I’ve been writing for nearly 10 years now and one thing I’ve come to understand…Genre is important. I’m not just speaking as to whether an author should write Romance, Erotica, Paranormal or Horror, but what you should write within those Genres.
As an avid reader of Nora Roberts romances I always aspired to write like her. Somewhere along the line though I lost track of my original intent. When I first started writing and submitting to publishers, I kept receiving reject letters telling me my stories weren’t HOT enough that ‘sweet’ romance didn’t sell. Desperate to be published and prove to my family I wasn’t wasting my time I sexed up my tales and resubmitted.
Samhain was the first to accept my spicy new work and published Beyond the Tears for their Mid Summer’s Night Steam Anthology series back in 2007. With a taste of moderate success and some good reviews I slid further into the erotic romance genre as I attempted to repeat my first achievement. Next came Some Kind of Hero published Spring of 2008. I spent a year writing, polishing and tweaking this story and was extremely proud of it…then.
With another successful publication under by belt I ventured out to other publishers and joined the ranks of Loose-id, Amber Quill Press, and The Wild Rose Press. (I have since terminated contracts with Amber Quill and Wild Rose). My success was moderate with these publishers, actually pretty abysmal with the latter two, but by working with them I gained experience I might not otherwise found.
As the years wore on and self-publishing became more mainstream and less of a stigma within the industry I decided to jump on that Erotica Gravy Train that was giving some no-name authors, never before published through traditional means thousands of dollars a month in earnings. I began writing short stories, tailored specifically for sex only with little to no character development or plot. I toyed in sub-genres within erotica that made my stomach roll; subjects that I’d never want to read myself. I was ashamed of these stories and ashamed of myself for selling out simply to garner a buck. In short, I’d lost not only my direction and purpose, but my integrity.
Worse yet, I quickly realized that I’d irreversibly damaged Michelle’s relationship with her fans. With my writing being all over the map, in many different sub-genre’s that span sweet romance to straight up smut, how were my fans to know what they were getting from story to story? In short I’ve made a mess of Michelle in my attempts to make a place for myself within the market.
With 10 years under my belt, I’ve come a long way from that first story and I’ve learned several things about myself. I’ve learned that I do actually enjoy writing in various genre’s. I love the sweet love story, but I also love writing the occasional smut when the mood strikes. I’ve accepted that due to my inability to commit to a specific genre I’ll never have the success of my peers and that my family will be proud of me no matter what I write. Mostly I’ve learned to follow my heart. What I write is so much better written when I enjoy the story and the characters. I am no longer going to try and write whatever the ‘flavor of the week’ is. Instead I’m going to stick to what whatever interests me at that moment. If I enjoy writing the story, hopefully there will be those who enjoy reading it.
In the meantime I still must figure out what to do with Michelle. The mess I’ve made with her possibly can’t be corrected and if that’s the case maybe a new pen name is in order. That’s something I’ll need to decide, but for now I’m simply going to continue writing what my heart desires…in whatever genre that may be.
Oh and one last thing…HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!