One thing that Bestselling Romance Authors have in common is an innate ability to sustain romantic tension page after page but how do you separate the wheat from the chaff? Especially with the continuing boom in self-publishing where eye-catching cover designs have never been more accessible and far too often are the silk purse that hides a pig’s ear inside.
Now, readers come to the genre for differing reasons. Some looking for a little escapism from the daily grind, others wanting something a little deeper on which they can reflect and of course opinions will always be divided as to how good a book really was. Fifty Shades Of Grey being an ever-enduring example! But let’s be clear, writing great Romantic Fiction is an art. For readers coming to the genre for the first time the choice can be quite overwhelming whilst new authors often face a steep learning curve as they hone their craft.
Thankfully we live in a more enlightened world and have come a long way from the generic girl meets boy romantic fiction that once dominated the genre but the foundations of great romantic fiction remain the same. Those foundations are embedded in the psyche of every author and reader. We’ve all had first loves, relationships that have turned sour and we’ve all experienced the gamut of emotions that true romance enflames. On this level, romantic fiction authors have the edge over other genres because they are writing in a genre that most of us, to some degree, can readily relate to through experience. This, however, is a double-edged sword for authors of romantic fiction because most readers have actually met facsimiles of the characters found in romantic fiction novels and therefore have strong ideas about how a character might look or behave.
Scarlett and Rhett – Gone With The Wind, Cathy and Heathcliff – Wuthering Heights, Elizabeth Bennet and Mr Darcy – Pride and Prejudice, Jane and Mr Rochester – Jane Eyre These and other notable bestsellers in the genre rose on the backs of their characters. Readers expect great characters and to deliver anything less is not only disappointing for the reader but a sure way to ensure a romantic fiction novel flounders in the also-rans. Always remember that word of mouth works both ways!
At BookViral great characterization is the first thing we look for when considering Romantic Fiction novels for review with titles like Another Summer from British Author Sue Lilley readily springing to mind. Few authors pitch it perfectly in a debut novel but Sue’s characters are so well crafted they all but leap from the page with snappy dialogue and just the right blend of internal and external emotional conflict. A YA Romance novel that will leave you breathless from an exciting new voice in contemporary romance, you can check out our review here
Romance novels are fun, sexy and have never been more popular. Emotionally driven and taut it’s not hard to see why the genre commands the Lion’s share of the publishing market but what separates the Bestsellers in Romantic Fiction from the lacklustre offerings that invariably make their way to print?
Of course, great characters alone don’t make a bestselling romance novel. It would be nigh on impossible to have a bestseller with weak, poorly imagined characters with whom readers can’t empathise but there are other elements too that can’t be ignored. We’ll return to them in a later post but as always we hope we have given you something to reflect on and welcome your thoughts. Finally, if you are an author looking for reviews in the Romantic Fiction genre you can find out a bit more about our submissions process here.