For every type of book written, there is a genre that it fits into. A genre is essentially a category.

For example, when you look at television programs you see that there are science fiction, comedies, dramas, animated, which may also be comedies too. And most recently the reality genre has been added to television. The same holds true for books. When you understand genres, how they work and how to position yourself, you are on the cusp of making a living writing romance.

In the beginning…

In the beginning there were, and still are, two main categories of books, fiction and non-fiction.

We’re dealing with fiction here so we’ll set non-fiction aside.

Within the fiction category there are a number of genres including:

  • Mystery
  • Thriller
  • Suspense
  • Science Fiction
  • Horror
  • And of course Romance

Since romance is the single biggest seller of any fiction category and we’re looking to make a living writing, and according to data published in the August 2009 RWR, a magazine published by the Romance Writers Association, 74.8 million people read at least one romance novel in 2008, then we’re going to focus on romance writing because that’s where the money is and quite honestly it’s where the fun is too.

The Romance Genre

Within romantic fiction there are a number of sub-genres and their popularity comes and goes. For example, most recently the vampire, shapeshifter, paranormal sub-genre has been quite popular. Additionally erotic romance has really taken off due to the internet. People can download erotic romance ebooks and read them without having to face potential embarrassment at the bookstore during checkout.

A year or two ago, Chicklit was all the rage and Christian romance seems to be holding on as a popular genre too.

In addition to each sub genre, which includes but is not limited to:

  • Romantic suspense
  • Historical romance
  • Erotic romance
  • Contemporary romance
  • Medical romance
  • Inspirational romance
  • Paranormal romance
  • Regency romance
  • Young adult romance
  • Time Travel romance
  • Romantic comedy

And so on and so on and so on….

There are subgenres within subgenres. For example, you can have a futuristic, time travel erotic romance.

Kinda mind boggling, right?

So what’s the key to choosing the right genre? The genre that’s going to make the most money? The genre that’s going to be the start of a long writing career?

Choosing the Right Genre

To choose the genre that’s going to make it possible for you to make a living writing romance you need to combine strategy and creativity. Pay close attention to the industry. If you see a popular genre waning then there is still time to capitalize on it but it may not be the career launcher you’re looking for. However, if you are able to catch the wave as it’s rising or even at its peak then writing in this genre is ideal.

You also want to be comfortable, and perhaps even happy, writing in this genre. For example, if you detest football but you’ve decided that books with sports heroes is going to be the next rage then your writing career isn’t going to be much fun.

Finally, you might be wondering where to find industry information and how to know if the next big thing is really the next big thing. Consider joining the RWA, Romance Writers of America.  They’re the largest industry organization for romance writing.

Additionally, grab the most recent copy of Writer’s Market and read what publishers are looking for. Rest assured if they publish that they’re looking for time travel vampire stories, they know what they’re doing and time travel vampire stories are selling. Visit publisher websites to stay on top of what they’re looking for and visit the bookstore to see what’s predominately on the new releases table. In my bookstore Romantic Thrillers and Vampire/Paranormal Romance seem to be the big seller.

Finally, to capitalize on the genre of the moment it pays to have a writing system, a template to work from or a strategy that helps you write quickly. Many popular writers write several books a year under several pseudonyms. They love writing, they’re committed to writing, and most importantly, they have a system.