Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Finding My Niche

I took a much-needed break last week to attend my local writers group. I’d spoken a few times about my current WIP – the first three books in a new series. I’d been claiming they were different from the ‘normal’ romances available today and one of my fellow writers finally got around to asking the important question:
“How? How are they different, Mona?”
Time to fish or cut bait.
I probably should have kept my mouth shut. After all, what’s ‘normal’ in romance? There are so many different sub-genres of romance these days one can hardly keep up. Remember the good old days when Harlequin/Silhouette told us which stories fit into which category? No, I’m not suggesting that we revert to that system, but when the reader picked up a Harlequin Blaze in the store, they knew what to expect. Now they pick up (electronically) an e-book with a hot looking cover, looking for a sizzling read, and find it’s rather tame… or sometimes the opposite.
Am I evading the question here? Yeah, probably. So okay Mona, how is this new series different?
First: I don’t specify Book One, Book Two etc. on the front cover. For books to be listed with the retailers as a series, they have to be assigned One, Two etc., but it doesn’t have to show on the cover, and I like that.
Second:  There isn’t a bare chest in sight. Wait… there isn’t even a man on the cover! Are these really romances? Definitely. They are touching romances that focus on story. But hold on… the reader will get at least a couple of sex scenes… right? Sorry, no. We may join the lovers the morning after the fact, but that’s all folks. As I said, this series focuses on story.
Third:  No cliffhangers. This won’t surprise my readers, because I’ve never written one, but cliffhangers are becoming common, and I’ve made it clear that these all self-contained stories. One character appears in every story, and I have vague plans to give her a story of her own at some point, but each novella is about a fresh set of characters.
Fourth: Releasing three books at once. This is not usually the way it’s done, but I know that when I find an author/series I enjoy, I’m often ready to read another book right away. So I’ve released three in the FOREVER series.
Fifth:  Length. These are novella-length. So far, they’re 32,000 – 38,000 give or take a few words. You’d be surprised how much story can be packed into that number of words when we don’t have several sex scenes taking up ten pages each.
Hold on! What’s the matter with sex scenes?
Nothing. Just look at the number of ‘hot’ books out there. As the old adage goes, sex sells. But other authors are doing a great job already. I’ve written some books with sex scenes and they were fun, but these days I prefer to focus on stories that resonate with me.
The result? I’ve found my niche, and I’m quite comfy here, thanks.
I hope you’ll read this new series. Response from my Beta readers has been positive. The first story – FOREVER CHANGED – is free at Amazon, iTunes, B&N & Kobo. 
In the meantime – whatever’s on your e-reader – Happy Reading!

Here are the links for FOREVER CHANGED: