free books

Welcome to Romancelandia: Pilgrimage

By C. Mansfield

There is a world only a few clicks away if you know where to look. A world of desire, love, and friendship. A place where you can share your passion for romance with others. This place is called Romancelandia. And if you are reading this, congratulations! You’ve found us. Now, let us show you around…

Welcome to Romancelandia

Pilgrimage

The consumption of romance is a mostly solitary pursuit. We spend hours alone with our books. And when we do venture out into the world to discuss our books, it’s usually with online friends. It’s easy to stay in one spot and have a rich Romancelandia experience. 

But there are a few places that compel even the most staunch introvert into action. One of those places is, The Romance Bookstore. 

THE RIPPED BODICE

Dubbed the first Romance Only Bookstore, The Ripped Bodice located in Culver City, California was started by sisters Leah and Bea Koch after a successful Kickstarter Campaign. Opened in March of 2016, this amazing bookstore has been providing romance readers from across the world a safe place for lovers of romance to descend upon. The Ripped Bodice quickly became a powerhouse in the industry. With romance being publishing’s darling, a romance only bookstore was a no brainer. The Ripped Bodice is known for its annual The State of Racial Diversity in Romance Publishing Report. This report tracks the publication of romance novels by authors of color and indigenous people. It’s a stark reminder of how publishing actively represses and deemphasizes the work of BIPOC.

Photos Courtesy of ….

LOVE’S SWEET ARROW

For those on the East Coast, a trip to a romance centered bookstore used to mean a trip across the country. Not any longer. Love’s Sweet Arrow opened in Chicago’s Tinley Park in June of 2019 by mother and daughter duo Roseann and Marissa Backlin. Love’s Sweet Arrow has quickly become a popular destination for both romance authors and readers alike. Love’s Sweet Arrow offers a wide array of romance centered activities and events. From author signings to book clubs. They have a selection of signed books from such amazing authors as Jen DeLuca, Melonie Johnson and Suleikha Snyder to name a few. And for those on a budget or who are on the lookout for that discontinued stepback cover, they also sell used books. 

A shelf sponsored by familiar friends!

Photo Courtesy of Linda McConeghy Watson

TURN THE PAGE BOOKSTORE

Not a romance only bookstore, Turn the Page Bookstore is located in Boonsboro, Maryland. Home of the reigning Queen of Romance, Nora Roberts. Owned by her husband, the bookstore boasts an entire section solely devoted to Ms. Roberts. Many readers flock to the town in hopes of catching a glimpse of one of their favorite authors. While many people joke that Nora Roberts owns the town, her family does have deep roots in the community, owning several of the local businesses, including The Inn Boonsboro. The Inn Boonsboro is the setting for the series of the same name. The Inn is charmingly themed with each room being named after a fictional romance couple. 

Photo Courtesy of Kenny Shipley

These bookstores are exciting places where you can meet fellow romance readers, collect old books, and meet your favorite authors. Romance book stores can be some of the best places outside of your own head to bring your favorite romances to life. 

Welcome to Romancelandia: Proud Citizen

By C. Mansfield

There is a world only a few clicks away if you know where to look. A world of desire, love, and friendship. A place where you can share your passion for romance with others. This place is called Romancelandia. And if you are reading this, congratulations! You’ve found us. Now, let us show you around…

Welcome to Romancelandia

Proud Citizen

When you first discover your love of romance, it’s easy to buy whatever books cross your path. If the blurb sounds good, you buy it. Over time, you become more discerning and purposeful in your purchases. You grow to find tropes and authors you love because they resonate with something inside of you.

When we feel a connection with an author’s work, it’s only natural to feel drawn to their voice and the way they see the world. We want more of the world and characters they create and will do anything to have them. That’s why reader support is so critical to an author’s success. It helps our favorite authors create the works that we love.

There are a number of things we as proud citizens of Romancelandia can do to support these authors.

  • Pre-order their books
    Pre-orders are critical to the success of a book launch. All pre-orders get added to the first week’s total of sales. Due to many changes in the way top lists rank books, this might be the only way a romance author can make the list. If it’s an author on your auto-buy list, consider clicking that pre-order button when available.
  • Review their books
    Ask yourself honestly, how do you decide if you are going to read a book? Or decide to purchase anything these days? The chances are your decision relies heavily on how the product is reviewed. If you truly love a book, a simple rating and one word review goes a long way. Even if there were parts of the book you didn’t like, it’s still helpful. Maybe someone else will see your review and realize the book isn’t for them. It saves the author from having a potentially bad review. All reviews help in their own way. It also might alert another reader to a trope or plotline they enjoy, and you’ve helped the author gain a new reader!
  • Support them through social media
    Most of your favorite authors have some form of social media presence. Maybe it’s just an instagram account or maybe they have an entire Facebook group where they interact with their readers. Find your authors, follow them and like them. Every little bit makes a difference.
  • Spread the word
    Now that you are following your favorite authors on social media, you can share their posts about upcoming releases and book reveals. Tell your friends about them. Recommend them in other groups. Shout your love to the rooftops.
  • Support them on Patreon
    Many authors have created Patreon accounts to share special content and give their fans a chance to participate in the creation of their content. Katee Robert (Episodes #68) let her Patreon subscribers decide which villain would be the anti-hero in her next Wicked Villains series. And Piper Drake (Episodes #71 and #117), shares practical advice on how she maintains her writing schedule while working a highly demanding day job and recipes from her adventures in the kitchen. (Psst! The Wicked Wafflowers Club has a Patreon, too. If you want to support your favorite podcast, visit the page here.)
  • Support the Community
    The more you interact with people within the community of Romancelandia, the more you see the other ways we support each other. There are numerous fundraisers and campaigns for the causes that are so near and dear to us, like Romance for RAICES which raised over $23,000 last year for The Refugee and Immigration Center for Education and Legal Services or Romance for Literacy, which is currently raising money for ProLiteracy, an organization that promotes adult literacy.

Remember, you vote with your dollar. Be sure that the authors you support with your dollar are worthy of lt. The romance community is the most powerful community in publishing. With every dollar, you are shaping the future. Ask yourself if the books you’re reading reflect the world around you and the world you want to see? Does it reflect a world of diversity and empathy for those who are not like you? Does it elevate the voices of marginalized groups so that they may finally be heard? Consider the impact of the books you buy and the authors you support.

Next month, we will explore the people and places in Romancelandia we all long to see.

Welcome to Romancelandia

By C. Mansfield

There is a world only a few clicks away if you know where to look. A world of desire, love, and friendship. A place where you can share your passion for romance with others. This place is called Romancelandia. And if you are reading this, congratulations! You’ve found us. Now, let us show you around…

Welcome to Romancelandia

Your Traveler’s Guide to the World of Romance

Romancelandia has a reading problem. It’s true! We simply can’t stop ourselves. We want to read ALL THE TIME, because really, who needs sleep? We live on coffee and passion. And while that might sustain us, unfortunately, it doesn’t keep us in books. That, my friend, takes money. And sometimes money can be tight. We understand this, so we’ve prepared a guide to help you get the most out of your money while adding to that glorious TBR (To Be Read) pile. 

  • Our first stop is the library

This one is easy. Your local library is an excellent resource for books: both physical and electronic. Many libraries loan ebooks and audiobooks using apps like Overdrive, Libby, or Hoopla. Using these apps is as simple as finding your library system and entering your library card information. 

If your local library doesn’t yet have an ebook library, there are many public libraries that will issue you a non-resident library card for a yearly fee. 

Mecklenburg County Library

Brooklyn Public Library

Austin Public Library

Houston Public Library

Fairfax County Library

And if you commute for work, you may be eligible for a library card in the city you work.

  • Next we have used bookstores, thrift stores and more.

If you are lucky, you have a good used bookstore near you. But if you aren’t, you can still check out your local thrift stores or pop into that yard sale down the street. Even your local library is a good place to check for sales. Often they sell discontinued or donated books at a fraction of the suggested retail price. And if all that fails, there are many places online that sell used books, including Amazon. 

  • Try subscribing to Bookbub or Freebooksy.

Sites like Bookbub and Freebooksy are gaining popularity with readers and authors alike. It’s a great way to keep track of free and discounted books but also stay informed about your favorite authors. Bookbub will alert you with new releases or sales from the authors you follow. If you want to try an author, but you aren’t sure you want to pay full price for one of their books, follow the author and wait for a sale.

  •  Do you Review Books?

Did you know that you can get publishers to send you books for free? While terms may change per book and/or publisher, it generally only requires an honest review. Reviews are one the best things you can do to support an author you love. If you aren’t doing this already, consider posting a review on Amazon or Goodreads to tell everyone about the books you love. If you are interested in exploring this further, head over to Netgalley for more information. 

  • And our last stop: Amazon Loans.

If you have a romance reading buddy with a healthy ebook library, ask for some recommendations and see if the book can be loaned. Amazon loans last two weeks but as quick as we read, that should be plenty of time.

Every citizen of Romancelandia is entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of romance! Don’t let a lack of funds stand in your way. There is never a shortage of books. You just have to know where to look.

This month we showed you how to save on books, next month we talk about all the ways you can put your money to good use supporting your community and the authors you love. 

What did we miss? What are your tips and tricks?