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Some Thoughts about Geography

by Deb Werksman
Editorial Manager
Sourcebooks Casablanca

Several times in the last few weeks I’ve found myself quoting a particular set of statistics to my authors, so I thought I would share the info here.

This comes from RWA’s website, from their data about romance readers.

38% of romance readers are located in the South

26% are in the Midwest

19% are in the West

17% are in the Northeast

This is really, really important to think about as you think about reaching your readers. The old saw “it won’t play in Peoria” has to be expanded to include maybe Savannah, Little Rock, and Louisville.

This doesn’t mean you have to locate your contemporary romances in the South or the Midwest, but it does mean you’ll want to be sensitive to your readers’ locations, local cultures, and sensibilities.


All best,
Deb Werksman


  1. Well that certainly explains why so many romances are set in the southeast! :)
    However, many contemps set in the northwest are emerging. I blame Debbie Macomber. I wonder what the statistic is for northwest readers.

  2. All I've got to say is the people of Savannah, Georgia were the friendliest people I've ever met. While we were taking pictures of one of the old houses under renovation, two of the construction workers motioned for us to lower the cameras so we could take pictures of them while they gave us various poses in front of the house.

    I told them we were romance authors and they had to remove their shirts for it to work. They laughed and said they were willing and made like they were going to remove their shirts. We had a blast in Savannah!

  3. I enjoy armchair traveling through the romances I read. I don't want a travel guide but the setting enriches the story and allows me to get glimpses of places that I may never see with my own eyes. I like the variety of locales presented but I wouldn't want the stories to ALL be set in the same geographic region as I think it would get boring.

  4. I live in the South and I read romance. Makes sense to me! But even people in Texas don't only want to read stories about cowboys and ranchers. There's room for every setting.

  5. Something I heard from some big name authors in other genres is that if you're going to be accurate, make ABSOLUTELY sure you're accurate. Because, if you make the slightest factual error, it will be thrown back in your face as long as you're recognized.If you can research something, so can your readers.

  6. Well, what is wrong with us in the northeast!!! Too many book snobs I guess (sigh).


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