It doesn’t matter if it’s for some high-brow online newspaper or a tabloid, or even Cracked or Reddit–if you want to live a long and happy life, and not die of a rage-induced coronary, don’t read the comment sections.
So I was happily browsing Kboards, my go-to forum for all things publishing, and came across a link to a Yahoo article featuring some successful romance indie authors. I’m such a sucker for success stories (they’re nice and motivating when I’m considering spending the day watching rubbish TV instead of doing something productive with my life) so I clicked it.
It was a nice article, really. Nothing new and ground breaking, but it’s always pleasant to see people succeed in a field you’re trying to enter. Makes the dream more realistic, somehow. Wish the journalist would stop referring to authors producing a lot of books as ‘churning’, though. It gives it a negative ring, making it sound like it’s second-grade stuff they’re producing, ya know?
What wasn’t so nice was–surprise–the comment section.
Yeah, I know what I said. ‘Never read it’, I said.
I’m also a big hypocrite, and something at the very core of my being is drawn to dramaz. As if a creepy child-voice is sing-songing at me to ‘come play with us, Sarah, forever!’, and I’m the stupid
heroine victim who actually follows it, instead of getting the hell out of the haunted house like any rational being would.
I’d expected general ignorance about self-publishing to flourish, supported by a few ‘well my book didn’t sell squad, so this article is a big scam!’ comments made by bitter people with a grasp of basic grammar so vague that all you can do is smile and nod at their highly empirical evidence basis.
To some degree, it didn’t disappoint. They were there, the ‘self-publishing is for losers who can’t get a real publishing contract’ people, along with the disillusioned ‘my family thinks my books are the best thing since sliced bread, but I can’t sell them–self-publishing is a sham’ authors.
However, I hadn’t anticipated the subject the vast majority of angry internet users would be harping on about, and it actually shocked me.
Now, let me preface this by saying that I’ve been around the ol’ internet a time or two, and I’m not unaccustomed with the rampant arseholery found in many a corner, but the people in this comment section? Wow, they blew me away!
Lemme quote a few gems for ya!
“Just shows how gullible and irrational the readers are. Why don’t they put more effort into creating REAL romance in their lives, by making themselves attractive to a mate of good character (rather than drug users and shiftless bums who make babies and don’t stay around), then working to create a real home and family, like their grandmothers did? Neither of my two grandmothers wallowed in “fantasy romance” or even watched TV very much, because they LOVED their home life and family.”
The misogyny’s strong with this one. Obviously, unless a woman dedicates her entire life to home-making and ‘making herself attractive’ she’s failed as a human being. Can’t have them womenfolk reading romance novels and getting too high expectations of the men she shares her life with! Just ask this next douche bag:
“They write nonsense so women have unattainable beliefs, desires and demands for man, thus really creating much unhappiness in women.”
Yes. Clearly the ‘unhappiness in women’ in your life is caused by romance writers painting unobtainable pictures of what a man should be like. It’s got nothing to do with you being a lazy bum who expects her to pick up your dirty socks and thinks the goal of sex is your orgasm–not hers.
“I have nothing at all against these authors earning good money, but it is a bit disturbing to see that this genre seems to have the biggest sellers. No accounting for taste, I guess”
Uhm? ‘Scuse me? Why is it assumed that romance = poor taste/a bad genre?
Aren’t relationship and love the most important part of the human experience? A lot of these stories are absolutely beautiful, not to mention expertly crafted, with rich and complex characters. Who the fuck are you to decide what constitutes good literature??
If a story is gripping and manages to get a reader emotionally involved, it’s ticked the boxes it needs to. It might not be to your personal taste, but fuck right off with that ‘oh, it’s just about EMOTIONS and touchy-feely girly stuff. It’s not REAL literature!’ attitude.
Seriously. Fuck right off.
“The dogs always write the best romance. They don’t get none in real life!”
“why do the ugliest women write romance novels?”
“seems like it is always ugly women that write this trash, im sure it is ugly ones that read it also, good looking woman are to busy out with real life men, or women if that is what they choose also”
“Books for #$%$ older women who regret not getting busy more when they were young.”
“Judging by their looks, these gals have not had a day of romance in their lives.”
“when you are ugg write a book . get money buy a date .”
“Ever notice how many of these Romance writers look as if they have had no real romance in their life (or any real relationship with anything other than perhaps a few cats), and that perhaps their stories are merely an extension of their unfulfilled desire.”
It was after reading the ridiculous number of nasty comments about the authors’ looks that I realised what this is actually about.
Romance novels are, mainly, for women, and very often they are written by women, and so naturally, men of the jerkfaced nature feel the need to ridicule and belittle the genre and the people who enjoy it, because…. well, let’s not beat around the bush. It’s because they’re sexist asswipes. And for some reason, attacking a woman’s look and ‘fuckability’ seems to be the default for these types. It’s made all the more obvious by the fact that both Bella Andre and Courtney Milan, depicted in this article, are absolutely stunning women.
So to all you basement dwelling dudebros of the internet, who can’t seem to get over the fact that women have interests that don’t involve you, and that a lot of them are earning waaay more money than you will ever manage to:
Sucks to be you.
“what a waste of money to read romance novels. Look at the divorce rate out there people.”