Romance Writing Advice: Why Have Writers and Readers United in Romance?

14th February, 2024

3 min read

Romance Writing Advice: Why Have Writers and Readers United in Romance?

Romance Writing Advice: Why Have Writers and Readers United in Romance?

Written by:

Jane Rowland

Saying it with flowers might be a more traditional message, but as Valentine's Day approaches, readers and writers are now saying it with books. And more specifically, romance books.

But what is it about the romance genre that is drawing in bumper numbers of readers?  Why are an increasing number of authors writing romance very successfully?

In this article, we look at the pull of romance for writers and readers alike and offer romance writing advice to romance authors.

Who Writes and Reads Romance? 

In recent years, the romance genre has seen a significant surge in popularity, garnering new readers with tales of love, happily-ever-afters and, perhaps, some spicy encounters.

From the stats on Words Rated we can see that in 2023, 39 million copies of books (worldwide in print) classified as ‘romance’ were sold, meaning that romance books consistently ranked as one of the top-selling genres in literature. In fact, over 33% of the books sold in mass market form that year were romances. There is a lot of love for the genre.

This surge in popularity is not a passing trend – romance sales are at a 12 year high. Romance books are a reflection of readers' enduring fascination with love stories. While the majority of romance readers are still female (82% in recent figures), the average age of readers is changing as TikTok and social media bring romance to a new readership.  

Romance is not new of course; Pride and Prejudice and Jane Eyre consistently rate in surveys about readers' favourite books (which the Bridgerton phenomenon perfectly encapsulated), but don’t be fooled. The topics and range of the genre have changed enormously, so if the idea of a romance book makes you think of old-fashioned ‘bodice rippers’ – then think again. The genre can now be broken down into many tropes, often with very devoted readerships. These range from enemies to lovers, neighbours to lovers and romantic (romance and fantasy). Stories can range from uplifting, happy ever after with gentle plots, to swooning, dark, twisted romances. They can feature a diverse raft of characters, from everyday folk to magical figures to myths and a dose of vampires and werewolves.

For writers, this is a great time to tap into their romantic side – so long as the story is authentic and follows the expected plot trajectory of the genre, it can be a fun genre to experiment and play with for writers.

Romance Writers of America (RWA) state that a romance needs two core elements: a central love story and an emotionally satisfying ending… so why not challenge yourself as a writer with these pillars as your starting point and see what unfolds? 

Falling in Love with Romance

The boon, of course, is that romance readers are a dedicated bunch and avid book consumers. Research shows that 46% read one novel per week, and 29% carry books around with them at all times – from a writer’s point of view, the dream audience!  

So, what is it about romance that makes us fall in love with it? Well, romance writers offer their readers escapism – the whirlwind romance, a forbidden love affair, relationships that either match or excite the reader’s desires… with so many established tropes, there is a romance novel for every reader. In an increasingly uncertain world, the certainty of a happy ending, and the enjoyment of the plot that takes us there offers optimism and hope. An escape from the day-to-day.  

As we again reach Valentine's Day, looking at romance books is a timely reminder that a once-derided genre in literature is now proudly taking centre stage, attracting increasing numbers of writers and readers, and bringing new readers into experiencing the wider joy of books and reading.

There has never been a better time to experience the world of romance either as a writer or a reader – if you think you have a romance novel in you, why not speak to us about self-publishing it in all formats? Or check out our latest romance releases in our bookshop.