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Hot Trends: Romance Jan 2021

Romance has had some pretty incredible trends and tropes in 2020. It’s time now to see what’s trending as we start the new year.

Romance has had some pretty incredible trends and tropes in 2020. It’s time now to see what’s trending as we start the new year.

Historical Romance – $4.3M

You can thank the Netflix TV show Bridgerton for the uprise in historical romance. Since it released, there was a huge spike in historical romance books.

Before Bridgerton, historical romance was barely a blip on the best seller charts, even with TV shows like Outlander and Downton Abby to push readers in filling that after-it’s-finished soul-slump.

I don’t think this is going to become a trend. I think this is going to be a fad. Though, we as indie authors have proven we can lead and/or drive fads into trends when we want to. I don’t know that we will want to drive this one, though, because historical fiction demands a lot of research. In order to jump on this fad train, you need to have a book already nearing publication and ready to launch soon.

If you already have historical books, I think it might be wise to invest a little in advertising. Give those books a bit of a push and you should reap a reward. I will keep my eyes on this fad/trend, though, and keep you updated.

Tropes For This Genre

  • Royals or highborn
  • The Season
  • Rakes or extremely eligible bachelors with a lot of money

Contemporary – 1.67M

This genre has seen a huge roller coaster of nuances and it looks like we’ve come full circle. A few months ago, you couldn’t get dark enough. But now, it seems, readers are wanting to go a bit more wholesome.

When gauging the weather for the contemporary market, watch the emotional level on social media and on the news. People are currently weary. They need their souls re-fed.

Tropes For This Genre

  • Best friends
  • Forbidden love
  • Single dad
  • Hiding billionaires who can’t use their money but have it
  • Dangerous men
  • Strong women who still need a man
  • Woman running from danger (or the more feminine partner of an LGBTQ)

Elements Dropping In Viability

  • Mafia
  • Motorcycle clubs

Elements On the Rise

  • Found family
  • Military/security
  • Protectors/groups
  • POC is rising, but not strong yet (I’d like to see this pushed)


  • 1st or 3rd
  • Past

Paranormal Romance – 1M

PNR is trending down right now. The ones who are making it are the indie authors who cultivated their brand and are selling by their author name. They’re names like Jamine Eve, Leia Stone, D.F. Breene, and Jen L. Grey.
PNR is going more paranormal women’s fiction and romantic urban fiction, but the thing to keep in mind with both of these deviations is that the female is strong, is the alpha in her own way—even if her life is falling apart at the age of forty—and she does not need a man.

So, if your plan involves PNR, go ahead and keep it, but focus on building your brand, building your newsletter and fan base, and don’t focus as much on ads.

Tropes For This Genre

  • Werewolves
  • Alpha men
  • Strong women who still need a man
  • True mates
  • Secrets is a huge trend right now because it draws out the harder emotions. There’s a big emotional element in the bestselling PNR right now.
  • FMC is broken somehow
  • Twists on shifter lore

Elements Dropping In Viability

  • Vampires
  • Academies
  • Reverse harem

Elements On the Rise

  • Werewolves
  • Protection agencies
  • Dystopian worlds
  • The worlds are drastically different from our current state of affairs.


  • 1st or 3rd
  • Past


I’ll keep watching the trends in Romance and will let you know each month how they shift.
Next week: Fantasy



Comments (2)

“(or feminine half of an LGTB)” what does that even mean?

Also why are the letters of LGBT in the wrong order. (Not that, being bi, I mind trans being before us, they get a lot more undeserved hate than we do [and we get plenty].)

LGTB was a typo that I’ve now fixed. Thank you!

And the trend is that the partner who’s more feminine fills that role. In LGBTQ, that’s not always the woman. I hope that helps. 🙂

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