Friday, November 18, 2011

Why Writing Category Romance Is A HUGE Gamble

There are many agents out there that will not go in search of authors wanting to write for Category Romance lines. The reason is fairly simple and something writers need to understand before they commit themselves to projects of this nature.

Category romance has a limited area we can market. When writing general fiction, the market is really open. We can work with the word count and the "general genre" and then start to narrow with the voice of the story. With category, you really only have one chance.

Now, what does that mean to the author? If that line you targeted says no, the doorways are now closed. Despite what some writers think, you simply cannot just start sending it out to other places in the hopes they like it enough. Along the same lines, you can't just "add word count" to get it to something that will work for other lines.

You can also extend this thought to other genres that have a small target audience. The narrower your market, the harder it is to sell.

I should note, I personally love working with category authors and yes, I do look to sign new category authors. But, you need to know what I am looking for "beyond the single book" the author submitted. I am looking for more than 1 book. I am looking for several books and a future they see in that particular line.

I think the thing to remember is that, as an author, you need to really stop and think before you dive into a particular project. What is the market that will be available to you. Are you ready to gamble it all for this limited area. It doesn't mean you shouldn't. Just stop and think before you do.



  1. Good to know. One often hears that category is a good segue into single title....sounds like maybe/maybe not. Any thoughts on that?

  2. Like you said, this is also true for other niche genres. It's a scary thought for a writer to have such a small pool of potential buyers, but I think it's better to know going in how tough the market is.

    @Anonymous: I imagine that could be true, but it's still pretty tough just to get the category contract. I wonder how many authors who make the segue would have made it as single title authors if they tried that route first.

  3. Scott, truer words were never spoken. Once you've submitted a 50,000 word book to Harlequin and been rejected, the only option it seems is to turn toward ebooks to try and sell it.