It doesn't matter if you're new to romance publishing or a seasoned pro; you've probably heard the phrase "write to market."
Many people think that writing to market means copying the trends visible in romance bestseller lists like Amazon Top 100.
The truth, however, is more complicated.
Because writing to market means writing with readers in mind. And romance readers don't just want more of the same.
But how do you find out what they want?
Market research. Go where readers congregate: Instagram. TikTok, for as long as it lasts. Facebook groups. Reddit forums. Romance-specific podcasts.
Use market research tools like Publisher Rocket (which I highly recommend purchasing) to test out keyword searches and see what readers are looking for but not finding from the books available to them.
For example, recently I was searching for book ideas to play around with for samples and, as I often do, typed some keywords into Publisher Rocket. And lo and behold, I found a gem: small-town Scottish romance. There's low competition and high demand, and we all know what that means: a gap in the market!
If you've scrolled to the bottom of this article hoping for a TL;DR summary, here it is:
Figure out what readers love about the current releases in your sub-genre and what they want to see more of. Combine those popular trends, tropes, and hooks with unexpected archetypes and elements. Then, you'll have books that feed readers' hunger and get them hooked on your author brand so they keep them coming back for more.