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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the BIRTH of DUKE


Duke – Book 1: Alpha Rising

An erotic drama, with laughter and tears, his story will touch you, and have you touching yourself.

Two worlds collide as Duke has to tell his boyfriend Mike his secret, that not only can he change into a black German Shepherd, but also that the Irish Setter he brought home from his family vacation is actually his lover Rourke.

Rourke, a ‘purist’, his primitive people brutalized him for being gay. By becoming his ‘Alpha’, Duke rescued him, but to remain an ‘Alpha’ Duke has to lead a pack. The machinations of the purists not only lead Duke to gather a pack, but also to take action that will have far-reaching ramifications.

For Rourke’s sake, Duke has to tell Mike his secret, to do so they have to mate. Their love on the line, the real threat comes from within as another competes for Duke’s affection.

Animal experimentation, a knife-wielding homophobe, the local whore, and an ailing grandparent, who has to pass along his gift of ‘change’, add to his troubles, but a hundred-year-old tortoise with a secret saves the day.

_____

My little (22 year-old 6 foot) cousin brought up ‘furries’, people who ‘dress up like animals and have sex.’ That put the bug in my ear, or head, or is it butt?

Furries . . . fur ‘art’ (anthropomorphism) . . . guy’s a furry . . . guy IS a furry . . . changes into a dog . . . it’s a secret, from his boyfriend . . . his whole life . . . and they’ve been friends since childhood.

He’s a man who’s also a dog . . . how would he act differently . . . a scene with him and his boyfriend and, they way he acts and is treated, you don’t know if he’s a man or a dog . . .

Human vs. canine sensibilities . . . what they do as affectionate, if we were to do it, would be gross . . . like cleaning each other . . . he could clean a friend . . . unbeknownst . . . because that guy wouldn’t think anything of having him around while he jerked off, as a dog . . . the guy next door . . .

Got to have a place where they can be ‘furries’, and work in an Irish Setter, a redhead . . . with fangs . . . a big guy . . . a savage!

Let’s just say that I have a lot of reference pictures of guys and a few had caught my eye, one had dark features and I could see him as a . . . German Shepherd, the blond could be the boyfriend, another was your all-American boy next door . . . for the Irish Setter, a friend.

I’ll admit, I started off using the plot to only get them all together to have sex, but then so much affection was added, Duke’s affection for Dustin, for Rourke, Duke and Mike’s love for each other, Duke’s loving family. After the touching scene with grandma, I considered dropping all the sex because, by then, it had too much heart. I didn’t want it to be thought of as porn, but the ‘porn’ had become integral to the plot. But how much porn could a drama have? That’s when I decided to call it an erotic drama, to let readers know that, while it’s a book with a story, there’s also some of the SEX. But I’ve been told that the sex is the right amount, it may or may not interfere with the plot depending on if you want it to or not. Besides, my sex scenes are paragraphs not pages because, let’s face it, that’s all it really takes.

The rest of the story ideas were just gifts, especially Genevieve. I don’t know how my little brain does it, but somehow all the plotting is done in my subconscious. I was writing so much and so fast that I wasn’t even actually acknowledging what was being written until after it was typed, as if I were reading it for the first time myself. And it just blew me away and consumed me, day and night, for three weeks. I started making some notes for the sequel, and, OOPS, three weeks later that was done too. I felt truly blessed to have it all come to me so easily, I felt like an actual writer, but the pressure was on for the third installment, which I planned to do for NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writer’s Month. Duke – Book 1 had general research, Book2 had historical research, but Book 3 had regional research, as it took place in a country I’d never been to, and I was incorporating friends I’d met though Duke into the story, (which I had to get right). I almost gave up, but I bust out over 5,000 words in one day towards the end, which allowed me to finish on time, 50,000 words in one month.

Black German Shepherds, Irish Setters, Huskies, cows, horses, cats, dolphins, turtles, gazelles, and lions, from cotemporary rural Michigan to WWII-era coastal Georgia to contemporary Israel, growing a pack, saving friends from abuse, getting married, reconciling love, and dealing with loss, the Duke series has it all, and lots of wild and crazy man-beast sex.

For more detailed information, including, synopsis, summary, chapters, characters, and, WATCH OUT, spoilers, see the shelfari listings:
http://www.shelfari.com/books/25791067/Alpha-Rising
http://www.shelfari.com/books/26035253/Genevieves-Tale
http://www.shelfari.com/books/28039474/Transformations

(picture by tsaiwolf, http://www.furaffinity.net/user/tsaiwolf/)

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“I got an agent!” (not me)


 

“Yay! I got an agent!” I overheard an author say on the twitter.

 

“Really?” I asked myself, yes, pessimistically.

 

Let’s see, said agent has a blog. Her ‘agency’ is overseas. Her ‘agency’ has been in business for less than a year. She SAYS that she has three Masters degrees. She SAYS that she previously worked for two powerhouse agencies. She SAYS that she has three, make that four now, clients, (who have yet to publish).

 

So, said agent, having finally climbed her way up the ladder, having reached her pinnacle with those degrees, (she appears to be in her early thirties), WALKS AWAY.

 

“Why let the AGENCY take all the credit while I do all the work? Why give them the fat commission when I only make three figures. Humph, AGENCIES established long before I was born, with lists of authors and published projects, established relationships with publishers, what do they know? I CAN DO IT MYSELF!”

 

So, either said agent is a supremely overconfident idiot for leaving a cushy job in publishing or said agent was a poor performer and dismissed from her job.

 

Either way, do you want to put your book ‘baby’ in her hands? According to her philosophy, you can cut out the middleman and DO IT YOURSELF.

 

I’m not against having an agent, an established agent can skyrocket your writing career, just watch out for posers, as I’ve seen this time and time again . . . BE CAREFUL, DO YOUR RESEARCH

 

Keep your eyes on the stars and feet on the ground – Theodore Roosevelt

 

Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars – Casey Kasem

 

Keep your head in the clouds but your feet on the ground – Me
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How to Write a Review


I’ve been looking for a ‘How to Write a Review’ for some time and finally stumbled across this, a grading rubric for 6th Grade Writing, but hey, it works! Covering all these bases would clearly communicate whether a book is good or not. So, how would one of my books stack up?

http://www.rcampus.com/rubricshowc.cfm?code=R7C258&sp=true&

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Hey!


I know you can comment on posts, but wanted a place where you could just stop by and say hi.

Let me know what you think, what’s going’ on, or how you doin’.

 

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reverse-engineering the supply chain


In marketing, it’s suggested to think about your purchases and how you came about making them, so I looked at the last ten books I bought:

  1. Boundaries by Drs. Cloud and Townsend, recommended by a friend
  2. The True Story of the Bilderberg Group by Daniel Estulin, (as a gift), by related key word search
  3. Casket of Souls by Lynn Flewelling, because it’s the next installment in a series that I love
  4. The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Amigurumi by June Gilbank, (as a gfit), by related key word search
  5. The Picture of Dorian Gray: Uncensored, by Oscar Wilde, from a blog article
  6. A Man on Summerland Beach by Nathan Grant, a fellow goodreads author
  7. Star Trek – Killing Time by Della Van Hise, a blog article mentioned that it was “yanked from the market for being in bad taste” (so I had to have it!)
  8. Beyond Sanctuary by Janet Morris, by related key word search
  9. Skin by Nya Rawlins, a facebook friend
  10. Choptank Blues & Other Stories by Diane Nelson, a facebook friend
  • Three were purchased by key word search, and only one of those for me
  • Three were purchased to support a fellow authors / friends
  • Two were purchased because of blog articles I stumbled upon, (am not subscribed to)
  • One was due to being a fan of the author already
  • One was recommended by a friend

So, ‘word of mouth’ played a part in 7/10 of the purchases, social media being 5 of those. Using ‘reverse-engineering’, to push my books out there I’d:

  • support fellow authors and friends, as they reciprocate
  • keep on blogging and stay involved in social media

Interesting?

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DON’T! (writing don’ts)


I’m by no means an expert, I’m not at that point where I’m so established that I support myself on royalties, (yet). I don’t have the secret of success, but I do see things that, if they irk me, they’ll most likely irk others. So, to develop a ‘what to do’ list, I’m first making a ‘what not to do list’.

Feel free to make suggestions or comments; I’ll be updating this list as I find more don’ts.

For books:

  • don’t write a book about yourself! we’ve all got our own shit, why would we want to read about yours?
  • don’t write books about writing unless you’re an established writer, (or someone established in the business) – too may posers out there.
  • don’t e-publish short stories – put them into a collection, and don’t publish short story collections unless you have readers who want to read them
  • don’t serialize e-publish, ain’t no book needs to be cut-up like that – guilty!

For blurbs:

  • don’t bury a blurb with reviews, before I hear how good it is I want to know what it’s about
  • don’t speak directly to the reader in your blurb, telling them about your book, that’s just tacky, and don’t reference yourself in the third person for a book you wrote about yourself
  • don’t reference accolades from competitions, blogs, or other authors nobody’s heard of, (or that you made up) or label yourself as a bestselling author, what does that mean anyway? now, New York Times bestselling author might mean something
  • don’t break each sentence into a power statement or taglines, in uppercase or bold, with an extra line between each of them to make it seem more important
  • don’t cite books yours is like or a combination of
  • don’t state that $1 of each sale goes to charity, that’s just pandering
  • don’t tell me what I should think of the book, “you’ll find it captivating, mezmerizing, and stimulating!” or by using adjectives like ‘brilliant’ or ‘thrilling’
  • don’t give a full summary or large excerpt, it’s just a blurb

With promotion:

  • don’t create a book site or have a contest where the sole purpose is to promote your books or yourself
  • feed off others’ blogs or tweets to attract attention to yourself, make your own! (i.e. “look at my daily news page on writing, with no original content of my own”)
  • don’t give yourself professional accolades having only one self-published book
  • don’t ‘fish’ on blogs, twitter, or author sites, i.e. follow someone just to attract attention to yourself
  • don’t spend more time in the busi-ness of promotion than you do writing, instead, write more

For reviews:

  • don’t put others down, instead, help others up (and in general)
  • don’t get defensive, accept constructive criticism; my motto is, “what doesn’t kill the book will only make it stronger”
  • don’t get retaliatory, thank anyone who takes the time to read and comment
  • don’t be a party to mutual masturbation, i.e., “I’ll give your book 5 stars if you give 5 stars to mine”
  • don’t give a review if you haven’t read all of the book, at least not without saying so
  • don’t read as a writer; read as a reader or, only if asked to, an editor
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