The Australian Romance Readers Association (ARRA) is hosting a series of national events in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth to enable readers and writers of romance fiction to get together.
The guest speakers at the Romantic Rendezvous will be international bestselling authors Celeste Bradley and Keri Arthur, who will attend all four events. They will be supported in each centre by a wide range of Australian writers, including winners of ARRA’s reader-determined annual awards and the RUBY (the Romance Writers of Australia’s awards), as well as nominees for the RITA awards, the Romance Writers of America’s annual awards and the Oscars of the romance world.
Romance novels are written mostly by women about women for women. This is because, as a genre, romance encompasses all the life-changing events people undergo, the highs and lows, from birth through marriage, divorce and death, as well as breakups, career highlights and disappointments, domestic abuse and other violence against women and myriad other life events.
The difference between romance and other genres is its focus on relationships and an upbeat, empowering ending. Reading a romance novel after a bad day or while going through a dark period uplifts, empowers and inspires readers to keep going.
Romance is the third biggest selling genre in print in Australia with annual sales of 1.4 million copies. However, it is in the ebook market that romance really comes into its own and it is believed ebook sales make romance the second or most likely bestselling genre overall. Figures are difficult to come by as they are not measured the way print books are. However, Harlequin Australia sold 300,000 ebooks in 2017 and a large number of independent (self-published) authors in the genre publish almost exclusively in ebook.
In America, figures provided by the Romance Writers of America, include:
- The romance fiction industry is worth $1.08 billion dollars a year, which makes it about a third larger than the inspirational book market, and about the size mystery and science fiction/fantasy genre combined.
- Thirty-nine percent of all romance novels are purchased in digital format, 32% in mass market paperback, 18% in trade paperback format and 9% in hardcover. Only 1% is currently purchased as an audiobook but this is a growing segment.
- The circle of romance readers is huge and dedicated. The number 29 million in America of whom 84% are women and 41% between the ages of 30 and 54 years.
- Romance novels regularly top the major bestseller lists (New York Times, Publishers Weekly and USA Today)
The Australian market is significantly smaller than the American one but is otherwise similar in profile. Australian authors write smart, witty, sexy romance which is in demand all over the world. Sub-genres include contemporary, historical, romantic suspense, rural/small town, romantic comedies, paranormal, fantasy, urban fantasy, science fiction, military, m/m romance, LBGQTI, and erotic.
Dates for the Romantic Rendezvous are:
- Brisbane, Saturday 23 March 2019
- Sydney, Sunday 24 March 2019
- Melbourne, Saturday 30 March 2019
- Perth, Sunday 31 March 2019
For further details, please see the Australian Romance Readers Association website.