The Broken Hearts Club?
The romance genre is only for those in the Broken Hearts Club…right? Wrong! Romance is one of the largest and best-selling genres in North America.
The stereotype of the typical romance reader has been extremely distorted. You will not find us curled up on the couch, hair stuck in five different directions still in a week old gray sweatpants that used to be white, crying into a book because our own love life is in the pits. We are young adults still in high school trying to understand our own emotions. We are adults who are educated, sometimes with multiple post-educational degrees, just looking for a creative escape from our stressful daily lives. We are women and men (yes we know you are out there, your secret is safe with us). We are full-time workers, stay-at-home parents or just your everyday average Jane or Joe.
So where does the stereotype come from? It comes from those who don’t understand the genre. The romance genre is not all about sex, sex and sex. It can be said that it just as hard to make someone fall in love as it is to scare or shock someone. Think about it. We all know what the average person is scared of, right? But what can make someone fall in love? That is a hard question. Writing a best-selling romance novel is more than just writing about: boy meets girl, boy loses girl then gets her back and they live happily ever after. If it were just that easy then every romance novel would be a best-seller.
Those who criticize romance believe that every novel has two perfect people who fall in love—end of story. A good romance novel is more than that. A good romance has imperfect characters that are perfect for each other. A writer has to make their characters identifiable with the readers. Who can identify with someone who has everything going for them, never has any problems and has everything handed to them on a silver platter? Readers identify with the characters that have a struggle but work hard at whatever they do. The writer has to focus on who will be reading the novels and what is the perfect romance to them. It could be about two best friends, neighbors or just someone met at the rest stop on the Pennsylvania turnpike.
The best thing about the romance genre is that there are numerous sub-genres. As a writer, you can hand pick which sub-genre you would like to write in. Do you like writing about drama—you have suspense romance. Do you like writing about fantasy—you have paranormal romance. The possibilities are endless.
My challenge to you is this, try it. Look at your current writing style. Now think about a true romance (do some research on best-seller in the romance genre) and ask yourself how you can combine your genre into a love story? Who wouldn’t want to be a part of one of the largest and best-selling genres in North America? I know I do.