Want to write romance fiction that pays your bills? Write genre fiction. A “genre” is basically a category, and romance fiction is by definition, genre fiction. As a genre, romance has endless sub-genres, and even sub-sub-genres.
I don’t want to belabor the point too much. However if you want to SELL, your aim is to write for hungry readers. The easiest way to do that is to be aware of genres, and that readers are looking for a specific reading experience when they read in a particular genre.
Yes, you could just write whatever you want, and then figure out how to choose a category and tags/ keywords when you publish to the online book stores. Your chances of making sales go up when you write what readers want to read; however.
Genre Helps You to Get Found on Amazon (and Sell)
When I started writing romance fiction many years ago, I wrote historical romance. My first editor asked me to develop a series of contemporary romances. At that stage I was a total baby. I’d written some short stories and magazine articles, but I had no experience of writing fiction to order.
So, when she said: “Write a contemporary series – you can do it!” I tried to argue. That didn’t work. She knew what she could sell, so if I wanted a book contract, I needed to do as I was told.
As an independent author, you don’t have an acquisitions editor or anyone else telling you what to write.
You need to decide all on your own that it’s sensible to write what readers WANT TO READ. Discovering what readers want is easy – it’s all laid out for you on Amazon. Bestsellers are bestsellers because readers want to read them.
Start by choosing a genre you enjoy.
1. Choose a Genre You Enjoy Reading
There are endless romance fiction genres. And those genres have sub-genres. You can discover all you need to know on Amazon, but firstly you need to know what you’re looking for. I like this romance genre list:
subgenres: Chick Lit, Guy Lit, Genderqueer Lit, Contemporary, Erotic Romance, Gothic, Historical, Paranormal, Regency, Romantic Action-Adventure, Romantic Comedy, Romantic Fantasy, Romantic Horror, Romantic Mystery, Romantic Science Fiction, Romantic Suspense, Romantic Western, Time Travel, Vampire, Non-Vampire Monster
It’s a good start. You may already know what you like reading. If you don’t, choose a sub-genre from the list.
Let’s go to Amazon. I like to use Google to search Amazon, because Amazon’s search function is rubbish. Let’s say that from the list above, you’ve decided you’d like to write a paranormal vampire romance.
Go to Google.com and search for “amazon top 100 paranormal vampire romance.”
Your search will return an Amazon page with two tabs, showing you the top 100 Paid and Free books.
Study both tabs. Now click on the Free tab. Download a couple of paranormal vampire romances, and read them. Or at least skim them, for now. Could you write something similar? More to the point, would you ENJOY writing something similar?
Enjoyment is important. If you hate the fiction you’re writing, it will bleed through (pun intended) in your words.
If you’re not sure, try a few genres/ categories. Download some freebies. Find what you enjoy.
Tip: make some notes while you go through this process. The more you understand how books are “shelved” on Amazon via genre and keywords, the better you’ll get at making sure your own books are easily found… and purchased.
2. Write Your Story
Once you’ve read some stories in your chosen genre, write your stories. Don’t stop reading, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the genre you’re writing. Read your downloads, AND read the book’s reviews. Reviews are readers speaking, telling you what they liked, and disliked… so go to the book’s product page on Amazon, and pay attention. 🙂
3. “Shelve” Your Story Appropriately (Choose Your Category and Keywords)
You write, write, write…. You finish writing your book. Your book is edited, you create your cover, and upload your work to Amazon.
Amazon is a giant database. To get your books found on Amazon, and to sell them, you need to not only choose the appropriate genre, but also to choose appropriate keywords/ tags. Your own research and reading will help enormously with this.
Big tip: do your best with your attempts to “shelve” your books. It’s not an exact science, and as we’ve said, Amazon’s search is rubbish. You’ll get better at it as you write more, and you can’t do it “wrong.”
So there we have it. Follow the steps. Write romance genre fiction, and if you “shelve” your books appropriately, you’ll SELL. You’ll be well on the way to paying your bills with your fiction.
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