Writing Craft

Romance Writing: Is Your Couple Compatible?

Recently, my husband and I watched an old movie focusing on a romance. The couple devoted their time to fighting with each other over issues, both major and minor. The heroine complained to her friends about the love affair.

My husband and I agreed that this couple was not compatible. They had no business marrying. But! Sigh! He was veddy, veddy rich. She married up! So surely all will be well! Yay????

A heroine marrying into royalty and/or money is not prominent in Christian fiction, at least as a goal. For that reason, I won’t devote this post to the folly of showing a character ecstatic about marrying into status and money, even if only implied.

However, a Christian author still wants the couple to be compatible. In a Christian romance novel, either both parties enter the relationship as Christians, or, if one is not, he or she returns to the faith before they proclaim to love each other. Sharing our faith is enough, right?

Wrong, in my view. I know many wonderful Christian men who would not make an ideal partner for me. No doubt they’d counter that I would not be suited to them.

A couple can agree on significant life points, such as kids, politics, sex, and religion and still not get along day to day. And day to day is what sees marriage over the decades.

No relationship I’m in is perfect because I’m in it, but I’ll highlight my marriage since it’s the long-term romance I know best.

I like to hold a debrief of every function on the way home in the car. My husband prefers to concentrate on driving and thinking about work the next day.

I love the great indoors. He enjoys yard work and fills the bird feeders so I can appreciate viewing the birds from inside the house.

We agree on the division of chores. Guess what! He is responsible for the outdoors and a few thankless tasks (hello, air filters and light bulbs); and I cook, do laundry, and take care of the indoors.

That’s not to say we’ve never been hiking or on a picnic. We both enjoy family, church, travel, TV, dining, the gym, journeys along Skyline Drive, even running errands together, along with many other common interests. Over the years, I have developed a fondness for some SYFY-channel programming and movies with multiple, gigantic, explosions, thanks to his taste in entertainment.

All this to say, we are different, yet still compatible. My husband loves me enough to put up with my eccentricities and lets me be myself. I appreciate everything about him. We have fun.

Back to books:

Of course, no one wants to read about a couple discussing who will replace the refrigerator water filter once they move into their tiny apartment after the wedding day. However, I believe the compatibility of a romantic couple should be both obvious and implied. When a couple experiences substantial interaction, day-to-day styles become apparent. Harmony will be organic to your story. Does your couple love being around each other? How do they resolve conflicts? How do they have fun?

Christian romance readers want a solid foundation for a long-term romance. When they close the book, they want to feel assured that this couple will last forever.


Your turn:

Who is your favorite couple in Christian romance? Why?

How do you show compatibility between a hero and heroine when you write your novels?









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What Are Average Book Sales?

by Steve Laube

We recently received the following question:

“What does the average book sell today? An industry veteran at a writers conference recently said 5,000. What??? I know it all depends….but … nowhere near 5K, right?”

My simple answer?

It’s complicated.
It depends.


Average is a difficult thing to define. And each house defines success differently. If a novel sells 5,000 copies at one publisher they celebrate and have steak dinners. If a novel sells 5,000 copies at another publisher you find staff members fearing for their jobs and in total despair.

Let me give you some real numbers but not revealing the author name (and there is a wide variety of publishers represented):

Author 1: novelist – 3 books – avg. sale = 8,300

Author 2: novelist – 12 books – avg. sale = 19,756

Author 3: novelist – 3 books – avg. sale = 7,000

Author 4: novelist – 7 books – avg. sale = 5,300 (Two different publishers)

Author 5: non-fiction devotional – 5 books – avg. sale 10,900

Author 6: non-fiction – 2 books – avg. sale = 5,300

Author 7: novelist – 4 books – avg. sale = 29,400

Author 8: non-fiction – 3 books – avg. sale = 18,900

Author 9: fiction – 7 books – avg. sale = 12,900

Author 10: non-fiction – 5 books – avg. sale = 6,800 (three different publishers)

So you can see it DOES depend. Depends on the author and publisher and topic or genre.

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There is no question the timeline varies from person to person and project to project. In the world of major publishers the diversity can be quite extreme.

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