This week Sports Romance is doing exceptionally well in the Romance charts and to find out why we took a look at the books making up the push.
The first thing we noticed on looking at the charts is that most of those labelled as a Sports Romance are not limiting themselves to that niche, but rather using it as a sub-genre, and then adding plenty of other niches onto Sports Romance.
The second was that most of them have a pun in the title centred around their chosen sport!
But back to the first point. It probably should not be a surprise that Sports Romance is full of Billionaires, Millionaires, Bad Boys, and Alpha Men. That does go with the territory, somewhat. However it is the complementary nature of the other niches in the sub-genre that really draw the eye.
A huge number of books in this week’s serving are from the Bully Romance Niche, perhaps this is because they both often use High School or College as a back drop, but it is surprising how often this niche has popped up in the sub-genre this week.
Beyond that, there are a lot of Enemies to Romance stories in the charts. Though not, as we assumed, enemies from across the team divide. Rather these enemies tend to be based on personal, not professional reasons. Surprising in a sub-genre that you would assume was made for the niche.
Accidental pregnancies and marriages of convenience also appear to be pretty popular. This might be due to the popular idea of professional sportsmen as promiscuous and the fictional remedy for the scandal brought on by this being a pretend relationship to distract or trick the press.
As well as these more obvious niches there are also less obvious ones, such as in Fire Breathing Ovide, by Candace Ayers which is a dragon shifter, fated mates, romance novel. Plus Daddy Kink in Kelli Callahan’s, Daddy’s Best Friend.
Many sports are represented in the novels on the chart this week, though the majority of them appear to be team games, such as Baseball, Basketball, Hockey, and American Football. Also, the number of novels where the heroine is the more successful of the two is essentially non-existent. In fact, any novels in which the heroine plays any sports at all are remarkably absent in the Sports Romance Genre this week.
There is also a surprising unity among the covers of this genre, while the go to is the classic well chiselled male torso, there are a few with the heroine present on the cover as well. Many also lean towards a nearly monochrome cover, with the title and author’s name in either white or a bright, nearly neon, colour. The covers that go against this are even more noticeable for it, like D. W. Ulstermann’s western, The Irish Cowboy. This novel is perhaps not what is expected to be in this genre of billionaire bad boys falling in and out of beds, but it does seem to fit the requirements, even if there is a lack of shirtless men on the cover.
So, an interesting sub-genre and no mistake. It is not one that comes with a ready made beat sheet for you to write your novel based on, but instead gives a brief outline of the world for you to graft another story onto, with it’s full complement of niches and trends. A little tip to those who wish to write in this genre, try to pick a sport you can at least hold a conversation on. And if you can’t now, do some research first. You don’t need to know all the details involved but your readers might, and there are a lot of lowered reviews because of inaccuracies in basic terminology.
But this sub-genre seems fairly open, the fact that you can write in your own particular niche, but add it to this sub-genre means that you can potentially get double the exposure. So get to it! Just make sure you don’t mix up your pitches, tracks, or rinks…