2014 Romance Novel Predictions

predictive honeyeater pic

So what are the top trends I see for romance novels in 2014? No surprise for guessing that I think Coastal Romance will gain in recognition. See how I said “recognition” and not “popularity”? That’s because people have long loved stories of the sea and set by the sea where characters confront their demons and choose life and love. But now with “Coastal Romance” we have a subgenre to help us find those books.

A few years ago FANTASY ROMANCE became huge, but not in and of itself. No, it was specific subgenres within it:

  • paranormal romance
  • urban fantasy
  • traditional (elves and quests)
  • steampunk
  • fairytale retellings

Each quietly (or with paranormal and vampires, not so quietly) exploded onto the reading stage.

I think CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE is about to do the same. Subgenres within it are about to get a label, a couple of attention-grabbing examples, and explode. Obviously, I’m hoping Coastal Romance is one of those, but there could be a range. Currently we have, just to list a few:

  • chick lit
  • women’s fiction
  • rural romance
  • occupational (e.g. rock star hero)
  • Amish romance
  • inspirational
  • new adult

But it’ll be an overlooked subgenre that takes off. Maybe:

  • quarter life crisis (creeping up the age range from YA to NA to about 27 years old, quarter life)
  • theme based (redemption, adventure or political)
  • outcasts (heroes and heroines who choose alternative lifestyles – I know, outcasts isn’t the best word choice)

Do you have a prediction for 2014? Do you want to argue with any of mine? 🙂

17 Replies to “2014 Romance Novel Predictions”

  1. I understood that DD I meant that different areas of publishing will have different sub genres dominating. I've heard for example that agents aren't keen on romantic suspense right now, (it's just a rumor I heard) but that doesn't mean, small pub, epub, and self pub won't have success with it.

  2. I'm afraid to predict anything in the swirling, roiling world of romance publishing. I write contemporary, so I'm hoping you're right about the resurgence of its popularity. I write rural and city. Each appeals to me in a different way. I hope people keep trying new authors and keep reading romance.

    1. Jean – Amen to hoping people keep trying new authors and reading romance. I know that for me, it's one of the joys of life. Discovering a new-to-me author (especially one with a backlist) is fantastic.

      Predictions are fun, but I wouldn't want to bet my life on them — maybe bet a writing year on them though 😉

  3. Romance about athletes in general is taking off. For years people said "don't write your sports heroes they don't sell. They wouldn't be my cup of tea but I can see they are really taking off right now. I fear contemporary is stronger than paranormal, except perhaps in YA, but even there agents are specifically saying they want to see less paranormal more contemporary.

    1. Interesting, Lisa. YA is unfamiliar territory for me. I had noticed editors asking less for paranormal stories. Historical remains about steady, I'd think. The one area that's strong and seems to stay strong is romantic suspense.

      1. lol I've read all these comments that romantic suspense is dead! I don't know what that is about. I think dead with agents is different from what is going on with smaller publishers who accept unsolicited subs, digital first and self pub. Very different. Hot contemp romance is certainly king right now in my opinion.

  4. Great post Jen. We shall wait and see… Steam author Robert Fanshaw has a sporting romance called The Catch out today to correspond with the Boxing Day test. I'm with Lily and think that the sporting romances are going to rock. Just like your surfing-based one too. We live in a sports-mad country so it makes sense to me. Here's to a wonderful 2014 for all romance authors, whatever their genre.

    1. Sports Romance does seem to have a market in the US. I'm not into baseball etc, so haven't read any, but have seen plenty reviewed. "The Catch" is a great title. I enjoy puns 🙂 Let's hope Lily and Robert are about to hit the ball out of the park – if that's the right phrase? 🙂

  5. I don't have any predictions, but you've intrigued me with your 'outcast' romance. I'd be interested in alternative lifestyles that aren't all about sexual preference. I'd like to know how a drifter lives, or a soldier, farmer, or even a gypsy lives–something outside our normal encounters.

  6. I have this prediction that golf-based romances are going to rock! 😉
    (and seriously, I think you're on the money about coast & contemporary!)
    Happy 2014 ahead, Jenny!