Fiction Genres: Sub-Genres in Romance (Graphic)

Before you write your short story or novel, choose a genre, so that you know that there’s an audience for your project. A genre is basically just a category.  I’ve been asked about genres for romance, so here’s a graphic which will help.

Fiction: romance genres

Most of these sub-genres have sub-sub-genres, if that makes sense. Explore your local bookshop; it’s often easier when you see novels on the shelf, than it is to try to make sense of them on Amazon.

Amazon’s search feature is rubbish, so you’ll have better success searching Amazon using Google. Goodreads can be useful too.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, too.

Ideas Into Ebooks: Write BOTH Fiction and Nonfiction and Sell

Ideas Into Ebooks: Write BOTH Fiction and Nonfiction and Sell

Over the past few weeks, we’ve talked about writing fiction, because it SELLS. My aim with this blog has always been to help you to sell your writing. It doesn’t matter much what you write; sales matter. You’re writing professionally, to make money. Of course, if you’re writing purely as a hobby, that’s fine too, but on this blog, we’re all about sales.

Writers have asked me whether you can write both fiction, and nonfiction. Yes, of course you can. You write; you sell. That’s what a professional writer does. The questions’ subtext is: what will make me the most money, soonest?

Anything you write can make money for you. I started out as a romance novelist, discovered you could make money copywriting (when people waved money at me). Then I went on to write for magazines and (when other people waved money) wrote business books.

Consider this: the more you write, the more you can write. In yesterday’s article about making the switch to writing fiction, I said that your skills are transferable:

Expect that training yourself to write fiction will take a little time until fiction becomes comfortable. Know this: your fiction writing will IMPROVE all your writing. I don’t expect you to take this on trust, but you will be amazed to find that your nonfiction improves when you write fiction.

In a nutshell: it’s impossible to predict where lightning will strike. Both fiction and nonfiction can make money for you. No one knows what will make the most money for you soonest… :-) So, if you want to write both… go ahead.

In light of that, let’s look at some things you may want to consider.

1. The Size of Your Catalogue on Amazon Counts.

If you publish five ebooks on Amazon, you will sell. If you publish 50, you will sell more. That’s logical. In some genres of fiction, short story writers report that it takes a catalogue (your “publishing catalogue” is the number of books you have under one name on Amazon) of 30 stories to make enough money to pay some of your bills each month.

So whatever you write, focus on writing and publishing. Do the best you can for your readers. If you’re writing fiction, provide entertainment that’s worth $2.99 or $3.99 or whatever. If you’re writing nonfiction, give readers information that’s worth what you charge.

Put yourself into your ebooks. By that I mean, write with conviction. Whether you’re writing fiction or nonfiction, believe in yourself. If you’re struggling with a lack of confidence, write more. WRITE – then you won’t have the time or energy to wonder whether you’re confident or not. :-)

2. Consider Using Pen Names for Branding.

Whether you write under one name, or several, is up to you. You could write nonfiction under your own name, or choose a name for each topic you cover. Similarly with fiction; choose a pen name for each genre in which you write.

As far as Amazon is concerned, you can have as many pen names as you like. My understanding is that under one Amazon account, you can have three Author Central author pages. I could be wrong. When you get past three, ask Amazon. :-)

The point of pen names is branding. Let’s say you write on several nonfiction topics: skin care, home schooling and genealogy. You could use your own name for all topics. When you write nonfiction, readers don’t care about author names – they care about the information.

With fiction, it’s different. Readers look for books by an author. So it make sense to use various pen names. If you write romance, that’s one pen name. Write a few mysteries, another pen name, and so on.

3. Forget “I’ve Written a Book and I Need to Market It” – Write More Books.

Marketing your books is HARD. It doesn’t matter whether it’s fiction or nonfiction. Of course you can market, but what counts is the size of your catalogue, under each name.

Some newer authors lean more towards marketing than writing more, even though they hate marketing. If you seriously want to market, that’s a full time job. You can be like Tim Ferris, and really push the boat out with marketing. Certainly do that if you love marketing; that’s excellent.

If you hate the idea of marketing, consider that writing another book is all the marketing you need to do. Let Amazon market your books for you. Whenever you publish, you’ll be on Amazon’s New Releases lists. Whenever someone buys a book, you’ll be on Also Bought lists. Write more. :-)

4. Compartmentalize: Create Schedules and Stick to Them.

Do you have a writing schedule? You can write both fiction, and nonfiction, if you schedule. I use Todoist to schedule all the writing I do. You can use any calendar, but create a schedule, and stick to it. Produce!

Focus on what you’re writing when you’re writing it. Over time, it will become easier for you to compartmentalize. Your concentration is a muscle. It will develop.

5. The More You Write, the More You CAN Write.

Ideas come when you’re writing. If you write every day, you’ll discover that you write more. Start small. If you’re a new writer, set yourself a low word count – say 200 words a day. Or, spend half an hour writing. Whatever daily writing goal you set – in words, or in time – make it non-negotiable.

Over time, your writing muscles will build. You’ll discover how much you can write in a day without exhausting yourself.

So there we have it – if you want to write both fiction and nonfiction, go ahead. The more you write, the more you will sell. I know it’s HARD to keep writing when you’ve just started, and are selling few ebooks. That’s why I created Kindle Romance Writer Weekly – it’s six months of fiction-writing classes and fun. And yes, you can still subscribe if you’re writing in other genres. Romance sells best, but what you learn about writing in one genre applies to others.

Happy writing. :-)

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, too.

5 Fiction Tips: Make the Switch From Nonfiction

5 Fiction Tips: Make the Switch From Nonfiction

Can you make the switch from writing nonfiction, to writing fiction? In fiction, you’re making stuff up. This is a no-no in nonfiction, so you need to train your brain to run along a different track. It’s an adjustment, sure, but it’s EASY.

Please take this to heart. You’re a writer. You can write anything you choose, because you’re comfortable with words. As with anything new, there’s a slight period of adjustment. However, since fiction is constructed (we talk about this in Kindle Romance Writer Weekly), you’ll find that your skills are easily transferable. You’ll get set to entertain, rather than persuade, or inform.

Let’s look at some fiction tips which will help you to make the switch.

1. Let Your Imagination Out to Play.

Everyone has an imagination. Sadly at around seven years of age, we’re taught (unless we’re really lucky), to rein in our imagination. But we’ve all still got imagination; if you doubt yourself, consider dreams and nightmares. You’re creative, you just need to let your imagination out to play.

Although the right brain/ left brain theory has been debunked, your “creative” right brain seems to think in images. You can use this tendency. Start paying attention to images. As I said in this article on outlining:

Start With an Image.

I like to start my fiction with an image, rather than a bunch of words.

Pay attention to the images which pop into your head, and also, images as you go through your day. Look at photos, and images from Pinterest and art galleries. Think about what an image makes you feel, and why. Fiction is all about emotion.

2. Use What You Know: Your Skills Are Transferable.

If you write nonfiction, you’ve trained your brain to write. But, just like other forms of training, you can get out of practice. I write all the time, but in the years before it became a habit, I noticed something strange. Missing a couple of days of writing made writing harder. The more you write, the more you can write.

Expect that training yourself to write fiction will take a little time until fiction becomes comfortable. Know this: your fiction writing will IMPROVE all your writing. I don’t expect you to take this on trust, but you will be amazed to find that your nonfiction improves when you write fiction.

3. Have Fun: Practice Creating Plots and Characters.

Do you like to people watch? The next time you’re in a restaurant or bar, amuse yourself by making up stories about the people you see. You can tell a lot about someone from their body language.

Deliberately search out locations. (You’ve got to set your fiction somewhere.) Bestselling authors are bestsellers because they match their stories, and characters, with locations. One of the best uses of location I’ve read is in John Sandford’s Bad Blood. In the opening scenes, a man’s bludgeoned to death in a grain silo. It’s creepy, and that scene’s stayed with me. Remember, you’re an entertainer when you write fiction. Make readers feel.

4. READ What You Think You’d Like to Write.

Dean Koontz once said that the primary pastime of a writer is reading. He’s right.

Read, and think about what you’re reading. You’re looking for genres you know you could write.

5. Outline What You Read So You Learn How Stories Are Constructed.

Fiction is constructed. Scenes are your building blocks.

When you’ve read a short story, novella, or novel, go back and read it again. Make notes. List the scenes in a chapter. Each scene is like a little story in itself. When you do enough reading, and scene outlining, you’ll see how stories are crafted, and you’ll be well on the way to writing excellent fiction.

Making the switch from nonfiction to fiction is easy for most writers. The best advice I can give you is read the kind of fiction you enjoy reading, and practice writing it yourself. The more you do it, the more comfortable you’ll be with it.

Kindle Romance Writer Weekly will help. It’s 6 full months of fiction-writing classes and fun.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, too.

Writing Fiction: Think in Scenes For Easy Planning, Writing, and Revision

Writing in scenes: how many scenes

If you’re writing fiction, you’re writing to entertain. This means that your readers want to be right there with your characters, so you write in scenes.

I posted Writing Short Stories: How Many Scenes Do You Need? on the Just Write a Book Blog, and thought it might be useful to you as well — particularly the graphic. When you think about how many scenes you need before you start writing, it makes plotting, and later, revision, much easier.

(You’ll find a complete program on plotting here.)

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, too.

Become a Blog Manager For a 6-Figure Salary

Become a Blog Manager For a 6-Figure Salary

You’re a blogger. Usually we think in terms of making money from our own blogs, but what if you used your skills to get hired by a company, and became a blog manager? At larger companies, with an Internet sales channel, blog managers earn six-figure salaries.

So, what does a blog manager do? Your duties would include:

  • Developing an editorial calendar, and creating great content for the blog on a schedule;
  • Creating content on demand for marketing: press releases, social media posts (Facebook and Google+, and so on).

You need the ability to write for blog’s target audience, and have a knowledge of meta data (keywords, post titles and descriptions.) Ideally, you’d have a background in marketing communications, or journalism. However, if you’ve displayed blogging expertise, and experience, you might be more attractive than someone who’s credentialed, but clueless about blogging.

In our Get Hired to Blog to blog program, you discover how to get freelance blogging gigs. However, if you love blogging, keep in mind that some companies want a blogger in-house – this blogger is a vital part of the sales and marketing team. Blogs are becoming publications, and are worth millions of dollars to large companies.

Some bloggers luck into blog manager roles. Several of my students have been offered full-time jobs as blog managers, and it’s not surprising. Content marketing is huge, and these days everything is real-time. Companies need to respond fast when there’s a PR hiccup, and less dramatically, to customers on social media.

If you want a full-time job as a blog manager, you can get one.

Here are some tips which will help.

1. Let the Companies With Which You’re Working Know You’re Available.

Your first step in getting hired is to build your “book”, just as it is in copywriting, or in any form of paid writing. Your “book” is your portfolio. Take as many blog jobs as you can, so you have experience working with a large number of companies. Add your best posts to your book.

Let the companies with which you work know that you’re available for a blog managing role. A company may want you to work in-house, but many large blogs are run by virtual teams, so you can work from anywhere.

If you’ve worked on a blog, get in touch with the company to touch base every few months. They may be interested in giving you more freelance blogging projects – or they many want a blog manager.

2. Create a Media Kit – It’s a Sales Tool for Your Services.

You need a media kit, also known as a press kit.

Your media kit contains:

  • A short profile of who you are and what you do;
  • Sample blog posts;
  • A press release.

You can add anything you like to a media kit; add whatever material you think will make you more attractive to companies looking for a blog manager.

3. Say “Thank You, I Love Your Products”, and Introduce Yourself.

Many years ago, when I was a young mom, I wrote for magazines. I also wrote for trade magazines, the local newspaper, and local organizations. I got into the habit of sending letters to companies thanking them for products and services I used, and telling them why a product was useful to me. Occasionally, I’d get some swag from companies I’d contacted, which was kind of them.

All these years later, what sticks in my mind is the contacts I made, and the writing gigs I got, just from a simple letter. (This was way before email.) Initially I’d just send a short note. Later, when I started writing copy, I’d include an extra paragraph introducing myself as a writer, and asking them to get in touch if they needed marketing communications help.

Today, networking is much easier. I’ve talked about introducing yourself before. Be genuine. Compliment people who deserve it; thank companies which create the products you use. Good things will develop from this, especially if you mention you’re a blogger, and are open to blog manager jobs.

Happy blogging… :-)

If you’re interested in blog manager roles; you’ll find our Get Hired to Blog a great resource.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, too.

Writing Advice: Getting Started With Romance

Writing Advice: Getting Started With Romance

I’ve been asked for some writing advice on getting started with romance writing. Specifically, what SELLS? And how do you start writing it?

Years ago, when I started writing romance, I didn’t choose romance. It chose me. I made up my mind that if I didn’t sell a novel to a publisher within ten years, I would give up writing. Becoming a published author was my dream. However, I got impatient with myself. Dreams are all very well, and dabbling with writing when I had many other commitments was selfish. (Yes, I was wrong-headed in many ways, but I was young… :-))

So, I had ten years. Since I was a voracious reader, I looked for novels that I could write. Scouting around our library, I found little Mills and Boon romances. Not only could I read them with pleasure, I immediately knew that I could write them. After that, it took around six months to get a multi-book contract.

I’m not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but that knowledge stuck with me. What you can read with pleasure is the key to what you can write.

New Adult Is Currently the Hottest Genre in Romance Fiction.

Romance has many, many sub-genres. Currently, the hottest sub-genre is “New Adult” fiction. Here’s the Amazon Best Sellers in New Adult and College Romance.

These books sell A LOT of copies. H.M. Ward writes New Adult romances, and reports:

“A book in the top ten sells around 5–10K copies per day. Let’s take the average and give the book some wiggle room and say it’s selling 7K copies a day @ $2.99. In 7 days you’ll have made (net, not gross) over $100,000.”

St. Martin’s Press established New Adult in 2009, and over the past couple of years, that genre has really taken off. The sales-blockbuster Fifty Shades trilogy kicked the category into overdrive.

When the Wilders needed to save their home, they wrote New Adult. It’s a hot-selling genre. If you can write New Adult, you’re in like Flynn, to coin a phrase.

Can you write New Adult romance? Download some freebies, and check them out. If you can read them with pleasure, and think to yourself: “I can write this!” You almost certainly can.

We’ll be discussing New Adult in Kindle Romance Writer Weekly over your 26 weeks, AND helping you to write it. I hope that by the time the 26 weeks are up, you’ll feel that you can write anything. Fiction writing skills are transferable, not only to other genres, but also to your other writing.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, too.

NEW: Write Hot-Selling Kindle Romance Ebooks, Week by Week

Kindle Romance Writer Weekly

Kindle Romance Writer Weekly

Kindle romance ebooks SELL, that’s indisputable. Many authors are making much more money than they ever dreamed they would.

How much money? That depends on where your ebooks are ranked. As H.M Ward reports:

A book in the top ten sells around 5–10K copies per day. Let’s take the average and give the book some wiggle room and say it’s selling 7K copies a day @ $2.99. In 7 days you’ll have made (net, not gross) over $100,000.

That’s a lot of money. Could you make that much? Who knows. You may just make enough to make your mortgage payments. However, that shows you what’s possible. Ebooks are new too, which means that there’s lots of room for expansion. Amazon has a global reach, so your ebooks can reach more readers, in more countries than has ever been possible.

Yes, YOU Can Receive Kindle Romance Writer Weekly Too.

A few weeks ago, we launched our romance writing class, Hot, Hotter, Hottest: Write Bestselling Kindle Romances.

Class members receive 26 weeks of our new digital magazine, Kindle Romance Writer Weekly free.

Many writers contacted me to ask whether they could receive Kindle Romance Writer Weekly too.

Of course you can. Our new publication includes: romance writing secrets, news and tips, the latest Amazon strategies, pricing guidelines, and much more. Although it’s focused on romance writing, if you’re writing in other genres, such as mysteries, fantasy, westerns and so on, you’ll find that almost everything in KRWW applies to your genre. Just make the mental adjustments… :-)

Let’s write together. I’m committed to expanding my Amazon romance catalogue under various pen names this year, so I’ll be including my own shortcuts and strategies, as well as those of my students. Join us. I’m hugely excited to present Kindle Romance Writer Weekly to you. Let’s go on this adventure together.

Learn more

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, too.