Since it's been almost a month since I last posted, I figured it was time to do a 'what's up with Ava' update.
I finished All In With the Duke at the end of March and turned it into my editor. Seems like forever ago when I finished that book, but since I haven't squee-ed about it on the blog yet.... SQUEE!! *belated happy dance* I am really pleased with how the book turned out & can't wait until November when it releases...which feels like forever away.
I've started work on book #2 of the Gambling on Love series - Sharp Love. The book features the duke's ever-useful carriage driver from book #1 and the guy's old friend, who is a card sharp. This means I've spent a lot of time recently researching Regency card games, cheating techniques, and card games he could use various cheating techniques with. Card sharps cheated mainly through manipulating the deck - think slight of hand stuff, stacking the deck while shuffling, dealing from the bottom or middle, etc - so that limits the type of games he'd choose to play.
That's the thing about research - I spend hours and hours researching a given topic. I need all those hours because my character needs to know the things I learn. But the character is in the 'moment' in the book, so only a fraction of what I learn ends up on the page. For example, William (the card sharp) doesn't think too much about how he cheats, he just does it. And really - how many readers truly want to read pages & pages on the intricacies of Brag & ways to cheat at it? Well, not me, at least - if I was reading a romance, I'd skim those pages to get to stuff between the 2 heroes. And if it's something I'd think I'd skim, I'm not going to put it in a book. I've also spent many a hour researching workhouses for this book. Not nice places, especially for the children who lived there. But that's backstory stuff, so again, not much will make it onto the page.
From a time/output perspective, it almost seems like a waste to spend so much effort for only a few lines here and there in a book. But that's the life of a historical author - you need to do lots of research in order to set your book & characters in a time period.
So that's my two cents on research. A post on Reviews by Jessewave last week got me thinking about historical m/m authors and how there aren't that many of them. The post was on how much m/m writers actually make - a kind of informational post with a survey. Authors in general don't talk much about money, it's one of those 'it's tacky to talk about' topics, but it is really helpful for newer authors to have some idea of what they can expect, and for established authors to have an idea of how they are doing in comparison to their peers. There was discussion in the comments about historical author earnings and how historical isn't the most popular subgenre in m/m. I don't disagree - it's no where near as popular as contemporaries, but it's that way in m/f romancelandia too. Contemps have a wider market than historicals because more people read them.
The post reminded me anew there aren't many m/m authors who primarily write historical romances. There are authors who do the one-off occasional historical, but not nearly as many who write mainly historicals. Proportionally speaking, there's a higher proportion of authors who mainly write historicals in the m/f market than in the m/m market. One reason is likely because m/m is still on a healthy growth path, in terms of # of books and authors. Whereas the m/f historical market - in terms of # of authors - has been more in established mode for years and years. Another reason that ties into that one, and one I've heard from fellow m/m authors, is the research & the amount of it needed to write a book can be daunting. Anyone who's contemplated writing a historical knows there are readers who will let accuracy 'glitches' pass for the sake of the story and readers who are sticklers for accuracy. So if you're going to tackle a historical, even a short one, you better have your facts lined up in neat little rows else you open yourself up to disappointing some readers. It adds an extra layer of pressure and can keep authors from jumping into the historical pond.
Anyway, my rambling point is that I think it will take more m/m authors writing historicals for the m/m historical market to really grow. Research may be daunting, but I hope more authors will give it a go and jump into the historical pond....cause it's fun here! You can learn interesting stuff, like how to cheat at cards. :) Circling back around to the post that got me rambling, earnings-wise, my books do decent, but I don't write full time & therefore don't rely on my royalty income to pay bills. I write because I love it and want to share my naughty, angsty stories with others. I'm one of the few who write only historicals, and one of even fewer who only write in one time period. I believe my focus has helped to grow my readership over the 5 years I've been publishing books. The different time periods for historicals almost act like sub-genres, and with any sub-genre, there are people who prefer one over another. By sticking with one time period, I think it's helped to increase my chances that if someone reads one of my books and likes it, they'll try another and hopefully like that one, too. As with any author, it takes time to build a readership. With historicals, I think it just takes a bit longer, and part of that is because there are less historicals out there. So for any authors contemplating jumping into the historical pond, my bit of advice would be to pick a time period you love, do your research, and focus on delivering the best books you can in that time period. And that's my little pitch to try to get more authors to write m/m historical romances. :)
Oh, and for any m/m authors out there, consider filling in the survey on Reviews by Jessewave. It's completely anonymous, and the results can provide info that's useful to all authors.
Ok. Enough rambling on research and markets. In final news, I spent early May working on His Request, a free short story sequel to His Client. I've already commissioned the cover art from Lou Harper - love it, gorgeous - and am currently in edit & formatting mode. My goal is to get it up on various sites by the end of May. Once I get the story posted, I'll post on the blog to let everyone know it's available.
It was 85 degrees & sunny in my neck of the woods - love you, hint of summer in spring. Hope it's been a glorious day for everyone!