Lots of interesting market posts out there. <a target="_blank" href="http://mjroseblog.typepad.com/buzz_balls_hype/2006/06/to_market_to_ma.htm">MJ Rose discusses writing to market</a> and whether you can do it without selling out. (To which I say a resounding YES.) <a target="_blank" href="http://www.lydiajoyce.com/blog/?p=346">Lydia Joyce has numbers</a> on making a living at writing, interesting reading although it does make me think of that quote "lies, damn lies, and statistics". Because while it can help give you a picture of publishing, the individual factor is much harder to pin down.

Anyway. Writing to market. Here's an example from my own experience. I pitched three projects to St. Martin's. I wrote synopsis on the first two. One was paranormal, one contemporary. All three projects were books I want to write and feel enthusiastic about. (I will write the other two, have written 1/3 of one and will sell them elsewhere if SMP doesn't want them.)

The one that sold was the contemporary. If you look at my booklist, I have about a 50/50 split on contemporary and FF&P. Well, the numbers are skewed now I think in favor of FF&P. But the point is, I like to write both. It's not selling out to write the contemporary, because I love that book, too.

I think the key to writing to market without being a sell out is very simple: don't pitch or undertake anything you don't really want to do. When I see somebody holding their nose and saying "erotic sells so I'll do that, it'll be easy, those books are so badly written the publishers will buy anything" I know that writer is going to have one of two outcomes. Complete failure, or a complete change of heart with the discovery that by God this erotic stuff is fun and I'm pretty good at it!

You can't succeed doing something you hate. Period. If you hate the genre, the readers and the publishers and the other authors, give it up and move on. Find another market segment that resonates with you. Publishing is huge, there's something somewhere to get fired up about that will sell.

I don't think the naysayers give the reader enough credit. Readers are smart cookies. I've heard the cry of oh it's just all sex and no story, no plot, characters suck, it's all sex, sex, sex!

Sure, there are books like that, but I dare to say those aren't doing as well as the erotic romances that do feature great characters, a great love story etc.

There's dreck in every genre. I've read stuff that made me want to sprinkle acid in my eyes.

I wrote "to the market" but it happened to be a genre I loved and researched extensively. I've read hundreds upon hundreds of erotic romances. Some of them are really bad, but a lot of them are really really well written, terrific stories.

If you ask me, the cry of "chasing trends, selling out" comes from authors who are stuck in a rut writing something that they aren't selling and don't have the courage to break out and try something different. (just my two cents ;) )

The accusation of selling out and/or "he/she is just a hack" most often seems to come from writers who aren't doing so well, but it does also come up from the reader perspective. Most recently in RT's letters to the editor with one reader outraged over an author's switch from historical to paranormal.

You make a good point, Sharon, I think it's easy to get settled in a comfort zone and not want to take risks trying something different. Or to not take charge of your career and say no to something you aren't passionate about and suggest alternatives that do engage you.

"erotic sells so I’ll do that, it’ll be easy, those books are so badly written the publishers will buy anything”

Ack, YES! I've heard pubbed authors say this a NUMBER of times! And here, I'm thinking, "I sweat BLOOD over the sex scenes I write. I WISH it were easy. It's the hardest thing I do!"

I hear it all the time, too, Lydia. I just shake my head. :eek:

Thanks for breaking down all the numbers, by the way! I love numbers.

OMG that is so true. I spend SO much time on love scenes. I will often skip them and come back because I want them to be perfect. I once quipped that I might be the only erotic romance writer who hated writing sex scenes. And it's not because I *hate* sex, but they are very time intensive scenes (at least for me)

Totally agree with Lydia. I sweat blood, stress beyond belief, and they are most definitely the hardest scenes I write in a book. Hands down.

Whether they come easily or not, they're centerpiece scenes that really have to work. I spend a lot of time on the erotic scenes. Lots and lots. The action, the dialog, the sensory elements, and so many tiny details that have to be right.

Seems like I'm seeing this question a lot lately. I used to write just for the pleasure of it. Now I write with a target publisher/market in mind. What's the point of going through all that blood, sweat, and tears if in the end no one's going to read it, but me lol? It works for me since I write military suspense and paranormal, sometimes it's erotic, sometimes more mainstream. None of those markets are hurting right now. If they dip, I'll adapt.

“erotic sells so I’ll do that, it’ll be easy, those books are so badly written the publishers will buy anything”

Kinda hurts to read that lol. Erotic romance is so difficult to do write, hence the dreck lol. I think I can see where the idea comes from though. In epubbing, I know which publishers I can rely on for quality work. The erotic print market seems pretty hit or miss right now. I think that will straighten itself out soon enough, and I just avoid the epubs I've read a few bad ones from.

I missed that RT letter. I can understand readers get attached to a certain author in a certain genre and are upset about them switching. (I just read a blog about this a couple of days ago.) I hope most readers don't feel that way. There is no way I'm going to spend the rest of my life writing in just one genre.

Loribelle, in this case it was more upset about the perception that the author was writing to trends rather than switching genres. If I like an author, I'll read everything they write! I think it would be very difficult to write only one genre for your entire career from a creative perspective, even if the market didn't change.

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