February 07, 2022 (Last Updated February 01, 2023)Marcy G.
It’s the season of romance and love is in the air. What better time to talk about romance novels? Since women make up a large percentage of book consumers, it’s no surprise that romance continues to be a popular book genre in today’s market. According to Romance Writers of America (RWA), 82% of romance readers are women and about 23% of the US fiction market belongs to romance novels. It's safe to say the romance market is booming. If you are thinking of becoming a romance writer, there is a strong community to connect with online and share the spotlight with. Romance covers so many sub-genres that there's an audience for every romance author.
Below, we’ll discuss useful tips for writing and printing a romance novel.
Writing a Romance Novel
Determine your sub-genre
There are various sub-genres when it comes romance novels. When you begin planning your plot and mapping your characters, it’s important to determine what your romance sub-genre is. For example, are you writing an historical romance? A contemporary romance? Young adult? Paranormal? You can find a breakdown of these sub-genres here to help determine yours. Your sub-genre will not only matter when forming your plot and characters, but is also important for designing your cover and marketing your book.
Establish a clear setting/world
Creating a setting or world your readers can picture is important in romance writing. You want the setting to help inform your characters the world they live in. For example, if you’re writing a young adult romance book, maybe the story takes place at an idyllic boarding school. If you’re writing a paranormal or fantasy romance novel, your setting could be dystopian or filled with mystical creatures.
Create compelling characters
Your protagonist or heroine will be driving your plot and the romance in your book. Your main characters should be strong and developed throughout your romance novel. What is your protagonist’s background? Professions? Past relationship history? What are they looking for in a romantic partner? What are the stakes when getting involved with someone? What outside forces make love difficult? Just as important as your heroine or protagonist is the love interest or hero. Make sure all of your characters, secondary and tertiary, have strong backgrounds. Your characters should be complex and also relatable.
Descriptive language is also very important in romance writing. When describing your characters, make sure you use detailed, physical traits so the reader can picture each character. Your point of view is extremely important for character development and description is a huge part of that. For example, the “hero” or love interest may be described as tall, dark, handsome and brooding, while your heroine may be petite with mysterious eyes.
Explore common love tropes
What do Twilight, Jane Eyre, and Bridget Jones’s Diary all have in common? The love triangle. Don’t be afraid to write about classic romance novel tropes, such as love triangles – they sell for a reason! Love triangles are also a natural way to drive your plot, creating conflict and suspense before the big happy ending. Other common love tropes include friends becoming lovers, enemies becoming lovers, fake relationships that turn into love, and forbidden love a la Romeo & Juliet.
Once you’ve finished writing your romance novel, make sure you hire a professional editor. The editing process is extremely important in the ultimate success of your book.
Printing your romance novel
Choose your binding:
A popular binding option for romance novels is perfect binding (paperback books). This is ultimately your book, so you have the final say. Paperback books are cost-effective and quick to produce. 48 Hour Books print paperback books in just two business days.
Many romance writers will also print exclusive special editions of their romance novel in the form of a hardcover book – some with dust jackets for extra design elements and durability.
Choose your book size:
The most popular book size for romance novels is anywhere between 5 x 8 inches to 5.5 x 8.5 inches. Once again, this is ultimately your book, so the trim size is up to you, but we would recommend printing romance novels no larger than 6 x 9 inches.
Create an eye-catching cover:
The design of your book cover is an integral part of self-publishing your romance novel. We recommend visiting your local bookstore’s romance section to get a good sense of what popular romance books look like, particularly those that are similar to the book you're writing.
Marketing your romance novel
Before you release your book, it’s important to have a marketing plan in place. Research your audience to discover the retailers selling your particular genre. Search for groups on Facebook, Goodreads, and other websites where readers engage with each other. Create a website for book promotion, displaying your cover and teasing the characters and plot. Utilize social media and host a giveaway. For more tips on how to create your marketing campaign strategy, check out these marketing resources.
How 48 Hour Books can help:
You can use our Create-A-Cover services for help designing the artwork for your cover. This is an easy-to-use, economical option. We have also added new cover design templates! To make your cover stand out even more from other romance novels, consider utilizing our Diamond 3D Services for an eye-grabbing effect.
A professional layout:
To ensure your book looks just as professional on the inside, keep your formatting clean and consistent. Inconsistent formatting can confuse readers and pull their attention away from the story you're telling. It's hard for readers to remain engaged with a story when they notice random changes to font styles, line-spacing, or margins from one page to the next. Consider downloading one of our free book templates to help get you started.
If you need help getting your format looking professional, consider using our reformatting services. We even offer to reformat like best-selling authors like romance author, Nora Roberts.
Ready to get started? Contact our customer service team for instant help!
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