I love the above picture because it reminds me of one of my favorite characters–a character I had to give up trying to write so that I could move my writing career forward. It’s interesting to look back at choices made. It’s also interesting to see what readers react to in either a positive or negative way and what they give a big shrug of indifference to.
I’m devoting a huge amount of time to writing in the romance genre. I’ve always enjoyed romantic elements in stories, and they’ve been in most of my science fiction and fantasy stories. I never thought I’d write contemporary romance though. And in a way, it’s a huge mistake.
The state of romance right now appalls me. It’s filled with sachrine sweet heroines who haven’t had sex in so long that they’re practically virgins. They’ve had tragic events happen in their past and somehow still have the optimism of an eight-year-old girl. In the mean time, the heroes are jealous stalkers who whore shame the women that actually go down on them so they can take up and treasure the new virginal demi-woman they’ve found to obsess over.
These are not the romances I write. Shockingly, I like to think of women and men as equals. I like to think that most adults are mature adults. Not surprisingly, until November, my stories have been met with indifference and the occasional angry reader.
Why did I switch to romance? As I said, I’ve always enjoyed romantic elements in my stories. I felt I needed to practice writing stories that didn’t have a lot of world building so I could focus on character development, tension, plot twists and beginnings without trying to fit in world building tidbits every other sentence. World building was exhausting me. I’d get a crit back saying there was too much description, too little description and my favorite “Would this character really notice that since he sees it every day? You have to stay in POV.”
I quickly realized my romance stories weren’t going to catch the eye of the industry gate-keepers, so I decided to use them to learn about indie publishing as well. October 2014 is when I convinced David and Julie to help me out, followed shortly by Heather. At the time, I thought I’d do a lot of short stories under my own name like Rapunzel. But to do those the way I want to do them requires a lot of money for the illustrations. So romance took over.
I might actually be finding an audience for romances about mature adults. A small one so far, but I busted through all of my selling goals for November. In October, I made my sales goal of one book a day. So I upped the goal to 2 sales a day for November because I had a new release.
I had 169 sales in November!
My new release (TH) alone sold 94 copies. My release last year (MH) sold 34 copies in November. And the short story I wrote in a week and made my own cover for (VH) sold 32 copies even after it had been downloaded over 1100 times for free.
These are very small numbers, and I can’t make a living on it yet, but what a huge surge from 0 a few months ago. Enough of a surge that I got my first two star review and a troll. The troll is not the two star review. That seems totally legitimate, “It’s a short story and you don’t get to know the characters very well.” Yep. That was for VH. It’s sort of surprising that I haven’t gotten more of those for VH. But I also got a very lengthy five star review for it on Amazon which was a surprise.
The troll I’m not mentioning on my pen name blog at all. But I thought I would mention it here because if you go into publishing of any sort, it’s bound to happen. I guess I hit some sort of magic visibility to get one this month. I don’t get on Goodreads very much because I haven’t figured out how to get tranction there. It seemed time was better spent elsewhere. But VH was selling so well, I decided to do a google search for VH to see if there were any reviews for it. My Goodreads author page came up and my rating had totally tanked.
I logged on and saw that every book of mine had recieved a one star rating with no review by the same person. Even a book published in 2014 by Jupiter Gardens that I don’t think has sold a copy since opening day. I clicked on the account and saw that they’d reviewed over 16,000 books with the average rating of 1 star. This had to be a troll. I contacted Goodreads about it Sunday night and still have not heard back from them. I will keep you posted. They are owned by Amazon and Amazon has really cracked down on false reviews to the point of erasing legitimate ones, so I’ll be interested to see what happens.
This turned out to be a much longer post than I had planned. I hope eveybody had a great Thanksgiving. I hope you’re smashing through your writing goals! See you Friday for Spark Tally. I have a lot of writing to do!