Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Dabbling across genres

A good few months ago, I was chatting to a few romance authors about their craft, just asking how they feel about this whole electronic publishing gig. I had an overwhelming response of "hell, yeah, it works!"

Why? If you capture your readership, you make far more percentage-wise in royalties off ebooks than with print. Looking at my own monthly royalty statements, I'm afraid I have to agree, tho' my books don't move in vast quantities as my chosen genre is firmly dark/urban fantasy with a horror edge.

Ebooks don't have so many physical overheads, like printing or postage, so the profit margins are better. That's a no-brainer. Hell, and my inner eco-warrior loves saving trees and pandering to the "buy it, download it, and read it now" ethos.

But it's also clear that one of the genres that is doing the best in this field appears to be romance. Now, if I were to see some returns for my efforts, it's also a no-brainer that I should up my erotic content, no?

So I gave it a shot. I wrote my first contemporary erotic romance. And, guess what, I enjoyed writing it so much I'm planning more and am definitely looking at selling some paranormal romance. And, I've had a peek at my sales within the first week for my first contemporary erotic romance novel. Things are looking promising. And I am cautiously optimistic about my future as a career author.

But crossing genres not going to stop me from writing my "heart" books, as I've heard one author describe her works that don't garner astronomical sales figures. Hell, I'm still going to write them. I'm still going to fish for literary agents. I'm still going to submit to bigger and other publishers. It makes sense to have a broad footprint when I'm just a small fish competing in a big pond for thousands of other small fish.

It's not easy getting noticed nowadays, when just about every Tina, Dina and Harriet is getting published. And it freaks me the hell out when I see that some of the stuff hitting virtual shelves is so not ready for publication. Modern electronic publishing is somewhat of a sausage factory. For every professional who approaches this method with clarity and precision, there are half a dozen hacks who put out absolute garbage.

What hell it must be for readers to discover quality reads among the dross. And, how difficult is it for genuinely fantastic authors to be noticed above the howling mob...

So, what I'm hoping, is to snag the attention of readers who like my romance enough to go take a look at my "heart" books.

This is a highly competitive industry and it pays authors well to be creative in their approach and to be adaptable.

Even though I had a well-known hardcore SF/fantasy author warn me that "dabbling" in romance would eventually blur the boundaries between my "serious" writing and "romance" (which I gain the opinion that he looked down upon) I really couldn't care. If my favourite authors like Storm Constantine and Jacqueline Carey write bloody awesome narrative underpinned by highly charged erotic content, then why they hell can't I mix the two with my usual gritty signature?

So, expect more from me, some fang-bangers, hell, even some shifters, I don't care, but also know that I'll intersperse these with my usual "weird sh1t" as a friend of mine calls my writing. I'll carry on writing the kind of books I enjoy reading, but I'm going to be more conscious of what the market is asking for.

* * * *

Tainted Love was released on December 9 through Siren Bookstrand. I describe it as a reverse-Cinderella tale with a bit of spice. The story was sparked by my conversations with a number of friends who worked as dancers in clubs for a number of years. I also read a number of autobiographies by ex-dancers and dug a little into the history of the sex industry. It was my aim to present my story without prejudice, and I've had some encouraging responses from my readers.

The blurb:
Retrenched and persuaded to participate in amateur night at a strip club all in one day, Marianne discovers she’s actually a damn fine stripper, and baring all brings in far easier money than dying by degrees as a temp in a cubicle farm.

But things between her and her ex-boyfriend, Carl, have gone horribly sour, and there’s no denying that her fascination with Brett Gentle, the owner of Imperial House Gentleman’s Club, will bring more complications than she has bargained for.

Even as she gains confidence in tantalising men with her sex appeal on stage and on laps, Marianne’s life starts spinning out of control, tainting the love she has dared to taste.

See more here: http://www.bookstrand.com/tainted-love


lastnerve said...

Nerine! I'm yet to read your books and Tainted looks REALLY good. As for writing your heart books, I choose the heart books over others almost every time! When I read, I want to get away and escape. Love in the real world seems to be a farce at times but when I can settle down with my amazing love story, it just makes my day!


India Drummond said...

I totally agree! And I also think readers have depth and can handle a bit of a blur. :)

Nerine Dorman said...

To be honest, my main bone of contention with contemporary romance is that it's too "soft" for lack of better description. Sometimes I do encounter stories that are "sweet" and grab me, but that's usually because there's a deeper story arc than usual.

A friend recently read Tainted Love and told me that she liked it a lot because it treated particular situations with a lot more realism than she'd encountered elsewhere. Also, sans the squick-factor.

What I love about romance is that it evokes that sense of falling in love, but that love, in the real world, is rarely without complications.