A few days ago, it being the end of a month and the quarter, I received royalty statements from two of my publishers. All in all, the news was good. My takings from my primary publisher hit a new record (not that I'm about to go quit my day job or anything...!). The fact that I made anything at all from my secondary publisher (with whom I have only three titles, all more than two years old) pleased me since it suggested that the work I've been putting into marketing is slowing starting to pay off. A small number of readers now recognize my name and are willing to check out even the books that are not newly released.
When I scrutinized the numbers, though, I felt somewhat less happy. Practically all my sales were associated with my recent M/M titles, Necessary Madness and Gaymes. The ratio of those sales to the rest of my dozen or so books was something like 80/20.
I'm not looking a gift horse in the mouth. I'm proud of those two books and I'm delighted my M/M titles are popular. I just feel a bit uncomfortable being part of the M/M bandwagon.
Gay erotic romance is huge. That's great. I like to write M/M fiction - sometimes! But I also enjoy other genres and gender mixes. The market seems to be telling me that I shouldn't waste my time. I should be focusing exclusively on M/M books if I want to build my readership and my income. I should write what sells.
It feels a bit dishonest to me to deliberately focus on M/M just because it's the latest rage. I know that many of you probably think I'm crazy. If I can do it, I should, right? But... I get bored easily. And I write as much to entertain myself as for the market.
Does that make me unprofessional? Maybe. I'm a bit of a curmudgeon and an outlaw. I've always wanted to be different (and I am). I've never been a slave to fashion in my clothing. I don't much want to be in my writing either.
So what do you think? Should I make my choices based on what sells? Is that being wise, or crassly opportunistic?