A Balanced Diet
Hi, thanks for having me! I’m Lee Brazil, author of M/M romance for Breathless Press and Story Orgy. It’s January, and everyone’s busy with their year end stuff. In the midst of my email the other day I found a trend analysis from a major e-book retailer.
Apparently the market is changing, again. Would you believe it? People get tired of reading the same old thing and they look for something new and different, and that thing becomes the new rage? It reminded me of a complaint I’ve seen out and about in a few of the online forums that discuss m/m romance.
Some people feel the market has become flooded and readers are bored. There are several ways to look at this. Are they saying there’s a lot more to choose from? Yes. Are they saying the new material is of a lower quality? Some of them are. I’m not going to address quality. One man’s dross is another’s gold, you know?
So let’s talk pure quantity. I’m selecting five publishers that deal in both m/m and m/f romance, in the e-book market, that release books on a weekly basis. There are in fact, plenty of publishers that deal only in m/m books, or only in m/f books. I’m leaving that aspect out of it for now. Of the five sites I looked at, one didn’t date their new releases, just had 16 covers up on the front page of their site labeled new releases. Of those sixteen covers none were m/m. Another had 15 new releases, again without dates, of those fifteen 2 were m/m. The others had between 4 and 8 books on their new release pages, with ratios of 1/5, 2/8 and 2/4 being m/m..
Does that constitute a flood?
Well that depends on how you define flood.
Is it a flood when you have to wear these to go get your mail?
Can’t compare apples and oranges? Sure you can. They’re both fruit. MF romance fiction new releases are incredibly prolific, and no one would dream of saying that that market is flooded. There are just as many badly written, ill plotted mf stories available as m/m. In fact, there are probably, by the law of percentages, significantly more.
I think there’s a lot more m/m to choose from, and there’s room for a lot more to come. Is the market saturated? No. Because the market is growing all the time. New readers discover this genre daily.
Are some long time readers bored? Probably. But you know what, I’ve been that reader. I used to read only literary fiction. I got bored. Then I read only science fiction. I got bored. I read only Fantasy and mythology. I got bored. I read only historical novels like The North and The South and Ragtime. I got bored. I read only mysteries. I got bored. You see the trend here? Readers need variety. A steady diet of anything is not going to keep your mind sharp and your heart happy.
Now, I read anything that strikes my fancy. A great deal of that is m/m. And mysteries…Dashiel Hammet, John Sandford, Earle Stanley Gardner. I also read nonfiction, reference books, biographies, poetry.
You wouldn’t survive long on a diet comprised only of carrots. Eat the whole salad.
Here’s a seasoned crouton to top it off.
Valentine Michaels has just taken a vow of celibacy. Adrian Grey intends to take full advantage of that vow to re-create his relationship with Val.
Val is at a crossroads in his life. A college dropout, he’s gone as far as he can in his career as a cosmetologist, owning his own style salon. He no longer finds satisfaction in it, though he’s put years into proving to his bigoted parents that a college degree and the veneer of straightness aren’t the only roads to success. They’d turned their backs on him, and he proved he didn’t need them to make it.
His love life is no better than his working life. His relationships always start with a bang and fizzle into boredom, or worse, anger.
Adrian has his own agenda for helping Val: he’s been in love with Val since they were freshmen. The intervening years of listening to Val’s gossip about his lovers and relationships have taught Adrian just what it was he did wrong all those years ago, and he thinks this time around he now knows exactly how to get—and keep—his man.