Today’s publishing market is more crowded than ever before, but no area is worse than the romance market. Romance overall is a bigger market than any other, but when you add the proliferation of self-published authors, the situation gets even crazier. So how do you as an author, whether new or old, get noticed?
The gay romance genre, though newer than some, is experiencing growing pains similar to many other genres. Sometimes authors have no idea where to go or how to spend their promotional dollars. Alas, since I am a self-professed promo whore, I’m going to give you a couple of ideas.
1- Make friends with reviewers and bloggers. You know, like the people who run this wonderful blog. ;-) Bloggers want to help authors. They love reading, and any blog devoted exclusively to gay romance is probably a big proponent of the genre. Plus, their audience is very focused on what you’re trying to sell. That’s a classic win-win.
2- When/If you go to a conference, either attend or be a panel member of some workshops geared toward gay romance. Even better if it’s a reader party, like the one I’m doing at RT Convention this year, Tops n Bottoms, with Tara Lain, Marie Sexton, Amy Lane, and ZA Maxfield. If you’re an attendee at RT, you should check it out! https://www.rtconvention.com/eventworkshop/tops-and-bottoms-create-your-own-malemale-story-heroes
3- Publish often, if you’re able to. Readers hate waiting and in this atmosphere, they’ll forget about you and move on. Sounds harsh, but it’s true. Look at the most successful authors, whether they’re MM or not. One thing they have in common: they’re prolific.
4- Understand the market you’re trying to make a splash in. What’s selling as far as themes, heat levels, length? I’m not advocating you write for the market, but it’s not a bad idea to keep readers’ tastes in mind when writing.
What other ways can you differentiate yourself? Tell me in the comments! Thanks for having me on today!
BLURB for Hiding in Plain Sight: Vladimir Gusev exists in a living hell. A year ago in the Olympics he was forced to use a homophobic slur during a game, and guilt is eating him from the inside out. Not only is Vladimir not a homophobe, but in the aftermath of the Olympics, he was finally able to admit his true nature to himself. Yet he’s been taught homosexuality is a sin, so he tries to push away his feelings, but to no avail.
Joe Bufford is an out gay man and an ex-Delta Force member who was medically discharged after an injury to his hand leaves him no longer able to perform his duties. His job as a mechanic at the airport is hardly a long-term career choice, but Joe has no idea where he can utilize the skills he learned in the Army.
Vladimir and Joe meet, and Joe instantly recognizes Vladimir as a terrified closet case. Before he knows it, Joe is offering to help Vladimir figure out what he is and what he wants. As time goes on, Joe begins to hope more and more that the answers to those questions lie with him.
Before Joe could open the door, Vlad turned him around and caged him in as his hands slapped the door on each side of his head. Then Vlad was kissing him, his insistent tongue pressing into Joe’s mouth as he leaned his weight on him, crushing Joe between him and the door. Holy hell. Joe wanted to sink into the kiss, wanted to sink into the man. I can’t. I can’t deal with a closet case. I had enough of that bullshit in the Army. Besides, the guy’s drunk. I’m the only gay guy he knows, and he’s experimenting. He’ll probably regret doing it tomorrow. He pushed Vlad back and wiped his mouth with his sleeve.
“I was bad?”
The guy looked crushed.
“No, no, God no. You’re frighteningly good at that.” He ran a hand through his hair. Vlad wouldn’t look at him. “Vlad, when you kiss a guy, I mean really kiss him, he should be someone great, someone you really like.”
Vlad nodded, but the misery was plain on his face.
“Hey,” Joe said softly. “I just want you to have the best experience you can.” Even if I want you, I won’t go through that again. I’m finally free. “I almost forgot. Before I leave, I wanted to give you my cell number. If you decide you’d like to talk some more, I mean.” Definitely not fuck. Definitely.
He’d been screwed from the first minute he’d seen Vlad. The man was far too tempting for Joe’s peace of mind. Before he had more time to drive himself crazy, Joe grabbed Vlad by the chin. There were only four other people in the theater, all sitting farther forward. Joe kissed Vlad, swallowing the little moan that escaped the other man. His cock twitched, and he wanted to make Vlad moan again, to lose control, no matter where they were.
Joe ran his tongue over the seam of Vlad’s lips, and they immediately parted, letting his tongue in to explore. Vlad tasted vaguely of spice, and Joe couldn’t get enough. Emitting a low growl, Joe dived in farther, and Vlad matched his marauding tongue stroke for stroke. Reaching down, Joe unsnapped Vlad’s jeans. Vlad jumped and pulled away, his eyes wild.
“What are you doing?” he whispered, wildly scanning the room.
“I need to touch you.”
“No one’s watching.” Joe ran the backs of his fingers along the ridge of Vlad’s cock. “Let me.”
Vlad quickly unzipped and pulled out his dick. Joe’s mouth watered, but he knew instinctively the guy would freak if he tried to go down on him here. Vlad’s cock was perfect—a little longer and definitely thicker than his own—and Joe’s ass clenched as he imagined taking that stiff rod inside. He was too far gone to stop now and took a firm hold of Vlad’s dick, pumping it. Slipping his other arm around the back of Vlad’s seat, he kissed Vlad again, partly because he loved the taste of him and partly to disguise the little moans and groans Vlad was making as Joe worked him. It didn’t take long before Vlad spurted hot cum all over Joe’s hand.
Pulling away from Vlad, Joe brought his cum-covered hand to his mouth and licked it clean. Vlad’s eyes were like saucers. He grabbed Joe by the back of the neck and brought their lips together in a bruising kiss, pushing his tongue inside his mouth. Joe shared Vlad’s flavor with him, but broke the kiss to help Vlad put himself back together before someone caught them.
Cassandra Carr is a romance writer whose work has been praised by many prominent publishing industry media outlets such as Publisher’s Weekly and Romantic Times. Her books have won several “Best Of” awards. Her novella Unexpected Top was nominated in the E-book Erotic Romance category of RT’s 2013 Reviewers’ Choice Awards. When not writing she enjoys watching hockey and hanging out online.
She thinks the best part of being a writer is how she writes about love and sex while most others struggle with daily commutes, micro-managing bosses and cranky co-workers. Her inspiration comes from everywhere, but she’d particularly like to thank the Buffalo Sabres, the hockey team near and dear to her heart.
To learn more about Cassandra, check out her website at http://www.booksbycassandracarr.com; like her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/AuthorCassandraCarr, or follow her on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/Cassandra_Carr.
1 thought on “How Can You Stand Out In A Crowded Publishing Space? A Guest Article And Excerpt From Cassandra Carr”
Hi, Cassandra. Very good tips for romance writers. This is probably very much like your #1 tip. What I’ve found helpful in spreading the word and also quite fun is doing guest blog posts. I try to choose writer/reader blogs that focus on romance and also those that have a wide reading audience. So far, it’s been much better for promo than announcing a new release on FB or Tweeting about it. My publisher, J.M. Snyder, of JMS Books, has several blogs for her readers as well as FB pages devoted to them, and I try to post on those as well. Great tips. Thank you. Paul