The Romance Genre on the Web

Researching online romance genre communities and their perspectives

First progress report!

Filed under: Research updates — Bron at 9:10 pm on Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Even without publicising this research project much yet, I’ve been thrilled by the response in the past few days. Thank you to everybody who’s stopped by, commented here, done the online survey, sent emails to me, or forwarded information about the research to the groups and email lists they’re involved with. I’ll be sending out emails to various romance genre sites and groups over the next few days, inviting participation, but if there’s a group you’re a member of, please feel very welcome to spread the word.

At the time of writing this, there’s been 112 responses to the survey. We’re still very early days yet, a bit too soon to start drawing any conclusions, but it’s interesting to watch the numbers and percentages developing. Yes, I’m obsessively backing up and exporting data into my spreadsheet :-) I will, however, resist temptation and wait at least a few days before posting some interim figures, to get a broader sampling across the various romance genre communities. The survey will be available for several months, so final figures, cross-tabulation and analysis will be a way off, but I’ll share some basic stats along the way.

Some of the comments in the survey have highlighted some areas I hope to explore further on the blog – for example, author’s online communities and forums; and the range of other genres that romance readers read. I’ll pose some questions about those on the blog in the not-too-distant future.

There’s some very interesting discussion going in the post before this one, around the question ‘Why romance?’ The question is still open, so please feel welcome to contribute!

Once again, thanks to all of you who have contributed to getting this research project off to a flying start. Romance readers and writers are wonderful people!

Welcome!

Filed under: Discussion questions,News — Bron at 6:12 pm on Thursday, February 22, 2007

My University’s Human Research Ethics Committee has approved the first stage of my PhD research project, which includes the online survey and this blog, so we’re ready to roll!

I’m very excited (and yes, a little nervous!) about this research project, and in particular using a blog as a way to interact with online romance genre readers and writers. The romance genre websites, blogs, email lists and other online forums form a wide, diverse and very vibrant community, full of fascinating and lively conversations, views, ideas, and a wonderful sharing of knowledge and resources. I’m hoping that this blog will become a part of that community – a place where we can discuss a range of issues about the genre, about what’s happening online around the genre, and about your perspectives on romance fiction. I’m interested in what YOU think – questions like what you read, why you read it, where you talk about it, how and why you choose what to read, what you think about it, and where you go online to share your interest in the genre. Over the rest of this year, I’ll be making regular posts to this blog, exploring issues and themes in the genre and what’s happening online, and asking you for your views and thoughts on them.

I’m very aware (because I’ve read most of it!) that past academic scholarship hasn’t always come from a position of respect for the genre and its readers, so I’d like to assure you that as well as being a scholar, I’m a romance reader, and a romance writer, and I have a great deal of respect for the genre, and for the women and men who read it, write it, publish it, market it, review it and sell it. This is why much of my research methodology is focused on listening to your views and ideas – you’re part of a huge and significant literary genre and cultural form, and we can’t hope to understand all the diversity and richness of the genre, and its readership and authorship, without listening to you.

So, let’s start! My first question – I’ll start with an easy one :-) – is, ‘Why romance?‘ What appeals to you about romance fiction? What do you look for in a romance book? If you’re a writer, why do you write romance?

Coming soon…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Bron at 7:16 pm on Friday, February 2, 2007

This will be a blog accompanying my research for a PhD. The blog will provide a place to raise questions and discuss key issues and themes in the romance genre, and to listen to readers’, writers’ and industry professionals’ views and perspectives.

I’m looking forward to ‘meeting’ with the online romance genre community and discussing this rich and important genre.