AAR Celebrates Ten Years Online as a Full-Service Site!
To me, the remarkable success of AAR is a demonstration of the fact that every romance reader knows: there is only one thing better than discovering a great romance novel. And that is sharing it.
The fence posts of AAR have become deeply anchored in the romance genre not because this is always the safest place to be—in the excitement of passionate debate, words can sometimes fly fast and furious. But really, is a tepid discussion ever as fun, or worthwhile, as an enthusiastic one? AAR is a place for passionate readers who feel free to air their opinions, to share their likes and dislikes, and best of all to help others discover a treasure that might otherwise have gone unnoticed. The fact that this is so often done with wit, style, humor and emotion, is evidence of the quality of this website and all who contribute to it.
Happy anniversary, AAR, and to you, Laurie! Congratulations on the success of your grand adventure, and thanks for letting us all have a place at the fence.
Mary Jo Putney
Happy anniversary, AAR!
Ten years ago, the World Wide Web was unknown to most of us, URLs on the bottoms of print ads were an oddity—and All About Romance was founded by Laurie Gold as an online romance community.
Over the years, the site has grown until it’s one of the richest sources for romance information on the internet. There are tons of reviews, interviews, opinion pieces, surveys, and polls. Not to mention a Castle of the Week. At the Back Fence is great at raising questions and stimulating discussion about the genre, the stories, the heroes and the heroines.
Is AAR sometimes controversial? Of course! It’s a place to talk and share opinions, and we all have plenty of those. There’s controversy because we care.
As AAR enters its second decade, it’s still a technological leader, with forums, blogs, and a presence at networking sites like My Space and Facebook. And it’s still one of the best and largest romance communities on the internet. It’s a place to hang out with fellow romance readers.
Live long and prosper, AAR!
AAR is a wonderful community where readers can get the real skinny on books, authors, and what’s happening in the world of romance fiction. This site’s huge growth is a testament to how much readers love it.
Happy Anniversary, AAR!
I like AAR…that’s about it, but of course I can’t stop there.<g>
I’ve been reading here almost from day one. I don’t read every day, but I probably at least skim things every week, which is not true of any other romance fiction site or blog. I leap with relish into some discussions because I don’t post a lot, mainly because it takes time I don’t have, but I can’t resist meaty discussions about the romance genre. I don’t at all mind differing opinions, because it’s rubbing against grit that makes ideas sharp.
I’ve always enjoyed reading the At The Back Fence articles and the author interviews at AAR. It’s always interesting to read the views of people both in and outside the publishing industry. I think the most important function of AAR is that it provides a place for readers to chat about the books they love.
Here’s to you AAR and another ten years. Cheers and raising a champagne flute in your honor.
Winning the 2000 PPP contest at AAR was what first made me realize that my writing could possibly have an audience out there. No author (or their humor) is for every reader, but it was because of AAR that I knew a significant amount of my future work would delve into comedic situations. Even the darkest of stories that I pen is always tinged with funny, often times campy, moments.
Since it’s inception, AAR has been dedicated to providing readers with honest reviews. We authors might not always like what Laurie’s reviewers have to say (and Lord knows I’ve taken some beatings here!), but the dedication and love of what they do is evident.
Happy 10th Birthday to AAR!! And congratulations, Laurie, on a job well done!
Practically every day as I’m pretending to write writing, I find my hand drifting toward my mouse and clicking on my browser. Almost magically (okay it’s auto fill) AAR’s address appears in the address bar. And there I am addictively searching to see if any new reviews have been posted. It’s sad; truly it is.
AAR has a lot to offer besides reviews–polls and message boards being two of my favorites. The polls appeal to my reader side and the message boards can just be darn informative. They are a great place to go if you are looking for advice on a new author to try, or which book to read next. But the big pull for me has to be the reviews.
Why read AAR’s reviews? They have a reputation for being tough, which I believe is deserved, but for the most part they’re honest too, and I appreciate that. I even appreciate it when my own book is being reviewed. And as a reader, I definitely want to hear real opinions—not dressed up to make an author feel good, or funnied up to pull in more readers for the review site. AAR gives us honest opinions—even if what they have to say doesn’t always look good on a bookmark.
It’s been more than 10 years since Laurie Gold first e-mailed me about my books. From the time of that first contact, I’ve seen her go from doing interviews and reviews for various outlets to establishing and managing the biggest and best romance site on the internet.
All About Romance isn’t just a review site; there are plenty of those. It has grown to include contests, discussion lists, boards, blogs, author lists, book lists, fan favorites of every possible description, charitable aid projects, and unprecedented reader participation. And what started out as Laurie’s musings on the written word has turned into a column that has its finger on the pulse of the industry, with ‘news and views’ from authors, reviewers, readers, and outside experts on all sorts of topics.
As AAR’s profile has risen, it has been featured in such mainstream media as Entertainment Weekly, and Laurie has become a spokesperson for romance. Not only is she a tireless promoter of the genre, she also gives readers a heads up on Buried Treasures – authors who don’t get a lot of promotion. I know because I have benefited from her generosity.
But, first and foremost, All About Romance is all about readers. It’s a gathering place, a welcoming ‘back fence’ free of the snobbery that we sometimes encounter elsewhere. Thank you, Laurie, for your support over the course of my career, and thank you for giving us a site where we can share what we all love: reading romance.
Congratulations to All About Romance on reaching its ten year anniversary!
I first discovered a lot of my favorite writers through reading AAR when I started to use the Internet back in the late ‘90s (I’m always slow to embrace new technology!). AAR introduced me to wonderful classic romances by people like Susan Elizabeth Phillips and Jennifer Crusie and Linda Howard. Those books are still on my keeper shelves and I’ve read and re-read them since and they never fail to make me smile.
There have been so many changes in romance since then. The number of genres and sub-subgenres now is absolutely astounding. Going to my local romance specialist is like going to the world’s greatest buffet. I can’t help smiling to remember when I first started reading romance as a pre-teenager. All that was available in Australia was Harlequin Presents (although they were just Mills & Boons then) and Barbara Cartland. Then of course, Kathleen Woodiwiss revolutionized the romance market with her historical romances so we had a stack of delicious historicals to buy. Compared to those dim, distant days, the current options are mind-boggling.
It makes you wonder where this wonderful genre we all love so much will go next! And I’m sure wherever that is, AAR will be there.
Happy birthday, AAR!
10 year of loving romance? Now that’s something to celebrate. I started reading romance when I was 13 and I’ve loved it for almost three decades. I write in order to share that love with others. And isn’t that what All About Romance is “all about”? Sharing one’s love of the genre with like minds. What a gift.
As an author, I’ve been so very blessed by some of the reactions to my stories shared on AAR. Every single reader who expresses appreciation for the books that come directly from my heart is a gift to me. AAR’s format that allows those readers to share their experiences and impressions with one another is an amazing and wonderful thing.
Long live all our love of romance!
Christine Wells Oh, my ears and whiskers, is it ten years? Congratulations, All About Romance! To become such an institution in the ephemeral cyber-world is a marvelous achievement.
One thing I love about reading and writing romance is the wonderful sense of community it’s brought me. I adore living in Australia but when I first started haunting the AAR site, I’d been cut off from a lot of good stuff—the infinite variety of romance you can find in U.S. bookstores, the ability to buy new releases the week they came out, the luxury of discussing favorite authors and books with other, like-minded (or even contrary-minded) souls.
When I discovered All About Romance, it was a revelation. Here were others who loved romance as much as I did arguing about books and talking about characters as if they were old friends. There were author interviews and columns that were thought-provoking and scholarly, sparking fascinating discussions. And I picked up enough great recommendations to fill a desert island with my TBR pile.
So cheers to you, All About Romance! And here’s to many more years of good times.