I have neglected my blog a bit this last month. Well, I say “a bit”, but considering I haven’t blogged in a month, it’s a little more than just a bit. But I have good reason! I have been working really hard on two full length erotic romance novels. One of which I am hoping to self-publish soon and one I am going to try publishing traditionally.
I have always loved writing and for the last 6 years I have participated in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). This takes place during November and the idea is that you write 50,000 words on a new novel during that month. I have completed 4 novels during NaNoWriMo, but none have been published. It took me until last year to realise that I was always writing in the wrong genre. Last year I decided to write an erotic romance and I completely fell in love. Romance is my genre, and I just had to let go off my feelings of shame around romance.
I grew up in what I would call an intellectual household and romance was firmly rejected as too silly. It took me a long time to admit that I loved reading romance, but now that I have embraced writing it, the ideas can’t stop flowing. I wrote one erotic romance (heavy on the erotica and light on the romance) last year, which I am now finishing up with an editor for self publishing. I then participated in Camp NaNoWriMo in April and finished my second romance. I love both books and I love the erotic element in both.
I haven’t seriously tried to find an agent or publisher for either of my books yet, but I have started to look around. And maybe I am just not looking in the right places, but I find it very difficult to find an agent/publisher who is interested in F/F or F/F/M erotic romance. I know that publishers are thinking about their bottom line, and maybe an erotic romance with bisexual main characters won’t sell well. I have no idea. But if publishers don’t take risks, we will never really see any diversity in our books.
I have tried to write “traditional” romance featuring a man and a woman. I have ever pitched an idea to Mills & Boon because I thought it would be fun to write something like that. But the more I think about it, the less I like the idea. Maybe I just can’t write believable sexy men, because there are not a lot of men I am attracted to. Or maybe I just like to be different (well, I know that’s true!) and I don’t like what mainstream media likes.
I have to be honest and say that I struggled with this for quite a while. I kept reading articles about how to write a bestseller, or what publishers/agents look for in romance, and I tried to think of story ideas that would fit the mould. But nothing really appealed to me. I want to write about women falling in love with each other. I want to write about non-conventional relationships. That is what excites me, and don’t they always say you should write what you are passionate about?
So a few weeks ago I decided that I am going to write what I like. Yes, it is my dream to be a full time writer and make my living off my books. And yes, the chances of that are likely higher if I publish traditionally rather than self-publish, especially considering I don’t have that much free time to market my book extensively. But in the end, writing is therapeutic for me. I love sitting down at my laptop and create a world in which I can disappear. And so, my stories need to appeal to myself first of all. If I can get mushy – or aroused! – from my stories, then I’m happy writing them. If I force myself to write what I think people want to read, then that shows in the quality of my work.
Not writing “traditional” romance does make me feel a bit like an outsider. I’m part of a writer’s group and every time someone asks me what I write, I hesitate before admitting I write erotic romance. Somehow I still feel a bit ashamed to admit this, yet, there is nothing wrong with erotic romance. But society has determined that romance, and especially erotic romance, is shameful. “Guilty pleasure” is how it is often described. And yet, erotic romance is much nicer to read than, say, horror. I’d much rather read about people falling in love and having great sex than people being tortured and killed. But maybe I’m just weird.
I may never feel utterly comfortable telling people that I write erotic romance featuring bisexual woman, but that is not going to stop me from writing it. I feel like I have finally found my niche and I am going to continue exploring my ideas and fantasies in books. If that means I have to self-publish all of them, then so be it.
So…if you’re interested in F/F/M erotic romance keep an eye out. I will be publishing my first book hopefully in a few months, depending on how long the edits are going to take. I’ll be sure to market it here and on Twitter, so you won’t be able to miss it.