Leaning on Romance in Times of Uncertainty

With the entire world in a state of suspension and—let’s be honest—fear, our CMO, Melissa Saneholtz, took some time to write down her thoughts on the place romance has in our present world, and how it helped her find some clarity and peace after a particularly tumultuous week.

Read on to learn more!

Not a single thing is business as usual in these tough and unprecedented times. Emotions are high as uncertainty and isolation reign supreme, and there are days when the weight of the world feels like it’s on solely our own shoulders.

For many of us, we’re having to learn to work at home with our children present, while also acting as a stand-in teacher for an undetermined amount of time. For others, they haven’t had human contact in days—and the heaviness they must feel, I can’t begin to imagine. Yeah, I’d say stress is at an all-time high for us all.

That customer service representative who’s a little clipped on the other end? She’s struggling with her emotions about what’s going on. That email you got, which was harsher than it needed to be? That person is also having their own struggles. It’s hard to remember that when our emotions are all over the place. Which is why we all need something to help us through.

For me, it’s the unconditional love of my family and the fact that I work in an industry that I love—romance.

I’ve watched authors release books early so that their readers will have something to look forward to. Authors have discounted—and, in many cases, gifted—their books to readers, so that they have their fill of happily-ever-after. Readers have come together to share their favorite books and support their favorite authors despite their fear and anxiety. While compassion isn’t a new concept in our industry, it never fails to make me proud.

For many people, romance has always been an escape. It allows us to forget about our troubles for the hours in which we submerge ourselves between the pages. It gives us a happy ending that we yearn for, and the smile we need. Especially in times like this, romance gives us hope.

After a rough week, I sat down for the first time since this pandemic started and attempted to read. You see, my mind was so jumbled with all the worries I’ve been harboring that I struggled to focus. So, I searched Book+Main and found a Bite that I’d read a few times and had bookmarked. I’ve wanted to read the book, From Breath and Ruin by Carrie Ann Ryan, but haven’t had the time and, since I’d been struggling to read, I was happy to see it was available on Audible. I downloaded it with my one remaining credit and hit the road for a long walk.

What should’ve been twenty minutes quickly turned into an hour. I was lost in the story and didn’t want it to end. I had finally broken my concentration issues. I felt freer and less anxious. In the hours after my walk, I was able to clearly think through the issues from the past week. What I learned in those moments of clarity, is that compassion is vital in times like these.

The truth is, we can’t begin to understand what’s going on in another person’s head and what they’re dealing with in these times of uncertainty. But what we can do is have compassion and understand that this is not business as usual. Not in the professional space and not in the personal space. We’re each doing the best that we can to get by.

For me, all it took was a long walk and a great romance to help me have clarity and hope for a better future. And I know I’m not the only one who’s leaned on romance in these difficult times.

Happily-ever-after has never been needed more than it is now.

Melissa Saneholtz is Book+Main‘s Chief Marketing Officer.

She has over ten years of marketing and sales experience, five of which were in the publishing industry. A lover of audiobooks and all subgenres of romance, she wouldn’t want to work in any other industry.

She lives with her husband, three kiddos and furbaby in the suburbs of Cincinnati.

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