How to Publish a Romance Novel: A Detailed Guide for the Budding Author

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You've written your book. Find out what to do next!

Publishing Your First Romance Novel

You've worked hard writing your romance book, spending hours at your computer crafting your story, editing, rewriting, and making it the best it can possibly be. You're ready to take the next step: publishing your romance novel.

The wonderful thing about publishing romance novels is that there tend to be more publishing options than other genres, allowing you to make the choices that are best for you. These options include:

• Traditional publishing with an agent

• Traditional publishing by submitting a novel directly to a publisher

• Self-publishing your work

Each of these options have their own advantages. Find out more below!

Traditional publishing with an agent

Books that are traditionally published by first using an agent are the majority of the books you see in stores. Many traditional publishers don't accept unsolicited manuscripts, which is where an agent comes in. Your agent has insight on which publishers are the best to submit your manuscript to and can really take the stress off you. It's also their job to negotiate your contract and try to get you the best deal they possibly can.

It's important to keep in mind that finding an agent to try to get your romance novel published will likely take much longer than than the other two routes. It's important to keep in mind that even if you've polished your novel to the best of your ability, it might get rejected by agents. This is normal and happens to almost everyone. Writers work hard and often face a lot of rejection before getting a lucky break.

Finding an agent that specializes in romance novels is important. They know the genre well, know which places to send your manuscript, and know the right people in the industry to talk to.

Here are a few resources to look for romance agents:

Manuscript Wishlist

Writer's Digest

Tips For Finding a Literary Agent

When you're looking into finding an agent, one of the most important things you can do is to follow their submission guidelines to a tee. You don't want them to reject you because of a minor oversight. Also, make sure they accept the type of romance novel you've written. For example, some agents don't represent paranormal or Christian romance but do rep contemporary.

The other thing is to have a great query letter. Your query letter is what the agent reads and, if they like what they see, may ask for part or all of your manuscript. Here are a few resources for how to write a good query letter.

How To Write a Darn Good Query Letter

Pitching A Romance Novel

Traditional publishing that you submit yourself

Some traditional publishers give you the option of submitting directly to them. Many of these publishers only publish romance and erotica, though not all. They'll have submission guidelines available somewhere on their website which will provide detailed guidelines about exactly what they need in your submission. Just like with querying an agent, make sure you follow their submission guidelines carefully so your novel doesn't get rejected based on a minor mistake.

Here are some publisher you can submit your novel or part of your novel directly to:

40 Romance Publishers Who Want Your Novel

10 Respected Publishers That Accept Unsolicited Submissions

Make sure to do your research when submitting to different publisher. Some only publish books by people of color, LGBT authors, or women.

Typically, this process takes less time than finding an agent first but more time than self-publishing your novel.


Every romance fan knows that Amazon is filled with self-published romance authors, some of whom are as popular, if not more popular, than traditionally published authors. It's necessary to preface that self-publishing isn't for everyone. It's a ton of work. You'll have to handle everything an agent or publisher would normally take care of, such as book promotion. You also won't have the support of an agent or publisher.

It can also be very rewarding. Self-publishing, by far, gives you the most control over your work. You always retain the rights to your books. You get to set your own deadlines and won't have to wait months or longer for your book to start bringing in money.

If you choose to self-publish, make sure to set up a mailing list for you readers. You can entice them into signing them up by giving them a free novella or other great perk. A mailing list will also help when you have a new book available for pre-order. If they like your work, they'll be more likely to buy it.

You also need a good cover. People say don't judge book by cover, but c'mon, when it actually comes to books, we all do it. If you aren't great a designing something yourself, it's worth the investment to hire someone to do it for you.

Also, make sure your book is edited! If you can't afford to hire an editor, then get a second, third, forth set of eyes to go over you book with a fine tooth comb. Other than plot and character likeability, bad editing it one of the biggest complaints people have about books.

Here are some resources on self-publishing romance to read over:

Romance Self-Publishing Book Bundle: All the Information you need to Write, Publish and Promote your Romance Kindle Book for $6.99

Self Publishing Romance: 10 Things You Must Do If You Want to Make a FT Living Writing Romance

How to Make Money Self-Publishing Short Romance Novels on Amazon

Intro to Self Publishing Romance* Books For Income

AMA with self-published author Laurelin Paige

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