Love Money: How Can I Make Money Writing Romance Novels?

Writing romance novels has been a popular hobby for many years. Yet while you can just enjoy spending time writing them for fun, there are ways to make money by writing romance novels. It is easier today than ever before with the internet, and there are many markets for romance writers of all levels and experience.

You can make money writing romance by writing and releasing multiple novels per year, often nowadays via self-publishing, to build a reader base who will keep coming back for more. Writing a series featuring the same main character is extremely popular and is often the primary income source.

This article will touch on these ways and more that will help you make money from writing a romance novel.

Make Money Action Steps

Watch out for these tasks to guide you on your journey to making money writing romance.

Book with Pages in Heart Shape and Red Rose

The Basics of Romance writing

This is really one of the best genres to write in as it had the highest readership and sales of any literary genre. Readers of this genre typically buy far more books per year than any other.

Good choice of genre!

Writing a romance seems relatively simple: Create a story that usually has a happy ending and involves two people falling in love after overcoming one or more obstacles.

The reality is a little more complicated. Romance books can be written in a vast range of settings and pretty much go anywhere from historical fact-based to fantasy and sci-fi. Since it is a popular genre with many different ideas, you can really use your creativity to come up with an original story while still keeping the traditional elements of the romance genre that readers expect.

The characters’ goal is usually to get or regain something. However, it may just be to pursue someone desired or attain some personal goal like university attendance or climbing a mountain. The obstacle is whatever stands in the way of accomplishing that goal.

This may be really obvious, but there also needs to be passion from one party for another for romance to work.

Choose your Genre of Romance

You have obviously decided that the romance genre is suitable for you, but now you need to choose the sub-genre.

Making money at writing romance novels can depend on choosing the right genre. Take a look at sites like Amazon and their bestseller lists to help you select a sub-genre. You will see patterns of what kinds are currently selling well.

Romance is a vast genre and can be broken down into sub-genres.

Some of the common sub-genres are:

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Historical romance: the setting might be the medieval era or even ancient times, though it can feel like a modern-day story if very well done.

Contemporary Romance

Typically set in current times and covering a contemporary relationship, and if well done, it can be a more realistic type of story. This is the most popular genre but can get dated faster than the other genre options

Paranormal Romance

Involves a supernatural element that can be entirely original.

Horror Romance

Horror is prevalent, but often, people think it is very challenging to write. Harder to balance the horror elements with the romance.

Romantic Suspense:

Suspense is also very popular, and many people think romantic suspense is one of the most exciting types to write. The main characters face a specific mystery or crime of some sort that they have to solve.

Time Travel Romance

Traveling through time in any fashion allows a lot of flexibility for exiting storylines

Erotic Romance

This can be hard to write well, and it is not just using sex to sell. Passion and steamy relationships are a must. One of the more unusual sub-genres, but it is extremely popular if well written.

We could go on, but I think you get the idea. There are lots to choose from!

Choosing a sub-genre is critical as this really does define what kind of story you are going to write.   Different genres will mean the desires driving the characters apart and eventually together differ between genres and, of course, the roadblocks that stand in their way.

However, you will still need to consider your readers and the kind of romance they like to find a genre that will work for you and keep your readers reading your stories instead of books by other authors. Many authors are successful in multiple sub-genres because they cater to the unique aspects of each and bring something fresh to their writing.

Make Money Action Step

Select two genres you are most interested in.

Head over to GoodReads Listopia for lots more genre ideas

Plan and Write a Series

One of the best ways to make money as a romance writer is to plan and write a series with multiple books. Well-written series can be immensely popular and highly lucrative.

There are many ways to go about writing a series, but the common thing to do is create one main heroine or hero character who will drive the plot of each novel in the series.

Then with each book, you can create plots that weave in the primary and secondary characters in your series together in exciting ways. A secondary character in book one could also become the love interest for the lead character in book two.

If you maintain the secondary character’s existence in between novels, readers will be satisfied that they are still a part of the series.

Like all things in writing, if you can, it will be beneficial if you plan out some central continuing theme and storyline in the series before you start writing. This will make your life much easier when the time comes to write your series.

Once a reader has become attached to a secondary character, their romance can become the focus of any novel, either as a reoccurring character or potentially even moving into a lead role for their own series.

Make Money Action Steps

For your two genres, write a brief outline of a book for each

Create leading character profiles for each

Brainstorm key storylines that can cover multiple books

Choose one that grabs your interest the most and plan to write it as your first book

Watch out for our in-depth how-to series covering all the steps to plan and write your romance novel. Coming Soon!

Use an Interesting Title and Book Cover.

This might sound like something trivial, but titles and covers are essential for romance novels because of how they are displayed. The title and cover catch people’s attention and help them decide if they want to buy or download your book.

Many readers, when surveyed, said that they chose a book based on the title and cover. There are many small things on a cover that can influence their choice.

Some things to consider to make the most money:

Make sure the cover clearly indicates the sub-genre. There are certain elements common to each; make sure to research them and use them.

Use exciting images related to the story or characters on your cover.

Be careful of how much text you place on your cover. People try to stick with shorter titles and covers.

Make sure the title matches the overall feel of your story.

Is your book series? If so, include that information as well in your cover.

Give the readers a hint of the story and what they can expect without giving away the plot.

Ensure you clearly show the author’s name and that it is easy to see. You want people to know your name and buy more.

There is a surprising amount you can convey in your book cover. Make sure to spend time planning it and even getting a professional to help you.

If you do not have the skills yourself, many graphic designers specialize in romance book covers, and they will help you create the perfect image for your book.

Some of these designers even offer special packages that they have created, especially for romance writers that you can use as-is or can typically request changes or even a custom version.

The cover design can help sell books if done well, so take your time to get it right.

Make Money Action Steps

Review covers in your chosen genre.

Draft some ideas for your novel.

Review premade covers for ideas and prices.

If you are planning to self-publish, here is a great course to help you design your own cover and produce something great:

Self-Publishing a Romance Novel

The most popular route for writers is self-publishing. The option of publishing your work independently of the traditional big publishing houses is very appealing to some. It can be a way for you to get your work out far quicker than if you had to go through a traditional publishing route. It can be an exciting way of getting your work out, and many authors find that it is a very worthwhile investment.

Traditional publishing will only get you maybe 10% royalty, whereas you will get 60-70% if you self-publish. It is more work to get started but worth it for the far higher payout.

As we are interested in maximum exposure of your new title to get the most sales, this is way recommended option.

Although Amazon has by far the largest market for romance sales, there are plenty of other outlets that you can use to market your new title, such as Barnes and Noble and Smashwords, amongst many. Make sure to list your romance on as many sites as you can get it seen by lots of potential readers.

Along with their own online store, Smashwords and other services also allow you to sell your book on multiple platforms and manage them all through one, typically for an additional royalty fee. It may be worth considering if you do not want to handle that many publishing platforms directly yourself.

Make Money Action Step

Research steps needed for self-publishing

Pen Names

Once you get some experience writing romance novels, it is not unusual that you will find you are writing more than you want to publish under a single name.

Well, good news, you can use a Pen Name.  This allows you to build a readership under more than one name. It is a good idea to write novels under more than one pen name if you want to sell different demographic styles of books. This way, people who like the paranormal or historical romance genre will be able to find books they like if they try your other pen names.

You can even use a pen name if you only intend to write under one name so you do not need to use your own name.

Make Money Action Steps

Decide if you need a pen name.

Write down 20 name ideas.

Check if any have been used before and pick a favorite to use.

How much should I charge for my romance e-book?

The price for a romance e-book will depend on several factors, but ultimately, you control the price.

Typically most self-published books are priced at $2.99 – $3.99 with the intention of selling lots of copies. Writers who continue writing a series will normally go back and reduce the first in the series to $0.99 as a temptation to entice new readers.

Writers who have had their books traditionally published have an advantage in pricing. Many have gained quite a following, and so they can list their books for sale for higher, with many famous writers’ new eBook version now coming out at $14.99 from traditional publishers.

Look at the average price and try to work out how much your book will have to be worth to match that.

Make Money Action Steps

Review pricing in your genre to set a price for your book

Related Article: Shy People Apply Here: Can I Publish a Book Anonymously?

Join the Guild

joining the Romance Writers of America guild is one of the most valuable things a romance writer can do to advance their career. Membership in the RWA opens up a wealth of possibilities for any author.

They are known to be the largest organization of professional romance writers in the world and are also one of the most respected. Membership will help you meet other writers, stay up to date on industry developments, access special education programs, and so much more.

If you are serious about your writing career, joining RWA is a no-brainer.

Make Money Action Steps

Visit the website and decide if joining the guild is right for you.

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