Billionaire Romance Will Never Die


by Elizabeth SaFleur

Let me be Captain Obvious. The rich aren’t like us. So it tracks that we’d be fascinated by these super rich creatures, right? Who wouldn’t want to live in that world, albeit virtually and vicariously, through romance stories? The “economic one percent” make problems disappear with the swipe of a credit card. They board private jets when the mood strikes for sushi but only from that little place they discovered in Japan. They buy all the shoes, books and enemy’s businesses they want, whenever they want.

Who wouldn’t want to read about these people?

A bunch of hands just went up in the room, as in “Me! Me! Stop with the billionaire romance already!” Apparently, a tribe of billionaire-hating readers who have a strong disdain for such reads exists! I discovered this on Facebook — the authority on all things true and accurate, right? written with extreme sarcasm. Direct quotes include:

“If I never read another billionaire romance life would be so grand.”

“Can we just have the billionaire thing over already?”

“Oh, yay. Another billionaire romance. Retch.”

I’m shocked, I tell you. SHOCKED.

Then I remembered hearing a panel at last year’s RT Booklovers Convention (forgive me for not remembering the details) where someone said Millennial’s reading tastes are vastly different from older generation’s. The younger generation wants–shudder–reality, as in romance books set in the real-world with characters who were authentic, i.e. not rich, not glamorous, not billionaires. In short, they wanted to read about people like them.

The same RT panelist said the older generations were more apt to want escapism romance. And, sorry to break it to the world, but at some point in the not too distant future the younger generation will become the older generation. So we authors need to care what these youngin’s think–today.

(Side note: Have you heard about the rich kids of Instagram? Well, lest you think everyone young is rolling pennies at night, take a gander at THIS.)

Back to our blog post at hand. Do these predictions mean tales of the wealthy whisking away the innocent virgin to unimaginable pleasures and private islands will go away? Is the billionaire erotic romance market, gulp, fading?

Nope. Not. Even. Close. So say, I, and not because I publish a billionaire erotic romance series. Scout’s honor.

Google images return results when you ask for “billionaire romance.” Thousands! Millions!

 

The Guardian recently published an article on this very topic, triggered by the recent Fifty Shades movie. (Read about my and Madeline Iva’s opinion on the movie here). How could anyone NOT click on an article with the headline, Filthy rich: our tortured love affair with wealth porn.

Wealth porn means accepting that someone is more interesting after seeing their stock portfolio. Kind of like being a virtual gold digger (guilty!). After all, many have said if Christian Grey lived in a trailer, he’d be considered an abuser. The fact he has a penthouse in Seattle’s most expensive building makes his, ahem, viewpoints and behavior around kink okay.

Back to the topic at hand. Forget that in real life millionaires and billionaires rarely have time for Saturday strolls with the family in the park, let alone time to jet off to Japan for sushi. Unless one has inherited a fortune, it takes an obscene amount of office face time to purchase luxury living. But in books, they have oodles of time to lavish attention and resources on their heroines. Thank goodness. I get enough reality in, well, real life.

Below are my super-non-scientific reasons why the super rich will grace our book’s pages for years to come and readers will love it–even the Millennials.

Billionaire romance can be aspirational. A girl’s gotta have a dream, so why not fill your head with visions of full-time maid service and a full-time cook (my ultimate dream)? But more than that, if you believe in the power of manifestation, what you imagine becomes closer to reality. Deep down, I wonder if this is what makes billionaire romance reading so appealing. I read at night and know my dream state is affected by this activity. I have to believe others feel the same.

Reality fatigue is real.  If you seek a break from the negative news filling our airwaves and headlines these days (who isn’t?), romance is perfect for such an escape. Reading about the super-rich takes this diversion to a new level. As for that RT panel that said Millennials don’t want reality? Remember that was before the recent U.S. presidential election, although we were deep in it. Just not as profoundly as we are now. Now we’re so entrenched in absurdity and negativity, we’re like pigs in slop (except pigs like slop).

Billionaire romance features the good guys. Lordy knows, we need some honest-to-God heroes right now, and will for decades to come to get over what’s happening in real life. In reality, the mega rich don’t have the best reputation, especially in today’s times. In romance novels, these wealthy heroes may be flawed, but they sure are heroic and deep down good. Heck, in books even the villains are usually redeemed. Or, if an unethical rich person is cast in a romance novel, they “get theirs” or at least are so obviously bad we know what we’re dealing with. That’s not always the case in real-life. That makes romance novels appeal to the better angels of our nature.

Note: In real life you’d be hard-pressed to find a billionaire who looks like Jamie Dornan. Just sayin’. 

No office pallor here!

Oddly, rich heroes and heroines make me feel normal. When reading, provided it’s not dark erotica or romance, my problems fade for a little bit. In fact, my problems don’t even show up in billionaire romance, even though the characters may be going through the same jealousy, insecurity, emotional vulnerability thing that I might be going through. But it always works out in romance, so I know it will be all right in the end. And if someone with a bank account the size of Fort Knox is worried about being loved, well, dammit, I’m not so strange after all.

In the end, romance has a time-tested appeal that taps into our human nature of wanting love to conquer all. In billionaire romance, we get to tap into that AND our desire for freedom and achievement — ultimately to not be at the behest of others.

Why do YOU love the billionaire romance? Or not?

And while you’re here, sign up for the LadySmut newsletter. We bring you all the smexy things to ponder.

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Coming to the RT Booklovers Convention in Atlanta this May? Join the Ladysmut.com bloggers for a very special reader event – Never Have You Ever, Ever, Ever — and win crowns, toys, books and more. (Ooo, and we’ll have brownies….) Goodybags (with fun stuff!) to first 100 people in line! Wednesday, May 3 at 1:30 p.m. Add this event to your RT Personal Agenda here.

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Elizabeth SaFleur writes contemporary erotic romance and she’s not afraid to get graphic about it  — “it” being the sex, the BDSM or Washington, DC society, which she regularly features in her series, the Elite Doms of Washington. Join her Sexy, Saucy, Sometimes Naughty exclusive reader’s group or follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

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  • Mischa Eliot
    March 24, 2017 at 7:33 am

    Excellent post. I like that the main difference between real billionaires and romance book billionaires tends towards looks and the fact that the escapist version also tend to be good people. It’s hard to find a good billionaire. I used to occasionally watch the show Secret Millionaire – breaking my reality tv rule. It always made my hopes rise a little that someone was going to help out an organization that helped people who couldn’t seem to get ahead. Same with Undercover Boss.

    Regarding the younger generation looking for realistic romance… I think they get so much reality thrown at them – how they are called ‘special snowflakes’ and that they have ‘entitlement issues’ more often than not, they just want someone like them to be accepted and loved, perhaps even courted, or a whirlwind romance where they learn how to navigate the waters infested with those just waiting for them to fall of the pedestal someone put them on.

    • Elizabeth SaFleur
      March 24, 2017 at 9:21 am

      Thanks, Mischa. Interesting perspective on the Millennials wanting to find something good in reality when perhaps their reality isn’t bringing them happiness. As stepmom to 2 men of the younger generation, they certainly seem to have a harder road to walk than I did around job security, finance, healthcare and the like. Perhaps the billionaire trope is so far out their perceived reach they just can’t go there?

      • Mischa Eliot
        March 24, 2017 at 9:37 am

        Exactly. Most kids these days want to find happiness. They don’t want to be stuck in an 8-5 job where they are consistently undermined, constantly being told they aren’t working hard enough, long enough. They want to do things they love. They see their parents stuck in jobs that make them miserable and run as far away as they can.
        Parents have also gone overboard for these kids, doing homework and class projects instead of the kids doing them and learning. (I’ve personally seen coworkers doing school projects for the boss’s kids.) Then when they get to college they’re unable to cope. If they make it to graduation it’s from sheer luck or because reality hit them in the face.
        Encourage your step-sons to find happiness in what they do, even if they don’t love what they do. It makes a huge difference.

  • Elizabeth SaFleur
    March 24, 2017 at 10:48 am

    Fortunately for me, my two step-sons have found their way and are in good, decent-paying jobs and they like what they do. I know that’s not always the case. I shudder to think what some of my nieces and nephews are going to go through given severe helicopter parenting their whole lives (unlike my husband’s family). The first one just went to college and she’s kind of lost. Shocker. And, they all want to be multi-millionaires by the time they are 30!

  • Madeline Iva
    March 24, 2017 at 10:53 am

    “Wealth porn” Lol! There’s another technical terms for these books: they are all about hypergamy: or seeking out a mate of a higher social class, i.e. marrying up.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypergamy

    Meanwhile, I think billionaire romances are good for the health of romance readers plagued with bills and other woes. It’s not good for your brain to be in a perpetual state of stress–it’s hard to think when you’re living in crisis. To take an affordable break for a few hours in which you live through someone else who never has to worry about money again gives the brain a time out from all that stress.

    • Elizabeth SaFleur
      March 24, 2017 at 11:10 am

      I like saying that word – hyyyypuuuuurgamy. It sounds so … decadent. 😉

      You are so right about taking a break from perpetual money stress, too. GREAT point.

  • Elizabeth Shore
    March 24, 2017 at 3:18 pm

    I have to admit, I’m in the category of “enough with the billionaires.” I avoid those romances. Sick, sick, sick of them. For me, they’re just too far from actual reality to be escapism. To your point, those guys don’t have time for strolls, or to be loving with flaws who just need the heroine’s gentle understanding to make things all better. Escapism to me is great but apparently there are requirements for me to truly embrace them. When the hero is worth gazillions, is super fit, looks like a model, hung like a horse with moves between the sheets to make a porn star jealous…well, I guess ultimately it’s just too much. I can’t escape when there’s absolutely no hint of reality.

    • Elizabeth SaFleur
      March 24, 2017 at 4:40 pm

      And THAT’S why we have so many genres and tropes to choose from! I love the diversity of romance titles. There’s something for everyone.

  • Michelle
    March 27, 2017 at 3:15 pm

    I enjoy them as well. I tend to flip flop between differeytypes so I don’t get bored. The only problem I have is when a book is sooooo far from anything even remotely possible, and I don’t mean sci-fi or fantasy I mean ones that are set in a “real” environment. Just read a book where the h was supposed to be a senator in her early 20’s, yeah ok:/. I’ll have to check out your books though!

    • Elizabeth SaFleur
      March 27, 2017 at 4:07 pm

      I’m glad enjoy billionaire romance like I do. Yes, there are somethings that *cannot* be ignored. You have to be 35 to be a U.S. Senator. Details like that throw me out of the story! And thanks for checking out my books. Take a gander at our store page. You’ll find lots of good reads there!

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