I've been a self-publisher since 2002. Over 50 of my titles are in the how-to, non-fiction genre. In 2013, I wrote my first romance novel. A friend had kept pushing me to give it a try since I'm an avid reader of the genre. She'd had some success dong it, and she said, "If I can do it, you can too!"
I was skeptical because one of my main objections was, "I don't know what to write about or how to move the story along" She kept saying, "Just start. The characters will guide you. Just start writing."
Finally, one day I did. Another piece of advice she'd given me was to write the kind of stories I like to read. Her rationale was, "If you like it, then there are others who do also. Trust me," she said.
So I trusted her, put pen to paper and before I knew it, I had a 30,000-plus word novella; a story I was quite proud of. Since then, I've gone on to write almost 30 more romance novels (as of this writing), and am always working on my next one. But my well of ideas ran dry pretty soon after that first one, so I had to formalize my romance writing process to keep turning out stories. Following is what I did.
You can follow these same instructions to write your first romance novel if it's something you've been wanting to try. Before we get to specific instructions, there is one thing I want to give you a tip on because at some point, it will happen.
Getting Stuck When Writing Romance
When I find myself stuck in a story (ie, wondering what should happen next), I think to myself, "What needs to happen to move the story along?" Then, write that. And try not to "tell it." Write dialogue, ie, make the characters talk to each other. In romance, you must feel the connection between the characters and one of the best ways to do that - like in real life - is to have them talk to each other.
Now, to the specific instructions...
1. Find an Outline: I found a really good romance writing outline on the PBS website, no less. If you follow the advice - pardon the pun - outlined here, you'll have a full-fledged story in front of you just waiting to take shape.
2. Word Count: Give yourself a word count to complete each day. This way, you don't run the risk of starting, but never finishing your story. If you have to "touch it" every day, you're eventually going to finish it. Better yet, give yourself a deadline.
I can write a 15,000 to 30,000-word story (the range most of my novellas fall in) in 7 to 10 days. I write 2,000 to 5,000 words per day.
3. Proofread/Edit: After your story is finished, put it aside for at least 24 hours. Then, come back and proof/edit. You can outsource it to a freelancer to do if you have the money, but contrary to what you might read on the web, it's not necessary. You can proof/edit it yourself, if you give yourself enough time and don't rush the process.
4. Create Cover: Again, this is something you can do yourself, especially if you're adept in things like Photoshop. Otherwise, you can outsource it cheaply using sites like Fiverr. A good time to do this is the day after you finish writing your story; on that 24-hour break between the writing and editing/proofing process.
5. Upload: The biggest seller of eBooks is Amazon. So this is the first site I'd advise uploading to. It's free and it's pretty easy once you get the hang of it.
How Long Should It Take You to Write and Self-Publish Your First Romance Novel?
This depends on a host of factors, eg, length of book; type of romance; your writing style/speed; etc.
What I can tell you is this, I've finished novels in three days, and it's taken me over a month to write others. Again, most of mine fall in the 15,000 to 30,000-word range. How long it takes depends on my schedule.
But it's something you absolutely can do, and it doesn't have to cost a thing. Really - if you are willing to put in the time, you can write romance novels and self-publish them for absolutely zero dollars. I know, I've been doing it since 2013.
About the Author: Yuwanda Black has been in the publishing industry since 1987. She heads Inkwell Editorial Publishing, an independent publishing firm that specializes in novellas (short novels) - romance, erotic romance and crime. She also publishes InkwellEditorial.com, one of the leading sites on the web for how to start a successful freelance writing career. Ms. Black is the developer/teacher of a seminar for aspiring self-published authors: How to Self-Publish an eBook for $0.
Connect with the Author: Learn more about Yuwanda. Connect with her on Twitter and Facebook.
Keywords relevant to this article: write romance, writing romance, how to write a romance novel