Scots best-selling author Jenny Colgan says romantic fiction is being ignored - due to sexist snobbery.

Colgan is taking part in First Date, Scotland’s first romance festival, under the auspices of Edinburgh’s Lighthouse Book Festival at the Scottish Storytelling Centre later this month.

She says: “Romance outsells crime by a factor of two. Most people would think crime is the big seller. It isn’t. It’s romance and romantic comedy and it’s almost completely ignored for pure snot box reasons. It’s because women read it and write it; older women and working-class women."

She says crime fiction has a cachet that romantic fiction doesn’t because men read it.

“Publishing is trying to be more inclusive and it is trying to reflect more lives. And certainly in romance we’re trying to reflect more gay romance, or just a broader definition of romance. And yet you’re still facing all the time this barrier of entry to books that older working-class women like and it’s just nonsense.

She says: “If we go and do a community hall in Paisley we’ll get a fantastic crowd and we’ll have a brilliant night. If I do a fancy literary festival we’ll get like six people. They’ll go and see a Guatemalan poet who’s been in prison. It’s just snobbery really."