Round Robin May changes in direction


This month’s topic is about the direction romance writing and markets are taking. Robin asks:  what changes have you seen in romance novels in the past decade? Is there a change in romance novel direction? Is there still a market for non-explicit sex stories?

Changes over the last decade have been many, of course, but there are two main areas to my mind. Explicit erotica and same sex romance are much more mainstream than they were ten years ago. Large minority interests are being catered for and many who are not of those groups may satisfy their curiosity by reading this fiction.


The arrival of e-readers has facilitated both because a person may now read privately in very public places. I sometimes wonder if it, the e-reader, also allows more men to read ROMANCE.

That’s good, chaps, carry on.

Romance Novel Direction is the sort of change that happens in the currents below the surface. It’s ongoing and we don’t necessarily see it, but in due course we become aware. 

Changes I’ve observed over time include things like the move from the male doctor marrying the female nurse to both being either a doctor or a nurse. Billionaires are no longer necessary. Today’s super-educated, super-confident heroine wants a real man. If he comes in fireman’s gear, so much the better. Paternalism is seriously off-trend.

A downside of this might be in my own genre where occasionally a writer thinks her 1780 – 1830 heroine is a babe in a long frock with her hair in ringlets. I occasionally wince when I read about girls thinking up 21st century solutions. Personally, I find it more of a challenge to think back to how she went about it in the face of apparently insuperable social odds.

Daisys Dilemmal 333x500

Is there still a market for non-explicit sex stories? I think yes. Not every reader wants the biologicals every time. Some of them don’t want them any of the time. It varies. I’m trying to persuade my favourite supermarket assistant to give my books a go, but she thinks there won’t be enough bedroom interest for her.

So, what’s your own view? Will you be slotting in a bedroom scene, a gay kiss, a fireman? Or will you do what you’ve always done – whatever that is?

Other people musing over this are to be found in the list below. I’m immediately followed by Marci Baun

Beverley Bateman
Fiona McGier
Connie Vines
Skye Taylor
Margaret Fieland
Helena Fairfax
Anne Stenhouse
Marci Baun
Diane Bator
Rachael Kosinski
Rhobin Courtright

Connie Vines

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15 thoughts on “Round Robin May changes in direction

  1. Have just left a comment on Helena’s blog, so I won’t repeat exactly what I said there! Interesting subjects – I still much prefer sweet to sensual romance and I just can’t get on with overt erotica at all!


    • Hi Ros, Yes, I think there are a lot of people who like to read the story without too much physicality. I enjoyed Helena’s post. Maybe I’ll nip back to see what you wrote. Anne


  2. Hi Anne! You brought up some very good points. E-book readers certainly keep what your reading from the people around you, although I’m not sure from the companies who sell them to you, and I like how you mention more men might be reading romance. The change in heroes could certainly help accomplish that. And I agree that authors boggle readers minds when 18th & 19th century heroines act like 21st century women.


    • Hullo Rhobin, thanks for dropping in. It’s an interesting subject. I’m sure a lot of women who read sci-fi and even horror, get fed up when the marketing is aimed at men. I’m thinking I need to try some steam-punk. Anne


  3. Hi Anne, I so agree with your point about some of the heroines in historical romances thinking like 21st century women. This seems to happen more in US romances, where Regency heroines often seem like liberal college graduates in a corset. Some people argue that it doesn’t matter, as this is “Romancelandia” and doesn’t have to be historically accurate, but it does throw me out of the story when they act in a way that I don’t think would be real. Interesting post!


  4. Good post, Anne. You make a lot of good points. I think the diversity over the years is a good thing. And as for me – I’ll be doing what I’ve always done, hopefully write a good story.


  5. Terrific post. I so very much agree that it was way past time to move away from the uber wealthy, powerful, older hero and start including the firefighter and the soldier and even the guy who teaches high school math. I also agree about historical romances that don’t adhere to what women and society were like in the period. I love historical romances, but if the author either hasn’t done her homework, or ignores it, then I tend to put the book down unfinished.


  6. Well, I write what my characters dictate. I don’t write historical at this point, but there may be a time when I do. If I read historical, I want it to be accurate. That extends to if I were to write one.

    I agree with you about romance changing as well as there being a market for sweet romance.

    By the way, I’ve run into authors who will say, “But this is fiction, I don’t have to be historically accurate.” o.O


    • Marci, I’ve heard that defence, too, Marci. I suppose there’s a certain leeway confered by the fact it’s fiction, but I hate it when the history is just embarrassingly off. Anne


  7. I’m with Marci–I write what the characters “tell” me to write. Some tell me their life story with little sex…none with “no sex”, however. Some need a whole lotta lovin’ to tell me the story of their romance. It depends on the characters. You don’t always need to fan yourself reading my romances…but it’s a good idea to have one handy. ;-D


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