This announcement may be freely copied or reposted on any blog or website as long as the links in the article are preserved.
Romance Writers Turn Love Into Money
May 1, 2010 Say the words "romance novel" in a room filled with writers and you
will likely evoke groans, sighs, and snickers. The term conjures up memories of dime store
novels from Grandma's day and formula-driven stories set in haunted castles or other exotic
places where the heroine undergoes a series of life- changing ordeals, falls in love, and lives
happily ever after.
Writers who thumb their noses at this genre probably don't realize that romance fiction is a
major slice of the publishing business today, and despite a global economic downturn, this
market is booming. Consider these facts reported by marketing firm Simba Information in its
"Business of Consumer Book Publishing 2009" report.
- Romance novels generated $1.4 billion in sales and accounted for 14% of all fiction sold in 2009,
beating out Religious/Inspirational books at 10% and mainstream fiction with a mere 4% of sales.
- 75 million people read at least one romance novel, and 7,311 new romance titles were published last year.
- Romance is the top performing category on the best-seller lists of the New York Times, USA Today, and Publishers Weekly
In a quiet corner of Durham, North Carolina, romance writer Leigh Barbour is
spinning her latest tale, Shimmying Across Araby. In the story, Adriana is
wanted for immodesty and corrupting the morals of others in the Kingdom of
Faoud. Will Lyle Crenshaw be able to rescue her? Of course he will, because
romance novels always have a happy ending. That's why they are so popular with
millions of readers looking for an escape from the humdrum reality of
joblessness and infidelity into a fantasy realm where the heroine always finds
love, no matter how much a cad her male counterpart was in Chapter One.
Romance fiction is divided into various sub-categories, each having its own
distinct plot line and characteristics. Popular sub-categories include
Historical, Regency, Contemporary, Romantic Suspense, Paranormal, Multicultural,
and Inspirational or Christian.
Barbour says her specialty is paranormal romance. "If you read my
books, you'll read about ghosts. I just love them!" Her latest romance novel,
Jade Seas, is about a swashbuckling Spanish privateer named Alejandro Valdivia
de la Torre Jones who meets the woman of his dreams in a graveyard and insists
that he isn't dead even though his tombstone says he is.
With five published novels and a how-to book on writing romance fiction under
her belt, Barbour has decided to share her talent. This summer, she will teach
an online course on romance writing at KSURF, an e-Learning community that
combines a state-of-the-art virtual university learning platform with popular
social networking features.
Barbour’s course will cover the creative side as well as the business of
romance writing, exploring fundamentals of plot, theme, setting,character
development, narrative, dialogue, pacing, voice, polishing a manuscript, and
submitting it to a prospective publisher.
Enrollment is open to all aspiring writers who want to sharpen their skills
and successfully write for this lucrative market. Details are available
on the course home page at
"Completing a novel and seeing it published is one of the great joys in
life," Barbour says. "I love teaching people skills they can use to better their
Barbour earned a Masters in English Linguistics at George Mason University
and a Bachelors in Geography from Radford University. Being fluent in Spanish,
she won the prestigious Fulbright Fellows Award as an English Teaching Fellow.
In 1994, she spent one year instructing teachers in Arequipa, Peru.
After traveling extensively in Latin America, Barbour settled with her
husband in Durham, North Carolina, where she spends her days reading, writing,
teaching, and tending her Japanese garden and Bassett hounds.
About KSURF - Where Knowledge Surfers Learn
KSURF is a unique online community that combines a modern
virtual university learning platform with popular social networking features
such as user blogs and profiles. KSURF offers more than 100 low-cost courses
for continuing education, corporate training, and self-improvement. Instructor-led
and self-directed classes are available on many in-demand subjects including writing,
HTML & Web design, Internet technology, software products, self-help/inspirational
themes, and academic subjects. KSURF's Virtual University can be reached at
KSURF also publishes a collection of streaming news and educational widgets.
A widget is a small chunk of code that can be conveniently placed in any web
page or blog to give readers a continuously updated source of real-time news or
other content. KSURF’s widgets are available free to bloggers and website
owners. Popular widgets include myPlanet News, which displays streaming
news from a dozen top news sites, and Knowledge Surfer, which allows visitors to
participate in online classes at KSURF's virtual university. Further information
can be found at
Contact KSURF at
- # -