5 Tips to Finding the Right Romance Novel for You
I don't know if you've noticed lately, but the romance industry seems absolutely inundated with choices at the moment, am I right?
There are SO many writers, and so many I've never heard of before! As a writer who is part of the industry, it's easy for me to quickly assess if a read is going to be right for me or if it isn't. But I started wondering--what about the readers? Do you have a way of carefully selecting your next read, or do you struggle with knowing if you want to risk X amount of dollars on it?
If you've ever one-clicked a romance and were quickly disillusioned by your purchase, you know this without my having to tell you, but: Not all romances created equal! There's heat level to consider. The quality of the writing. POV - is first or third your jam?
I'm going to share my top 5 ways I tell if a romance novel is for me. Maybe some of these will help you narrow down the vast landscape of options and select the perfect one for you. Let's do this!
(1) Read the cover and description.
How hot do you want it? Or maybe a better way to phrase this is--how dirty do you want it? I love hot romance (see: Kate Meader, Gina L. Maxwell), but with the rise of self-pub, the heat levels and subject matters of books has grayed the boundary lines that traditional publishers used to draw. Before you buy that bare-chested man cover, make sure you're getting the right level of heat! This is really about finding what works for YOU. Take a look at the front cover. Is there a sweaty, tattooed guy on it or a front porch full of flowers? What about the "back" of the book? Description goes a long way to hinting at a story's tone and content.
(2) Shop tried and true brands.
With so many great reads to choose from, I tend to lean on traditionally published novels with trusted brands when I'm unsure what to read next. Avon is known for great historical romances whereas Harlequin Desire is known for trotting out a tale of billionaires and/or luxury. How do you find out where a book was published? Simple! Look at the product details online. I'll use this screen shot from Amazon as an example. Here you can find publication date and who it was "sold by", in this case, Rumor Has It from Random House.
(3) Read a sample.
This is a must! Nearly every retailer, from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and even publishers like Harlequin.com will offer you a sample before you buy. READ IT. It'll give you a good idea if the author's voice is for you, or if it's not. I keep excerpts available on my book's pages like this one for my latest release, Rumor Has It.
(4) Ask a friend what she reads.
I've received a few messages from readers lately who glommed Rumor Has It in two days (or one evening according to one speed-reader!) and they're now dying for something new to read but don't know where to start! When you've blown through your favorite author's backlist, what do you do? ASK A FRIEND! Or how about an author's Facebook fan group? In the Lemmondrops, we're a well-read bunch, and not just Jessica Lemmon titles, who are always happy to share a favorite read when asked. Don't have a great community? Request to become a Lemmondrop here.
(5) Shop by trope
Perhaps my #1 tip but I'm making it last on this list! Another great way to narrow down choosing is to shop by trope. If you're not familiar with a trope, it's a common theme that runs through the genre. In the case of romance it could be "forced proximity" or "enemies to lovers." And if you find an author who shares their backlist by trope (like Maisey Yates, Jules Bennett or the one on my site), you can easily pick out your next read by category.
You can see a full list of my books on this page, and here are my most recent releases: