A fun sideline to publishing is learning how judgemental people can be about books. No one knows this better than a romance writer.
When I first entered the business, I was thrilled to get a job working at Berkley Publishing. I was going to edit the books I had spent my summer reading — mass market paperbacks I bought at the grocery store (back when they still sold books).
And this is when I learned how much people love to judge what others read. When I got to hear things like, “when are you going to work on real books.” Or “wouldn’t you rather work at a university press?” Or just laughter when I said I worked on romance.
I know so many of you relate to what I’m saying.
The most difficult of these conversations are when they happen within the publishing industry. When your own writing peers condescend to the work you’re doing. As if their chosen genre is superior.
No genre is superior. There are wonderful writers in every genre and, frankly, not great books published in every genre.
To be truly great at what you do, I challenge you to read everything, every genre and especially those you think you won’t like. Before you judge a book, by its cover or otherwise, I challenge you to read them. To get a feel for what readers are connecting to and maybe, just maybe, improving your own writing by doing so.
Oh, and that friend who laughed at my career in romance publishing. Not more than a few years later I saw her reading Nora Roberts. I don’t think she’ll ever admit she’s a romance reader, but she is.