Lisa Ricard Claro – Author

Romance is good for your heart!

Ah, Romance! What’s Not to Love?

Today’s post is for my writing pals. I’m sharing information gleaned from a recent day-long workshop hosted by GRW (Georgia Romance Writers), a chapter of RWA (Romance Writers of America).  I’m proud to belong to both of these organizations, and just to round it out I’m also a member of SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) which covers YA, including YA romance.

Yes, buttercup. I’m all about the smoochie-smoochies. I believe in happy-ever-after. But don’t let the ooey-gooey stuff fool you.

RWA and GRW focus, as their names imply, on the romance genre. But let’s be clear—these organizations are about the business of romance writing. This is an important distinction because so many people assume these are some sort of lightweight fan clubs, and nothing could be farther from the truth. These organizations are fully focused on business—which brings me back to today’s topic: Saturday’s workshop.

The day was divided into three workshops, each presented by successful, published authors. There is too much information to share in a single blog post, but these are some highlights:

  • Don’t look down your nose at self-publishing. More and more editors, agents and publishers are trashing their slush piles in favor of looking to the internet for self-pubbed authors. (More on this in next week’s post.)
  • Writing may feed your soul but if you hope to earn a living at it, then you must never forget that it is a business. You write it, you sell it, and that means money changes hands. That’s business, buttercup, and that is your goal. 
  • Know what it costs you to be a writer and track your expenses. Keep a calendar reflecting your life as a writer—critique group meetings, book signings, promotions, hours spent writing or learning your craft. You may not be earning money now but one day you will. The IRS won’t treat your writing as a game, and you shouldn’t either.
  • When your work appears in print, buy extra copies to give away. Every book you hand out encourages readers to enjoy your work and pass it on to others. One free book might mean ten new readers. 
  • Promotion – the bulk of promotion falls on the author and 25-30% of your project earnings should be earmarked toward that end. Publishers aren’t promoting new authors as they did in the past. It’s up to you.
  • Learn to network. This isn’t new info, but it is pertinent.  Yes, social media is time consuming. Do it anyway. The more the better, BUT put the bulk of your energy into the one or two social media outlets that you most enjoy. Writing is business, but it shouldn’t stop being fun.
  • The audio book industry is booming. It is a 1.2 billion dollar industry.  Don’t discount it as a potential outlet for your writing just because you want to see your work in print.

Imagine, all of that and not a word about romance. But just so you don’t forget where all that info came from, here are some numbers about the romance genre that might pique your interest. Take a look at these statistics from Business of Consumer Book Publishing 2012:

  • Romance fiction comprised the largest share of the U.S. consumer market in 2011 at 14.3 percent.
  • Romance fiction generated $1.368 billion in sales in 2011.
  • From 2007–2011, romance was the second top-performing category (based on consolidated ranking across the NYT, USA Today, and PW best-seller lists).
  • Romance fiction sales are estimated at $1.336 billion for 2012. 

Look at those numbers, buttercup! Ah, romance—what’s not to love?

See you next week for the naked truth about . . . self-publishing and why you ought to consider it.

Have a great week, y’all!

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