Friday, 23 January 2015

My love-hate relationship with bookstores

I love books. Authors are my celebrities and all that jazz. I still mourn the loss of David Eddings and other fantasy and crime authors of my twenties and thirties.

I have spent many happy hours in book shops, sighing that my debit card would not let me buy all the books I want. I hate shopping, no loathe, shopping so my companions place me in a book store and/or coffee shop and leave me to indulge in my passion.

However recently I am a convert of the digital age. Now my print books have been thinned out to a large chest and a few shelves, and most of my books are on my PC or on my computer. From the way book stores are declining - my town has lost all three of its shops - many of us love our Kindles and other eReaders, and print books are no longer as popular.

And yet... we continue our love affair with print. There is nothing quite like the joy of cracking open a book and devouring the world created by the author.

I've recently started reading a trade magazine and it still treats digital publishing like something new and not to be trusted. I want to be involved in more than my corner. I want to know about the publishing world as a whole, but I want to see my genre represented in these books as well as the usual mainstream genres.

Which leads me to my next point. These days I have a love/hate relationship with book shop. I don't read outside the MM/gay genre. There are so many categories (contemporary/crime/scifi/western/paranormal etc) and books to indulge my addiction. And in my area (and I'm betting much of the UK) there are few stores still open and none that stock MM. Even the LGBT book store doesn't sell the MM genre. I wander around the stores, look at all the books on the shelves, and yes, I admit to feeling green-eyed that they are there and I am not. I'm human. It happens.

Amazon is my friend. Before you boo/hiss me I buy nearly everything I can off Amazon, or the publishers' websites, because I hate shopping/crowds. I know all the arguments against Amazon, but without them I would not be published. I'm not anti traditional publishing, but rather traditional publishing is anti MM. I really hope that will change in the future.

How many times have I been asked if I want to write proper books? How many times have my kids wished they could take their friends into a book shop and show them my books? Too many times to count.

I would love to see my books in Waterstones, Foyles and other stores. You can buy me online in Tesco for heaven's sake. Hell, even the LGBT store would be great. I know friends/family still don't view me as a real author. The bloody royalties paying our bills should change their mind, but still, I'm not in the shops.

We are a new genre with a lot stacked against us. I tell people I write romance because you say 'gay' (M/M would just confuse them) and they substitute 'porn' for 'romance'. Seriously? The only word that goes after gay is porn? That says more about them than me.

Attitudes are changing. I only have to listen to the first wave of MM authors and publishers who tell me what it was like in the early days to understand that. Of course there is the cultural disapproval of anything LGBT but if they can cope with 'Brokeback Mountain' they can cope with a happy ever after. I hope to see that disapproval ease as same sex marriage becomes more wide-spread.

I'm lucky to be a published author. I don't need to be a traditionally published author to sell my books. I live in the best age. But I want to be able to see my books in stores, side by side with currently mainstream authors.

Is this pie in the sky?

Watch this space...


  1. I can understand that, it must be so great to go into a bookstore and see your books sitting on a shelf.

  2. Totally agree with you Sue, I love going to waterstones and I have lost countless hours in there but since I discovered this genre I haven`t been as there is no point, I can`t get what I am interested in. Looking forward to the day I can walk in and ask for one of yours or any other author in this genre