Thursday, 9 May 2013

Sue's Muse: Selling Books

Recently, I've been reading many articles on how to sell a bucketload of books. It's not surprising. I'm an author, and I always want to improve my sales. I firmly believe that my biggest asset are my stories, but I'm not naive enough to think I can sell my books without using social media.

So what have I done? I have a brand and a website. I'm very visible on Facebook and Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest and Google +. Have I missed one? For me Facebook without doubt has been the biggest aid to sales.

I promote my books before they are published. I like talking about the writing process, and I like it when readers get involved. As I've said before writing can be isolating. I am very grateful for the reviews I get. Good or bad, I genuinely appreciate people taking time to review my books.

I do have a question though. I write Male/Male romance, gay romance, or whatever you want to call it. I love my genre. Since I discovered it with Chris Owens, Bareback I have fallen in love with so many authors. They've transported me to whole new worlds.

For me, as an author, I've been able to tackle so many social issues. Here is a list for those people who say mm romance never tackles real issues. Yes, that dismissive comment really smarts.

Nothing Ever Happens - adultery, sexual identity, bereavement, divorce, religious bigotry
Morning Report series - religious bigotry, child abuse, reparative therapy, hate crimes
Final Admission - spousal abuse, adultery
Summer's Dawn - coming out as a teenager, assault by parents
The Isle of... Where? - bereavement, immigration for same-sex couples
The Sky is Dead - parental rejection, homelessness

Does the fact I write about two men in a relationship stop you reading my books? If Danny, my homeless teenager was straight, would you read the book? If the spousal abuse was man on woman, or woman on man, would you read it? My real life friends, I have one or two, won't read my books because they focus on a gay relationship, yet they would read the het version of the same.

Society slowly rumbles forward to be more accepting of LGBT relationships. Go France, go Uruguay for legalising same sex marriage. Go Delaware, Minnesota and Rhode Island to be the very latest states to legalise same-sex marriage in America.

What I'm asking is will there be a day when het and gay nestle side by side on book shelves? Some mainstream authors have made that break: Anne Rice, Marion Zimmer Bradley and Mary Renault spring to mind.What about the rest of us? There are many authors in my genre that write the most exquisite books; Amy Lane, J.P Barnaby, SJD Peterson, Lisa Worrall, Mary Calmes, Abigail Roux, Alex Kidwell... the list is endless. You are missing so much by not reading their books just because the main characters are two men.

What is it that stops you reading gay books, be they romance, crime, science fiction or historical? Is it the gay? Is it the sex? I'd like to know. What do you like reading?


The Sky is Dead is out now. All royalties going to the The Albert Kennedy Trust, supporting homeless LGBT youth.

1 comment:

  1. I think you might be asking the wrong audience why they DON'T read gay romance, but I don't actually know your readership like you do, so all I can give you is why I find I DO read gay romance. I think what attracts me to the genre is that gay romance, and this is just my experience, can focus on the romance without falling into gender stereotyping. The men don't have to only be the big strong heroes who get the girl, and the women don't have to be saucy, sexy heroines who defy odds to win the whatever. The archetype expectation is busted in gay romance, and readers often forget that they're reading about GAY sex and love and find more connection with the people. Maybe I'm reading the wrong het romance, but I always get caught up on the heroine being "quirky" or "sassy" and losing her flawed humanity.