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11 Behind-the-Scenes Secrets of Romance Writers

Say what you will about romance novels, they generate over a billion dollars in revenue every year. The authors, or at least the best ones, put a lot of thought and research into the time and place they’re writing about, and the readers they are writing for. Here are some thing you might not know about those who write romance novels.    

2. THEY DON’T USE PEN NAMES FOR THE REASON YOU THINK.

The authors of romance novels don't use pen names out of embarrassment. Adina (a.k.a. Adina Senft) says that pseudonyms—many authors have more than one—help readers compartmentalize writers who generate multiple series. “People who read Amish fiction may not read steampunk,” she says. Another, bigger reason: Bookstore software can use “kill orders” on authors who don’t sell a certain number of titles. If they fall below parity, retailers will automatically stop ordering more copies from that author. “If that happens,” she says, “you have to reinvent yourself with a new name.”

5. THEY HAVE BONUS SCENES.

Self-published authors (who make up about two-thirds of the total romance e-book revenue on Amazon) spend much of their time marketing their work. To help maintain interest from their existing readership, some send out email newsletters with updates on new titles and include exclusive passages that can enhance the experience of a previous book. “My first book was about an actor who had to do a love scene with a woman he hated,” Leigh says. “It was never going to be in the book because that was from his girlfriend’s point of view, but I got a chance to write it as a bonus.”

And there’s more, about the trends in these novels, the business behind them, and the lives of the novelists, in a list at mental_floss.

(Image credit: Flickr user Kate Haskell)


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