I’ve written and self-published five novels so far. I released them into the world and watched the steady, however minimal, sales. I knew that my job wasn’t over, in order to sell them, really sell them, I’d have to market them.
Market research was quite disturbing. “There’s no market for gay fiction novels. If you want to succeed in the Gay & Lesbian genre, you have to write novellas / short stories for women. That’s what’s selling. There’re massive online eBook retailers devoted to it. And it wouldn’t hurt to develop a female alias.”
I considered it.
I recently promoted Duke – Book 1: Alpha Rising, my pride and joy and the first in a series of three (so far). I posted a notice in a M/M Romance group I was a member of, among other places. I was very pleased with the response, until the reviews came in . . . from women:
While they all liked the writing, characters, and world-building, etc., they added, “It wasn’t a bad book; it just wasn’t for me – 2/5 stars.” I wanted to say, “Well, I didn’t write it for you.”
“It’s awful that someone in a relationship would have that much recreational sex with others – 2/5 stars.” I wanted to say, (or actually, I did say), “The book blurb clearly states that the main character had a lover and someone else would compete for his affection.”
Another along those lines, “I have a bit of a problem with all the cheating/swapping – 1/5 stars.”
“All the sex is just frivolous. I don’t think the author had any other purpose than this – 2/5 stars” I replied, “The book blurb clearly states that the book is an EROTIC drama, with laughter and tears, his story will touch you and have you TOUCHING YOURSELF.”
“There’re no werewolves – 2/5 stars.” I replied, “The book blurb clearly mentions a German Shepherd, an Irish Setter, and even a tortoise.”
Instead of appreciating the book for what is was, they were not appreciating it for what it wasn’t.
In challenging their reviews, I was told that, “Negative ratings can be useful to an author to learn what appeals to readers and what doesn’t.”
What appeals to WHICH readers? That’s when I snapped.
THIS ISN’T A M/M ROMANCE WEREWOLF ‘STORY’, NO FUCKING WEREWOLVES! THIS ISN’T A M/M ROMANCE, THIS IS GAY FICTION. I DIDN’T WRITE IT FOR YOU! I WROTE IT FOR GAY MEN!
And reviews came in from gay men, and they were positive.
To think I almost kowtowed to these people.
I’m glad women like M/M Romance, good for them, but NOT to the EXCLUSION of gay men; I find this completely IMBALANCED.
Websites and blogs celebrate ‘the best in gay fiction for women’ . . . M/M Romance groups started and dominated by women . . . gay Literature retreats where 80% of the featured authors are women . . . gay male authors stop writing gay fiction for gay men to write M/M Romance for women . . . and a gay man releasing a gay fiction book written for gay men getting slammed for not catering to what women want.
That’s when I started a new group, no girls allowed! (gay men only). The response by gay men has been positive. The response by women, well, I was cautioned that I might be thought of as misogynistic for excluding them.
I’ll have to find a word to call them for what they’re doing.