As I was busily lurking my way through Reading Bloglandia the other day, it suddenly hit me…
I have absolutely no fucking idea what ‘category romance’ actually means.
All this time, I’ve been nodding and typing ‘yes’ whilst being completely and utterly clueless.
Thinking back, not even the context in which some have used the phrase ‘category romance’ has been much of a help to me.
They’ve given me an inkling, yes, but an understanding?? Erm, nope.
I’m pretty sure this will definitely a ‘me’ thing.
Still, I’m curious about what others think it means, so do tell. 🙂
Those who dared:
ouaqquwcgk on my confession dkmhwgijnw on random awesomeness Kris on maybe it’s me, but… kaetrin on maybe it’s me, but… Kris on maybe it’s me, but…
Um. Romance that fits into a very specific category (such as Special Forces romance, etc) and is extended novella length, but not novel length.
I think it stems from the Mills and Boon romance books which were up to about 200 pages in length and could be placed into a 'category' or sub-genre, ie. Western, historical, doctor & nurse, Rich man and some underling. That sort of thing.
The emphasis seems to have shifted with ebooks so that the focus is on the length of the book, rather than whether it can be placed in a sub-genre.
Yeah, when you think about it, that is kind of weird.
I just had to Google it so not much help from this direction. You're always so educational!
Umm. I was nodding along with you. I knew it referred to something in the Harlequin vein, but wasn't exactly sure. Seems like according to Jen we just call it genre now. Western is a genre not a category and think things are so mixed now, you can have western paranormal menage. Not something Mills and Boone or Harlequin ever produced. LOL
I think it refers to the line or series a book is in when published by for example Harlequin or Mills and Boon. In some cases that's synonymous with genre, in others it's more are the heat level the reader can expect in the book, or the milieu you might call it, like medical romances. The opposite of this is “single title” – even if that's actually in a series of stories! Category romances are generally short – though Mills and Boon historical for example are generally around 300 pages, so longer than novellas – and single title books more a conventional novel length.
I once went looking at the Mills & Boon guidelines for the different category romance lines, thinking I might try writing one myself – before I discovered the existence of m/m, I hasten to add, and a good thing too coz there's no way I'd have been able to stick to the rules!
My understanding is that traditionally, category romance was an extremely formulaic subgenre where readers know exactly what to expect from the story. The guidelines specify 50-60k words, which is longer than a novella, but not considered a proper novel by most print publishers (80k and up for them).
Now most epubs use the term “category” for that length of short novel, rather than a set of strict story guidelines. Stops readers from feeling ripped off when the story isn't as long as a “proper” novel, I suppose…
Thanks for your responses, everyone.
They have made me realise that my confusion seems to have come from the use of category romance to describe Mills and Boons to using it in reference to ebooks where the meaning seems to relate more to length of the book.
I also thought it referred to a particular pairing in romance like doctor/nurse, boss/secretary, rich guy/fake wife, etc as opposed to a sub-genre per se.
Oh, and Juni… I'm all about edjumacation. You should know that by now. 😉
Derivative crap of approximately 55k words.
(I'm eating cottage cheese right now, which makes me succinct.)
K.Z-*snort* Loved it! You crack me up.
KZ: “I'm eating cottage cheese right now, which makes me succinct.”
I thought cottage cheese caused revolutions, but whatever.
Stephani: Don't encourage her. That's illegal here.
What Jenre initially said (about the Mills & Boon) is what I thought…but I didn't know the bit about eBooks and on length.
And I adore that LOLCat!
@K.Z. – LOL!
Who's yo' mama, Steph?
I knew category romance as certain lines of Harlequin and Silhouette romances — Harlequin Presents, Silhouette Desire, Harlequin American Romance and so on. I considered it in e-books to be the length of those types of books. J.L. Langley's His Convenient Husband is a category romance both in length and subject matter. The protagonists are both male, but it's much like a Harlequin in plot.
Orannia: Interesting, isn't it.
Em: “J.L. Langley's His Convenient Husband is a category romance both in length and subject matter. The protagonists are both male, but it's much like a Harlequin in plot.”
That's a great example, Em. I hadn't really thought about that in relation to JL's book before.