Historical Romance

Historical Romance with an Inspirational Touch

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

I'm in the Romance Section. Where are the Inspys?

Like all markets, the Romance genre is difficult to break into. That is doubly so for the Inspirational Romance Market. There are dozens of publishing houses that print romances, but only a handful who publish inspirational. And, it doesn’t stop with the publishing. Once a book is released, it doesn’t automatically appear on the shelves in the romance section, regardless of the publisher. Just take at look at the aisle of books at your local book store. The romance section contains hundreds of selections, anywhere from contemporary to historical; from time travel to vampires; from Jane Austin to chick-lit. Now step over to Religion/Christian Friction section. It is probably the same size, if not smaller than the entire Romance Section. And, the novels are listed by author’s last name so you need to read almost every type of book offered to find the two dozen or so romances among the bunch, unless you are already looking for a particular author.

To me it just doesn’t seem fair. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good romance, secular or inspirational. You will find me in both sections every time I am lucky enough to spend time in a bookstore, so this is not about one over the other. It is about why Inspirational romances are segregated. As they are romances, why can’t they be shelved in the regular romance aisle? It seems as if only Inspirational Romances are separated out from the other romances. Does anyone know the reason why? Paranormal/Sci-Fi Romances are with romances and not Sci-Fi, and Wild West Romances are not put with Westerns. I could continue to list examples but I am sure you get the idea.

So, is there a reason why Inspys are segregated? And, do you agree with the practice of not shelving Inspirational Romances with all of the other romances? It is simply something I have wondered about. Not passing judgment, just curious.


  1. Hmmm, Amy. Great question. You taught me more than I knew about inspys AND romances.

    My local Barnes & Noble manager and I were talking about several bookshelf "segregation" issues. Another example is Christian vs. secular instead of more by Western, romance, women's fiction, etc.

    Great blog! Great points!

  2. They wouldn't want somebody accidentally picking up a Christian book now, would they. My local library actually puts everything together and it is harder for me to find inspys unless I know the author. Good question. :O)

  3. Believe it or not, some people are offended by any mention of God. If they integrated Inspys, they fear loss of sales. Too bad.

  4. I wouldn't mind seeing inspys mixed in with romances, but I also think it might have to do with readers. It may not be the secular readers who care, but the inspirational ones. There are many inspirational romance readers who've never read a secular romance and to have to hunt through hundreds to find a Christian one would be hard to do.
    It's a tricky situation.
    Kind of like how African-American authors often get shelved in that section, when they wrote a romance that I feel should be shelved in the romance section.
    I've heard how stores stock books is based on sales.
    Which could be why inspirational romance is in the religion section, because that's where many Christian readers head first.
    Maybe? LOL

  5. Even when I owned a bookstore, we put the fiction out by author--not genre:)
    I love the look of your blog--have I been gone that long?

  6. There are probably many good arguments on both sides. I never knew how they did it... If I'm looking for a Christian romance, I'm in the Christian bookstore. Unless I knew the author, I wouldn't know how to find them among the secular romances. I suppose I would head for the Christian section of a bookstore to look for Christian romance.