Why Self-Published Romance Novels are so Successful

self-published romance novelsValentine’s Day is tomorrow, and love is most certainly in the air—well, at least in self-publishing. Did you know that romance novels are by far the most popular genre in self-publishing? There is an estimated $1.08 billion in romance sales per year*. Whether that’s Paranormal Romance, YA Romance, or Historical Fiction Romance, one thing is for certain: self-published authors who have written a romance novel are in good company. There is both an extremely devoted fan base and potentially serious money in self-published romance novels.

What is a romance novel?

This question may seem obvious, but it’s actually a pretty important one. The romance genre itself is very broad. The category of “romance” is more of an umbrella term, with many subgenres underneath it. If a romantic relationship is the central plot of the book, it’s considered romance. This comes straight from the Romance Writers of America, who say, “Two basic elements comprise every romance novel: a central love story and an emotionally-satisfying and optimistic ending.”

Within the genre, there are subgenres. There’s traditional romance books, examples being Nicholas Sparks’s novels. There’s paranormal romance, like the Sookie Stackhouse (True Blood) Series. There’s YA romance, like Twilight. And, of course, there’s erotica, like the originally self-published, and widely successful, Fifty Shades of Grey series.

Why are self-published romance novels so popular?

In asking this, you’re also asking why romantic movies, television shows, or traditionally published books are so popular. You’re asking why holidays like Valentine’s Day even exist. The answer is simple: people love love!

Unfortunately, in traditional publishing, the romance genre is flooded. That, however, has led many authors to self-publish their romance novels. And this decision is quite profitable. Romance novels boast big financial gains. Part of this reason is due to how much romance readers read. There’s a high demand for romance novels as the audience tends to read more than other readers—several books per week, in fact.

What’s important in romance novels?

Besides the love interest, there are several tropes that are prevalent in romance novels – no matter their subgenre. One of these tropes is some kind of roadblock in the relationship. There is usually something or someone who is keeping the two apart: be it class, family feuds (think Romeo and Juliet), or another romantic partner. It can’t be easy for the two main characters to be together, otherwise there isn’t much point to reading the story. Another common trope is the woman being in danger and needing rescuing from her partner.

Apart from themes, another important factor to a romance novel is the cover. Go to your local bookstore and peruse the romance section. The covers are always over-the-top and dramatic. A lot of times a scantily-clad woman and a shirtless man are featured. When self-publishing, keep the cover of your novel in mind. It should be interesting and provocative to make readers want to see what’s inside.

What does it take to self-publish a romance novel?

Well, like anything, it takes inspiration and perseverance. To write a romance novel, you must first read them. Get familiar with the genre—whatever section of it you’ve chosen. Find out what you like, what your target audience writes, and get to work. The romantic relationship in your novel doesn’t need to be the only conflict, but it needs to be one of the central conflicts. Since the market is so broad and so dense, be sure to think of fresh ideas. Stay up-to-date on trends and be constantly thinking of ways to start trends. It helps to be an innovator when self-publishing.  

If you’re interested in self-publishing a romance novel, now is a good time to start. Do your research, write your novel, and DiggyPOD will be there when it’s done!

*All romance book sales—not just limited to self-published romance novels.


  1. […] The most popular genre in self-publishing is romance, and female writers make up a large majority of those writers. One person even went so far as to say that women writers account for 90% of romance writers. Whether this is the actual number or not, it is true that they dominate the romance genre, and the romance genre dominates self-publishing. It’s not a bad gig to have—35% of romance readers buy a new book every month and have been reading the genre for over 20 years. So not only is the audience dedicated, they’ve also committed their money to it, meaning there’s money to be made for self-published female writers. Plus, luckily for self-published writers, who may not be a household name (yet), the number one way romance readers find new books is the story, not the author name or popularity. […]

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