Romance Writers: The Country Music Stars of the Book World
Rock stars are cool. They are mysterious, tortured beings, and if they aren’t, they sure pretend to be. Country music stars, on the other hand, specialize in being “just folks.” They go to a lot of trouble to create approachable images, even if they are bajillionaires.
Rock stars go to a lot of trouble to talk about their art and how they suffer (oh, how they suffer) to bring it to a cold, unfeeling world that doesn’t appreciate genius. Country stars bust their butts to give us the impression they knock out their songs over the weekend over a six pack of beer.
Rock stars are better than you. Country stars are you.
After a show, a rock star gets his butt on his bus, or minimum into his hotel room, and drinks (or uses some other substance) in order to relax from three hours of running, climbing, dancing, singing, changing costumes, avoiding the pyrotechnics, and pouring his own personal energy like a balm across a roiling ocean of fans. The country star puts on the exact same show, and afterwards, acts like their fondest wish is granted if they can take pictures and sign autographs and kiss babies.
Except for the running and jumping, these two sound remarkably like another set of artists I know.
Ever notice how literary stars go out of their way to look depressed and take up smoking or drinking in order to have props? They bitch about the burdens of success even while they dress in cool clothes. Also, the minute they get popular, they take it as a sign of having sold out, and run off to write something incomprehensible that may or may not be an extended metaphor for sex.
Not romance writers. They interact on message boards and carry around bookmarks and pens in case you’d like an autograph. The billionaires go to quite a bit of trouble to wear jeans and talk about their crazy times being a mom. Also, they don’t bother with metaphors, at least when it comes to boy-meets-girl-in-the-sack. They like sex. They also like their fans, and are appreciative of anyone who buys a book.
I was never cool. I do think appreciating fans is cool. Does this mean I can wear a cowboy hat here in suburban Maryland without irony?