7 Questions You Should Ask About Your Genre

Sub-genres of Romance Literature

Question #1: What do I want to write?

After that fateful night where I filled out that character development worksheet and realized what I wanted to do for the rest of my current existence, I knew what kind of book I wanted to write. Not only because it was one of my favorite types of books but because I had the most fun imaging plots and characters and scenes for this genre.


Romance is a genre in literature that places it’s focus on the relationship and romantic love between two people. Not only does the story need to be all about love but it must leave you emotionally satisfied with an optimistic ending.

Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded was one of the first romance novels. It was written by Samuel Richardson in 1740 and was revolutionary because it focused on courtship through the perspective of a woman. I would love to get my hands on this to see for myself what it was like. Has anyone had the pleasure of reading a copy of this book? Just imagine the scandal it caused!

The first full-length printed Modern Romance novel in the US belonged to Kathleen Woodiwiss, The Flame and the Flower (Avon 1972). I do believe I saw this book in my Mom’s “hidden” naughty book box in the back of her closet.

OK, so now that I know what a Romance book is, let’s dive a little deeper.

Question #2: What types of Romance books are there?

Sub-genres of Romance

  • Contemporary Series Romance
  • Contemporary Single Title Romance
  • Historical Romance
  • Inspirational Romance
  • Paranormal Romance
  • Romantic Suspense
  • Young Adult Romance

Writing Romantic Fiction leads itself to a lot of mediums but I felt the best sub-genre for me was Contemporary Romance. I decided to look into it some more to see what exactly I was getting myself into.

Question #3: What is Contemporary Romance?

Contemporary Romance is a work of romantic fiction that usually takes place in current times but nothing before WWII. It’s also the largest romance novel sub-genre.

Sub-genres in Contemporary Romance

  • General Contemporary Romance
  • Contemporary Romantic Suspense
  • Baby Love
  • Medical Romance
  • Cowboy Contemporary Romance
  • Glamour and Jet Set
  • Humorous Contemporary Romance
  • International Lovers
  • Vacation Love
  • Amnesia

Amnesia?? Who knew right? Never in my 15yrs of reading romance novels did I ever notice there were so many different types of Contemporary Romances. After learning just what Contemporary Romance meant, I started searching for some current STATS because let’s face it, momma needs some CA$H!

Question #4: Are people still buying Romance Books?

Romance Genre Stats (Business of Consumer Book Publishing 2013)

$1.4 Billion in sales in 2012 for Romantic Fiction!

It was the top performing category on the best sellers lists. You can find a more in depth look at Romance Industry Statistics on RWA’s website.

OK, so looking at those stats I start to think:

  1. I know I can write a Contemporary Romance Novel (Let’s just hope someone wants to read it!)
  2. After researching the genre a bit I can see that even though there are a ton of romance novels and authors already on the market, the genre can obviously stand 1 more <wink wink>
  3. What would I make if I actually got signed with a publishing house?

Question #5: How much money could I potentially make per book?

I decided my next step was to research and find some numbers regarding payouts. Just my luck, I stumbled upon Brenda Hiatt’s, Average Romance and YA Payout.

Here is a rundown of the Median Average Earn Out that she compiled from some of the Publishing Houses. These numbers were last updated on July 2013. For a more detailed report, please visit her site.

  • Avon/Harper Collins                                                           $13,500
  • Belle/Bell Bridge Books                                                   $10,600
  • Berkley/Jove                                                                            $10,000
  • Breathless Press                                                                     $150
  • Cerridwen/Blush                                                                     $100
  • Ellora’s Cave                                                                             $2,300
  • Ellora’s Cave (Anthologies/Novellas)                      $2,100
  • Entangled                                                                                   $32,600
  • Five Star/Thorndike (harcover)                                    $850
  • Grand Central Publishing (Warner/Hachette)    $31,500
  • Harlequin American                                                             $7,600
  • Harlequin Blaze                                                                      $12,300
  • Harlequin Desire                                                                    $17,000
  • Harlequin Historical                                                           $8,650
  • Harlequin Intrigue                                                               $12,000
  • Harlequin Nocturne (Bites)                                           $1,000
  • Harlequin Romance                                                           $10,000
  • Harlequin Romantic Suspense                                   $11,000
  • Harlequin Special Edition                                              $17,000
  • Harlequin Super Romance                                            $15,000
  • Kensington/Zebra                                                               $3,800
  • Liquid Silver                                                                            $230
  • Loose Id                                                                                     $1,450
  • Love Inspired                                                                         $10,900
  • Random House/Delacorte (YA)                                 $128,000
  • Red Sage (Novellas)                                                         $2,250
  • Samhain                                                                                   $1,750
  • Siren Bookstrand                                                               $1,700
  • Wild Rose Press                                                                   $230

I definitely like those numbers but honestly I’m a long way away from even thinking about this. Right now, I need to focus on getting through this first draft and then learning how to correctly revise, rewrite and edit. Therefore, I moved onto my next worry.

Question #6: How do I professionally write a book?


Question #7 Who do I turn to for questions and concerns?

Below are links to Resources that have helped this brainless Beginner Romance Writer. If you know of any other that I should check out PLEASE let me know. I love hoarding knowledge!



Online Writing Groups

Online Critique Groups

Other places to check for resources:

  • Local Writing/Critique Groups: Contact your local library and local bookstores.

My hope is that someone like myself will stumble upon this blog post and have it change their lives! OK, OK, not really but I do hope this helps someone  as much as it has helped me. Now, if I could just stop getting lost in the world of  resource links and articles and get some writing done!


Published by Darla G. Denton, Writer

I am a Contemporary Romance Writer for Curvy women and the men who love them.

6 thoughts on “7 Questions You Should Ask About Your Genre

  1. Hey, interesting blog post. It’s nice that you’rewilling to share your finds with the rest of us…
    A website you should check out is called Romance University. It ‘s a great site with a wealth of information; posts are often written by romance writers and editors.
    Good L


  2. Oops, I accidentally pressed enter before I got chance to check what I’d written and finish what I was saying! I was going to say, Good Luck with your first draft. Remember, that should be your main priority…


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