What Are The Most Popular Sub Genres in Romance & How Do They Compare?


The Most Popular Sub Genres in Romance and How They Compare

Most people who have not been lucky enough to read a romance book think that all romance books are the same.

Of course, those of us who actually read and enjoy romance know that this genre is vast and varied.

Romance is a literary genre that has many sub genres. Even some of the sub genres have sub genres or themes.

But no matter how many different types of Romance sub genres we have they all have one thing in common:

An emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending

I’ve been a reader of romance for more then a decade and I just started realizing about two years ago that there was a whole world of romance I didn’t know existed.

Why are there so many seb genres in Romance?

I think it all has to do with supply and demand. The writers and publisher hear what we want and write it and then it gets classified so that we can easily find it. Sometimes that’s a great thing and sometimes that’s a horrible thing.

How can this classifying system be horrible?

Let’s say you like romantic suspense and therefore you only look in the romantic suspense category when you are checking out books. Because of that you will only see books and authors that fall under Romantic Suspense. Big deal you say? It is a big deal. Just think about all the great stories and authors you are missing because your reading focus is too narrow.

I realized a few months ago that I was guilty of this. That’s why I decided to create the Ultimate Romance Reader Challange 2015. I decided the best way to widen my romance reading horizon was to read two books out of every sub genre of romance Amazon listed.

I hope by the end of this year I will find an appreciation for all the genres and even stumble across a new favorite author or two.

So, just how many sub genres are there?

Let’s break it down. (All definitions are from RomanceWiki.com and all links are to Amazon and GoodReads)

Literary Genre:

 Romance

Formats:

Category Romance: Also known as Series Titles. Category Romances are short books with no more then 200 pages or 55,000 words. The books are published in clearly delineated categories, with a certain number of books being published in each category every month. Each book in a line will usually share a theme but be different from each other.

Single-Title Romance: This label is given to any romance book not published as part of a category. They are longer books with 350-400 pages or 100,000-110,000 words. Each book is different and will stay on bookshelves until the bookseller decides to take it down.

Sub genres:

African – American Romance

Contemporary Romance

The following are common themes of Contemporary Romance:

Erotica

 The following are common themes found in Erotica:

Fantasy Romance  

Gay Romance

Gothic Romance

Historical Romance

The following are common themes in Historical Romance:

Holidays

Inspirational Romance

The following are common themes in Inspirational Romance:

Lesbian

Military Romance

Multi-Cultural Romance

New Adult Romance

Paranormal Romance

The following are common themes in Paranormal Romance:

Regency Romance

Romantic Comedy

Romantic Suspense

Science Fiction Romance

Sports

Time-Travel Romance

Vampires

Western Romance

Young Adult Romance

According to RWA the following sub genres and tropes are the most popular in the Romance genre:

Top romance subgenres by format read primarily:

Print: #1) Romantic Suspense (53%) #2)Contemporary Romance (41%) #3) Historical Romance (34%) #4) Erotic Romance (33%) #5)New Adult (26%) #6) Paranormal Romance (19%) #7) Young Adult Romance (18%) and #8) Christian Romance (17%).

E-book: #1) Romantic Suspense (48%) #2) Contemporary Romance (44%) #3) Erotic Romance (42%) #4) Historical Romance (33%) #5) Paranormal Romance (30%) #6) New Adult (26%) #7) Young Adult Romance (18%) and #8) Christian Romance (14%).

Top 10 popular romance tropes: (#1) Friends to Lovers (#2) Soul Mate/Fate (#3) Second Chance at Love (#4) Secret Romance (#5) First Love (#6) Strong Hero/Heroine (#7) Reunited Lovers (#8) Love Triangle (#9) Sexy Billionaire/Millionaire (#10) Sassy Heroine

 

According to Amazon: the following Romance Genre sub genres are listed from the most amount of books to the least:

Amazon Romance Genre Print Books (559,350)

  1. Erotic (220,651)
  2. Contemporary (142,522)
  3. Historical (60,672)
  4. Paranormal Romance (41,098)
  5. Romantic Suspense (32,071)
  6. Fantasy (17,724)
  7. Romantic Comedy (17,058)
  8. Inspirational Romance (16,764)
  9. Gay Romance (15,664)
  10. Regency Romance (12,944)
  11. Young Adult Romance (12,507)
  12. Western Romance (11,277)
  13. New Adult (10,412)
  14. Vampire Romance (7,408)
  15. Multi-Cultural Romance (7,213)
  16. Holiday Romance (6,935)
  17. African American Romance (6,891)
  18. Gothic Romance (6,320)
  19. Military Romance (5,954)
  20. Science Fiction Romance (4,612)
  21. Time Travel Romance (4,364)
  22. Lesbian Romance (4,208)
  23. Sports Romance (3,337)

Amazon Romance Genre EBooks (251,571)

  1. Contemporary Romance (92,026)
  2. Paranormal Romance (31,021)
  3. Historical Romance (29,536)
  4. Romantic Suspense (26,276)
  5. LGBT Romance (18,655)
  6. Fantasy Romance (17,850)
  7. Romantic Comedy (14,710)
  8. Inspirational Romance (14,601)
  9. New Adult Romance (9,108)
  10. Western Romance (7,917)
  11. Multi-Cultural Romance (6,471)
  12. African American Romance (6,359)
  13. Holiday Romance (5,970)
  14. Science Fiction Romance (5,742)
  15. Military Romance (5,202)
  16. Sports Romance (2,977)
  17. Time Travel Romance (2,772)
  18. Gothic Romance (895)

No matter what sub genre you like to read or what format you like to read it on,

there is plenty of reading material to last you a lifetime!

So no more excuses. Go out there and explore the world of Romance!

Stay Tuned

Friday @ 9 amDoes Showing Pride in Your Appearance Really Make a Difference?

Monday @ 9 amHow to Craft The Perfect Plus Size HeroineLet's Chat Graphic

  • What is your favorite sub genre of romance? Why?
  • What is your least favorite sub genre of romance? Why?
  • Do you feel a sub genre and/or theme was left out?
  • What do you think of the popularity numbers and amount of books published per sub genre?
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About Darla G. Denton, Writer

I am a Contemporary Romance Writer for Curvy women and the men who love them.
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9 Responses to What Are The Most Popular Sub Genres in Romance & How Do They Compare?

  1. Huh. Romantic suspense is the most popular? I guess that makes sense – my tastes rarely match whatever ‘big thing’ everyone obsesses over. My personal romance favorites are Regency, Fantasy, and Young/New Adult. I have a few favorite authors who fall into a lot of other categories though, like SciFi and Mystery. I like to think I’m pretty broad minded with my reading. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I was surprised to see Romantic Suspense at the top as well. I was sure it was going to be YA based solely on tge fact that I dont go one day without seeing someone with a YA book or seeing a commercial for a movie adapted from one.

      My personal favs are Romantic Suspense and Paranormal. Although im really interested in reading some horror or thriller themed Erotica. Im always up for a good scare! Have you read that genre or theme before? Any suggestions?

      Like

      • Hmmm. I haven’t done a lot of Erotica – or horror – but I was surprised to learn the Laurel K Hamilton’s Anita Blake series was classified as horror. It’s paranormal, and has some good romances (though it gets WEIRD after the first dozen books).

        Liked by 1 person

      • I am a big fan of Laurel K. Hamilton…especially her Anita Blake series. I was shocked to find out her books were classified under Dark Erotica (a sub genre I just learned about a few months ago). I didn’t realize she was classified as horror erotica too lol I wonder if those two classifications are basically one in the same…

        Like

  2. I’m always surprised at the amount of people who don’t realise just how vast and varied the romance genre is! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ree says:

    Just FYI; Some of the Amazon sub-genre categories are not very accurate because of rampant misplaced keywords. Ex. The link to “African-American romance” featured more general African-American fiction and lots of what’s called “street lit”( ex. Secrets of a Side Bitch — Books 1, 2, and 3 and Murderville Books 1,2 etc.) than actual A-A romance. In the top ten listed I only see one true African-American romance “Forbidden Love” by Beverly Jenkins. I know the list changes frequently, but most of the best-selling A-A books under this sub-category are NOT usually romances, but other types of non-romance genres or sub-genres.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: WARNING: Ignoring These Book Sales Statistics Could Seriously Impact Your Writing Income | Linda Aksomitis

  5. Pingback: Top 10 Blog Posts About Writing, Reading and Body Confidence | Darla G. Denton

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