by Giselle Renarde
I don't worry about anything other than my writing career, but that's probably because I don't do much beyond my writing career.
Writing isn't a bit on the side--it's my full-time job, so I need to consistently earn enough to pay my rent, buy food, cover the bills, all that. There's no safety net, here. It's just me tapping away at a computer, hoping readers will buy my words.
I write a book and, before the first draft is even done, I'm asking, "What if it doesn't sell?" Because I know my work and I know the market, and those two things do not match up. Not even close. The vast majority of my books cater to a niche market. Even award-winning works like The Red Satin Collection and My Mistress' Thighs don't have a wide appeal because only a slim segment of the market is going to shell out for erotic romance featuring transgender characters.
Well, if I'm so concerned about selling more books and the books I currently write don't appeal to a wide market, why don't I just write books with mass appeal? Easy-peasy. We all know readers like alpha males, shapeshifters, billionaires, men in uniform, and abusive pseudo-BDSM. So why don't I just write that?
Because... and I know how whiny this is going to sound, but, guys, I haaaaate all that stuff. The big man-chests and douchey demanding dudes? No. No, that stuff grosses me out. Please don't take offense if this is your thing. I don't mean to yuck your yum, I just don't like it. And if I don't like it, how can I write it?
The answer is: I can't. I know, because I've tried. More than once. And every time the story has veered off-course until it's suddenly ME again, and lacking market appeal. By trying to please everyone, I end up pleasing no one--not even myself. I'd rather write something that I can be proud of, even if it only appeals to a slim audience.
Look at that! I've just talked myself out of making money. What a shrewd businessperson am I!
The truth is that I have written a book that sold astonishingly well, and it wasn't exactly a pleasant experience. I'm talking about Stacy's Dad Has Got It Going On, about a college girl who has a fling with her roommate's father.
I've mentioned this book before. It hit the ground running. By the time my publisher sent me buy link the day after it was uploaded to Amazon, it was already a bestseller. Dream come true, right?
Well... not so much. Because pretty soon after Stacy's Dad sold 50 million copies (okay, that's a slight exaggeration), the 1-star reviews started coming in. But I can't complain. It's my fault for writing the most boring book EVER. If I hadn't written such a HORRIBLE novel, readers wouldn't have to hack it to pieces. My bad. Sorry for wasting everybody's time.
So, whenever I write a new book, I find myself asking these questions:
- What If It Doesn't Sell?
- What If It DOES?
I want readers to enjoy my books... but I also want to pay my bills, so...?
So I guess that's why I write hardcore smut like Nanny State and Adam and Sheree's Family Vacation/Business/Christmas. I love writing dirty taboo erotica with absolutely no redeeming factors, and readers eat it up. Problem solved. Why don't I just write that all the time?