Monday, 18 March 2019

Niche Markets in Romance Writing

Welcome to Week N of Authors' Tips: A to Z of Writing.

If this is the first time you are visiting this series, here's a quick recap.

Authors share their tips on writing fiction - and each week we talk about various aspects of writing.

This week it's time to take a closer look at Niche Markets 

A few weeks ago I'd posted about the importance of knowing your Genre as it helps readers to discover your books. A genre like Romance -- which incidentally is the top selling category -- has more than 100-plus sub-categories. These are often called 'niches', a marketing jargon for specialist sub-categories. While some of the more popular ones like romantic suspense, chicklit, paranormal romance, historical romance, etc. are evergreen favourites, as reading preferences evolve, new niches emerge from time to time. For instance, a few years back the super-duper success of E.L. James' Fifty Shades of Grey sparked off a new niche of BDSM within the sub-genre of Erotic Romance.

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash
Let's take a look at some of the hot new niches in the Romance category.

Clean and Wholesome Romance: It seems like the fiery trail of erotica books that the success of the Fifty Shades series had left in its wake, has begun to peter off. Clean romance or closed door romance, as many people like to call it, is making a return. Here the heat level is tepid at best and explicit sex on the pages is a big no-no.

Science Fiction Romance is a relatively new niche that is rising on the popularity charts. And as the name suggests it is a mashup of the two genres. So you can expect love to blossom between an alien and a homo sapien along with some galactic action. If you haven't yet tried out these books, here are a few recommendations from Ali Williams, Managing Editor of Pink Heart Society : Gideon's Riders series by Kit Rocha, The Galactic Cold War series by Robyn Bachar, and Tales of Inthya Duet by Effie Calvin.

Speculative Romance is a brand new entry which is more like an off shoot of science fiction romance and has elements of science fiction, fantasy, paranormal and romantic urban fantasy. Some best selling titles include In the Vanishers’ Palace by Aliette de Bodard, A Conspiracy of Whispers by Ada Harper, Off the Grid Trilogy by Alyssa Cole.


Highlander Romance Sparked off by the super duper success of the Outlander series, authors like the hugely popular Maya Banks are spinning off romances set in Scotland.

Diversity Romance There has been a growing trend towards protagonists who are multi-cultural. Alternative sexual orientation (LGBQT) too is another niche. Differently abled characters (such as those with autism, ADHD) are making romance novels more grounded in the real world. Helen Hoang's bestselling The Kiss Quotient with an autistic female protagonist is a case in point.

Romance authors clearly believe that Variety is the spice of romance. So, what is your favourite niche to read and write in? What kind of new sub-genres have you come upon recently? Do share your thoughts.

Don't forget to check out these N posts in the series....

N is for Non-Fiction by Sudesna Ghosh

Names: Do they Matter? by Preethi Venugopala




18 comments :

  1. Another great one. I'd never heard of 'speculative romance' as such, interesting.

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    1. Thanks, Devika. It was new to me too! :)

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