A romance editor belongs to a specialized lot of skilled wordsmiths. Like most readers, we appreciate a good love story and fall in love over and over again with multiple characters. But unlike readers, we actually work in the background of the book, helping authors wordsmith compelling and swoon-worthy narratives that linger through time and build a following.
What qualities should a romance editor have?
It helps when editors have an English degree that includes coursework involving romantic poets, neo-romanticism, and even romantic period films. It also helps to be a fan of romance and pour over timeless classics such as Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë, and Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë.
Of course, the popularity of modern romance novels should be mentioned. I love novels like Love Story by Erich Segal and The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough (ca 1960s and ’70s). More recently, I enjoyed The Fault in our Stars by John Greene, and just about everything written by Nicholas Sparks — as well as the movie adaptations.
What does a romance editor look for?
I think the key to writing great romance is using flawed and imperfect characters, and incorporating “against all odds” and “us against the world” themes into the manuscript. The characters have to connect emotionally with themselves and the reader — sometimes raw, sometimes reluctant, but nevertheless real. Writing from the heart evokes powerful gut reactions, tears, and even melancholy, but can also nudge us into laughter and uplift us into realms of hope and healing. For instance, when personal romances go wrong, brokenheartedness raises its ugly head, or the temptation to become jaded and cynical sneaks into our defense mechanisms, a good romance novel can help move us past and beyond.
Speaking of laughter, one of the funniest series of thriller/romance/comedy novels I’ve ever encountered as a romance editor is the Dead Drive books. Amidst the backdrop of a zombie apocalypse, the author crafted an improbable love interest, an accurately plotted cross-country rescue mission, childhood friendships, the undead, and **warning** some racy language that had me laughing out loud.
Amazon Romance Categories
Writing a romance novel is one thing, but choosing the appropriate romance category and keywords is another. How many categories are there on Amazon? It’s mindboggling, especially if you are self-publishing, so I’m very grateful that Amazon offers vast resources to help us sort it out, including the information below.
|Romance/Military||military, navy, army, soldier|
|Romance/Multicultural & Interracial||interracial|
|Romance/New Adult & College||new adult|
|Romance/Paranormal/Demons & Devils||devil, demon|
|Romance/Paranormal/Werewolves & Shifters||werewolf, shapeshifter|
|Romance/Paranormal/Witches & Wizards||witch, wizard, warlock, druid, shaman|
|Romance/Romantic Comedy||comedy, humor|
|Romance/Sports*||sport, hockey, soccer, baseball, basketball, football, olympics, climbing, lacrosse, nascar, surfing, boxing, martial arts, golf|
|Romantic Heroes/Doctors||doctor, physician, surgeon|
|Romantic Heroes/Rich & Wealthy||billionaire, rich, millionaire, wealthy|
|Romantic Heroes/Royalty & Aristocrats||nobility, royalty, aristocrat, prince|
|Romantic Heroes/Spies||spies, espionage|
|Romantic Themes/Gambling & Poker||gambling, poker, casino|
|Romantic Themes/Love Triangle||love triangle, menage|
|Romantic Themes/Medical||medical, doctor, nurse, hospital|
|Romantic Themes/Second Chances||second chance|
|Romantic Themes/Secret Baby||baby, pregnancy|
|Romantic Themes/Workplace||office, workplace|
By the way, the site specifically states that these subcategories are specific to the U.S. marketplace or Amazon.com, and any book in a romance category cannot be added to the children’s category.