© Rob Parnell
Did you know that 55% of all books sold are romance
And that worldwide, this 'industry' is worth
about $2 billion a year?
That's incredible, don't you think? That
roughly 3000 romance titles are published all over the world
every year - and the readership is actually growing, even
amongst men, who apparently make up a whopping 22% of all
According the Romance Writers of America, a
staggering 64.6 million Americans read at least one romance
last year. 54% of them read up to five.
They say that the 21% increase in romance
sales in 2004 is mostly a result of the big department
stores carrying a book section - people are more likely to
buy books from Walmart, Target and the Big W now that they
offer discounted A list titles to the general public.
Some argue this practice is unfair to
traditional booksellers but, to me, it seems as though
everyone gains if you can encourage ordinary people to read
more and buy more books. Us writers can only gain too if
there's more demand for our services.
You may be surprised to learn a few facts
about the readers - and the kind of romances they like.
For instance, 40% of readers are married,
between 25 and 40. 42% have a tertiary education or higher.
88% said they didn't like the traditional M&B
48% of readers said they preferred romances
that were also contemporary thrillers
- with lots of action, mystery and suspense,
even a murder or two. Not really what we might expect at
all! I mean, we have this image of romances being slightly
tacky, full of overwrought language and heaving bosoms
...have you read any recently?
I have. And they do seem to be
changing. The language is usually fresh and fun. The
characters are more rounded than they used to be and the
plots are far more sophisticated nowadays.
I really do think that if you seriously want
to get published, you should definitely explore this
lucrative market. Statistically you have a far higher chance
of being published in romance because the demand for books
is so clearly huge.
It's worth thinking about.