Friday, 21 October 2011

Romance for Men

This is interesting: Ellora's Cave have opened a new line in romance novels - aimed at male readers. How about that?

Of course, men have been covertly sneaking reads of female-oriented romance books since the beginning of fiction (and quite a few have written for the genre), but I'd be very interested to see if it's viable way of marketing. Will men own up to buying romances? I can't begin to guess what the covers will look like, for a start!

Full details are here, but there are two statements in the guidelines that raised my eyebrows. Authors apparently need to change the standard style to concentrate on:
  • More of what men want or need from women: sex, love, acceptance, admiration, dirty talk; less of what they don't need (judgment, drama, expectation of anticipating woman's needs).
 And to
  • Remember that sex is largely visual and verbal for men (for women, it is mainly mental and emotional).
Well, I'm shocked. According to this measure I am, yet again, proved to be a man.


Craig Sorensen said...

Interesting idea. I'll be curious to see how it does.

Based on their criteria, though, I wonder if it will find its audience. One of the charms of romance is the mental/emotional angle that is often lacking in things which are directed to a male audience. I think minimizing that might remove some of the appeal to the average closet-romance fan.

But then, what the hell do I know, I'm just a guy who admits to his softer side. :-)

Janine Ashbless said...

Yes, good point Craig. These things are so difficult to get a grip on. Given that 'male readers of romance' are a group hitherto invisible and unstudied, I think it's going to be very hard to define what 'they' want.

BTW, the guidelines for Nexus, as far I remember (I only wrote a few short stories for them), asserted that male reader prefer a female POV in their written erotica. Go figure.

Jo said...

Part of me kind of hopes male readers of Romance just want to read erotica.

Craig Sorensen said...

Why's that, Jo?

Jo said...

I just feel like a preference for romance is kind of a cop out. Enforced happy endings and reinforcement of stereotypical gender roles... ah, I know there's more to it than that, but I suppose I just don't like the rules so much.

Nikki Magennis said...

Room for everyone! Room for all genres, sexes and permutations! I am interested to see this line, and kind of heartened. But I do wish there wasn't such a prescriptive 'we know what the reader wants' attitude from so many publishers. I think it just doesn't work.