Thursday, February 19, 2009

Welcome to my world...

I'm not the type of person who naturally likes being labelled. I'm agnostic, I'm ambidextrous, I'm... well, lets just say if there are two different ways to do things, I'd inclined to keep my options open. I'm very at home in a world filled with shades of gray.

A lot of the writers earlier on in this week put forward the idea that genre labels are not always a good thing. They made a lot of good points. I sort of agree with a lot of them. On the other hand, I think there is something to be said for putting the right labels on books. Here's why...

A few years ago, when I started writing seriously, I finally decided to quit trying to write what I thought other people wanted to read and to write the stories I wanted to tell.

One problem. A little bit of looking around and I convinced myself that no one would be interested in publishing what I wanted to write. I effectively felt like I was writing in a genre that didn't exist.

The stories were all about the development of a romantic relationship. So my books were obviously romances. Right?

Except all the romance publishers I stumbled across were vanilla and m/f. And even the ones that seemed to consider themselves very naughty had submission guidelines saying they expected three sex scenes in a 60,000 word book - some of my characters have chapters with more than that in them! So, I obviously wasn't writing romance.

More sex than romance? I must be writing erotica then. But the guidelines I found for those submissions didn't want romance, they didn't want happy ever after, they didn't want commitment between the characters and most of them only seemed to want BDSM elements for shock value.

I wrote for over a year in the complete certainty that I was the only person in the world writing the sort of stories I wanted to write - and wanted to read.

And then a stumbled across this strange thing called erotic romance. That was closer to the mark. There were writers there who seemed to enjoy writing stories that had a lot more in common than what I was writing.

A bit more searching and I found out that there were writers in that bunch who wrote Male/male stories too, and some who wrote BDSM as well!

I found my genre label.

I write BDSM erotic romance.

So, yes, right now I just like knowing that I'm writing in a particular genre that exists - that people might want to read what I want to write.

Although I'm not saying that all my stories fit in a neat little box.

I write about all different combinations or orientations and genders. So far I've had Mm, Mf, MfM and Mmm accepted. But I write all the others too. And I've got some stories that included a combination of all different relationships. At the moment, most of my stories seem to be Mm - and that's the character combination I start writing about in the first place, but it does vary somewhat with my mood.

I write about people who live a 24/7 BDSM lifestyle in one book, and people who would never let the kinky side of their life out of the bedroom in another. And I write about character who have the exact opposite view on what's the right way to do things. As long as it's SSC (Safe, sane, consensual) it's all good with me.

I write about different paranormal species too. Vampires and Werewolves are particular favourites at the moment, but I've got a few species I created from scratch in the planning.

I've got series that are classical/fantasy, mystery, suspense, historical and damn near everything else lurking around in my head.

All that's okay, I have no problem with the idea of putting six different sub-genre labels on a book.

Next Monday I'll have three stories on sale.

The Gift is M/m and M/m/m, Contemporary, Paranormal Time travel, Christmas.

Secret Service is M/m, Contemporary, Valentines.

Whispers is M/f, Paranormal, Contemporary, Psychic, Vampire. (In the Night of the Senses Anthology.)

They are in the same genre in that they are all BDSM erotic romances. But that's just about all they have in common.

I'm quite content with that.

I've found my genre. A label on my book saying that I write what I write is fine with me.

Because that's what I consider the genre labels to be. I don't find them limiting. I just think of them as simple statement to the reader that if you read this book, you will find X, Y and Z. Maybe some of those labels loose or gain me readers. I don't know.

But I do know what I write now.

I write BDSM erotic romance, usually with sub-genre descriptions tacked onto the end.

It's a bit of a mouthful, but it's a damn sight better than calling the stories I write stories-no-one-will-ever-want-to-publish :)

6 comments:

  1. Hi Kim!

    Sounds like what I was saying - the genre chooses you. Who would ever write stories that would have a hard time being published or classified unless those were the stories that found you first?

    I had to think a little about the abbreviations. mf mfm mm (male male or maybe mailman) mmm (male male male?)

    Mine might run mf, ff, mfv (female vampire) mfr (female robot) mmmmmmm! (as in yummy, a woman who had a vision of having sex in the form of a hot pineapple cake) mp (pig. Never published) mBEM (bug eyed monster)

    The list goes on.

    Garce

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  2. Hey, Kim,

    If left to my own devices, I'd probably write nothing but BDSM. Sometimes I push myself to write something different, just to stretch my capabilities.

    What worries me, though, is when I find myself making decisions about projects based on what appears to be popular. Therein lies madness, or at very least creative dishonesty.

    My Mm Christmas novella did better than all my other TEB titles combined in its first month. (I was shocked, since the only review I've had, other than yours, was very lukewarm.) Now I'm thinking, gee, perhaps I should focus on Mm plots. Make big bucks...

    No no no no NO! I mean, perhaps I will write another MM piece soon. But the popularity of the genre should not be my only motivation. I know that if I let that happen, my writing will fall flat.

    Actually, it may be that the reason Tomorrow's Gifts sold well is that it was BDSM...

    Thanks for a great post.

    Warmly,
    Lisabet

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  3. I like that you know what you want to write, and it's easy to label. That's wonderful for you, I think. You're happy in your little niche. Most of us can't make up our minds!

    Keep writing what you love!

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  4. Hi Garce,

    You're right. We have to be a bit crazy to hold onto our guns and write what we want, even when it looks like no one else might want it.

    Lol, the abreviations made me giggle.

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  5. Hi Lisabet,

    If I'm looking to stretch myself, I tend to look for a new kink to include rather than go for vanilla. It's educational if nothing else :)

    Writing for the market - I'm not sure if I could. I started off writing Mm (Didn't actually write anything that involved a woman for over a year when I started writing erotic content!) so I can't really say if I'd have tried it just for the money, but I doubt it.

    Glad your Christmas Spirits title did so well for you. I was pleased with how The Gift sold, but I don't have anything to compare it to yet :)

    I'm writing two different series that both alternate between Mm and Mf stories, so it should be interesting to see if one set do significantly better than the other.

    Can't say it will change what I write either way though. The stories are what they are, the characters rarely ask me for permission to do whatever they want :)

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  6. Hi Jamie,

    Lol, I'm not sure at what point I stopped thinking of BDSM as a niche, but it's become just what seems natural to me now.

    It's vanilla I tend to think of a niche :)

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