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Raunchy romance a best-seller

Published: 6:35PM Friday August 19, 2005 Source: One News

Although it cops a bit of flack in literary circles, romance writing is still number one when it comes to sales.

In the United States, romance books account for nearly 50% of all paperback sales, and some of that is flowing back to New Zealand, where romance writing and reading is flourishing.

New Zealand romance author Susan Napier makes a living out of romance - she has had more than 30 books published and translated into 20 languages.

"Mills and Boon always warns beginner writers not to give up their day jobs, and then they warn writers after a few years not to let their husbands give up their day jobs," says Napier.

Kimberley Young of Harlequin Mills and Boon warns that romance writing is not easy as it looks.

"We get around 3,000 manuscripts from unpublished writers every year, and we probably publish about 1% of those," says Young.

Experts say that sub genres, such as books with paranormal and historical storylines, are big at the moment.

The novels are also a lot raunchier than they used to be.

"My husband says that the difference between romance and Penthouse is that in a Penthouse they don't say please and thank you," says romance bookseller Barbara Clendon.