoming a 'name' in the Romance world and fear it may become a barrier to future non-romance works, then sure.  Go for it.  But there are plenty of writers out there who do multiple genres.

4)  I can't speak for you, but as for myself, the only reason I'd regret having a romance novel in my history is if the novel sucked.  But then, genre is irrelevant for that.  I do, in fact, have a romance novel brewing in the back of my mind.  It just hasn't been a high priority for me.

In short, if you're at all interested in writing a romance, go for it.  Don't let these concerns get in your way.  On the other hand, I'm a believer in writing something because you really WANT to write it... not because it'll put money in the bank or get your foot in the door to something else.

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Vincent M. Wales

Expertise

I am a speculative fiction novelist (fantasy, science fiction, and so on). While I may be able to answer questions on non-fiction, my specialty is fiction. Please keep that in mind when asking questions.

Experience

For four years, I taught a series of fiction writing classes in Sacramento, CA.

Education/Credentials
BA in fiction writing.

Awards and Honors
My 2004 novel, ONE NATION UNDER GOD, won BEST FICTION in Fresh Voices 2006, BEST FICTION and BEST YA FICTION in the NCPA Book Awards, and placed as a finalist in BEST BOOKS 2005. In 2002, my novel WISH YOU WERE HERE won awards for Best Fantasy and Best Fiction/Drama in the 8th Annual SPA Awards. My latest work is a trilogy titled THE MANY DEATHS OF DYNAMISTRESS (a superhero memoir). The first book, RECKONING, was released in 2013 and won the SF category in the 2014 San Francisco Book Festival, took second place in the 2013 Royal Dragonfly Book Awards for the SF/Fantasy/Paranormal category, second place in the SF category of the 2013 Reader Views Reviewers Choice Awards, and was finalist in Foreword's 2013 Book of the Year Awards, Fantasy category. The second book, REDEMPTION, will be released in early 2015 and the final book, RENAISSANCE, is scheduled for release in late 2016.

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