Imagine working from home, making thousands of dollars writing the romances you love. Romance writer Hope Ford made it possible, so can you. This is where The Short Story Romance Handbook comes in.
Ford is the author of multiple Alpha male and BBW short stories. She started out with a return of $10.69 in January 2018 to $1,297.72 in March. How cool is that?
What’s even better, she didn’t have to write a full-length 100,000-word tome to make it work. Short stories were Ford’s secret weapons. It’s a good start for any beginning writer. You don’t have to start off writing books the size of Gone with the Wind.
10 Helpful Short Story Romance Tips
Ford has written a plethora of helpful tips to jumpstart your self-publishing romance writing career. Here are ten:
1. Pen Names
If you’re writing under a pseudonym with your romance titles, make sure nobody’s using it, and it’s available for use as a domain for your author website.
2. Write What You Enjoy
Don’t worry about what’s trending. Everybody nowadays is writing the next 50 Shades of Grey with the dominant billionaire and the naïve submissive assistant/secretary/whatever. If you’re writing about cowboy shapeshifters, do that. Your target audience will find you (with the right keywords). You’ll write more and faster writing about what you love.
3. Don’t be Scared to Write a Storyline Used Before
Perhaps you want to write another dominant billionaire story. That’s okay. Maybe you’re cool writing your typical reverse harem with the female has to decide between her werewolf and vampire lovers. It’s all good, it’s all legal.
Start off with what you know. Soon, more original ideas will pop up in your mind.
4. Write in Your Favorite POVS
There are three points of view (POVs) commonly used in romance: first person, second person, and third person.
Writing in the first person is using “I” and “me” in the story. You’re writing from the character’s perspective. An example of a first-person narrative would be a book I recently read: Falling for the Australian Billionaires by Shae Sullivan. The chapters are divided up into the perspectives of Calla, the protagonist, and her Australian lovers, Oliver and Charlie.
Second person POV is writing when the author uses “you” as their story. Example:
“You watch from afar as Captain Shaw removed his soiled clothes, revealing his incredibly toned body. You sink deeper into the bushes so you wouldn’t be seen. Shaw stepped into the water to wash his body after today’s grueling expedition. By the heavens, you wished you were bathing with him.”
According to Ford, these types of stories are rare in the romance category.
Finally, third person POV is writing using words like “they,” “she,” “he,” and “it.” This is the most common point of view used in romance. Examples:
- “He kissed her feverishly.”
- “She gasps.”
- “They hopped into the jeep and drove into the sunset”
You get the picture. Write whatever works for you.
5. Write Character Descriptions
Before you sit down and write your story, you have to know your characters. You don’t have to compose a lengthy character bio. Simple things like hobbies, birthplace, astrology sign, eye color, hair color, likes, and dislikes will do for starters. The more fleshed out your characters, the better.
6. Write a Chapter Breakdown of Your Story
In addition to your character descriptions, write a chapter breakdown of your story. Each chapter should briefly describe its main event. For example:
- Chapter One: Natalia finally submits to her friends’ pleas to go on a month-long Caribbean cruise in a Zoom conversation. She drunkenly promises not to fall for any guys on board since it’s been a year since her last boyfriend cheated on her with her stepmom.
- Chapter Two: Natalia is on the plane to Florida to catch up with her friends. A man named Phil offers her his seat in first class after he notices Natalia’s problem with a creepy passenger. They have a good time chatting on the plane together. They separate as soon their plane ride’s over.
- Chapter Three: Natalia is on the cruise with her friends. It’s their first night and they head off to a show. Natalia discovers Phil is a cruise performer. She instantly falls in love with him (she has a thing for actors), breaking her previous promise.
You see? Your chapter breakdown doesn’t have to be extremely detailed, but enough you have a clear idea of your entire story. This way, you won’t stop in the middle of typing not knowing what the heck is supposed to happen next. You are already done the hard work beforehand. Just write and go!
7. Write Between 4,500-7,500 words
There’s no rule you have to publish a full-length novel to establish yourself as a romance writer. TCK Publishing has mentioned in their FAQ post Amazon has removed all eBooks (except for Children’s) less than 2,500 words. To be safe, follow Ford’s advice publishing stories between 4,500-7,500 words. Besides, you’ll pump out more books with your short stories than taking half a year putting one full-length novel together.
8. Add Subtitles with Your Main Title
Ford always adds subtitles in her book titles. Examples include:
- Back to Me: An Alpha man, Younger BBW Steamy Sweet Romance
- Come Back For Me: An Older Man, Younger BBW Steamy Sweet Romance
- Nothing I Want More: An Alpha Older Man, Younger BBW, Steamy Sweet Romance
Notice the keywords: “Alpha male,” “BBW,” “Older Man,” and “Younger Woman.” They’re commonly found in specific romance niches for readers with particular tastes. If you write alpha male stories and plug the keyword into your title, alpha male fans will certainly find you.
9. Publish Weekly
Publishing a story every week helped Ford skyrocket her sales. It may sound crazy if you’ve never done it before. It takes time and practice. If you can’t publish weekly, try biweekly. Personally, I would start off publishing every three weeks.
To make over $1,000 a month, you have to write. Not talking about writing or reading endlessly about writing, write! Yes, fear and excuses will get in the way, but you must push through them with focus and discipline.
Would you rather stay unhappy not creating love stories or do something about it living the writer’s dream? Remember your why and get started.
Final Book Verdict: Definite Yes!
The Short Story Romance Handbook made me want to jump into my desk and pump out hundreds of stories. I admit it’s not the most detailed writing resource, but it’s enough to get you started. I wish there was something about romance story structure in this book, a template you can rely on for your first stories.
I love how Ford admitted she needed an editor. She suggests you can go on your own, but you have to be extremely thorough with it. Editors can be pricey depending on your story length. Still, you can find some decent ones over at Fiverr (as Ford recommends).
Are you excited to write and publish your first romance on Amazon? Do read Hope’s The Short Story Romance Handbook. You’ll learn a thing or two to start your writing journey.
Craving more reviews? Here you go:
- “The Erotica Handbook” by Emily Baker (review)
- “House of Dark Delights” by Louisa Burton (review)
- “Summer Passions” by Michelle McMaster (review)
- “Mona Lisa Awakening” by Sunny (review)
- “Falling for the Australian Billionaires” by Shae Sullivan (review)
- “Prime Minister” by Ainsley Booth and Sadie Haller (review)