Baa Baa, Black Sheep: On Writing Indie Romance

http://www.flickr.com/photos/cordery/362762645/in/photolist-y4fGn-85R4Yj-8ByuRV-4ZwkyA-b27Jzc-9sfnyg-6nfwZm-eh2irv-bAAmr-2ZvEp8-5MKgpQ-cVkHUh-8E3w4T-N3FZG-8wkqRE-a9DfGa-bLdvw-ekLdGQ-8whpdg-6rarM7-9j7xag-9j7x1a-9j7xex-9jaET1-6uXLZB-9irswn-6v2WyJ-4ZwkBh-CJQ9y-CJPnd-CJPmU-CJPn7-CJPn1-CJQ9T-CJQ9E-CJQ9K-CJQDW-CJQDU-CJPmV-CJQDS-CJQa6-CJQE2-CJQ9Z-CJPn3-55JymV-qzz1U-wFWJL-nFG6M-8pvJjB-7DmW5d
Black Sheep – CC/Flickr

Romance and its authors have garnered lots of publicity recently, especially in light of Laurie Kahn’s recent (and excellent) documentary, Love Between The Covers. Numerous articles are swirling around the internet, refuting many of the myths about romance novels and the people who write them. Here’s just a sampling:

I love that people are challenging the notion that romance is lesser, that romance writing is simplistic, that romance is dismissible. Those of us within the community have long known those things are false, of course.

The same can be said of indie publishing: its image is transforming from consisting of only poorly written, barely edited trash thrown up on the internet, to being a viable alternative to traditional publishing, featuring numerous talented, cutting edge authors. Many indie romance authors have become certified rock stars in the genre, including Courtney Milan, Bella Andre, Katy Regnery . . . I could name many more.

But as a newbie indie romance author, I’m suddenly realizing what an uphill battle I have to get people to take me seriously: not fellow romance authors, perhaps (although of course I need to prove myself to them, as well), but friends, acquaintances, and anybody not tuned in to the romance and indie communities.

I know this, because I’ve been talking–online and in person–about my debut novel, A Man of Character, which hits the market May 26th. People are excited for me, and I’m so grateful for that. But several times, after friends and acquaintances asked me what I’m writing and/or who’s publishing it, their expressions changed, their faces fell or took on a humoring expression, when I replied, “romance, and I’m indie publishing.”

Writing romance is dubious enough, apparently–add indie to it, and you’re really not welcome at the table.

I could be misreading their reactions. I could be projecting my own self-doubts and fears as this book goes public. Yes, I’m nervous. Yes, I realize there will be people who don’t like my book. Yes, I’m sure I can (and will) improve my writing as I continue down this career path. And that’s OK. Because that’s what it is to me: a career path.

Don’t hand me that black sheep fleece, because I won’t wear it.

I am a writer. I write romance, and I love it. I’m an indie author, and proud of it.

Thank to you everyone who’s supporting me, encouraging me, and cheering me on. Thank you to my critique group, to my beta readers, and to my editor, Tessa Shapcott: all of you helped shape A Man of Character into what it is–a book I’m thrilled to claim as my own. Thank you to my fellow romance authors, an amazingly welcoming group of women (and men) willing to provide guidance, advice, and valuable insider information to newbies following in their footsteps. .

And thank you to everyone who’s purchased A Man of Character, or will purchase it–your willingness to take a chance on a debut author means the world to me.

Whatcha Think?