At a bird’s-eye view, the leading publishers of the romance genre are:
1. Harlequin Enterprises
2. Random House
3. Penguin Group
Although most people associate Harlequin with its series program (those shorter books that come out monthly and fall into various lines, such as Harlequin Presents, Silhouette Desire and Harlequin Superromance), the publisher has successful single-title programs, as well. Harlequin’s MIRA and HQN imprints publish a host of big-name authors, including Debbie Macomber (who has hit No. 1 on virtually every bestseller list), Linda Lael Miller, Diana Palmer, Susan Wiggs, Heather Graham, Carla Neggers and many more. (My own books are published by MIRA, as well.)
Harlequin also maintains an active online community at eharlequin.com where you can find guidelines for its many lines and programs, purchase books and interact with authors, editors and readers.
Of course, publishing giants Random House, Penguin Group and HarperCollins also dedicate various imprints to the genre. And then there’s Kensington, which is the last remaining independent U.S. publisher of hardcover, trade and mass-market books. It accounts for about 7 percent of all mass-market paperback sales in the United States and releases close to 600 books per year.
Beyond the top five, other romance publishers include Simon and Schuster’s Pocket Books, Hachette Book Group’s Grand Central Publishing (formerly Warner Books) and Dorchester Publishing.
One of the best ways to learn more about the genre and its publishers, bestsellers and overall vitality is to join Romance Writers of America (rwanational.org), a trade association with more than 10,000 members that offers a monthly magazine, local chapters, an annual convention and more.
Want to write better romance scenes and develop stronger characters? Consider:
On Writing Romance
Also check out these items from the Writer’s Digest’s collection:
Writer’s Digest You Can Write A Romance
Writer’s Digest No More Rejections
Writer’s Digest The Wealthy Writer
Writer’s Digest The Craft & Business Of Writing
Writer’s Digest Weekly Planner
Writer’s Digest How to Land a Literary Agent (On-Demand Webinar)
Writer’s Digest Magazine One-Year Subscription
Writer’s Digest 10 Years of Writer’s Digest on CD: 2000-2009