Over at Jezebel, Kelly Faircloth shares a fantastic long form piece on the rise of the Harlequin romance novel, and how the brand became synonymous with a wildly lucrative if critically dismissed genre. From the original formula for woman-centered, alpha-male page turners to Harlequin’s relentless advertising tactics to the question of exactly how much sex sells best, Faircloth presents a sociological study. And maybe Harlequin still has something to teach the publishing industry today:
They knew they were selling to women, and they chased women’s dollars without embarrassment or apology. And let’s face it, being associated with women is often the shortest route to being dismissed in the broader culture as fundamentally unserious.