AJ and I have been having an on-again, off-again discussion about the nature of our genre. After the latest round of disappointing royalty checks, the subject came up again.
I was upset and pacing and said, “I’m so stupid! I should just write het. If I’m going after the money, that’s what I should do. HET.” Being perpetually broke, I’m always thinking about the money.
“Het sucks. Het’s not growing the way LGBT is,” he said. “Het’s not what you care about. You write het and you’re selling out.”
Is he right? Let’s consider the facts.
It’s estimated that one in ten people are gay/lesbian. I’ve never seen separate numbers for bisexual, transexual, transgender, intersex, or asexual, so knowing how people often look at our group, I’ll assume they lumped us all together.
While I realize lots of women buy the books we write, it’s also true lots of gays don’t; they don’t read, they’re not interested, they’re too busy to care. If they want to get off, they watch porn, they don’t read erotica. I’ll go so far as to say more women read our books than men and without them, our books wouldn’t sell for shit.
Any way you look at it, our audience is more limited than those buying books that feature the traditional man/woman relationship. Look at The Hunger Games: Girl/Boy. 50 Shades of Disgusting: Girl/Boy. Harry Potter: Girl/Boy. Everything revolves around straight people. Everyone else has been shoved into a corner, and while we’re not ignored, neither are we catered to. We’re not a majority. We’re different.
Het bores the piss out of me. I want to write about men being with men, in all the iterations I can think of. That’s sexy to me. That turns me on. Girl/Boy does nothing for me. But a nasty little voice in the back of my head keeps insisting het is where the money is.
Is that voice right? If I write something other than mainstream, am I giving up any chance of making more than a buck or three every quarter? Am I relegating myself to the backwaters of publishing?
…And the discussion continues.