NO GAY FOR YOU! trends in gay and lesbian fiction


Well, I entered Duke – Book 1: Alpha Rising into the amazon Prime program to take advantage of its promotions. I was hoping to spur interest in Duke, maybe get some reviews and bleed-through sales. So how did that work out? I ‘gave away’ 700 copies of Duke, got some reviews, and some bleed-through sales so, mission accomplished? Here’s what I found:

Let’s call books over 200 pgs. NOVELS, books under 200 pgs. NOVELLAS, and books under 100 pgs. SHORT STORIES.

1) I don’t care about sales rank, because Gay & Lesbian Fiction is fraught with ‘beaters’.

Beaters: 10-20 page SHORT STORIES, typically of one drawn-out ‘scene of affection’, which seem to be gobbled up. Research shows that only 25% of the books listed under ‘Gay & Lesbian’ are NOVELS, 35% are NOVELLAS, and 40% are SHORT STORIES. Six months ago, it was 50% NOVELS, 25% NOVELLAS, and 25% SHORT STORIES.

These ‘beaters’ kept beating Duke down in rank on the ‘Best Sellers in Gay & Lesbian Fiction’ list, (but that’s not why I call them beaters . . . you’ll figure it out.)

2) No gay for you!

I think that there’s a divide, between books written by gay men for gay men and M/M books written by women for women.

Research shows that 75% of the books listed under ‘Gay & Lesbian’ are written by women. Six months ago, it was split evenly men and women. I would like to think that there’s no difference, but there obviously is.

Do gay men enjoy books written by women? I’ve read some posts by gay men looking for books written by gay men because they’re just not satisfied with how women write gay romance. Gay men are my target readers and seem to like my books.

Female readers, while they think it’s a good book, say it just ‘isn’t for them’, as they have different sensibilities. (I wanted to tell them, “Well, I didn’t write it for you.”) This market is taking off in its own direction, there are lots of blogs and book review sites for ‘celebrating the best in M/M romance for women’, which says a lot.

I think we should have a ‘blind taste test’, any volunteers?

(One note, most non-heterosexual fiction, like ménage, is put into the ‘Gay & Lesbian Fiction’ category.)

3) Correlated research from both points leads to the following:

While the prevalence of Gay & Lesbian Fiction NOVELLAS and SHORT STORIES by male authors has stayed relatively the same, NOVELS are being pushed aside, along with gay male preference, by NOVELLAS and SHORT STOIRES written by women for women. (And this is imbalanced, as I’d say that we’ll never see the obverse being true.)

So, in summary, there is no market for gay fiction NOVELS, it’s all about the beaters and what women want.

But I did ‘give away’ 700 copies of Duke – Book 1: Alpha Rising, which I hope will be enjoyed, so thank you to all of you who do!

(The ‘research’ is from a survey of the Top 100 Best Sellers in Gay & Lesbian Fiction on amazon.com in February and August of this year.)

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About scavola

author of the gay 'Duke' and GLBT 'ATL Engineering' series
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