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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello

I write romance novels and I've been mulling some things over.

A little context: I started reading romance around seven years ago. First I'd only read a lot of straight (M/F) romance, but then at some point, I started reading tons of gay (M/M) romance too. I learned to love both, and still read both kinds ravenously if the writing is good.

Consequently, I'm now very interested in writing romance of both kinds, as well.

I already have an MM trilogy out, which I wrote a couple years ago and published under a male pen name, and now I've got a 125k words M/F romance manuscript in my hands.

Thing is: I don't know if I should publish it under my current pen name, or if I should create a new female pen name to publish it under.

My main interests are contemporary, fantasy, paranormal, and, maybe, sci-fi. I don't see myself ever deviating from those subgenres, no matter if I write M/M or M/F romance. My M/M series, for example, is mostly contemporary romance with escalating elements of mystery and a few paranormal elements, as well.

I'm in serious conflict about what to do.

I know that most M/F romance authors are female, but I also know people are way more open-minded nowadays than they were, say, ten years ago, and the number of relatively successful M/F romance male authors out there has been growing (at least according to what I've been seeing in the market). I'm not afraid to publish my M/F manuscript under a male pen name at all, and I think I'd feel better about the whole situation if I did. I don't know why, but something about pretending to be a woman to my readers doesn't sit well with me. No shade to those who do that; it's just about how I feel.

I'm just worried that people might be confused, or maybe even angry if they looked at my backlist and found both M/M and M/F romance to sift through.

But then I look at successful authors like Ella Frank and Sarina Bowen, for instance, who publish both M/M and M/F romance, and I don't know if I should be that worried anymore.

But then they're women and I don't know if people would judge a guy writing romance with the same leniency.
It's so hard to decide.

What do you guys think? Would you guys be weirded out if you clicked on an author's profile after reading his newest M/F contemporary romance book and found out his only other published material (so far) is gay af? How would you feel as a reader?

Hit me with your honest thoughts.
 

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Hello

I write romance novels and I've been mulling some things over.

A little context: I started reading romance around seven years ago. First I'd only read a lot of straight (M/F) romance, but then at some point, I started reading tons of gay (M/M) romance too. I learned to love both, and still read both kinds ravenously if the writing is good.

Consequently, I'm now very interested in writing romance of both kinds, as well.

I already have an MM trilogy out, which I wrote a couple years ago and published under a male pen name, and now I've got a 125k words M/F romance manuscript in my hands.

Thing is: I don't know if I should publish it under my current pen name, or if I should create a new female pen name to publish it under.

My main interests are contemporary, fantasy, paranormal, and, maybe, sci-fi. I don't see myself ever deviating from those subgenres, no matter if I write M/M or M/F romance. My M/M series, for example, is mostly contemporary romance with escalating elements of mystery and a few paranormal elements, as well.

I'm in serious conflict about what to do.

I know that most M/F romance authors are female, but I also know people are way more open-minded nowadays than they were, say, ten years ago, and the number of relatively successful M/F romance male authors out there has been growing (at least according to what I've been seeing in the market). I'm not afraid to publish my M/F manuscript under a male pen name at all, and I think I'd feel better about the whole situation if I did. I don't know why, but something about pretending to be a woman to my readers doesn't sit well with me. No shade to those who do that; it's just about how I feel.

I'm just worried that people might be confused, or maybe even angry if they looked at my backlist and found both M/M and M/F romance to sift through.

But then I look at successful authors like Ella Frank and Sarina Bowen, for instance, who publish both M/M and M/F romance, and I don't know if I should be that worried anymore.

But then they're women and I don't know if people would judge a guy writing romance with the same leniency.
It's so hard to decide.

What do you guys think? Would you guys be weirded out if you clicked on an author's profile after reading his newest M/F contemporary romance book and found out his only other published material (so far) is gay af? How would you feel as a reader?

Hit me with your honest thoughts.
Honestly? Really honestly? Really really honestly?

Well, as someone who reads sci-fi and occasionally fantasy (and never reads romance), I'd think it would be a little weird that the sci-fi author I am looking at is also writing romance, much less gay romance. Now, before everyone jumps on me - I have nothing against consenting adults doing whatever they want to do with each other or to each other. But image-wise? It just doesn't fit. Chocolate cake is tasty, and so is good sushi, but you don't put chocolate on top of a piece of raw yellowtail, right?

If I were you, i'd consider if you'd be creating more problems for yourself than it's worth.
 

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from the length of your post, my immediate answer is YES, you are over-thinking things.

if you want to write a romance, start writing and see what happens. then show it to some friends and beta reading strangers (PM me, i'll read it for you) and see what they think.

once you have written something that you and others think is salable, then you can think of pen names or marketing.

btw, there is a sub-genre of sci-fi romance, so if you want to work sci-fi into your romance, there's nothing weird about it.
 

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from the length of your post, my immediate answer is YES, you are over-thinking things.

if you want to write a romance, start writing and see what happens. then show it to some friends and beta reading strangers (PM me, i'll read it for you) and see what they think.

once you have written something that you and others think is salable, then you can think of pen names or marketing.

btw, there is a sub-genre of sci-fi romance, so if you want to work sci-fi into your romance, there's nothing weird about it.
Isn't "sci-fi romance" a somewhat different genre than what most people think of as "romance" and "sci-fi"? as a reader, I'd look at a sci-fi book. but I wouldn't even click on a "sci-fi romance" book or a "romance" book. I don't have a particular dog in this issue, but it seems to me they target different audiences.

Or maybe I'm just talking out of my ass, and have no idea what I am talking about...
 

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i read sci-fi. i read romance. i read sci-fi romance. i also read fantasy of different varieties, non-fiction, and a bunch of other genres.

yes, sci-fi romance is a different genre, but it's one with a decent following if that's where the OP wants to go.
 

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i read sci-fi. i read romance. i read sci-fi romance. i also read fantasy of different varieties, non-fiction, and a bunch of other genres.

yes, sci-fi romance is a different genre, but it's one with a decent following if that's where the OP wants to go.
what about "gay sci-fi romance"? not sure how big the market for that is... then again - how big was the market for Fifty Shades of Gray type books, until Fifty Shades of Gray? Maybe the OP is onto something here...
 

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believe me, if/when the OP actually writes a book, it will not be the first of its kind, or even the one-thousand of it's kind.

to me, the most important thing here is that someone wants to try something. let them write it if it's in them to be written, and the rest will follow.

will it make him a million bucks? probably not. but is it the writing or the selling that matters at this point?
 

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There's two schools of thought I've seen over the years on kboards...

Voice is your brand: publish everything under 1 pen, you're after people who prefer your voice vs. the genre.

Genre is your brand: publish like things under different pen names to manage reader expectations.

Do what feels right, try not to overthink it, and remember you can change your mind.

I've seen authors that take both paths reverse course after the fact, either splitting off a new pen name and re-releasing a series or linking a pen with their bigger name with "So and So writing as So and So" on the covers.

Lastly, the gay question... personally, I think if someone won't read your work because you've also written book about gay people, do you really think they're your demo anyway? To me, pandering to prejudice is shortsighted.
 

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OP, by all means write whatever your heart desires. Don’t let others discourage you or think yourself out of writing something. Readers will either enjoy it or not. If people find it weird that you’ve written gay romance then that’s their problem and on them.
 

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Guys, I see this in my profile:

Somebody likes you

Somebody out there reacted positively to one of your messages. Keep posting like that for more!


is this all there is? meaning, Kboards gives you no specifics at all?
 

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Hello

I write romance novels and I've been mulling some things over.

A little context: I started reading romance around seven years ago. First I'd only read a lot of straight (M/F) romance, but then at some point, I started reading tons of gay (M/M) romance too. I learned to love both, and still read both kinds ravenously if the writing is good.

Consequently, I'm now very interested in writing romance of both kinds, as well.

I already have an MM trilogy out, which I wrote a couple years ago and published under a male pen name, and now I've got a 125k words M/F romance manuscript in my hands.

Thing is: I don't know if I should publish it under my current pen name, or if I should create a new female pen name to publish it under.

My main interests are contemporary, fantasy, paranormal, and, maybe, sci-fi. I don't see myself ever deviating from those subgenres, no matter if I write M/M or M/F romance. My M/M series, for example, is mostly contemporary romance with escalating elements of mystery and a few paranormal elements, as well.

I'm in serious conflict about what to do.

I know that most M/F romance authors are female, but I also know people are way more open-minded nowadays than they were, say, ten years ago, and the number of relatively successful M/F romance male authors out there has been growing (at least according to what I've been seeing in the market). I'm not afraid to publish my M/F manuscript under a male pen name at all, and I think I'd feel better about the whole situation if I did. I don't know why, but something about pretending to be a woman to my readers doesn't sit well with me. No shade to those who do that; it's just about how I feel.

I'm just worried that people might be confused, or maybe even angry if they looked at my backlist and found both M/M and M/F romance to sift through.

But then I look at successful authors like Ella Frank and Sarina Bowen, for instance, who publish both M/M and M/F romance, and I don't know if I should be that worried anymore.

But then they're women and I don't know if people would judge a guy writing romance with the same leniency.
It's so hard to decide.

What do you guys think? Would you guys be weirded out if you clicked on an author's profile after reading his newest M/F contemporary romance book and found out his only other published material (so far) is gay af? How would you feel as a reader?

Hit me with your honest thoughts.
Hi!

It all comes down to honesty and brand recognition. And taking care of your audience. Would the readers of your M/M trilogy be okay if you also write F/M stories? Ask them, most of them might be okay with that.

Your gut instinct regarding the female pen name might be right. As a writer I understand the business side of a decision like that. As a reader, if I ever found out you're a man writing under a female name, I'd feel cheated. As if the writer is asking for my trust and my money, but doesn't trust me.

Just go with your gut.
 

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Guys, I see this in my profile:

Somebody likes you

Somebody out there reacted positively to one of your messages. Keep posting like that for more!


is this all there is? meaning, Kboards gives you no specifics at all?
I'm not sure how the "like" feature works as of yet, but I'm guessing that's all you get. If you want to discuss this function of the forum software more, please start a new thread specifically about it, so as to 1) attract input from others who may be interested but who won't see your post about it buried in this thread and 2) not derail discussion about romance authorship in this thread.
 
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Hello

I write romance novels and I've been mulling some things over.

A little context: I started reading romance around seven years ago. First I'd only read a lot of straight (M/F) romance, but then at some point, I started reading tons of gay (M/M) romance too. I learned to love both, and still read both kinds ravenously if the writing is good.

Consequently, I'm now very interested in writing romance of both kinds, as well.

I already have an MM trilogy out, which I wrote a couple years ago and published under a male pen name, and now I've got a 125k words M/F romance manuscript in my hands.

Thing is: I don't know if I should publish it under my current pen name, or if I should create a new female pen name to publish it under.

My main interests are contemporary, fantasy, paranormal, and, maybe, sci-fi. I don't see myself ever deviating from those subgenres, no matter if I write M/M or M/F romance. My M/M series, for example, is mostly contemporary romance with escalating elements of mystery and a few paranormal elements, as well.

I'm in serious conflict about what to do.

I know that most M/F romance authors are female, but I also know people are way more open-minded nowadays than they were, say, ten years ago, and the number of relatively successful M/F romance male authors out there has been growing (at least according to what I've been seeing in the market). I'm not afraid to publish my M/F manuscript under a male pen name at all, and I think I'd feel better about the whole situation if I did. I don't know why, but something about pretending to be a woman to my readers doesn't sit well with me. No shade to those who do that; it's just about how I feel.

I'm just worried that people might be confused, or maybe even angry if they looked at my backlist and found both M/M and M/F romance to sift through.

But then I look at successful authors like Ella Frank and Sarina Bowen, for instance, who publish both M/M and M/F romance, and I don't know if I should be that worried anymore.

But then they're women and I don't know if people would judge a guy writing romance with the same leniency.
It's so hard to decide.

What do you guys think? Would you guys be weirded out if you clicked on an author's profile after reading his newest M/F contemporary romance book and found out his only other published material (so far) is gay af? How would you feel as a reader?

Hit me with your honest thoughts.
It's less drama than what it used to be, but there are still people who whine about authors who don't stick to one type of pairing/grouping. I have a series expanding from one sibling's book(was a gay Fantasy Romance) to include all of his brothers and sisters. After announcing that there would be a few M/F books in the series, all I got was excitement about having more books in that world. I'm a woman, but my names tend to be gender neutral. Readers tend to care more about genre, so that's what my pseudonyms are based on as far as what gets published under which name.
 
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Guys, thanks so much for the replies.
I've read everything you guys have said so far. No easy decisions, apparently. I'm going to reflect upon everything better this next week, but I think what I'll end up doing is 1. Keeping my author bios gender neutral so I don't feel bad about making someone think I'm the opposite gender they were expecting me to be; 2 - Keeping the MM and MF books separate, but point out in each author bio that I have another pen name I'm writing MM/MF under, for those who'd like to read that sort of material.
Or, if I'm feeling particularly adventurous, I'm just gonna throw caution to the wind and publish my new manuscript under my current pen name with the MM trilogy attached to it, and just hope the readers will like my voice/writing enough to not care.
We'll see.
Thanks again.
 

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what about "gay sci-fi romance"? not sure how big the market for that is... then again - how big was the market for Fifty Shades of Gray type books, until Fifty Shades of Gray? Maybe the OP is onto something here...
There definitely is a market for this. I belong to an LGBT sci fi/fantasy book club. In fact, it's a subject that has been going on for a while. In the 60s-70s there was some underground Kirk/Spock MM fanfic happening. To be honest, I don't know if there is a huge market for gay sci fi romance, but I hope there could be one day, because this is what I like to write. I just like to think of a future where everything is cool, you know? Like, it's not a big deal.

But to the OP, I think you might just have to decide how much you care about people out there considering you the writer in your books. You will probably get some criticism over the lifetime of your books if you do one pen name, but is it the worst thing? They'll probably say something about something you do.

I think it's easy to be clear about what your book is and who it will appeal to in your blurb and description. If people are still going to have a problem after that, then, well, I feel like they are the same people who would find something else to complain about. I write gay romance, straight romance, male main characters, and female main characters, and I've had people take issue with it, but the vast majority of people never mention it. Now, I'm no expert on these things, but I've approached the same problem with a, "I'm gonna do" attitude, and have seen no major drawbacks to writing what interested me.

And, I always have the idea that honesty is the best. It's easier for people to accept that you're a big wild ball of human exploration than it is for them to accept that you went out of your way to obfuscate things. Like, there are some people who get mad when I write female main characters, but I think a lot more people would take issue if I had a female pen name for female pov books. Best I can do is be honest and let the reader figure out if they have a problem.
 

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Lastly, the gay question... personally, I think if someone won't read your work because you've also written book about gay people, do you really think they're your demo anyway? To me, pandering to prejudice is shortsighted.
And this :) If someone doesn't want to read a gay romance, that's their choice. But if someone who likes straight romance doesn't want to read a straight romance because you've written gay romance too, then that's bias.
 

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And this :) If someone doesn't want to read a gay romance, that's their choice. But if someone who likes straight romance doesn't want to read a straight romance because you've written gay romance too, then that's bias.
As usual, you say what I was getting at, but better and with more diplomacy lol.
 

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Hello

I write romance novels and I've been mulling some things over.

A little context: I started reading romance around seven years ago. First I'd only read a lot of straight (M/F) romance, but then at some point, I started reading tons of gay (M/M) romance too. I learned to love both, and still read both kinds ravenously if the writing is good.

Consequently, I'm now very interested in writing romance of both kinds, as well.

I already have an MM trilogy out, which I wrote a couple years ago and published under a male pen name, and now I've got a 125k words M/F romance manuscript in my hands.

Thing is: I don't know if I should publish it under my current pen name, or if I should create a new female pen name to publish it under.

My main interests are contemporary, fantasy, paranormal, and, maybe, sci-fi. I don't see myself ever deviating from those subgenres, no matter if I write M/M or M/F romance. My M/M series, for example, is mostly contemporary romance with escalating elements of mystery and a few paranormal elements, as well.

I'm in serious conflict about what to do.

I know that most M/F romance authors are female, but I also know people are way more open-minded nowadays than they were, say, ten years ago, and the number of relatively successful M/F romance male authors out there has been growing (at least according to what I've been seeing in the market). I'm not afraid to publish my M/F manuscript under a male pen name at all, and I think I'd feel better about the whole situation if I did. I don't know why, but something about pretending to be a woman to my readers doesn't sit well with me. No shade to those who do that; it's just about how I feel.

I'm just worried that people might be confused, or maybe even angry if they looked at my backlist and found both M/M and M/F romance to sift through.

But then I look at successful authors like Ella Frank and Sarina Bowen, for instance, who publish both M/M and M/F romance, and I don't know if I should be that worried anymore.

But then they're women and I don't know if people would judge a guy writing romance with the same leniency.
It's so hard to decide.

What do you guys think? Would you guys be weirded out if you clicked on an author's profile after reading his newest M/F contemporary romance book and found out his only other published material (so far) is gay af? How would you feel as a reader?

Hit me with your honest thoughts.
I'm as straight and conservative as can be, so I must encourage you to use your real name. No one cares about your sexual orientation, and if they do, you shouldn't care about them. As you said, "If the writing's good". Just go with that.
 

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The market for 50SoG books was huge before 50SoG. It exploded in popularity for awhile but it's always been a very big niche. 50SoG was not even close to the first of its kind.

I think you're looking at it wrong. Romance is pretty LGBTQ+ friendly. It's not that someone who's prejudiced won't read your MF romance because you write MM. I'm sure that happens (and I'd personally be happy to take their money because that's more money for me to donate to Planned Parenthood or RAINN or the ACLU at the end of the year + I'm more likely to actually change their view than I am to change the view of someone who already agrees with me but I understand if you aren't) but what happens much more often is: readers get confused.

They see MM, they're not into it, they think an author only writes a niche that doesn't interest them, they move on. I have seen a lot of MF writers dabble in MM and I don't think it hurts them but it doesn't help them either. There's just not a lot of crossover in the audience.

IMO the best branding choice is as tight as possible that you can maintain long term. It's better to be the billionaire romance author than the billionaire romance author who sometimes writes small town. But that does get boring.

I would use a different, not secret pen name. Be open you're both people but keep it super clear to readers. This pen name is MM and this pen name is MF.

It won't be a big deal if you do combine them. Just don't expect a lot of crossover in your audience. Romance readers are very, very specific about what they want.

As far as using a male or female name in romance, I think you're fine using either (or go with ambiguous initials).
 

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As a reader, if I like an author's romance then I'm likely to read their stuff even if it swaps between M/F and M/M. There was this one series I was really into which was all M/F but she finally wrote about the gay couple. I'd been looking forward to that one but unfortunately it was filled with gay stereotypes and wasn't that good. You might run into people assuming you only do one thing well and won't try the new thing. But you could find people who enjoy romance no matter the gender of the couple.

I think steam level is important to maintain in a pen name, so readers aren't surprised by something steamier or tamer than they were expecting based on the other stuff they've read by you. That means if you write non-romance fantasy/scifi you should probably consider using a different pen name.
 
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