One success does not make one a success
by Margie Church
My gay (m/m) romance, Hard as Teak, has been on Amazon 100 bestselling lists for over 100 days. When the book started taking off, the first thing my publisher, Jill Noble, said after congratulations, was don't get a big head.
Some days I've watched my rankings on the lists rise and fall like the stock market. I kept my head down and worked my marketing plan.
Some authors may have jumped in and dashed off another book or short story in the same subgenre. Believe me, it's very tempting. But, I had two other books that needed to be written first. And the market can't embrace every gay romance that comes out as a bestseller. Who knows why they fell so hard for Hard as Teak (though I am so grateful). Its longevity on the charts says it's a damn good book, but what drew readers to it and me on my first try is a wonderful mystery.
I'm in the throes of writing another gay romance, titled Krewe Daddy. Feedback from my beta readers is very exciting. I learned a lot writing Hard as Teak, and I've learned more since. But like Jill said, I can't let it go to my head, thinking that just because I had one really great book, that the next will be as successful or even more so. It's a crazy ride. I love it, but one sale at a time is my mantra.
On crafting a gay romance
I never envisioned writing a m/m romance. Why? Because I wasn't passionate about the subject. When I opened my mind to the possibility, I started with what I thought would be a novella – a test run as it were. By the time I finished, I'd written a full novel; I loved the characters, and the story. That was the easy part. The difficult part was getting it through beta readers who either were gay or committed to writing the m/m genre.
There is a set of expectations in any romance. Violate them and you are looking for a rough ride at submissions and on the market. In its draft form, Hard as Teak had one very glaring violation. I opened the book with a very hot, heterosexual sex scene. Beta readers said hard core m/m romance lovers would freak and pan the book if I left it in. The hetero relationship was core to the plot. I felt without it, there was no story. So, I ended up making quite a lot of changes to Kevin's scenes with his girlfriend, Chiyo, but I left it in. Put another quarter in the mechanical bull ride, babe, I usually buck convention.
Obviously another obstacle to overcome is the fact that I'm a straight female. How to "be" the men in the book, speak their language, and give them realistic emotions, motivations, behaviors was learned through online classes and close trusting relationships with gay men.
Some readers have reacted as predicted. Others have felt the way I did. Sometimes you aren't always honest or have all the answers. Hard as Teak is about exploring those answers. And I like characters that are real. Which of us is perfect? I see no hands raised.
If you enjoy erotic coming out stories, I invite you to read, Hard as Teak.
Hard as Teak by Maggie Church
Kevin Marks escapes to the north woods to reignite his passion for photography and women. But the only flame he seems able to spark is for his latest photography subject, Teak Hildalgo. Kevin's never been in a man's arms before.
Teak, the raven-haired, photographer's dream come true, is hell bent on capturing Kevin's heart. He takes Kevin, body and soul, on a romantic, sexual journey previously lived only in Kevin's fantasies. And no dream was ever this good, no truth this undeniable.
Will Kevin ever be the same? When the camera's put away, will Teak live up to his name?
Buy links for Hard as Teak:
Website and blog: www.RomanceWithSASS.com
Writing Article Links
[ByerlyWriting] Links of Interest
FORMATTING KINDLE AND SMASHWORD EDITIONS OF YOUR NOVEL:
WORKING WITH AN EDITOR:
PICKING AN AGENT WHEN YOU WRITE MORE THAN ONE GENRE:
NETWORKING WITHOUT NETWORKING:
THE DANGEROUS NON-COMPETITION CLAUSE IN A PUBLISHING CONTRACT:
THE MOVIE THOR AS THE HERO’S JOURNEY:
WHY A NOVEL MAY NOT GRAB YOUR INTEREST:
CLEANING UP YOUR WRITING/EDITING:
FREQUENT QUESTION ON THE MONEY SIDE OF PUBLISHING:
HORSES IN WORLDBUILDING:
CUTTING SCENES TO IMPROVE PACE:
CREATING THEMATIC RESONANCE:
MAKING YOUR CHARACTERS STRONGER: