In the world of books, the most popular genre is romance. Many authors have written stories that are later deemed not "the best" and that it needs to have some romance element to attract different readers. It's not easy, though. Adding in a handsome biker or a classy, sarcastic female isn't going to instantly make you a best seller, no matter how hard you try. Here I have written a few ways to really make romance stand out and sell, noting some aspects that should be put in!
The Slow Characters Build
Insta love has its place. In Disney movies, Shakespeare, those chocolate commercials where the woman leaves her boyfriend because chocolate has stolen her heart. But in the land of writing romance, insta love has become an overly used act. It can be somewhat unrealistic and denies the readers the ability to slowly get to see two people realize who they really want and the work they put into their relationship--something that is realistic. The best stories are where the characters already know each other; hate, friendship, that forbidden Romeo and Juliet trope, even.
The Characters Have Flaws
Maybe we won't admit it, but we all dream of a perfect SO. Someone who is the hero, completely gorgeous and without an issue even after being alive for well over 20 years. This sounds great in theory, but the best kind of characters have flaws! Humans have them. No matter how much we say we're perfect and can do no wrong, the reality is that flaws make 98% of our being. We're going to have mental and physical flaws, that's just how it is. So when characters are perfectly perfect, they tend to be unreachable and hard to connect with. When creating your MC and side characters, give them flaws.
The Relationship Faces Challenges
Relationships have to continuously grow over the course of a book. They can't remain in the same spot the entire time. Challenges make the characters work together, overcome tough situations and grow together. An internal challenge, like drama, ex's, can add to the story as they have to overcome those things and rely on each other. External, it could be them trying to survive the apocalypse. Whatever it is, add some sort of challenge.
That Sweet Moment
Successful romances are at least occasionally, well, romance. No one has to be overly sweet, a smooth talker or executes crazy stunts, but it's always great to see a love interest put their heart on the line. As characters go through tough moments, they can think back on an action or set of words and remember feelings loved at that moment. And I think that's truly the most romance aspect of books. Being able to think "wow, I'm so loved."