Romance Writers of America defines sub-categories of romance fiction to help writers target markets within
the publishing community. Writers should consult publisher's guidlines available on line and identify specific sub-categories
when submitting manuscripts to an agent or publishers.
Contemporary Series Romance - Series romance novels that focus primarily on the romantic relationship and typically set
Contemporary Single Title Romance - Romance novels which focus primarily on the romantic relationship, released as individual
titles, not as part of a series and set after 1945.
Historical Romance - Romance novels set in any time period prior to 1945, and taking place in any location.
Inspirational Romance - Romance novels in which religious or spiritual beliefs (in the context of any religion or spiritual
belief system) are a major part of the romantic relationship.
Novels with Strong Romantic Elements - A work of fiction in which a romance plays a significant part in the story, but
other themes or elements take the plot beyond the traditional romance boundaries. (*An example of a publisher that handles
this would be Harlequin’s Luna line; elsewhere such fiction is sometimes labeled 'Womens' Fiction')
Paranormal Romance - Romance novels in which the future, a fantasy world or paranormal happenings are an integral part
of the plot.
Regency Romance - Romance novels in which the majority of the story is set against the Regency period of the British Empire.
(*What was once considered the ‘Traditional Regency’ romance, of the kind Mary Balogh and Carla Kelly once wrote
– with a shorter word count than longer format historical romances - is considered if not dead, then on life support,
and published mostly by smaller presses or as reprints of classics. Therefore, in most cases ‘Regency Romance’
simply refers to romances set in the Regency period.)
Romantic Suspense - Romance novels in which suspense, mystery, or thriller elements constitute an integral part of the
Young Adult Romance - Novels with a strong romantic theme geared toward young adult readers.
N.B. Category Romances such as Harlequin romances, are books in a numbered series
identified by ‘line’. Eg: Harlequin Presents, Silhouette Desire. These books are often distributed by subscription,
but are also sold in bookstores and other outlets where they are displayed for a very short period. Writers for these
publishers write under names that are owned by the publisher. (Harlequin has a free monthy e-mail newsletter that provides
up-to-date infomation about current lines and excellent instructional material for writers.)