Sometimes you get really good advice that you know you’re just never going to take.
For me, one of them is researching your genre and writing to the commonalities.
Now don’t get me wrong – I’ve read a lot of fantasy. I love scifi. I devour erotica. I understand, very well, what I like and what I don’t like in the genres, and I know that a lot of the stuff I don’t like is very popular with readers.
For instance, my partner and I write high fantasy erotica. What’s popular is urban fantasy erotica. We write elves and orcs. What’s popular is vampires and shifters. Most of the books are first person. We usually write in third.
This is what we want to write, and sure, it’s breaking the rules, but we’re of the mind that we can only chase what’s popular for so long before we snap. Instead, we’re forging our own path, finding our own fans that don’t want the popular formula.
Now why is writing what’s popular good advice?
Because there’s a lot more readers that want to read familiar themes, characters, plots, and storylines. There’s nothing wrong with that. There’s a reason I keep reading Forgotten Realms books – it’s because I love the world and the characters and they style of most of the authors. I completely understand other people’s desire to do the same and read 50 books that are just like 50 Shades of Grey.
So if you write a contemporary billionaire BDSM book, you have a built in audience. You say “If you liked 50 Shades of Grey, read this!” and it’s fantastic.
My partner and I don’t get to do that, because there’s not many huge authors, or huge hits, in our genre. We’re forging through the untrodden path because we’re writing what we want to read. We’re writing for ourselves and trusting the rest will fall into place, because we’re passionate about it, and we’re good at it.
The Warlord’s Concubine is an upcoming high fantasy novel by J.E. & M. Keep.
We’ve had lots of fans praise us for not sticking to the familiar tropes. They’re tired of reading the same plots and characters and environments. They want something new. They’ve been reading fantasy and scifi books for years and they’re sick of how they fade to black over the sex, and how the erotica doesn’t have an epic storyline behind it. They don’t have set kinks that they’re reading for. They just want some sensuality and sex in their sff books, and that’s what we want too.
So we’re shirking the good advice, and for a while, it means we might not be a huge hit, and that’s okay. We’re connecting with a solid reader base of people who want the same things we do in their stories, and who knows? In a few years, maybe fantasy will take off again and we’ll already have a huge back catalogue of what those reader’s want.
No one really foretold that paranormal romance would be such a big deal a few years ago, but now it takes up half the fantasy – and half the romance! – sections in the book stores. All this happened because one person wrote a series of books that really resonated with readers and was unique and interesting.
The same thing happened with 50 Shades. Sure there were other BDSM books out there, but there weren’t any that were like 50SoG. There wasn’t the cold and distant, yet obsessive and attractive billionaire that wanted the mousy, shy college student.
So we’ll keep building our fanbase and writing what we want to read. Dark, twisted romances in an immersive, third person landscape. Dungeons and Dragons inspired stories with just the right touch of erotica. Strong, interesting characters of varying species and alignments. Demonic characters finding love and happiness and hope.
We know we’re not the only ones out there that need this genre, and if this strikes with you, we’re looking for reviewers for a few of our upcoming books! Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your reviewer profile and we’ll send you a free advanced review copy!