Should you write a romance bestseller?

Have you been tempted to write a romance bestseller lately? The other day, I was chatting to an author about how speculative fiction is such a hard-sell in India. (It’s the usual conversation between science fiction writers. There’s a handful of passionate us, and a handful of equally passionate readers. The others, don’t really care if it’s not mythology.) Immediately, I get a WMA (well-meaning advice):

“Write romance. It sells like hot cakes in winters.”

Umm. Frankly, all Indian writers, be it of any genre or creed, have thought about romance once in a while. After all, it’s the most selling genre in our country. I did seriously consider it for a second. I did!

And then I remembered, that the last romance I read and appreciated was between the Oankali, alien genetic engineers who  touches DNA in humans to have sex and a woman named Lilith. Author Octavia Butler‘s Lilith Brood gave me as many goosebumps as decades ago Sharukh Khan’s ‘palat’ in the movie Dilwale Dulhania Le Jaayenge had done. And  I don’t read much romance myself, unless it has alien spit or monster claws involved. So I turned my eyes away from the temptation of writing that romance bestseller we all think we can write and decided to plod along on the current science fiction mess I’m in the middle of.

Should you write a romance bestseller?

Which is why when I came across this witty sketch by author Sarah Maclean over Twitter, I had to share it on my site. Sarah is a period romance writer based in New York. The flowchart tells you how to decide on whether you should write a romance novel or not. As I read it, I was ‘out’ in the first step itself. If you’re considering writing romance like me, due to a WMA given by another or by yourself, do read and go through this flowchart. You’ll figure out the truth, I promise!


Have you ever considered changing your genre and writing something else that is selling well nowadays, like mythology or romance? Do tell me the truth!

  • Hey Shweta, hows it going? Saw this piece on your wall. Nice one but I disagree!! While i only live, breathe and eat Speculative fiction( yeah, that handful of us), am also trying my hands at .. u guessed it, Rrrrr…omance 🙂 i am kinda having a blast writing it. Only as a form of catharsis after I write my brooding, drippy dark scenes from my fantasy book(s). And no, i haven’t read Sparks or Durjoy Dutta. But hey, plenty of broken hearts and first hand real experience should help, eh?

    • Ahh, how interesting. Real life experiences always helps in writing, though will that mean that your romance will be just your/your friends experiences? Just wondering aloud here. Agree on the catharsis part. That’s essential and a completely different genre is sometimes what you need. However, do you think you would have wanted to write a spec-fic without reading up the genre? All the best for your work!

      • xenomaniac

        Sure, I see your point on writing without knowing what the genre is about, may not be a good idea. But spec-fiction and romance is not an apples-to-apples comparison. Romance is real – and hence, real life experiences help as anchor points to reference from. Spec-Fic as the name suggests, is speculative. And well, yes you can speculate and write whatever imagination strikes you but there are set tropes ( there’s a reason why they ARE tropes, right?) and boundaries already in place by tons of writers before you. That helps be the anchor points – and hence, the need to read the genre. But it’s just my POV – there will be others who feel you need to read up on the rules of engagement when it comes to writing the next message in a bottle.