Guest Post by Erica Verrillo
Romance novels are arguably the most economically successful of all fiction genres. According to Romance Writers of America, romance books bring in a whopping 1.3 billion dollars a year, more than mystery novels, science fiction and fantasy combined. It's no wonder that more than half of all new fiction is comprised of romance novels. (This statistic is borne out by Amazon's top ten bestsellers – both free and paid – half of which are romances.) Not surprisingly, 90% of the market for romance novels is comprised of women.
If you are thinking of becoming a romance writer, the competition will be stiff. But by the same token, with over 30 million dedicated readers, there is always room for more. This is one market that will never be saturated. But, even with that uplifting thought in mind, romances, like any other genre, need to be marketed. These are the best sites to help you ensure your romance is a success.
1. Stephie Smith … Fiction with Humor and Heart
Host: Stephie Smith
Stephie Smith, who describes herself as a "Database Administrator for a software systems and services company... oh, and, yeah, I write," has put together this excellent general resource for romance writers.
This site has everything you need to get your romance off the ground – book review sites, online resources for period romances, book news, and general writing resources.
Site features: An incredibly well-organized spreadsheet of contests, including sponsor, cost, eligibility, dates and genre (more than romance is listed); general writers' resources, publishing and promoting your book, grammar, agents, epublishing, script writing, romance writing; romance book review sites; and some wonderful historical resource sites, including period costumes, coinage, ships and, of course, pirates. Be sure to check out Stephie's fabulous links.
2. Top 50 Romance novel blogs
Blogrank – an extremely useful site for investigating any type of blog – ranks blogs according to the number of unique visitors, RSS feeds, Alexa ranking, monthly visitors and various other criteria. Visitors to some of these blogs number in the millions. A number of these high-profile blogs review books, others allow guest bloggers. If you want to get noticed in the romance community, this is a good venue to pursue. Posting a guest article on one of these blogs will guarantee traffic to your site. (Scroll down to the bottom of the page to see the other genres ranked by Blogrank.)
3. Romance Junkies
Writer's Digest named Romance Junkies one of the “101 Best Web Sites for Writers” for three years running. Romance Junkies is an impressive site, with written reviews, interviews, trailers, bloghops and contests. With over one million hits per month, this is one of the most heavily trafficked romance review sites on the net.
Site features: Reviews of romance novels, author bios and spotlight, a “cocktail hour” with featured writers, contests, free reads, a writer's corner offering information on Indie publishing, critique partners, and articles about the craft of writing. Submissions by paper or PDF attachment: http://www.romancejunkies.com/contact.html
Host: Jenna Peterson
This is an excellent website put together by Avon author, Jenna Peterson. Here you will find links to publishers and agents who accept all kinds of romance, writing tips, research and marketing links. The information on publishing is particularly useful for writers – of any genre – who are trying to break into the print market.
Site features: Extensive list of agents representing romance writers with links to their submissions pages, a complete list of romance publishers (including electronic publishers, a large-print library and Christian presses). Also includes a very useful submission checklist with detailed instructions for contacting agents and publishers as well as a great list of links covering every aspect of the publishing industry.
5. Romance Writers of America
General membership is $120.00
If you are a romance author, this is the organization for you. The RWA, a nonprofit association, represents more than 10,250 writers and publishing industry professionals in 145 chapters offering local or special-interest networking and education. RWA hosts an annual national conference and contests and awards for both published and unpublished writers. Membership includes subscription to the monthly Romance Writers Report, and access to lists of approved agents and publishers.
Site features: Statistics on the romance industry, description of sub-genres (with word counts), reader statistics, awards, chapter contests, an honor roll and “hall of fame.”
Erica Verrillo is the author of three middle reader fantasies: Elissa's Quest, Elissa's Odyssey, and World's End (Random House). She also writes medical reference books. Her most recent book is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: A Treatment Guide, 2nd Edition. Visit her at http://www.ericaverrillo.com and at http://www.cfstreatmentguide.com/