Romance Ranting: Book World Trends That Need to Die in 2017

Some book trends, practices and tropes are timeless, but others we’re happy to see disappear. Here are some trends in our indie community we hope to say good-bye in 2017.

Click Baiting    

Dear Click Baiters,
Fuck you.

Sincerely,
The Rest of The World.

No, but seriously. Why. For the love of all things holy, WHY. If you’re a blogger, I get that you want people to click your link and buy shit off of them. But, you have fans on your page, and it is seriously the biggest fuck you to them when you click bait with all of your “Oh Em Gee! This book ROCKED MY WORLD! Click here to find out what I’m talking about!” ‘s but never give the book’s title or author. Just don’t. Tell your damn followers specifically what book you’re spazzing about. And if you’re good at blogging, and can say more than “OH MY GOD” with a million explanation points, they will click the link. I promise. They will. So please just do us a favor and tell us the title and author and stop the click baiting, you dicks.

Step Everything Books  We feel like this was a trend that really took off in 2015 and unfortunately decided to continue in 2016. Don’t we have enough step brother, sister, father, mother, cousin, uncle or aunt twice removed romance books out there? Can we PLEASE move on to a different taboo? This trope is played out. Move on, please

Woe is Me SyndromeIs anyone else tired of seeing all the “Woe is me” FB statuses, tweets and posts? Woe is me I made USA Today but not NYT. Woe is me people aren’t seeing my FB posts. Woe is me I bought so many books last week that I can’t buy anymore till payday. Woe is me I have 400 5-Star reviews but this one 2-Star review will ruin my career.  Thousands of innocent people are dying around the world. A reality television star was elected President of the United States. There are thousands of homeless people living on the streets. People are fighting cancer and other deadly diseases. There are bigger issues other than being on top or the most popular. If you step back and take a look at the big picture, your life doesn’t suck if you’re still able to do your dream job, have a roof over your head, food on the table and fans who will continue to buy your books.

Photographers Hiring “Models” from the gym or GNC – It’s been said before, but it could be said again: JUST BECAUSE HE HAS MUSCLES AND TATTOOS DOES NOT MAKE HIM A MODEL! Yep, we called out the shouty caps on that one. We won’t even apologize for it. Models should be photogenic, they should look good in all kinds of situations and from many angles. They should even be able to make the most awkward of situations, say standing in a bathtub – wearing a cowboy hat – holding a towel over their junk, look like an excellent idea. It may appear to be an easy job, but it’s not. We’d love to see a tad (by tad we mean heaps) more discrimination. We get it, “hot” is subjective, yada yada yada…but let’s be honest, some of the cover photos we’ve seen pop up the past couple of years are just plain silly. And before you go commenting with things like “Hey, they are really nice guys!” – we aren’t saying they are douchebags. Well, not all. We’re simply stating that cover models should be able to actually model.

Models Turned “Authors” – While we’re on the topic on male models, lets talk about models turned authors. Now, we’re not saying dudes can’t write romance, but it’s a little suspect seeing a model all of a sudden become an author. To us, it feels like they’re trying to tap into a market that they have no business in and are only in it for dolla, dolla bills y’all. They aren’t writers and have probably never read a romance book before jumping into the indie book modeling business. To us, you’re exploiting the women that find you attractive for money. We see what you’re doing and we’re not fans of it. And keep your shirts down, too. Your abs have nothing to do with how well you can construct a story, and if you want people to take you serious as an author, write more and flaunt less you silly little peacocks.

Authors Who Write for Sales Figures and Not Their Art All the books we have loved for more than a hot minute, are books that were written with thought and with a labor of love. This trend of thin plot, thick sex bullshit, in our minds, degrades the romance genre as a whole. It plays into the “mommy porn” stereotype. Yeah, great, you are making a quick buck – pumping out ‘book’ after ‘book’. Good for you. But at what cost? Really? We won’t call it art, we probably won’t call you authors either.

Violence, rape, etc… – All four of us have enjoyed Dark Romance reads in the past. But, it is really beginning to feel like a competition between authors on who can come up with the most degradable and horrific situation to put their heroine in. Or hero, as the case may be. Do some stories call for violence? Yes, absolutely. Is it necessary for your girl to be raped and beaten repeatedly throughout the book? Maybe not. Sometimes a single incident can be more profound. Here’s to hoping for the idea of ‘less is more’ in this genre’s future.

The Celebrity Syndrome – Some of us have been around for a hot minute. Some of us knew you when you were just another struggling debut author or blogger. Some of us remember how nice and humble you were. Some of us saw your rise in the industry. Some of us saw how that changed you. Some of us think you should remember what it was like for you a few years ago. Some of us don’t really like this new you. Some of us think that it’s great you are selling more books now but aren’t sure why that turned you into a raging asshole. Some of us think that you just write book reports and kids in grade school can do that, too. Some of us think you should at least try to remain a little humble and appreciative. Some of us want less pictures of your LV bags and more about your work, please and thank you. Some of us would like to remind you that, unless TMZ is buying photos of you, you ain’t shit honey.

Reviewer Attacking – You had to know this was coming, right? We fully agree that reviews that personally attack an author are bad form. If a review says anything along the lines of this author is a horrible person and should just kill themselves, that sucks. However, if the review or rant is strictly criticizing the product, based on said reviewers opinion – it’s sort of fair game. It’s a product, just like any other. Say you go to a coffee shop and order a peppermint mocha (mmm, yummy), the barista is as cute as a fucking button with a great personality and you love her. But, when you take a sip of that minty goodness, it tastes like diarrhea drip – you have every right to say “my coffee tastes like shit and this is not what I was expecting.” It doesn’t change the fact that the barista is a great person. It doesn’t change the fact that yesterday, and probably tomorrow, she’ll make your candy cane coffee perfectly. Today though, that PRODUCT, didn’t fulfill your needs. Next time you think you need to incite a mob over a bad review, don’t make it personal by calling the reviewer a jackass. That’s making it personal. Besides, quite a lot of people buy books based on bad reviews. We’re bloggers, not promoters and not book sellers. We don’t love everything we read and that’s okay. 

The Mob Mentality The definition of a bully: noun – a person who uses strength or power to harm or intimidate those who are weaker. verb – use superior strength or influence to intimidate (someone), typically to force him or her to do what one wants. <– Got that? Therefore, when something in life isn’t going your way and instead of handling it like a big girl you post about it on Facebook, essentially opening the door for your minions to attack the source of your problem, you may be a bully.

DRAMA, DRAMA, DRAMA – So. Much. Drama. Get over yourselves. Also, if you constantly say you hate drama yet, it continues to find you – YOU are the drama.

 

So there you have it! For the love of books, we’re hoping these trends disappear  after this year. BUT, we do have a list of things we’d love to see more of in the coming years.

 

Single Dads We love them and we’d be so happy to see more. Especially if they are not just the weekend warrior types. We want the burly beasts to be in the diaper changing trenches, full time!

Good Parents – While we are on the subject of parenting, let’s ask this question. Why are there so many bad parents in books? Let’s have some good ones, we like good parents. We ARE good parents. We want more of those. They make us warm and fuzzy!

Fantasy – There is few better experiences in the world, than a book submersing you into a fantastical land. A world of dragons or faeries or goblins or whatever your imagination comes up with. While most really good Fantasy seems to come from the YA authors, we would really enjoy seeing more adult versions too.

Underdogs – Nerds, Geeks, Beta Males. Give us a guy who flies under the radar but still manages to find a way to win the girl. Not all hot guys have to be an in your face Alpha. Don’t get us wrong, we love a good – true – Alpha. But we like options, too!

Anal – Clarification: Good and careful anal. ‘Nuf said.

Blue Collars – We would absolutely love to see more blue collar heroes. They don’t all need to be CEO’s. A lot of us readers are married to the loves or our lives and they happen to be electricians or machinists or, you know, real life jobs. More down and dirty boys, please!!

Romantic Suspense – With maybe a little bit of a heavy hand on the romance. We are all for some thrills in bed and out of it!

Quirky Heroines – This goes along with our the underdogs. Not all heroines have to be Barbie doll perfect. Our favorites tend to be the ones a little left of center.

Realistic Drama – Life is hard enough, we don’t need to add the whole bag of drama dealing chips to it.

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  • Sandra Kind

    I absolutely second all of those! Reading the What We Want list, made me think of Mariana Zapata, especially her last book. Minus the anal, obviously.

    • I have not cracked her new one open yet. Hoping to get to it over the long weekend, I hear great things. Leah loved it!

      • Sandra Kind

        Hope you’ll enjoy it!

  • 2017 Goal for Everyone: Don’t be a dick.

  • Tarryn Fisher

    Oh my god. Hahahahaha! You guys are badass awesome. I’m dying here.

    • Renessa Troyer

      Thanks for sharing this!

  • Jessica Baker Cote

    All of this!! ????

  • Bob Mayer

    I thought a romance hero had to be an Alpha male, billionaire, Navy SEAL
    on the side, who also wears kilts. Did I miss something? BTW, our
    divorce rates in Special Ops were well over 50%. And I didn’t meet any
    undercover billionaires on the teams, although a former guitarist for
    Nirvana is serving in 10th Special Forces– now there’s a story. Nothing but good times ahead!
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/04c1b59d0d2179dceeaaa2ab84d0bac46f4829043364fd9a1baf9fd2498ee814.jpg

    • Jason Everman? I’d read his story! (and thank you for your service)

  • The Book Disciple

    I love this post so much!! Click baiting assholes are my biggest pet peeve!!! I will always check the comments to see if someone gave the book title! (If they haven’t, I will!!)
    And totally with you about wanting more good parents in books! Why are all YA books filled with kids whose parents are horrible people?!?!

  • Ivette Wanda P

    Love everything about this posted!

  • Keyanna Butler

    This is officially my favorite thing of 2016.

  • Jillian Greenfield Stein

    I love this. SO SO SO SO SO much!

  • Amen to all of this! Love an Indie Author who does not thankfully write what was on the out list, lol.

  • Freya Barker

    OMG!!!!! (see, I didn’t forget the exclamation marks) Take no prisoners… this is the two by four between the eyes this industry needs.
    Every point you make about 2016, every wish you make for 2017…those are my thoughts. Get out of my head!! (And for the record… seven or more of those wishes? Those ARE available in 2016, just buried)

    • Agree, they are out there and we’ve found some – but always want more!!

      • Freya Barker

        I can give you about 11 that meet the specs. 😀

        • Renessa Troyer

          Please Freya! I need more book to read after an upcoming surgery!!!!

          • Freya Barker

            Connect with me on Facebook, let’s see if we can hook you up.

          • Renessa Troyer

            Done! Ty so much!

  • Lee Clements

    This is a must read for all bloggers and authors, and readers. Well done!

  • Cantankerous Me

    Haaaaa, seconded.

  • Jennifer Bene

    YES! Yes to all of these things. <3

  • LOL Anal – Clarification: Good and careful anal. ‘Nuf said. = LUBE LUBE LUBE LUBE and never A to M or V

  • April W

    Black Heart Reviews just won the Internet today! Amen! Keep preaching the werrrrd.

  • Michelle Pace

    I shared that shit. Y’all nailed it…especially with what we need more of! Blue collar guys and suspense romance (heavy on the romance) are my thing. Coming after you when I release my next one for a review.

  • Alece Smith- Whitmore

    Can we add some DIVERSITY to the list?

    • Leona

      yes so needed!

    • LucyLicious Reads

      yes. first thought I had, too.

    • Absolutely!!

  • Rachelle Creech

    YES to all!!!
    I love you ladies you always tell it like it is!! Mad respect yo ?
    Your blog is one of the few I actually believe your reviews are honest too
    Merry Christmas to you all and your families ???

  • Leona
  • Emma James

    Ladies try Men Of Ocean Beach series on for size. Book # 1, A Little Faith is free. No ‘step’ anything, good parents, underdog, no CEO’s, Alpha and your ‘real’ man. Story with heart , tissues and laughs. 🙂

  • Becky Rendon

    Yes. Well, yes to all but the step brothers sadly that is my not so secret have to read them all trope. I might need rehab to overcome the grabby hands I get when I see one. But there are a lot of horrible ones out there.

  • Gina L. Maxwell

    This is everything. Nailed it. Thank you for telling it like it is and saying the things some of us can’t (publicly ?)! ?? Happy End of 2016, Black Heart! ??

  • Excellent! Sharing. By the way, those awesome single dads and mom stories are out there. I’ve written a couple myself.

  • Linda Romer

    This is the best damn blog post I ever read! WORD!

  • Karen Hulseman (KarenIsReading

    OMG – I can’t say enough about what I love about this post. Okay all of it. Brilliant!!!

  • Alexis Alvarez

    Love your list so much! Thanks for saying exactly what I was thinking. 🙂

  • Roxanne Townsley

    Great article. Lots of truth in there even if people don’t want to hear it.

  • Kathy Coopmans

    Hot damn. Blog post of the YEAR!

  • Richard Edwards

    What a bunch of goat feces!!!

  • Bella Roccaforte

    Thank you, yes to all of the above and I love you!

  • Dawn Eller Pearson

    You do realize that many female models have also joined the ranks of authors right? How can they be among such great company and not want to let their own imagination free on the page? There are no rules as to who can be a writer and who can not. There are also no rules as to what makes a model. Every person has a different vision for their cover and their heros. Just maybe he or she got her inspiration from a person they bumped into at a GNC.
    This kind of negativity and bias is exactly why new authors are afraid to interact within the community.
    You should be ashamed of yourself for being an obviously prejudiced bully.
    We don’t succeed unless we support each other. This kind of insulting is childish and unnecessary.

    • We do realize there are female models who have turned authors.

      You are absolutely right, there are no rules to writing. There also aren’t any rules telling people what they should or shouldn’t read.

      Everyone has their dislikes and likes. This is simply us stating OURS. We’re not asking anyone to conform to our way of thinking. We’re saying, we’ve seen some practices that we don’t like and we’re hoping we see less of them in the future. You don’t have to agree. We welcome differences at BHR. Fully.

      We aren’t ashamed of ourselves and we aren’t bullies, because we don’t think people are weaker than us, we don’t believe we have any superior strength and we’d certainly never use any kind of power to make someone change for us.

      People can live their lives differently than us. They can do things that we don’t agree with, it does not make them weaker. Just different.

      We will, however, continue to be free thinkers. We will continue to be opinionated.

      We aren’t setting out to change the world, just our own experiences in it.

    • I do not take this as a insult to Authors at all, I personally think it is more a Feedback post! We all have are likes and dislikes of course, but for a Author, ( new or old) to succeed they need to be able to take criticism, and thoughts from others. Rant …
      Reviews are a great point, so many people either write fake reviews, or seriously surger coat them to save a authors feelings, i am not saying people should go be mean or cruel but should be able to state their true opions on the book, without worry of Retribution or facebook shaming! * Authors that have a truely great book would be able to succeed faster, where as a author that maybe needs a little help will learn from reviews! However unfortunately, you can go on Amazon read a ton of reviews and you just know they are full of it! So then people do not take reviews into account and pass by a book they may have loved! People need to stop kissing ass because someone has the word Author next to their name!
      Be able to be honest, ( not cruel) on reviews, even a 2 or 3 star review can sell the book, as what one does not like another person loves!!
      I was told just a few days ago NOT to leave a review if it was a 3 star review, as it would ” hurt” the author! Seriously?? Well I hope you can get my point, and under stand that even what some people think is a negative blog post, or review can in reality help!!! I am sure many people will be pissed at this blog post, and that is my entire point, people can not say what they feel without making people mad! This was in no way mean or a Bully post, did not call out any specific Author, and is THEIR OPINION.

  • melissa mcentyre

    Books are written by Storytellers not genders or jobs- needed to have a living– Great Storytellers are just that GREAT– so any one who tells me a great story is all I or anyone should be concerned with– Tell your stories along with models, photographers etc– I will keep reading and supporting
    Melissa McEntyre– the North GA Mountain reader

  • Love it! Well said! I just want to throw in the Male model covers I am so sick of! Then the authors promote the cover and models more than the books! I am also so so so sick of romance with a terrible story line and lots of sex! Give me a good thriller with a romance intertwined in, and i will be a forever fan! Authors need to keep their nasty thoughts and comments to themselves to
    Just sayin’ it is a big turn off when you see a author bashing people! Thanks ladies! Now if we could just get Authors to listen!
    We love em! Love to read em!

  • One more thing that irks me to no end…. any comparison to 50 shades. 50 Shades of who even still gives a flying fig.

  • Sylvie Stewart

    Wow – this post, right here, is the reason I became an author! Every one of these horrors and missed opportunities had me throwing books at the wall in frustration until I realized that I’d have to write the books I wanted to read (Obviously, that’s a bit of exaggeration as there are tons of awesome books out there – but you get my meaning). In the end, I found a job I love, books I can be proud of, and the joy of sharing my “real” stories with readers. Thanks for this post!

  • Lu Bielefeld

    Totally agree. You expressed my feelings exactly. I am also tired of books that end in cliffhangers. I want a whole story with beginning middle and end all in the same book.


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