Saturday, April 18, 2020

Quarantine and lockdown romance. On-trend or tacky?

Girl in mask

I know I talked about reading (or not) a virus pandemic romance where the setting for the romance is during a time of a virus pandemic. It's not something I'm particularly attracted to since it hits a little close to home right now with everything going on. That said, I am starting to notice a number of authors take advantage of what's going on and beginning to release quarantine or lockdown romances. How do I feel about that?

For starters, it immediately rubs me the wrong way. It feels like taking advantage of the pandemic, and the quarantine or lockdown is a bit tacky. Okay, it's a lot tacky, in my opinion. It feels like a straight out money-grab some these authors, and that doesn't sit right with me. Taking advantage of a situation like this is just distasteful. You are entitled to disagree with me, and you may be all for a quarantine or lockdown romance, but it's not for me.

Stranded With The Billionaire by Sophie Brooks  Stone Brothers by Bethany Jadin

Now don't get me wrong, I love a snowbound or a stranded romance as much as the next person, and this is not all that different. I mean, if you're stranded together in a wilderness cabin in the middle of a snowstorm, or a tornado, or a hurricane, that's still a bit of a lockdown situation, isn't it? Except, it's not. Not to me, anyway. Let me explain.

When I'm reading about a couple thrown together and forced to stay together because of some natural event while I am not experiencing it and I am living my normal life, it's fun, entertaining, and it's an escape. It's "oooh, they are stuck together, and how sexy is it going to get when they can't resist each other?"

But the situation we are stuck in? Where we are all forced to stay home. Where we fear for our health and safety each time we go out. Where we don't know what to touch, what not to touch. Where we shy away from strangers who don't observe social distancing rules. That's scary stuff. That's life and death stuff. I don't want that stuff marketed at me.

Quarantine romance 1

I will probably enjoy that romance. I will probably enjoy that single dad and his virgin nanny stuck together in his mansion while they get sexy together. I will probably also enjoy that boss, and his assistant forced together at his home because she's got nowhere else to go while they are in a lockdown situation. It's probably entertaining and sexy as all get out. It will have a happy ending.

But you know what? I don't want it marketed at me like that. I don't want a quarantine romance or a lockdown romance thrust in front of me right now. If I gave it a chance, I might enjoy the book, but I do not like the marketing angle of it. I do not like that the author is taking advantage of a horrific situation I am living through and trying to make a buck from it.

Quarantine romance 2

I was told about an author working on a particular soon-to-be-released book. It features a couple forced apart by the pandemic. They are kept apart for most of the book, and the pandemic is the main reason for it. That rubs me the wrong way. It goes back to me saying this author is taking advantage of the pandemic and trying to make money out of it because believe me, there will be people who will buy the book to read, and she will have fans who will love it. To me, it's just tacky. This is not an author who is interested in her craft and creating the best stories for her readers. This is an author who is interested in her pocketbook and what writing to market or trend will do to their pocketbook. This is an author milking the market. I have nothing against writing to trend or market. It works for a lot of authors, and it makes them a heap of money, but this is a difficult time that people are living through, and we want an escape. I don't want quarantine, or lockdown, or pandemic marketing.

But hey, kudos to those authors who can crank our new books on the topic so quickly. Or maybe they've just rebranded existing romances that fit the theme, slapped on new covers, new blurbs, and hey presto! Books to market. How very on-trend of them! That said, I have nothing against authors having to make a living. I understand that like the rest of us, authors need to make an income too.

Quarantine romance 3

I mean, I did ask in a previous post if my audience would read a virus pandemic romance, and do you know what most of them said? Not right now. Some said they had enjoyed it in the past, but most of those were dystopian or post-apocalyptic romances, and often the reasons for their particular end of the world scenario were not a virus pandemic.

So yeah, this post is mainly me having a long rant about the ethics involved in the release of certain books I see right now. I get writing to market, I do, but do we want this particular "market" being shoved in our face right now? The words "quarantine" and "lockdown" used in this context bothers me. And yes, this is my opinion and I'm just one person. Maybe I'm wrong, and there's a huge market for it. Perhaps people are hungering to read about finding love while being in quarantine and lockdown, being stuck in a house with their roommate or boss with nowhere to go and no comfort but in each others' arms. Who knows? This is just a little too realistic for my liking. I read romance to escape and be entertained. And maybe when all this calms down and I'm not living it, I might give it a shot. Maybe. I want to try to be open-minded.

Stuck Together by Jamie Knight  Socially Distanced by Shay Savage

Tell me what you think. Am I wrong for thinking this is tacky and are you all in for reading the next quarantine or lockdown romance? Or would you prefer to read about happier times and happier settings?

ps. If you are interested in reading more, there is an article talking about quarantine romance becoming a trend here. And also the original reddit post which might have inspired a lot of it.

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  1. Good post

    For me authors write to put food on their tables and pay rent I am still not sure if it is the right thing to do, would I race out an buy them no. What worries me is what will be the quality of the book if it is put together so quickly and pushed it might not be the best book to read. I think that at this trying time for everyone all must be a bit thoughtful for you fellow person whoever you are.

    Have Fun


    1. Good point, Helen. This is a difficult time everyone is going through.

  2. I can't say as I would read one. It sounds a bit boring to be honest. Not much of a plot.

    1. I was trying to think about what kind of plot there would be. If you're locked in an apartment or a house, there really isn't much of a setting in terms of different places for things to happen. Living room, dining room, kitchen, bathroom.