Writing Romance Part 1
Updated: May 27
Here is my first blog post on the subject of writing.
I've thought about writing a book on romance writing, but instead I might just try to blog for a bit and see how y'all like that. Then when I feel more confident about my ability to tell you how to write a romance book, then I will write my how to book.
It's not easy though. Being a full time independent romance author is hard work. And I'm not just talking about writing the stories.
An independent romance author is a business owner. I'm running my own business. That's pretty scary to someone who never thought she would or even could run her own business. But here I am doing exactly that.
I write all my own books. I will never outsource them to Ghostwriters, because I want each book to have the unique sound and feel that only I can give it. I'd feel like I was betraying my readers if I employed Ghost Writers. No offense to the authors who do it, but I just don't think it would work for me.
I design all of my own book covers. My early book covers for my old erotica pen name were TERRIBLE. I started writing erotica & romance back in 2016. I had no money, so my only choice was to design my own covers. I have gotten way better at it, but I can tell you now that I designed book covers for over 500 books that I wrote. That's not an exaggeration. I wrote over 500 erotica books before I ever found my true calling in Steamy Romance. And I designed the covers for every last one of them.
I handle all my own advertising. It took me four years to build up my mailing lists, but now I've got over 14,000 people on them. That's not a lot compared to some authors -- trust me. I've put a lot of time and money into my mailing list growth. I've spent thousands on it, but it is very important for an independent author to have their own mailing list. You don't want to depend on Amazon to tell new readers about your books. You have to do it.
I manage my own social media accounts. Ugh. I'm not very good at it. My Facebook group only has 200 members now. But hey! You can join it if you want. It's called Sara Hazel's Curvy Instalove Romance Crew and you can join right here: Sara's Facebook Group
And then there is the writing itself. I spend over forty hours a week just on writing. An independent romance author needs BOOKS. Lots of BOOKS. You need to commit to publishing at least one per week if you're writing short romance stories or novellas (10,000-20,000 words each). I highly suggest you go to Amazon and find Hope Ford's guide to writing romance. She outlines the schedule that you need to follow if you're going to make it as a Romance author on Amazon these days. If you want to publish longer books then you need to publish one full novel per month (40,000 words at least) if you're gonna get anywhere. If you have a full time job in another industry then prepare to kiss your family goodbye at night. They aren't going to see you until after your books start earning you a full time income and you can quite your day job.
My own story was this:
I lost my job and had no hope. I was literally terrible at everything -- except writing. So I dove right in and started writing as much as I could. Soon I was making $3000 a month on Erotica with almost no spending on advertising or anything else. I used to publish two stories a day! I became one of the top ten Amazon Erotica authors. Life was good.
Then in February 2019 -- I lost my erotica empire. I was asked by Amazon to take all of my books down, so I did it. When Amazon asks you to do something, you do it. You're lucky they're asking you in the first place rather than just kicking you off the site. So I took all my erotica down and started writing the Romance books that you see from me today. My books are pretty steamy, but they all have a traditional romance plot and a happy ever after. So Amazon is happy, and so am I. My new romance books took off (thanks to my hard work at advertising them in various places where Romance readers find books. Later I'll publish a post that provides links to all the various Romance newsletters you can advertise your books in.)
I tell you all of this not to discourage you from your dream of becoming an independent Romance Author, but because being an independent Romance author is hard work. A lot of the books you can find on the subject make it sound like money will fall from the sky for you if you start writing and publishing romance. It won't. You will have to work very hard to make it happen. You can do it, but you have to be prepared to commit to it.
I can't tell you how many times I have been tempted to just unpublish all of my books and disappear from the face of the Romance writing world. But I didn't quit, and that's why I'm still here today and doing better than I ever have at this (I'm having to work twice as hard though, to be honest with you. Maybe I was just too lazy in the past and not publishing enough, but now that I follow my once a week schedule I do pretty good. I know I'd do better if I could write two short novellas per week, or one long novella per week. Or a 40,000 word novel every two weeks. But that's a lot of words, y'all. Writing is hard. Writing full time is even harder.
So, that's it on this topic for now. Let me know in the comments if I should continue. I mean, I probably will, even though no one is reading this blog yet anyway (haha. I just started it this week.)
It's time for me to go back to writing my Valentine's Day story. Happy writing :)