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Romance Heroes and Themes

May 25, 2024

--- What are the highest-selling Romance heroes and the most popular romance plots? - Find out how to use the new advanced search and filter options on Amazon Kindle to develop a completely new perspective on romance novels and the profitable niches this genre.

New Video: The Best Romance Themes, Plots and Heroes

Amazon is constantly refining its search and categorization features. For example, e.g. Romance books can be filtered by "romance themes" and "romance heroes". You can filter history books by time period; children's books can be displayed by age groups, etc. Combining that information with the sales rank information of the respective books provides very valuable insights on each of these e-book markets.

Today we take a look at how to access the additional search filter functions and how to develop a new perspective on Romance genre using the our K-lytics approach. (If you prefer to read the content you can find a text version below).

CLICK PLAY IN THE VIDEO [please turn on sound]:

Update - December 2017

Some of the features shown in the video have been made more difficult to access by Amazon. But the data is still there; it just takes one click more to display it.

Have a look at this video here to see how you can regain full transparency of the search results by trope or character:


Text Version:

Using Amazon Kindle Advanced Search

The additional search filter options can be found in the left sidebar of the Kindle store when you browse some of the bigger book categories. But to access these features you have to use"advanced search function" of the Kindle store.

To get started, go to that advanced search window, click on the language pulldown menu and select English to display all English-language titles. Then select 'Bestselling' as the sort option for the search results and then click on the search button.

PO Advanced Search 1

Amazon will now display the top search results across the major divisions of the Kindle store, i.e. Kindle Blogs, Kindle eBooks, Kindle Magazines, Kindle Newspapers, Kindle Short Reads, etc.

PO Advanced Search 2

To further narrow down the search to e-books, click on 'Kindle eBooks'. On the sidebar, Amazon will now show all the major Kindle book categories. In parentheses, you will find the number of English titles in each of these Kindle categories. That alone is a nice feature because the number tells you the degree of competition (i.e. number of competing books) in each of these categories. And if you click on any of these Kindle categories, the number will be further broken down into individual sub- and sub-subcategories and so on.

PO Advanced Search 3

Additional Information on Book Categories

But there is more. If you click on any of the major categories—let's take Romance as an example—the sidebar will also display additional filtering options. Not only can you use that information to refine the search, but you can also use the information to extract valuable information on the book market for a given Kindle category.

You have to scroll down a little on the sidebar to see these additional options. In the case of the Romance, these further search filters include 'Romance Themes' (i.e. plots) and 'Romance Heroes'.

PO Advanced Search 4

The search filters alone represent a very valuable piece of information already. Amazon will only introduce such add-on categorizations when it makes sense, i.e. when there are enough books that can be put into such categorization. So just by observing what additional filtering options Amazon offers, you can derive what is popular, at least in terms of book supply.

In this example, you find that Amazon provides the reader with the option to filter the search results by "romance themes" such as Amnesia, Beaches, Love Triangle, Secret Baby, Wedding, Vacation, Workplace and some others. The number in the parentheses after each of these headlines provides the number of titles that can be found in the respective category.

The accuracy of this categorisation obviously depends on the person putting the book in a category, i.e. the author or publisher or Amazon itself. The books can fall into more than one of these themes, thus blending some of popular basic plots. But in any case, the information is a valuable starting point for further research.

A New Perspective on Romance Niches

At K-lytics, we took the analysis a step further. We examined the sales ranks for the top 20 and top 60 titles in all of these Romance theme categories. And we did the same for the Romance hero categorisation. We also compared the results with similar data that can be obtained in the neighbouring Erotica category.

This information on the Kindle store provides us with the information as to what Romance themes and what Romans heroes are more popular than others from a demand perspective. In other words, what are the the highest selling Romance plots and heroes.

Popularity of Romance Themes (Romance Plots) by Sales Rank

The analysis shows that Wedding, Second Chances, Beaches, and Workplace related Romance are the most popular romance themes from a demand point of view. We measure the demand for these Romance categories by looking at the average sales rank of the top 20 titles in each of these buckets over a couple of days. To complete the picture, the graph below also shows the degree of competition as measured by the number of available English-language Kindle books in each of the categories.

PO Advanced Search 5-2 Romance Themes

Popularity of Romance Heroes by Sales Rank

This type of analysis also allows to examine what type of heroes are more popular than others. The highest level of sales is achieved by romance novels that include Wealthy (clearly leading), Spies, Royalty & Aristocrats, Doctors and Highlanders.

PO Advanced Search 6 Romance Heores

Popularity of Erotica Heroes by Sales Rank

You may argue that the romance hero categorisation above is not complete. And you are right, because some of the heroes that you look for are given in the filtering options for "Literature & Fiction > Erotica" as opposed to "Romance" in the Kindle store.

The absolute number of sales per day for each of these Erotica main character types is likely to be understated. The reason is that many of the top sellers for the respective “hero type" are not categorized in “Erotica” (where they should be) but in Romance or other genres. However, the relative sales performance of these “heroes” give some indication of the relative popularity with the readers.

PO Advanced Search 7 Erotica Heores

One anomaly in the data is that 'Ghosts' and 'Angels' show up at the bottom of the list. However, there are Romance categories that explicitly mention these main character types as sub-genres in the Paranormal sub-market of the Romance genre. There, the books do very well from a sales-to-competition point of view, and we even recommended them as attractive book market niches.

Bringing it all together: Sales Rank vs. Author Competition

For those of you who are already familiar with the concept of the K-lytics strategy maps, the image below will look very familiar. The K-lytics book strategy map plots the level of sales of any given Kindle category against the degree of competition.

In this case, we did the mapping for the "Romance Themes", "Romance Heroes" and "Erotica Heroes" discussed above.

PO Advanced Search 8 Strategy

As said, the "Erotica Hero" numbers are likely to be understated. The graph gives you those Romance heroes and themes that exhibit a relatively high level of sales but comparatively little competition. We call those areas "hot cells" (less than 2,000 titles in the category) or "hot niches" (2,000 to 10,000 titles in the category).

The "hot" zones with the best sales-to-competition ratio are:

  • Romance Plots > Gambling
  • Romance Heroes > Firefighters
  • Romance Plots > Beaches
  • Romance Heroes > Highlanders
  • Romance Plots > Wedding
  • Romance Heroes > Spies
  • Romance Plots > Vacation
  • Romance Heroes > Doctors

PO Advanced Search 9 Strategy

I hope you enjoyed this type of analysis.

If you like it, please share it:

Happy publishing!

Alex Newton


P.S. Do you already have our special report on the Romance market? The video training above focuses on niches in the Romance category and supplements our existing in-depth research on the Romance genre and its various sub- and sub-sub-categories. You can get this special report on more than 80 Romance book markets here:

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3 Responses to Romance Heroes and Themes

  1. Maggie January 5, 2016 at 7:18 am #

    WOW – thank you so much for this. I primarily want to write contemporary romance but happy to focus more on erotic romance.

    This has been a most valuable resource. Happy New Year!

  2. StevenViscuse October 21, 2017 at 7:19 pm #

    Tried the above. Amazon no longer showing scores as indicated in your video. Again they’ve changed their algorithms.

    • Alex Newton December 8, 2017 at 12:41 pm #

      Hi Steven, thanks! – I just added and update video on this page here. The information mentioned is still available; Amazon just made it harder to get to it. In the video I show you how you can still get to it.

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