We’ve all read the statistics: romance novels make up roughly 50% of the book market. The industry accounts for in excess of a billion dollars a year, an incredible figure! Little wonder that so many aspiring authors (myself included) want to write the next breakthrough romance novel, take home the RWA plaudits, soar up the bestseller charts, and retire on piles of cash.
So how realistic is this dream?
Really, it makes sense. Who else knows as intimately what women want (Mel Gibson movies notwithstanding) than other women? After all, we’re paying a lot of money to devour the books we love so it makes sense that female authors are the ones who largely profit from it. Not to mention the female editors, publishers, literary agents, etc., who keep the market hot hot hot.
Romance has grown and evolved. The powerhouses with their august history still dominate but they too have branched out beyond the traditional categories of romance into brave new realms.
In recent years, the traditional subgenres we all read and loved: the westerns, the historicals relegated to certain specific time periods, the traditional kiss-and-hug and nothing more, have given rise to paranormal, time travel, fantasy, steampunk, and a host of other areas that are as diverse as their readers.
In recent years, women of colour have been able to read romance novels about women who look and sound like them, and even speak their own language! No wonder romance still commands such a large share of the book market; it has moved and adapted in tune with the times. Now online and e-reads are rising in popularity and availability, letting more and more aspiring authors arrive on the scene.
We dominate, ladies! Long may we rule.
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