I wallow in midlist and debut authors.
You know the "biggest" name author I read in romance? Susan Wiggs. And even then I tend to gravitate more towards her historicals than her (most likely bigger selling) women's fiction-type stories. But I'm not sure I'd put Wiggs in the same sphere as Nora, Linda Howard, and Jayne Ann Krentz. Yet anyway. I think she's working her way up there....
Of the Big 3 listed above - I've read 3 books by Nora and 2 by Krentz. And Linda Howard? I don't get Linda Howard. There, I said it. Go ahead and pull out your Little Wendy Voodoo Doll. I certainly wouldn't be opposed to reading more books by Nora and Krentz - I just don't actively gravitate towards "big name" romance authors.
I'm not exactly sure why. I think it may be because I started reviewing romance shortly after rediscovering the genre. So when I probably should have been working through "big name" authors, I was reading midlist and debut authors for review.
To this day I still haven't read Judith McNaught, Julie Garwood or LaVyrle Spencer. You can pick yourself up off the floor now. Really. It will be OK. Of those three, I'd be more likely to give Spencer a whirl - but I just sort of prefer off-beaten-path. I'm also a big fan of sub genres that are currently not in vogue - there aren't exactly a ton of "big names" churning out westerns these days.
I'm not sure if this lack of "big name" reading makes me fundamentally ignorant of the genre - but I'd like to think not. It's easy to get all goopy over "big name" books and gush endlessly. However, I find it more satisfying to steer people towards good books, by midlist or debut authors, that they might not have considered otherwise.
Besides, I figure all those "big names" have healthy savings accounts to fall back on. And I doubt me not actively seeking out there books is hurting their feelings any. There are millions of other readers out there that doing the exact opposite of what I am.