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  • Caitlyn Lynch

Book Review: Writing the Romance Novel: Crafting a Love Story that Sells by Leigh Michaels

With 100 books to her name and over 35 million copies sold worldwide, Leigh Michaels knows a thing or two about writing romance, and in this fantastically thorough guide, she shares a great deal of it in easy-to-understand language. Divided into four parts, the first three cover the actual writing process, from deciding what kind of romance novel you’re writing through establishing the framework - and making sure you plan to include everything a reader expects to find in a romance - to actually writing the book. There’s a lot of solid information here about story structure, how and when to use narration and dialogue, plot devices and character building etc. While writers in other genres will definitely learn something, this is genuinely invaluable advice for aspiring romance authors who have yet to learn all the conventions of the genre (and why you defy them at your peril).

The fourth and final section of the book covers the actual process of publishing, going into some detail about how traditional publishing works, what agents do, and why you might want to consider self-publishing. There’s enough information about how ebooks work and what Print On Demand is all about to get you started, though I’d definitely recommend David Gaughran’s Let’s Get Digital as a more fully comprehensive guide to anyone who does want to follow the self-publishing route.

This is an absolutely brilliant resource for anyone who wants to write romance. I want to shove it in the face of everyone who casually says ‘oh I think I could write a romance novel’ because there is SO MUCH involved, expectations for the genre you defy at your peril, but it’s so much more than some tired old formula as a lot of people seem to think, and Leigh Michaels really gets it. She’s a master craftswoman who’s freely sharing the secrets of the trade with apprentices and journeymen, and this is genuinely one of the few books in the genre I’d very much like to own in hardcopy so I can highlight pages and refer to it again and again.

If you aspire to write romance, you should own this book, and you should be studying it very carefully, because otherwise there are a lot of lessons you’ll have to learn the hard way.

I don’t think I can say it any more plainly than that. BUY THIS BOOK. It’s some of the best value for money you can invest in your writing career. Five stars.

Oh, and added bonus? At time of writing this review (Oct 2019) it’s available in Kindle Unlimited.

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