Given how many romance novels I’ve read recently, it only seemed appropriate to talk about a popular trope in them. The Billionaire Thing.
I’m not usually one to judge books by covers. Especially when it comes to romances. I hate book covers with random shirtless dudes, but some of my favourite books have those covers and if I’d judged them on that basis, I would’ve missed out. But, I do often read books because of their names. If I love the name of a book, I usually really want to read it. But bad names rarely stop me. Books with the word ‘billionaire’ in the title are an exception.
It just makes no sense. Like, is millionaire not rich enough? Does the plot specifically require a guy with a billion dollars? Are you writing books for gold diggers? Does the guy have no other redeeming qualities? Is making him a billionaire your way of saying he’s rare, since there aren’t many of those wandering around?
Just… why? Why billionaire? Where did it start? Who even came up with the idea that it’d be good to name book after the financial status of the male protagonist? And does no one realize how shallow that sounds? And what’s worse is that there are entire book series in which every single male protagonist is a billionaire and they’re all pals. As if they’re part of an ‘eligible billionaires’ book club. They probably get together twice a month to discuss how rich they are while they read their diamond-studded hardbacks.
I’ve made the mistake of reading a book, or two, that had the word ‘billionaire’ in the title. In my defense, I didn’t know then how stupid this trope is. Nor did I know that the series was called ‘billionaires’ something. Now, I pretty much avoid this particular type of books. I would read one if it was by an author I like, but otherwise, I’ve learned my lesson.
But still? It’s the rich thing, right? Playing into the female fantasy that one day, a hot, rich guy will waltz into your life and solve all your problems? And that even though everyone wants him and he has everything, he choses the ordinary girl because she’s just that special? The billionaire part probably comes in because it’s the largest sum of money that also has a few dozen options. Or because it tells the reader up front that the male protagonist is really fucking rich. When you think about it, the trope makes sense. But you can’t possibly expect anyone to take your book seriously when your selling point is a guy with an unbelivable amount of cash.
I guess I’m being kinda harsh. I doubt all books that fit this trope are bad, and there’s nothing wrong with writing a feel-good novel. But this is the one case in which I judge a book without even knowing what it’s about. This trope bugs me. Hell, I even judge authors (as authors, not as the kind of people they are) who have more than one book with the word ‘billionaire’ in the title.
It seems shallow and a cop-out of actually having to come up with a compelling enough plot that will make people want to read your book. I’m sure there are people who don’t agree with me. So please, prove me wrong. I would freakin’ love some suggestions for good books that fit the trope, preferably ones in which the billionaire thing signifies more than just the fact that it has a rich guy in it. Until I find some exceptions though, I’m steering clear. Because even though I’m also female, my fantasy involves me getting a job and a small apartment that I don’t have to share with anyone. And maybe a local restaurant which has great pizza. Billionaires are overrated.