Among various literary genres, romance is one of the most popular and profit-making. It may seem that writing a romance novel is a natural process, but only exceptionally creative and smart minds achieve true success and get published. We want to share some secrets that will help you attract readers and sell your romance novels.
Each year romance brings more than billion dollars in publishing. No wonder that there’s a stigma in this popular genre that romantic novels are mostly formulaic and plain. However, to write an interesting romance novel and have a wide audience’s attention, a standard “boy meets girls” story is not enough. To produce a love story that goes beyond simple formulas, you need to fully understand this genre, master the language of romance, and find out about the available publishing options. Use this knowledge and tools to write your unique happily-ever-after.
Where to Start with a Romance Novel
The basics of the romance novels, along with other fiction, include complex, interesting characters, and a captivating plotline. However, you have to pay attention to many other details which might not be so obvious.
- Determine your niche, especially if you only start writing romance. This genre contains many subgenres: contemporary, historical, fantasy, young adult, erotic, etc. So choose what intrigues you the most and try writing in the chosen style. If you struggle with finding the right niche, reading many various novels by different authors might help! Pick a few books among different subgenres and see which one you enjoy the most. If you enjoy reading in a particular subgenre, writing will likely be fun too.
- Despite common stereotypes, it is not easy to write a good romance novel. First of all, only those who love and understand this genre can write a truly compelling love story. The author, who attempts to write a romantic novel, should be able to build multifaceted characters and delve deep into their inner worlds, explore their secrets, and internal contradictions. The characters should experience conflict through which their growth arc can be developed. The essence of all romance novels is emotions and feelings. Research them well and remember that readers are smart and notice even the slightest nuances. Small things mean a lot to your audience, so devote time to subtle details.
- Remember the “happily-ever-after” element (the HEA). After all, it defines the romance novel. If your story has romantic elements, but your characters don’t seem like living happily ever after, it is not exactly a romance novel. At least include the “happily-for-now” thing (the HFN) in your book. Romance readers love happy endings. Don’t disappoint them!
- Give your readers a chance to escape from reality and live in your book. For this to happen, the setting of your novel needs to be captivating, awakening the wish to immerse and lose oneself in your story. Create the world your readers would like to return to. Try including places and things from real life, maybe your favorite coffee shop or a broken chair. It will add authenticity, and your books’ world will feel real and familiar to the readers.
- Come up with a strong main couple so that readers could become emotionally attached to them. The genre of the romantic novel is extremely character-driven. Endow your main characters with vulnerability and emotional depth and picture them as real as possible: imperfect, complex, even weird.
- Don’t neglect secondary characters. Of course, your focus will be on the main couple. But if you want your romance novel to be well-rounded, it is critical to include other intriguing characters that fill out the fictional world of the novel and contribute to the story.
How to Get your Romance Novel Published
Romance readers are the most voracious type of booklovers. They can finish one book in a week and immediately desire more. If you are planning on mastering this genre, it is great news. Your audience will need more and more romantic stories.
When it comes to publishing your novels, there are two options available. You can take the self-publishing course or use the traditional approach. Both these routes have their pros and cons.
The decision to pursue the self-publishing approach implies that you are the boss, and you control everything. This can be both good and bad.
For those who like to be in charge and have the appropriate skill set, self-publishing is an ideal option. In this case, you control content and finances, make decisions concerning the plot, length, formatting, design, pricing, etc. Along with all this, you also have to bear the costs and deal with marketing. You decide when and where your book comes out and get all the royalties.
If you are a self-publishing author, the power is all yours, as well as responsibility. Take your time and think if you possess the necessary knowledge and skills before taking the self-publishing route.
Traditional Publishing Option
If the full weight of self-publishing seems like too much to carry, you can always turn to traditional publishers. In the case of the romance novel, there are many options in the traditional publishing industry. If you aim for big known publishers, to seek help from a literary agent. Research available agents and focus on those who represent the type of romance novel you want to publish.
In some cases, you don’t have to involve an agent. Many publishers accept manuscripts directly from the author. Before contacting any publisher, research them thoroughly and make sure they publish your kind of novels.
Note that getting a contract and finding a home for your novel may not be easy and fast. However, if you are lucky to get a contract, professional editing and support in marketing are guaranteed.
Don’t Do this Alone
If you want to join the ranks of romance writers, you will feel the most welcome. The community of romance authors is very supportive and united. You don’t have to go through the process of writing and publishing alone, even when you choose the self-publishing option.
It is very important to have a developmental editor and critique partners. It is hard to assess your own work objectively, so an outside perspective is crucial. Yes, your novel can appear on Amazon in 20 seconds, but do not rush and make sure that everything is top-notch. Take time to polish the book to avoid scathing reviews.
No matter whether you are a self-publishing writer or collaborate with traditional publishers, the romance novel drives the industry. The readers await more breathtaking romantic stories with happy endings, and you can give it to them!
If you are interested in this genre, for starters, find a local community of romance writers; get support and advice on how to write a romance novel. Start writing your stories with an open heart. Who knows, maybe very soon you will be able to publish a book where some couple lived happily ever after.