How to Make Money Writing Romance – Pretty Good Money!

It’s been a minute since I’ve written a non-fiction ebook. But, I’ve been getting a lot of questions lately about romance writing, so I thought I’d share what I’ve learned in almost 18 months of writing in this genre.

Author Note

A lot has changed in self-publishing since this book was written in 2014. There’s still good money to be made — especially in writing romance, because it’s the most popular genre of all time. But, how to go about it has changed.

That’s why a 2nd version, which includes info on today’s publishing climate, was published. Click thru to learn more.

Short Romance Novels Sell

Proof? As the graphic here shows (these are my actual sales figures from Amazon), I’m amazed at the amount of money to be made in this niche – no experience, no big publishers or agents needed. You just write — and publish.

Note: Click graphic for larger view.Make Money Writing Short Romance Stories

Most of my novels are in the 15,000 to 20,000 word range. One of my best selling titles, Just Sex Please, was under 10,000 words (9,658 to be exact). I finished it in like two days.

I was gonna publish it under a pen name because it was more erotic than stuff I usually write, but then the characters went and got deep on me (eg, the novel evolved into more than ‘just sex’, pardon the pun) — and voila, a short, sexy, erotic romance novel, that readers really took to!

3 of the Best Things about Writing Romance for a Living

1) Writing romance doesn’t have to cost you anything: Yep, you can do it for $0! I actually cringe when I read people saying you need to spend thousands of dollars to self-publish a book. You don’t!;

2) Once a romance novel is written, you can earn money from it forever: One of the reasons I made the switch to fiction writing from non-fiction is that there’s no updating needed.

Once it’s finished, the shelf life is forever, especially digital books (ebooks). And no, I don’t publish paper books.

All of my titles are published as ebooks. I just never got around to learning how to publish in paper — and I’ve heard others say that their ebook sales far surpass their paper book sales, so I probably never will; and

3) The more you write, the more you earn: Because romance readers read a lot, if they discover you and like you, they’ll go on to buy your other novels.

I’ll discuss this in the book (ie, how to build sales organically by creating a catalog of titles, not just one or two).

A Step-by-Step Plan to Start Making Money Writing Romance

In this ebook, I’ll detail exactly what you need to do to start making money as a romance writer — even if you have NO experience (like me when I first started last year).

Lost Your Job? Why Not Give Self-Publishing a Try

As an aside, I’m in New York City right now. I just wanted to share something with you.

Several are my friends have been downsized. They’re on the hunt for new jobs right now. I was having lunch with one a few days ago and he was telling me he wanted to get back into publishing, ie, find a mid-level management job in the publishing industry again.

He’s working now, but in a job that doesn’t pay nearly what he was making in publishing. My advice to him — “The job of the future my friend is the one you create for yourself.”

I’ve talked in-depth to two of my friends about self-publishing — these are people who I know have the writing chops (they’re creative types). One has sent me pages of stuff she’s written; and I had two meetings with the other one who had done some research and had further questions (which tells me he’s serious about it).

My one friend said, “I’d be happy to earn just a couple of hundred bucks per month doing this!” And I said, “It’s so possible — especially in romance because romance readers are a prolific lot. As in, they read a lot! Proof?

64 percent read romance more than once a month; 35 percent buy romance more than once a month. [Source: Nielsen Romance Buyer Survey]

The reason I even got into this with my friends is that they were asking me about what I do. One said, “What exactly is it that you do these days; you’re always up to something new.” When I said, “These days, I’m writing romance,” the conversation just kinda took off from there. And when we started discussing earnings, he was like, “Whoa buddy, so tell me more about this? How exactly does it work?”

The whole point I wanted my friends to take away from our conversations is to learn to think out of the box about how to earn money — whether it’s self-publishing, or internet marketing, or starting a dog sitting business. Whatever.

I believe (have done so for years) that job security of the future lies in doing your own thing. As I wrote in this post:

No longer can you get a job and hold onto it until you “pension out.” Your ‘pension’ may just be that side job you have, or that business you’ve grown and sold.

And as I listen to my friends’ worries about finding new jobs — hopefully ones that pay enough to cover mortgages, healthcare for kids, car payments, etc., I’m grateful that I believed strongly enough in this philosophy that I bit the bullet and started freelancing again when I lost my last job in 2007.

The Road to Writing Romance: My Freelance Journey

I’ve freelanced full-time since 1993, except for an 18-month period in 2006-2007 where I had a full-time corporate job. When I lost that job (I was a Regional Director of Recruiting in Atlanta for a staffing agency out of Ft. Worth), I started freelancing full time again.

After trying unsuccessfully for months to find a new job, one day I got frustrated and deleted my resume from my hard drive — for good. I was determined to make freelancing work — and I’ve never looked back.

How to Make Money Writing RomanceI knew that I never wanted to have that experience again — ie, control of my financial future resting in someone else’s hands. It wasn’t easy (I don’t want to make it seem like it was).

It was downright hard and scary at times. I borrowed money from family, paid bills late, and really struggled for a while. But I was determined.

For two years, I worked all day, nights, evenings, weekends, holidays — it was work, work, work, work. I worked my tail off — many times for peanuts. But it paid off.

All the crap I put up with (ie, the $3/article writing jobs) landed me where I am today. I wouldn’t take a job earning 10 times what I do now. Truly! And the main reason is, I always think, “If someone gives you a job, they can take it away from you.”

I’m amazed that so many people are looking for work these days – smart, creative, educated, highly qualified professionals. But the jobs they need to support themselves and their families just aren’t there. And it’s taking longer to find new jobs.

My one friend was out of work for 14 months before he landed another job; another friend was unemployed for eight months (and his unemployment ran out after six months); another friend has been out of work for almost a year (she’s still looking).

These are all professionals who were mid-level management. The two that have found work again are what’s considered under-employed, ie, not earning nearly what they were at their old jobs. One took two jobs to make ends meet. There’s a reason for all of this …

A tweet that I ran across today underscored exactly why. The Mashable article, 5 Ways the Workforce Will Change in 5 Years, states the following:

Freelance employees will approach the 50% mark

The freelancer is on the rise, and if you ask proponents of the “contingent” (freelance) economy, they expect that by 2020 some 40% of the workforce will soon be made up of contract-only employees. “This is in part because millennials don’t want to stay in one job forever, but also in part because companies prefer to try out employees before committing to them,” says Stephen Robert Morse, co-founder of SkillBridge, via email. “These changes will affect the white-collar economy, just as they have already disrupted the blue-collar economy …”

So whether it’s self-publishing, or some other business you create, the point is to start thinking differently about how you earn.

A Job vs. Income

One of my friends (who’s currently job hunting) said to me recently, “Yuwanda you never talk about a job. You’re always talking about ‘income.’ She said she went to a networking meeting and one of the speakers there said, “Raise your hand if you’re here to find a job.”

She said everybody there raised their hand, of course. She said the speaker went on to say, “Ok, show up at my house tomorrow morning. I’ll give you a job … it doesn’t mean I’m going to pay you, but I’ve got plenty of jobs you can do.”

Then she said he finished his speech by saying, “You don’t need a job; you need INCOME.”

I just kind of grinned, because that’s the way an entrepreneur thinks. And when you self-publish romance (or undertake any kind of money-making venture where you’re in control), that’s what you are — an entrepreneur.

Just something to think about …

Do You Think Writing Romance Is Something You Can Do?

Have you ever thought about giving romance writing a try? Do you read romance? What makes you think you can/can’t? Please share in the comments section below.


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Free Ecourse: How to Make Money Writing Romance

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    1. I’m sure you’re not shocked that I pre-ordered this. You’re awesome. Over the last 2 years, you’ve really helped my business grow! Rock on!

      • Ahhhh, thank you Laura. What a sweet comment to leave. Made my day!

        And you rock on too! I can only give advice; the work is up to you — and obviously you’re doing what it takes.

        Continued success my friend. 🙂

    2. Thank you for all your advice. I really appreciate you and all the information you give us.