Tue
Nov 21 2017 1:00pm

How to Advocate for Happily Ever Afters

Book Lover

How did a librarian like me fall in love with advocating for all the Happily Ever Afters in Romancelandia?

Building excellent, relevant collections for (y)our community, providing access, community engagement, collaboration, innovation, protecting the right to read and protecting the right of *what* to read is at the forefront of all library advocacy.

Advocacy is also about influencing others to (hopefully) learn, share, make differences…these are all crucial things to participate in, now more than ever, in our social and political climate. And (hopefully) for all the right reasons.

I have personally advocated for our libraries at the state level for 10+ years. So, once I started my focus on Romance and Erotica materials, advocacy was always going to work in tandem with collection building. Because advocacy, in every positive form, should be a necessity for all things.

The Romance Community is an incredible force of change, empowerment, voice, and strength. The characters of Romance give agency.

We often share the $1 Billion+ publishing industry statistic and for good reason. According to Nielsen BookScan, Romance novels account for one-third+ of the entire U.S. Fiction market. One third! It never gets old discussing that.

And RWA states what Romance is: “Two basic elements comprise every romance novel: a central love story and an emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending…In a romance, the lovers who risk and struggle for each other and their relationship are rewarded with emotional justice and unconditional love.”

That is the core of why we want to advocate the message of Happily Ever Afters for ALL.

We share. We spread HEAs for ALL with every word, every post, every Tweet, every awareness hashtag, every GIF, every prompt, every link to your works. We discuss. We debate. We shape. We laugh. We cry. And we do this together…always for all the right reasons.

Romance Advocacy is about supporting good, solid, inclusive storytelling which represents the world we live in and of course, love in. As a librarian, talk about catnip. That’s every yummy goal of what advocacy hopes to accomplish.

Most of us come to Romance for its escapism, but many also search for Romances that feel more “real world” in nature. Whatever brings you to Romance, you are finding a sense of yourself here. Romance is a space for knowing, accepting, and loving one another as who we all actually are...not what others deem us to be.

And as a librarian, it’s my duty to advocate this and provide access to Romance and Erotica, or whatever you crave, whether we are able to carry it on our in-library/digital bookshelves or not. And if it isn’t on our shelves, I will know where to find it.

But I’m just one librarian among many, who is here spreading the love. Tap into as many of us out there. We all have different insight.

If you are new to advocacy or are looking for ways to participate, here are just a few ways the Romance Community advocates, every day, in no particular order:

  • We find, support and purchase Own Voice/POC/AOC/WOC authors
  • We find, support and purchase all-inclusive materials which will positively reflect sexuality, service, non-binary gender, religions, spectrums, disorders, diseases/illnesses, physical disabilities, body size, etc.
  • We respect everyone and what they continue to look for in Romance genre Fiction
  • We will never tolerate anything that reinforces stereotypes or evils
  • We boost genre/sub-genre/hybrid-genre Awareness
  • We use appeals in spreading the HEA for ALL
  • We help break barriers and stereotypes to discoverability
  • We boost independently published/self-published/hybrid-published works in addition to traditionally published works
  • We share review journals and blogs
  • We participate and support in other related ways
  • We are all in this together.
  • And we do not spread awareness to be “noble” or “on-trend.” We spread awareness, we advocate because we must

There's room for everyone and everybody. Everyone deserves the story, everyone deserves the HEA.

 

And who isn’t here for that?!

 


FrannieC is a librarian who first stumbled into the romance section of her local drugstore as a teen, then found herself back there during the Fifty Shades of Grey revolution. You can find her discussing all kinds of Happily Ever Afters over at the Reference Desk.

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