You’re writing romance fiction — good for you. With its dozens of sub-genres, and sub-sub genres, it’s the biggest selling genre by a large margin. It outsells other fiction by around four to one.
There’s a challenge however. If you’re happily writing romance, it’s obvious that you’re a tiny fish in a HUGE ocean. You struggle for visibility.
You need to write, and focus on promotion, because each month brings thousands of new titles in every sub-genre of romance.
And sadly, scammers are flooding the Kindle Store, cutting into your income — more on that below.
Writing romance: choose a sub-genre which fits your book
From chats with my students, I know that when they’re writing romance, they struggle with genre (category.) A novel may have elements of urban fantasy, and the paranormal too, even if the romance is the focus: which genre should you choose?
There’s no real solution to this problem. Some authors want to meet the challenge by placing their books into irrelevant genres because there’s less competition, but it won’t work. Your primary goal is to serve those readers who are hunting for your book, so choose the best sub-genre you can, without thinking too much about competition. You can email Amazon politely to ask that your book be placed in couple of additional genres, or even ask for a new genre to be created.
Let’s look at three tips for success in this hottest of hot genres.
1. Write series romance fiction, and promote, promote, and promote some more
I love writing standalone titles, but I tend to avoid it. I also suggest to my ghostwriting clients that they consider creating series. With a series, if a reader loves it, you’re likely to get a fan who’ll buy the other books in the series, and will remember your name.
Promotion is essential. Today it’s not optional if you want to sell.
2. Take your romance books wide: focus on Google rankings
I’ve been thinking about visibility on Amazon, and one thing’s plain. Not only is Amazon’s search function weak, but also fiddling with genres and keywords has limited effect these days.
With the Kindle Unlimited (KU) pot dropping each month — and scammers don’t help — it makes more sense to take your romance books wide, so that you can sell in as many book stores as you can. Books that show little or nothing on Amazon can take off on iBooks or elsewhere.
You can also try to improve your book’s Google rankings. Blog about your latest romance novel, and guest blog too. Make sure that you create a sales page on your own website for each of your books, and that you optimize that page with keywords. Social media counts too for Google rankings, even though that’s limited — Facebook is a gated network.
3. Build your platform and your mailing list
Building your platform and your mailing list is vital. Scammers are winning top rankings in the Kindle Store; Amazon seems powerless to rein them in. This makes it even more important to take the long view, and focus on what you can control.
How bad are the scammers?
David Gaughran’s been writing about scammers and tracking them for long time.
The KDP Select/ Kindle Unlimited Challenge: are the scammers winning?
Even worse, not only has Amazon failed to act, it is actively rewarding the scammers. Sounds incredible, right? But it’s happening.
You know that author I mentioned above who used clickfarms to hit the Top 10 on four separate occasions since the start of June? He recently bagged a much coveted spot in one of Amazon’s genre newsletters – a high visibility promo that will put good money into his pocket.
Take control: build your platform
I’ve no idea what’s happening on the Kindle Store, or how Amazon will try to control what’s happening.
Forget that, and take charge of your own fate.
Amazon and the other book stores are simply venues — marketplaces. Everything changes, including where you sell your books. What doesn’t change is your need to build your platform — to build your readership.
You can do brilliantly with writing romance. It’s a huge genre and has been out-selling other genres for centuries, let alone decades. Have fun, and keep writing — and promoting. 🙂
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