Radway says that
My first effort was to write to people in the publishing industry, to travel to New York to find out what editors knew about romance readers. They were perfectly happy to have me come up there and talk to them, but they didn't know very much. They claimed that what they did was "seat-of-the-pants publishing"; we have our own ideas, they told me, but we don't do market research, and we can't really tell you who reads these books. In 1980, this was still largely true. I was about to conclude that I couldn't really study actual readers when one of those editors sent me a copy of an article that had appeared in a publishers' newsletter about the woman who eventually became Dot Evans. She worked at a mall bookstore and would advise people about good romances and bad romances. I wrote to her and said I'd love to talk. When she replied that she would be happy to, I really began Reading the Romance.