I'm feeling grumpy again. I got my monthly royalty statement from my main publisher. Let's just say it was disappointing. Once again, I'm asking myself why I bother to work so hard writing and marketing when nobody's buying my books.
Then I remember I have only myself to blame. I could boost my sales if I wanted to do so. All I'd have to do is write what's popular. A few years ago, that was vampire and werewolf tales. At the moment, the sub-genre de jour seems to be stories about a woman's initiation into BDSM by a mysterious, arrogant, dominant male.
Raw Silk, more than a decade ago. For a long time, in fact, most of what I wrote was BDSM-flavored. I still love the genre. Well-written tales exploring the thrill of sexual surrender still push my personal buttons. After a few years, though, I started to worry that I was writing the same story over and over again. I wanted to branch out, to challenge myself. I didn't want to get stale.
I wrote a couple of erotic thrillers. Two M/M erotic romances. Some paranormal. Some science fiction. Just for the hell of it, I did a mash-up of every genre I could think of, in Rajasthani Moon. Menage-BDSM-steampunk-shapeshifter-Rubenesque-Bollywood-interracial...That was so much fun that my next project is likely to be steampunk BDSM, too.
So what kind of author am I? An erotic author, certainly, but beyond that, I don't fit into any pigeonholes. And that's at least one reason why my work doesn't sell better. I don't have a brand. Unlike some authors, I don't write one book after another with basically the same plot and characters. And okay, I admit it, when somebody tells me I should write the sort of book that's currently "hot", I feel an overwhelming desire to do exactly the opposite.
Call me contrary, but I don't like to be a sheep. And I figure the world doesn't need yet another take on the gazillionaire Dom and the virgin.
When I do tackle a popular genre, I find myself irresistibly tempted to turn the stereotypes on their heads. So in fact, I have been thinking about a gazillionaire and virgin book - one in which the hero is the virgin and the heroine is the filthy rich dominant.
Sigh. I know that won't sell at all....!
I can write to spec when I want to. I'm on the staff at Custom Erotica Source, a service that provides individually crafted sexual fantasies for its clients. You wouldn't believe the detailed scenarios some of our customers have given me. And somehow, I've managed to get into their heads and give them exactly what they wanted.
But otherwise, I want to surprise and delight my readers, turn their expectations upside down.
Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to bet much of a market for originality - at least not in erotic romance.
I know I could analyze what's selling and write more of the same. I'm good at taking direction, as my Master will confirm. But I just can't stomach the prospect.
So if my royalties are a pittance, I have only myself to blame.