Romance is one of the most popular genres in fiction today. Not only is it a guilty pleasure for many readers, but it can be an effective way to make a certain point as an author that you’d like people to think about. If you’ve finished your manuscript, then you’re going to want to know how to publish a romance novel. These tips can help to point you in the right direction.
#1. Be patient with the publishing process. Most writers are going to be rejected by publishers a few times before an acceptance letter comes along. Rejection can be difficult feedback to hear. Just remember that every rejection letter brings you one step closer to the publisher who does want your work. Self-publishing is also an option today to be considered.
#2. Pick your market wisely. Most publishers today in the romance genre have a certain target market and will only take books that fit within that market. Before sending your book off to publishers, take some time to read a few of the books they have already published. This will give you an idea about how well your story matches up to the stories that have already been in print.
#3. Write a concise query letter. Every aspect of your romance novel must be professionally presented for it to be considered. This means editing it and formatting it in the way the publisher prefers for review. It also means that you’ll need to have a query letter included with your manuscript. Include a short biography about yourself with this query letter, a short paragraph about your novel, and why you think your story fits in with the publisher’s targeted market.
#4. Find a literary agent for representation. Most publishers today do not accept any work that is unsolicited. This is where the literary agent comes into play. Their job is to “filter” the good work from the bad stuff that comes in the mail every day. Since you’ve written a romance novel, you’ll need to look for agents that specialize in the genre.
#5. Are you considering self-publishing? Being a self-published author isn’t the correct choice for everyone. In the past, being self-published was seen in a negative way, but times have changed and not it can be a legitimate and financially smart decision to make. There are numerous publishing houses that have self-publishing divisions, so shop your romance novel around to get the best price possible. Make sure you completely review your novel, artwork, and any other component for errors before finalizing any agreement if this is the publishing path you choose.
#6. Make sure you have someone you trust review your work. Many writers will have trusted family and friends read their novel to give them feedback. Far too many, however, send out query letters and other correspondence without a second look. Whenever you send out a proposal for your romance novel, make sure another set of eyes sees it so they can maybe catch something that you might miss.
#7. Don’t rush the process. This might be the biggest mistake that every first-time author makes at some point in their lives. You need to make your romance novel the best novel it can possibly be. Instead of pitching a partial manuscript to an agent, or worse the publisher, get it completed. Polish it up. Revise your story. Remember: this type of genre is more than just what the plot can do for the reader. It’s also about the emotions of the characters involved.
#8. Know your limitations. Publishers don’t always like books that are more than 120,000 words in length. They might romance, but not want something that is poetic or a collection of romantic essays. Keep the experimental components of the genre out unless that’s precisely what your preferred publisher targets with their audience.
#9. Keep going. The Big 5 New York publishers might not want your work, but that doesn’t mean you’ll be rejected by everyone. There are numerous mid-level presses, independent publishers, regional presses, and boutique publishers that might want to publish your romance novel right now. Harlequin is actively looking for new works for all of its imprints, even if you’re not an agented author. That might be a great place to get started.
Knowing how to publish a romance novel means understanding how to be patient with the process. It means creating the best possible manuscript you can. It means infusing emotion into the words being used. If you can follow these steps, then one day you have a good chance of being published. Keep up the good work and celebrate the day you receive the acceptance letter.