Printed from:

Welcome to Columbia Magazine  

Carol Perkins: Romance sells

Previous Column: Staying in my lane

By Carol Perkins

A person I didn't know well discovered that I had authored several books. She asked what type and assured me I was in the wrong genre. "If you write dirty, trashy love stories, you will make a fortune." She knew this to be true. My ears perked up. "You mean like ....?" I asked.

"All I know is this I know someone who makes a fortune and uses a pen name," she said. "She cranks them out once a month and her readers can't wait."

I thought about her words, which took me back to my youth when my teenage friends and I sneaked to read True Story magazine at the beauty shop while our mothers were under the hairdryer. Compared to today, those stories were Disney-worthy (almost) but back then they were read in secret.

Modern Romance was another magazine were sneaked to read.

When I was a young woman in my twenties, popular novels with edgy love scenes were the rage, and ladies passed them from one person to another. We had no Amazon and the library would never have books like these on their shelves. My first real "trashy" book (to my naive eyes) was Forever Amber. It was filled with romance and heroes and damsels in distress. To this day, I can still say that was a memorable read, not because it was "descriptive" but because it was a romantic story. There is probably not a person over fifty who hasn't read Gone with the Wind or seen the movie - one of the best love stories ever written!

A few years ago, as I was watching Good Morning America, the ladies were gaga over a new book. If it were THAT good, I needed to read it, so I did. It started out as a typical love story: rich man, average girl, the pursuit and the doubts, etc. etc. As the chapters progressed, I couldn't believe what I was reading, so I keep reading! By the end, I couldn't understand the infatuation with the book. (Maybe I'm too old.)

Every writer has an audience and romance sells. That GMA-promoted book made a fortune, as did the next one, proving women never tire of stories like that. However, most of us want a "feel good" romantic story that reminds us of a good movie like "When Harry Meets Sally" or "You Got Mail" or "A Star is Born" (although that one doesn't end the way I wanted). What has made the Hallmark Channel the No. 1 cable "movie" channel on TV? Romance, happy endings, and bakeries, florists, and wedding planners.

As for a good romance story, I am working on it. As for one that boundaries go beyond romance, I'm looking for a pen name!

Follow Susan and Carol-Unscripted on 99.1 the Hoss in Edmonton on Tuesdays from 10amCT to 11amCT and replay on Sundays from 4pmCT to 5pmCT. Listen to Carol's podcast at for entertaining stories and a replay of Susan and Carol-Unscripted.

This story was posted on 2020-02-12 12:19:52
Printable: this page is now automatically formatted for printing.
Have comments or corrections for this story? Use our contact form and let us know.


Quick Links to Popular Features

Looking for a story or picture?
Try our Photo Archive or our Stories Archive for all the information that's appeared on


Contact us: Columbia Magazine and are published by D'Zine, Ltd., PO Box 906, Columbia, KY 42728.
Phone: 270.403.0017

Please use our contact page, or send questions about technical issues with this site to All logos and trademarks used on this site are property of their respective owners. All comments remain the property and responsibility of their posters, all articles and photos remain the property of their creators, and all the rest is copyright 1995-Present by Columbia! Magazine and D'Zine, Ltd. Privacy policy: use of this site requires no sharing of information. Voluntarily shared information may be published and made available to the public on this site and/or stored electronically. Anonymous submissions will be subject to additional verification. Cookies are not required to use our site. However, if you have cookies enabled in your web browser, some of our advertisers may use cookies for interest-based advertising across multiple domains. For more information about third-party advertising, visit the NAI web privacy site.