In a move targeting the ever-booming, innovation-driven market for romance fiction, the Romance Writers of America is releasing Novel Engagement, a comprehensive database and informational app for readers and authors of romance fiction.
The free app will launch with work by 1,000 authors and more than 5,000 titles, offering a wide range of search functionality and social sharing features focused on the romance category and its subgenres.
Novel Engagement offers readers search, events, tags and the usual social media tools, allowing authors to connect with fans and sell books via purchase links. Retailer and librarians can also search for reader trends, as well as new titles to offer patrons and customers.
Like other book-reading software, Novel Engagement offers the standard collection of features such as a library, called Reader Zone, in addition to tests, games, literary lists and more. The RWA expects the app to offer as many as 10,000 books by over 2,000 authors before the end of 2014.
A nonprofit association supporting romance writers, the Romance Writers of America has more than 10,000 members around the world. Among the bestselling romance writers involved in the app are Sylvia Day, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Sabrina Jeffries and Laurelin Paige.
According to statistics provided by the RWA, the romance fiction market had sales of more than $1.3 billion in 2013. The category—both authors and readers—is known for innovation. The romance marketplace embraced e-books and the transition to digital reading early and enthusiastically.
Allison Kelley, executive director of the RWA, said romance authors and writers have been "interacting in huge numbers for years online and in social media." Novel Engagement, she emphasized, is yet another way for authors and readers to use technology to connect with, and discover, books.
Kelley continued: "Novel Engagement delivers results across the romance genre with speed. Readers will discover new authors, find new releases and backlist books, all while exploring the full range of romance subgenres."