What I Learned from Writing Steamy Romance Novels as a Man for 5 Years

The (dis)advantages of writing romance as a man

R. Paulo Delgado
13 min readJan 31, 2020


Heart on open book
Photo by Kaboompics.com

Warning: This post contains spoilers for novels you will probably never read.

If you’re male and you write romance novels, you’re already at a disadvantage. I know, because I did it for over five years. Some of those novels were surprisingly successful. Others, not so much.

Nicholas Sparks gets around the eternal question of “Can men write Romance?” by skirting the question entirely and saying he doesn’t write Romance, he writes “love stories.”


Was I making money as a self-published Romance author? Actually, yes. Except I made the mistake of assuming that anything short of five-digit earnings a month was a failure, rather than realizing that I was in the process of building a business — and all businesses start off slowly.

Knowing a ton more about self-pubbing now than I did in 2013, I realize I was doing phenomenally well for someone with only three books out. I was cutting a middle-crust level of earnings enjoyed by only a very few self-published authors. Not enough to quit my job, sure, but enough to pay for a few small vacations with my wife. If I had played my cards right, I have no doubt I could’ve increased those earnings slowly and successfully over the years so that I could be making a living out of those novels now.

But I didn’t play my cards right.

Maybe you can learn from my mistakes.

Getting lucky once doesn’t mean you know the Romance genre.

Photo by Javon

I succeeded best at writing steamy romances. I wrote them under a woman’s name, and never revealed my identity until a few weeks ago.

That reveal was a non-event. I think maybe four people read the blog article, of which two signed up for my new newsletter. By 2020 I had lost whatever momentum I had gained in 2013 after penning a 40,000-word steamy romance in four days which, believe it or not, sold well and…



R. Paulo Delgado

Ghostwriter & Book Coach. Articles in Forbes, Entrepreneur Magazine & Business Insider. Selling stuff at WriterPaulo.com