When it comes to writing, I generally follow the Toni Morrison rule: “If there’s a book you really want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”
That’s why I write the kind of books that I write: southern paranormal fiction and humorous fiction. I generally write the types of books that I would walk into a bookstore and buy.
But there’s another issue here: actually making a living as a writer.
Before I started my publishing journey I was aware of a few things:
- Most books, whether traditionally or independently published, don’t sell well.
- The success of books like Harry Potter and Twilight are not the norm.
- If you’re writing because you want to be rich then I have a bridge to nowhere I’d like to sell you you might want to switch professions.
It’s hard out there for an author, especially an independent one, without the marketing muscle of a big time publishing company. There’s no guarantee that the book you spent a year, two years, or even ten years writing will ever make a dime.
But there is a genre that seems to be raking in the cash: erotica. In an article titled “Why Boomer Women Are Hot For Erotica E-Books” author Julio Ojeda-Zapata discusses the convergence of two trends: a rise in e-readers (fans can now read these books with anonymity) and a mainstream acceptance of erotica (the success of books like 50 Shades). In fact, in 2012 romance and erotica books raked in $1.4 billion in sales. The erotica book business seems to be a-boomin’.
I recently came across a blog post where an author was saying that the genre she loves the most doesn’t sell well but her erotica titles sell something like 2,000 copies a week (yes, that’s 8,000 copies a month).
After I read that I said to my husband: “I think I’m going to write erotica under a pen name.” And you know what happened? He laughed at me! I said, “What’s so funny?”
He said, “You don’t even like erotica!”
“I think you should just stick to what you’re doing.”
I have to be honest with you: I have been seriously considering trying my hand at erotica (under some sexy pen name like Veronica Sizzle) just to see what happens, but you know what? My husband is probably right: I should probably just stick to what I’m doing because a book written without passion is sort of, well…meh. And the last thing I want to do is get outed by TMZ for writing subpar erotica. No, ma’am!
So I guess I’ll just stick to writing what I love and do like all the other authors who came before me: read as much as I can, hone my craft, and hope that with a little dedication and persistence, my writing career will eventually take off.
But it is very tempting to try and write the trend in expectation of getting a huge pay day. Very! So if you ever see a book by Veronica Sizzle, just don’t judge me, okay?
What about all of you? What genres are you writing in? Do you think about book sales when you write? Does what you write just so happen to fall into a genre that’s hot right now?
I’d love to hear your thoughts!