10 Key Things to Consider before Writing a Romance Novel

Here are 10 key things to consider before writing your next/first Romance Novel

Top 10 Things to Consider before Writing a Romance Novel

    1. Who are you writing for?
      1. Exactly who are your target readers?
      2. It’s not enough to select a Romance sub genre
      3. You need to know exactly who your readers are
      4. What are their lives like?
      5. Why are they reading romance novels?
    2. Are you going to delight them?
      1. If you delight them, they will keep coming back
      2. if you delight them, they will leave positive reviews and get you more sales
      3. It’s easier to delight readers, than to disappoint them
        1. As crazy as it sounds, it is far easier to do a great job on your novel and delight readers, than to cut corners and deliver disappointment
        2. To deliver disappointment, or even worse, mediocrity, you have to actively try and mess up things
        3. To deliver delight you just have to write well and make sure the story gives readers what they are looking for
      4. How are you going to delight them?
        1. How are you going to make sure you give them Exactly What They Are Searching For?
      5. Is this a proven method to delight romance readers in your romance sub genre?
        1. Make sure to read books by the bestselling authors and analyze what ‘magic’ they deliver
    3. Are you going to provide The One Thing they are looking for?
      1. What is The One Thing these readers are looking for
      2. In most romance sub genres it is HEA – a Happily Ever After
      3. In addition, every sub genre has its magic ingredient that has to be mixed into the HEA
        1. Make sure you figure out what ‘The One Thing’ readers are looking for
        2. Make sure you deliver it
    4. Do you want to write in this area?
      1. This is a very critical question
      2. Nearly all romance sub genres are competitive
      3. If you do not enjoy writing in this genre, then you will not give your 100%
      4. If you do not give your 100%, your book will not be good enough to do well
      5. Make sure you only write in areas you are EXCITED to write in, and can deliver your very best
    5. Do you want to write for these people?
      1. Go back to the first point, and consider who you are writing for
      2. Do you really want to write for these people?
      3. Make absolutely sure you have a reason to write for these people and delight them
        1. If you don’t think of them as ‘my people’ and/or ‘my readers’, then don’t write for them
        2. Firstly, Life is Short
        3. Secondly, you can only give your best if you have special motivation – love from your readers is one of the most important things to motivate you
          1. You have to love them
          2. They have to love you
    6. Are you adhering to genre conventions?
      1. Every genre has some conventions. Romance has some very strong conventions
      2. There must be a Happily Ever After
      3. There must be no cheating
      4. No Cliffhanger endings, as they will get you 1 star reviews and sink your book
      5. Cover must have a handsome hero or a beautiful couple
        1. Lots of authors try strange things like flowers, wine glasses, etc
          1. No romance reader gets hot and bothered looking at a bouquet of flowers
          2. You need a handsome man, ideally one who lost his shirt in the process of fighting off some rascals who were trying to kidnap the beautiful woman
        2. The heroine must be someone who readers can envision themselves as
          1. It cannot be someone ridiculously perfect
          2. It cannot be someone they don’t want to root for
      6. The heroine must be someone who readers can relate with, and who is likable
        1. Don’t make weak, sappy heroines
      7. The story, the twists, the plot – all must be congruent with romance. You are writing a romance novel – do not lose sight of that
    7. Are you doing the right marketing for romance?
      1. This is perhaps the second toughest area to figure out (the toughest is to figure out who you are writing for)
      2. There are different marketing strategies for different romance sub genres
        1. Across the 20+ romance sub genres there are 4 to 5 different strategies
        2. Make sure you use the marketing strategy that works for your particular romance sub genre
      3. Above all else, make sure you are marketing to the ‘perfect readers’ for your book. The readers you identified in point 1
        1. In addition, please make sure you are marketing to them when they are ready to buy, and willing to buy
    8. How are you going to capture emails?
      1. Your lifeline will be direct channels to readers
      2. Whether you specialize in building an email list, or building your website and blog, or in building your social media accounts
      3. Make sure your readers can be reached in the future
        1. If email list – make sure you get them to sign up
        2. If blog and website – make them visit and bookmark it
        3. If social media – make them follow you
    9. How are you going to sell your other books?
      1. Whether or not you have other books, you have to plan this out and implement this
      2. Develop a plan on how you will sell your other books
      3. Link to your other books inside this next/first book
      4. Ask them to sign up for your email list
      5. Send them to your author website
      6. Send them to your author page at the store
      7. Figure out how you will get them as REPEAT customers
        1. And implement it right from the start, even if you have only one book at the start
    10. How are you going to have reviews ready for book launch?
      1. Perhaps the biggest determinant of success will be having good, honest reviews as soon after launch as possible
      2. How are you going to get reviews?
      3. How are you going to get reviews from your most loyal readers?
      4. How are you going to get reviews from the ‘perfect fit’ readers most likely to love the book?
      5. How are you going to get reviews soon after launch
        1. This necessitates setting things in motion long before launch date
      6. Where are you going to ask for reviews?
      7. How are you going to ask for reviews?
      8. How many reviews are you going to aim for?
        1. What is the bare minimum you need to achieve your launch goals?
        2. What is the bare minimum number of reviews you need to achieve your long term goals?

As a special bonus, here are some additional key things you should keep in mind

6 Bonus Things to Consider before Writing Your Next/First Romance Novel

    1. What is your launch marketing plan?
      1. You need a Launch Marketing Plan
      2. The first 2 to 4 weeks after launch are the most critical time for your book
      3. The store is most likely to boost your book at this time
        1. Provided you get good sales and/or good reviews
      4. This is the best time to get reviews
      5. ‘New’ is very important when marketing and selling your book
      6. There are bestseller lists for New Releases which your book can never again qualify for
      7. Everyone is looking for new, good books. While your book is new, marketing will work better
    2. What is your general marketing plan?
      1. You also need a General Marketing Plan for after your launch honeymoon is over
      2. Please Note: The better your launch marketing, the easier it will be to do good follow on marketing. So first concentrate on launch marketing
      3. What marketing channels can you use to create a steady flow of sales?
      4. What can you do to encourage word of mouth?
      5. What can you do to get readers to leave reviews
        1. Reviews are one of the best ways to increase sales
    3. Are you going to link to your other books? How are you going to get follow on sales?
      1. The biggest determinant of whether readers will buy your other books are
        1. How good your writing is
        2. Whether or not you give them a Call to Action to read your other books
        3. Whether or not you capture them on your email list and give them offers and incentives to buy your other books
      2. Never assume readers know that you have other books
      3. Never assume readers realize that them buying their other books is something you appreciate greatly
      4. Never assume readers know that you would really benefit from a good review
      5. These are all things you have to ask
        1. Ask and Ye Shall Be Given
        2. Don’t ask and no one even knows that you would like reviews and sales
        3. One of the toughest thing for authors to realize is that readers cannot read the author’s mind
          1. Readers do not even know that you would greatly benefit from a review
          2. Readers do not even know that you have other books and they can buy them
          3. You are so deep in your own reality, you assume readers know all this stuff. They do not!
    4. Romance is very competitive AND Romance is very rewarding
      1. Romance is very competitive
        1. Unless you love writing romance, don’t jump in
      2. Romance is very rewarding
        1. If you deliver what readers are asking for, and delight them, you will make a good amount of money
      3. The bookstores try Divide and Conquer
        1. Their aim is to keep all romance authors at ‘small success’ level, and dependent on the bookstores
        2. The only way you can bypass that is by
          1. Having lots of books
          2. Building your own direct channels to readers
        3. It does not matter how good your writing is
          1. If you do not have Direct Channels to your readers, the store can ‘disappear’ you, if and when you start becoming big
          2. Do not forget this – the store wants every genre to be 50 to 5,000 authors experiencing ‘small success’, and no authors experiencing huge success, so that they can dictate terms to authors
    5. If you can create a new market, create it
      1. The creation of sub genres such as Dark Romance and Alien Romance are good examples
      2. As is 50 Shades of Grey
      3. While this is a risky tactic, it is worth exploring
        1. Romance readers are constantly hungering for a new high
        2. If you can create a new category, you can become ‘The Brand’ and ‘The Author’ for that category
    6. Is your target genre under-served?
      1. One of the biggest things to consider is whether your target market is under served
        1. If it is – great
        2. If not – make sure it is not saturated
      2. If your target market is under-served, focus on delivering a steady supply of high quality books that satisfy the market’s requirements
      3. If your target market is saturated (lots of competition), focus on DIFFERENTIATING yourself
        1. A very good example is the Shifter Romance genre
        2. Werewolf Shifters were incredibly oversaturated
        3. Smart authors branched into areas such as Dragon Shifters and found a good market

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