Saturday, December 17, 2011
To begin with let’s put to rest the unfounded and totally untrue rumors about Lesbian fiction sales. Lesbian fiction, or perhaps I should say Lesbian Romance, sells well. And in some cases, extremely well. How do I know? Because I’m an author of Lesbian romance whose Lesbian titles are making me a nice sum of money, so much so that my goal is to write and publish more Lesbian romance than M/M or straight romance in the next coming years.
My inspiration for this post is because of Jessica from Read React Review who had an interesting Friday Links post where she brings up the topic of lesbian fiction:
“We still really don’t see much f/f written, reviewed or talked about in the romance world. And, I hasten to add, I don’t read it and have no interest in it, despite that fact that I do occasionally read m/m. Carina Press, Harlequin’s digital first imprint, is publishing some m/m but not, as far as I know, f/f. Does it not sell? Or is this one of those self-fulfilling prophesies (“if you don’t publish it, they won’t come.”)”
She had this ponder based on the blog, Requires Only That You Hate and the post- lesbians, where are the lesbians. Acrackedmoon would like to know why there seems to be M/M YA, but no lesbian YA.
“Lesbian visibility is pretty bloody terrible in the fiction I enjoy, or even fiction I don’t. So the schtick of those graduated-from-HP-fanfic YA writers, who are ever so lauded for their beautiful wonderful inclusivity? It’s nine times out of ten about hot, hot gay boys. Hot, hot gay boy angst. You’d be lucky if one of the girls in the background… somewhere… likes other girls… somewhere… honest.”
Also discussed is how epublishers such as Riptide exclusively publishes M/M and how Carina Press has a section for M/M but not for F/F. The public consensus is that Lesbian romance doesn’t sell.
I’m here to tell you that Lesbian romance does sell well and Lesbian fiction not making money is a fallacy. I would love to know why people believe this? Where are the facts that makes this true? Is it because F/F fiction isn’t talked about and reviewed like straight or M/M fiction is? Once upon a time, M/M fiction was underground and now look how successful it has become. There’s M/M authors like Ryan Field, Josh Lanyon and K.A. Mitchell, who are making a great career out of it and are on par with their sales just like authors who write straight fiction. I do believe that F/F fiction (or romance at least) will soon break into the mainstream like M/M has.
How do I know this? I know because I write F/F romance and it has made me the most money out of any of my titles I’ve published since June 2010. I’ve only been published a year and a half and in that time, my Lesbian titles count for over 80% of my sales. I’m making a nice sum of money publishing F/F romance that next year, the majority of what I’m writing and hope to publish will be F/F fiction.
I have 4 Lesbian titles out. Out of these 4, two are my best money makers. My top 3 sellers from the 9 books I’ve published are:
1. The Princess’s Bride
2. For the Love of Mollie
Two out of my top three bestselling books are F/F romance. Lovestruck was in Amazon’s top 50 best-selling GLBT and erotic fiction for a month and The Princess’s Bride reached #2 on Amazon’s bestselling Lesbian fiction (I would have been #1, but at the time the #1 book there was a self-published book about a woman and her loving relationship with a horse) and stayed in the top 10 for almost 3 months. Scandal in the Wind came out in November and is currently in the top 10 for best-selling F/F romance at Ravenous Romance, and if you take away the 5 anthologies on this list, my book would be at the #2 spot. Ravenous Romance has given me a $200 advance for every book I’ve published with them. I was able to pay off my advance for The Princess’s Bride and Sleeping with Frenemy within a month of their release.
Usually the first 6 months of a book release is hit or miss. At first, I thought The Princess’s Bride was a failure because I wasn’t seeing much movement or sales in the first 5 months of its release. But then when I got my first quarterly royalty statement (Jan-March 2011). In 3 months I made $1,360 off of one title- The Princess’s Bride. Lovestruck continues to sell well, where I range from $50-$80 a month in sales. Sleeping with the Frenemy’s advance was paid off within the first month of its release and it’s doing pretty well sales wise. Scandal in the Wind, which has only been out since the middle of November, is on track to sell out its advance.
F/F romance is selling. I’m proof of this. People can keep denying it, but unless they have hard facts, they don’t know what they’re talking about. I’m open and honest about the amount of books I’ve sold and my royalties, and I welcome anyone to ask me about them because I have nothing to hide. F/F romance is making waves in epublishing and there are more authors writing it than you think.
The three publishers I’m with- Decadent Publishing, Noble Romance and Ravenous Romance all publish F/F romance, and not just one or two titles here or there. F/F romance has become a regular category among other genres listed. Renee Rocco, owner of Lyrical Press is dying for more lesbian romance. Lyrical may be considered a small epublisher, but one of her authors who writes F/F romance sells 1,000 books in a month for her. Samhain Publishining and Ellora’s Cave are all actively seeking lesbian romance. Bold Stroke Books is well known for their F/F fiction.
Evernight Publishing has decided to publish F/F romance. My pal, Kelly Yeakle published her first F/F romance with Evernight. She’s their first F/F romance author. She has done well with her first F/F romance that she’s writing more. My editor and Decadent author, Kate Richards is writing and publishing F/F romance. Ravenous Romance author, Louisa Bacio also writes F/F romance, and I believe she sells even better than I do.
Leigh Ellwood has been writing F/F romance for years and is successful. All these authors I’ve mentioned are like me. We write a wide variety of genres and our best-selling books seems to be Lesbian fiction.
Cathy Pegau sold a F/F Science Fiction Romance to Carina Press called Rulebreaker that was well received, but from what I can see, it’s only one of two Lesbian titles at Carina Press. Funny, they have a Lesbian title with Rulebreaker, but why don’t they have it under Lesbian in the Books: Shop by Genre. It’s in the Science Fiction Romance section. They have a M/M section but no F/F section. I find this odd unless their 2 F/F titles aren’t selling well. Lucy Felthouse also writes a wide variety of fiction, including F/F and also edits a few F/F centric anthologies.
Some epublishers won’t publish Lesbian fiction. Loose-Id doesn't. Also many of the epubs I was interested in submitting my F/F fiction don’t accept it. I find this strange because F/F romance can make a profit for both the publisher and the author. And I’m not talking pennies or a few dollars. I’m talking hundreds to thousands of dollars.
When 2011 is over (depending on my 4th quarter sales), I will have made somewhere between $5,000-$6000. 90% of what I earned is from my Lesbian romances. Last year my goal was to make $1000 from June 2010-June 2011. I ended up making much more than that and tripled my sales this year mainly because of my Lesbian romance.
F/F isn’t for everyone, just like M/M isn’t for some or in some instances, straight romance. That’s what great about publishing, especially epublishing, because epublishers are open to all different types of genres and stories. As I mentioned before, I’m trying to come to terms about being recognized as an author. When I publish my Straight stories, I receive more of a mention than I do with my Lesbian titles. But the funny thing is, I make more money publishing Lesbian romance. I want recognition, but if I’m making more money writing for a genre people don’t openly acknowledge or read, it’s not hard to figure out what I’ll be writing more of. The greedy wench that I am wants the money, so if I have to forgo the recognition, so be it because again, Lesbian romance sells well.
A few weeks ago I was talking to someone about author branding. Author branding has become so important and if you don’t have a brand you won’t succeed, or so I’ve been told. I feel I don’t have a brand. If someone asked you what’s KT Grant’s brand?, you’d probably get a blank stare. In part this is my fault because I’m not sticking to writing for one genre or specific category. My books are either set in some sort of historical or contemporary setting. I’m also in the process of trying to sell a Steampunk (straight) and a Paranormal Romance (lesbian). I also signed a new contract with Ravenous Romance for a new Lesbian romance for next year. I’m all over the place.
Surprisingly the friend said I do have a brand. I’m known for writing hot Lesbian Pirate romance. And you know what, that works for me.
**If anyone knows any other epublisher open to publishing Lesbian romance/fiction and F/F authors, leave a comment here and I’ll add it to this post.**
Other epublishers who publish Lesbian fiction:
Pink Petal Books
Storm Moon Press