A few years back I was talking with Shira Anthony at a conference and she said something along the lines of writing contemporary LGBT romances allowed her to write the genre SF/F/UF sorts (I should mention this was an anime con and all of us there are obviously genre fans).
For me this was a few novels ago and didn’t quite have the experience yet to appreciate that statement. I do now, though the reality of it makes me a little sad. For example, Blood Red Roulette (urban fantasy, vampires) took me years, I poured my heart into it. I wish I could say it is selling like gangbusters but it’s not where I’d like it to be (I’m surprised a little by it given the gorgeous cover and that vampires tend to be popular). On the other hand, Purrfect Holiday, my contemporary short story is selling very well.
That statement from the con reverberates in my head. Contemporary romance is what sells. Granted I knew this but it has taken a long while for me to realize just how much better it sells. That’s where my sadness comes in. Unlike some of my genre-loving friends, I don’t also like contemporary fiction much.
There is an old writing chestnut that we’ve all heard of ‘write what you know’ which most of us have changed to ‘write what you love’ (because if you love it, you’ll research it and then you’ll know it). This is where my problem begins. I don’t love contemporary romance so it makes it hard for me.
It’s difficult to write a contemporary romance to give you something in the bank while you write your genre novel when you don’t love it. Short stories are easy enough but to do something longer, you have to love it or it will show.
It’s an uncomfortable feeling for me. I wish I could be easier with writing contemporary fiction, that I could learn to like it more. I’ve tried. I’ve read it by my favorite genre authors but even liking the author hasn’t helped. It’s just not in my field of interest.
So I guess that just leaves me one avenue: to write what I love and to buy and help promote what I love so the other authors who write it can have a little more success of their own.
And maybe from the contemporary shorts I do write, maybe I’ll find readers who will be willing to take a chance on my genres down the road.
In the meantime, have some writing links
The Significance of Setting (I’ve talked about this one myself)
My 20-Step Plan to Writing a Book: Part 1 (Steps 1-10) (I’ve noticed that Bookbaby is starting to recycle their links a lot so I don’t have that many new ones to share)
And from my friend:
How to Promote Your Book for Free (much of it is newsletter related but I’m not so sure that works well. I honestly don’t read 90% of the ones I get).
Questions to Consider When Plotting a Scene I really like this one.