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Expectation vs. Reality: Being a Romance Author

Have you ever considered writing a romance novel? Beware! There’s a pretty glamorous life ahead.

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1. Romance Novel Inspiration

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Expectation: You, like all romance authors, are inspired to write a romance novel by the rock hard abs on the pool boy as he skims the fallen leaves from the water's surface in your backyard.

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Reality: You hear someone at a nearby table in a restaurant make a random comment to the server. You say to yourself, “Wow, that person’s life must be really messed up. What if a billionaire said that? …Or maybe a duke!”

2. Author Wardrobe

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Expectation: When you sit down in your gossamer nightgown to pen your manuscript, you have the overall appearance of a pre-Raphaelite painting. The words flow from your feather quill much like your hair over the arm of the chaise lounge you rest against as you write.

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Reality: After sitting at your computer for most of the day, you look down and realize at some point you spilled leftover takeout food on your shirt. Thank goodness your yoga pants were spared or you wouldn’t be able to get dressed for the work day tomorrow.

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Reality: You just binge watched four hours of YouTube how-to videos on training wild horses and followed it up with 3 hours digging through blogs for the best poisons to use if you want to get away with murder.

4. Romance Author Work Life

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Expectation: When you’re not on exotic research trips for your next romance novel, your work life is a peaceful one, filled with sips of coffee and poetic thoughts streaming onto the page.

5. Romance Author Home Life

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Expectation: Writing a romance novel is a solitary endeavor. Alone with your thoughts on character and how two people fall in love, your home life is a quiet one in which you live in a cabin on a hillside, or a beach house far from the noise of the city.

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Reality: You just wrote down some dialogue on the back of a receipt you found under the seat of your car while waiting in the car rider line for school to get out. Then you type the turning point in a character’s life while foam darts rain down on your head from the battle that rages around you between children. After burning part of dinner because you were busy updating your social media, you put on your noise-canceling headphones and dive back into your story, fueled by caffeine and a need to write the next scene.

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Reality: You finished your first romance novel?! Time to write another one, and another, and another just to keep up with the characters that you know need their own book. Congratulations! You’re now addicted to romance.

7. Book Release Day

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Expectation: On book release day, glitter will rain from the sky as your book tops all the lists in existence. Your friends with gather to party with you and your doorway will be filled with flower deliveries. So many well wishes, so little time on this day—it’s practically a national holiday. Perhaps it will be named so by its anniversary next year.

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Reality: It’s book release day! Where’s the ticker tape parade? Wasn’t there supposed to be a ticker tape parade? Even without the parade, you sigh and smile at the image of your book cover as you click refresh on your online stats, over, and over, and over.

8. Signing Books

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Expectation: It’s finally the day of your first book signing! You will be recognized publicly as an Author. Crowds of people will gather before you to listen to you speak. The line in the bookstore to get a signed copy will extend around the block as you pen personalized remarks to everyone present.

9. Meeting Romance Readers

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Expectation: When the readers of a genre that promises happily-ever-afters get together, it’s always a party. Whether you meet romance readers at RT Booklovers Convention or Romance Writers of America’s National Conference, the ensuing scene would surely be a huge celebration of everything good in life. There would be books, wine, laughter, and confetti.

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Reality: When the readers of a genre that promises happily-ever-afters get together, *it is* always a party. Whether you’re meeting romance readers at RT Booklovers Convention or Romance Writers of America’s National Conference, the ensuing scene *is* a huge celebration of everything good in life. There *are* lots of books, glasses of wine, plenty of laughter, and confetti!

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