When new acquaintances learn I’m a writer, they often assume I pen children’s books, perhaps because once upon a time I taught first grade. When I say I write inspirational historical romances I’ve gotten that look, then a flimsy smile and sometimes they say some version of “Oh, you write those little books.”
I don’t think they're referring to the book's size.
I hate to admit this, but I might have reacted that same way when I only read NYT's bestselling novels. That is until a friend loaned me a romance novel and I was hooked. It took quite a few years for me to get around to writing a romance. I'm proud I both read and write it. Because romance matters.
Romance novels matter to those who read them
Readers like happy endings. I know because I’m a reader. A happy ending doesn’t make the story fluff, it makes it satisfying.
Romance novels are as varied as their authors. Romance novels are emotion-packed, humor-laced, fast-paced and often deal with difficult issues we all face daily. Romance novels uplift and entertain, even edify. With all the sad events in this world, isn't it a blessing to read stories with happy endings?
Romance sells. Readers don’t put out hard cash over and over again without getting a return.
The following stats are from the Romance Writers of America Web site:
- Estimated annual total sales value of romance in 2013: $1.08 billion (source: BookStats)
- Romance novel share of the U.S. fiction market: 34% (source: Nielsen BookScan/PubTrack Digital 2015)
- What formats of romance fiction are selling? (source: Nielsen BookScan/PubTrack Digital 2015; figures do not include self-published romance e-book sales or Amazon-published e-books)
Mass-market paperback: 26%
Trade paperback: 11%
- Who is the romance book buyer? (source: Nielsen Books & Consumer Tracker)
- Age of the romance book buyer: 30–44 years old (source: Nielsen Books & Consumers 2015)
Romance novels matter to those who write them.Nothing moves me as much as receiving emails, letters and reviews from readers who have said that a novel helped resolve a spiritual struggle they were having or got them through a hospitalization or long hours caring for a chronically ill loved one.
Romance novels are not a "fill in the blanks" formula as critics sometimes claim. Anyone who's tried to write a romance novel knows that's laughable. The only formula is the novel's happy ending.
Through writing romance novels I’ve received these blessings:
- Stimulating work. I get to create people.
- A release for my creativity.
- New friends, both writers and readers.
- A sense of who I am.
- Direction for my life.
Our God-given talent may be raw and need simmering with practice but we dare not waste it. It may be tied to God’s purpose for our lives.
Through writing romance, I’ve learned to control my emotions.
The ups and downs of publishing can keep writers reeling. Writers must accept change and go with the punches. Rejections, less than stellar reviews, so-so sale figures can take writers from a place of gratitude to jealousy and even worry. Each day before I write, I pray God will give me the calmness, wisdom and ability to write the book He wants me to write and someone to read.
Through writing romance I’ve learned to leave the outcome with Him.
Other than the words we put on the page and our efforts to promote, we can do little to control our success. All we can do is write the best books we know how. No small achievement.
What was the first romance novel you ever read? Why do you read them? Write them?
Leave a comment for a chance to win a $15 dollar Amazon gift card. Here’s hoping the winner uses the gift card to buy romance novel/s.
I brought apple fritters and mixed fruit, coffee and tea. Let's chat romance novels.
Janet Dean grew up in a family who cherished the past and had a strong creative streak. Her father recounted fascinating stories, like his father before him. The tales they told instilled in Janet a love of history and the desire to write. Today Janet spins stories for Love Inspired Historical. She is a two-time Golden Heart finalist, a Genesis and a Carol finalist and a member of Romance Writers of America and American Christian Fiction Writers. Her novels are also Golden Quill, Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, Booksellers Best and Inspirational Readers Choice Award finalists. Visit Janet at her Website: www.janetdean.net