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4 Mistakes New Romance Authors Make (And How to Avoid Them)

Updated 23 February 2024

If you're writing your first romance novel, you might feel overwhelmed by all the advice available to you in Facebook groups, blogs, writing craft books, and podcasts. But avoiding the four mistakes below will save you hours of wasted time, hundreds of dollars of wasted money, and serious stress.

Mistake #1: Romance authors not knowing their romance readers' expectations.

Romance is rich with sub-genres, all of which attract devoted readerships with specific expectations about the books they love. Knowing these expectations and keeping them in mind as you write is essential to publishing success. The best way to do this is to research and read your sub-genre's newest releases and find a few places where your readership hangs out—Facebook groups, podcasts, Discord servers, and Reddit communities are good ports of call. You can also look at the audience of comparable romance authors who write stories in the same sub-genre, theme, or niche as you.

Mistake #2: Romance authors choosing the wrong cover for their romance novel

Much of book buying today depends on covers; it's one of the easiest ways, besides reading a book's blurb, for readers to decide if a book is for them. This is because most romance covers follow trends, so all the covers in that sub-genre look similar. If your book is the odd one out, readers might think it's been categorized incorrectly and move on to a release more in line with their expectations, which means you miss out on a sale. One of the best ways to research cover trends is Once you've figured out the style you're looking for, you'll have the information you need to start looking for cover designers. And again, looking at the covers of successful authors who write stories like yours is a great way of learning what readers in your sub-genre expect from a cover.

Mistake #3: Romance authors rushing the release of their first romance novel

Publishing is a marathon, not a sprint. Take your time on your first release, because there are many tasks you need to tick off prior to hitting "publish." Creating your romance author profile, finding the right cover designer, plotting and writing the book, selecting the perfect editor, researching keywords and Kindle categories—each of these tasks involves a learning curve, and trying to speed through them can be overwhelming and, just as importantly, lead to mistakes that can affect your book's success.

Mistake #4: Romance authors not using an editor for their romance novel

Other than a good cover, editing is the most important thing you can spend your money on prior to releasing your book. Developmental editors will spot big-picture issues that affect your book's central romance and character development, and they can make sure you get the most out of any tropes and character archetypes you include. Line editors will help you hone your writing style so your story and characters shine. And proofreaders will spot the spelling and grammar mistakes your readers are most likely to pick up on. You'll also learn so much from the editing process and become a better romance writer.

Avoid these mistakes and your path to publishing will be smoother than the chests on these heroes.


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