What I Learned as a Romance Reader at a Non-Romance Conference


I am a huge, out loud lover of romance. When you’re out in the world, romance sometimes has a bad rep of being too fluffy, too many pink covers, too many buff guys. I recently attended a conference, booknet fest, that brought together readers and/or creators from many different backgrounds and book world views. It was a melting pot of book lovers and it invigorated my love of romance. Here’s five mantras I told myself while exploring new book recommendations and meeting new friends.

Romance really is for everyone.

I participated on a panel where we talked about our love of romance. Every person on that panel looked different, was different, had different likes but we were all bonded by our love for things romance. We talked about all the things we loved sports romances, daddy dom romances, (my favorite) secret baby romances and no matter how weird we thought the kink was we discussed it and embraced it.

Going outside of your comfort zone can be fun.

Everyone at booknet fest was so welcoming. Small platforms, big platforms, readers, observers all came together to share in our love of books! This also spawned different conversations about other forms of media that we all aggressively consume. The vast majority of the population at this conference was youtubers, that’s not me. I love blog work and getting my creative energy out on paper but, I met so many people who have the same creative pull who expel their thoughts in different ways. I loved learning about all these different thought processes.

Meeting new people really isn’t that bad.

Reading is a solitary activity that I love but it was also fun to meet people who share my love of reading. Exploring new recommendations that were given to me has challenged me to think outside of my box. I attended the goth fantasy panel and I learned about so many new avenues of reading that I can’t wait to explore.

Challenge myself to think outside my box!

Taking a break from my usual reads has just invorigated why I love romance. I find romance in all aspects of my reads and even felt myself rooting for certain couples when I read N.K. Jemison’s The Fifth Season.

Be your most authentic self.

I learned so many things at this conference that were outside my norm but, most importantly to be my most authentically real self was the best thing I walked away with. There were people from all walks of life who had the most interesting stories to share and I loved learning from each of them.

I’ll be exploring some new recommendations made to me like The Young Elites by Marie Lu, Gideon the Ninth and maybe actually watching a show that’s not reality tv. GASP, I know. Do yourself a favor and challenge yourself to think outside your box. It made me fall deeper in love with romance. I was able to express to non-romance readers how much you can find in this genre, sports, lgbtq, single dad, single moms, alpha, betas even dolphin loving romances.

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