Thursday, October 7, 2010

What Sells

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?


Kaz Augustin said...

My take is, if you don't need the money, write what you like. If you want to make a living at it, you disregard sales data at your peril.

Lisabet Sarai said...

Hi, Kaz,

Thanks for dropping by. I love the money and I won't say I don't "need" it, but on the other hand this is not the way I make my living.

Which doesn't really answer my question, does it?

Janice Seagraves said...

May I suggest just writing one more M/M romance and see what happens?

If it sells well then you have your answer. It if doesn't then keep going with your gut, and write with your heart, which is good advice anyway. *wink*


Post a Comment

Let me know your thoughts! (And if you're having trouble commenting, try enabling third-party cookies in your browser...)