Romance writers have to be feeling pretty smug about now. During this recession, sales of just about every genre of fiction and nonfiction suffered except for romance.
The NYT reported several weeks past that "sales of romance novels are outstripping most other categories of books...." Further, they said that Harlequin Enterprises reported 4th quarter earnings that were up 32% over the same time period last year.
We romance writers and readers have always known that romance fiction is the best entertainment at a price point that's affordable regardless of the economy. Today's romance fiction is well-written with good characterization, good plotting, and features the kind of committed relationships most of the civilized world wants.
Oldest, Shortest Formula For Novel
A lot of critics of romance fiction (who usually have never read an actual romance novel) say that romance writing is formulaic. I guess they're correct in that the oldest formula in the world for a novel, any novel, is: an appealing character struggles against great odds to achieve a worthy goal. Romance writers hit that "formula" the way the Babe, Hammerin' Hank, or Barry Bonds applied wood to a fast ball.
Popular fiction may be denigrated by the few, but, fortunately, it's appreciated by the millions. I write it. I read it. I adore it.