Marina’s Notes on Deborah Schneider’s Presentation on Writing Romance for Publication

Romance 101 by Deborah Schneider

Her Latest Book: Promise Me

56% of all books sold are romance, it’s a HUGE market


Sub-genres: where is your story going to fit?

Understand reader and editor expectations

Understand there is NO FORMULA

Research your options

Read! Especially what you want to write!


Don’t write a shape shifter & market as a Regency


Series Romance: most popular, multiple books romance

Historical Romance: set in a time period

Mainstream: Contemporary or historical story not just about relationship, story is about something else and relationship is second

Erotic Romance: about a couple, nothing is left to the imagination, not just about sex

Erotica: just about sex, no rape or chocking though!

Inspirational (opposite side of Erotica) no sex at all. Amish romance Ex: Plain Jayne

Urban Fantasy: “Saving the world,” the focus is on the world, not the relationship between Hero and heroine, magical and fantasy, demons. (Usually tough women cover)

Paranormal Romance: Relationship is first and they are trying to solve a problem.  (buff, headless man cover)

Romantic Suspense: crime or mystery, guys are typically very powerful and smart, less aggressive fantasy

Young Adult: vampires, zombies, and many passing fads Ex: Twilight

Contemporary Romance: current day, usually about a woman that has typically just gotten out a bad romance Ex: My sisters

Steampunk, Fantasy & Sci-Fi: Historical and fantasy together, often Victorian and romance but also zeppelins together, magic, manipulating the world, new rules

Love story: One of the couple often dies


Walmart sells most books, especially Inspirational

Ask librarians for references! Ask hard and specific questions!

After 9/11: people are more afraid now so they read paranormal more


In synopsis: only name Hero, heroine and villain

Why? Make sure you know what motivates your characters

CONFLICT: you must do mean things to your characters

Where does it take place?

The question is usually: Will they succeed?

What does your main character want and why can’t she/he have it

Agents like: have blurb at beginning, word count and genre at top. Don’t leave them hanging. Make the query interesting!!!  Make them care about the characters: we love stories and characters. You rarely sell first book.


Crisis: the world as they know it must change, may be life or death

Physical/Emotional Ending: happily ever after, must come under control and have a satisfactory ending. ALWAYS ABOUT THE INTENSITY OF EMOTION


Beginning-will include characters, setting and the problem situation

BEWARE OF INFORMATION DUMPING!!! Weave information in!

Middle: action/plot and crisis

End: emotional ending; may not end in marriage


Heroic but with flaws


Goals-What do they want? External and internal?

Why do they want it?


He’s hot and I want him,

The guy we would like to be with

Can be very dark/mysterious


Can be average, but hero loves her

Sympathetic characters: keep banter, funny, comic relief

Misfortune, conflict and action


Make a photo file of your character:

find a group of photos to put together for your character

Virgins, widows, skanks and bitches: the women of romance

Dukes, Rakes, Vampires and Bastards- The men of romance


Keep the Sizzle on high!

Keep sexual tension

Banter is fun


Write twenty things that could happen in beginning

Are you are plotter or a pantser (writing from seat of pants)?

Use scene and sequel format, not always active or always passive

Keep asking yourself “Then what happens?”

“Tell yourself the story in your first draft. Forget about editing.”

To avoid the sagging middle

You can introduce character

Things get worse

The Big Moment!

Everything in the story leads up to it!

You want to instill EMOTION

How does it end?

You really do need to know.

Theme? Can you tell it in one sentence?

Don’t always need agent, here are some publishers that don’t require agents

Avon, Dorchester, Harlequin, Kensington, Medallion press, Tor

*It’s worse to have a bad agent than a no agent

Rejection isn’t fatal!

Do not take it personally

Read letter and highlight all good things!

Understand market dynamics

When you hear same message several times – consider revising

Target your queries

Understand the difference between a bad rejection and a good one

Make sure you keep all receipts, letters, and records, as proof of professional writing, use to write off on taxes


E-books are on the rise. Editors and agents in New York sure don’t like it.

They don’t require shipping. They are becoming more popular

Formats: audio books, e-books, paper

It’s easy to send e-books to agents: everything goes faster

Don’t give up! The only way I can guarantee you will never be published is if you stop writing, stop submitting, and give up!

Book scan: a way of counting book sales, a measurement of what is selling and how fast it is selling


RT book reviews: a good magazine, subscribe to find out the gossip on romance novels and learn about the market. (but you should wait to subscribe once you are ready to market)

Who is publishing your genre?


You can try a Facebook ad: and you pay per click!

Domain name: need a dot-com


One response to “Marina’s Notes on Deborah Schneider’s Presentation on Writing Romance for Publication

  1. Pingback: Writing Roundup, May 7 « Uncategorized « Jen's Writing Journey