Reading the Romance Writer as an Author-Entrepreneur

Publication year
Interférences littéraires/Literaire interferenties

Here's the abstract:

What does it mean for a romance writer to think of herself as the manager of a career in writing, conceived as a business venture, a source of pleasure and a life choice? Literally transformed into her own boss, she administers her self in an unequal relation to the multinational, corporate industry of romance publishing that is the power broker with whom her own «tiny enterprise» must negotiate the «nuts and bolts» that determine the market value of the product of her labour, on the one hand, while on the other, she must pitch her brand to an audience, the consumers of her products. We shall see that this entrepreneurial author figure is urged to assume responsibility for her writing self as a project and as an object, actively self-reliant and self-determining, engaged in a continuous process of production of the self required by the dynamic nature of the genre. Given the highly competitive world of romance publishing, authors are aware that they must create a compelling, up-to-date and unique «author brand», that unifies and stabilises disparate authorial practices and figurations that are enacted in different media and in the novels themselves. In this regard, I will argue that the figure of the romance novelist may be read as an entrepreneurial «belaboured» self because of her endless efforts to pitch to her audience, with apparent effortlessness, the image of a happy author-entrepreneur. This article will bring together these ideas by quoting from writers’ public appearances and self-presentation on webpages, speeches and interviews.