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Hi! So I have a romance series in the works, science fiction. As is the common trope in romance novels, the series revolves around four brothers, each finding true love in their own book. But what if the fourth brother is gay? The first three books would be hetero romances and then the fourth book of the series would suddenly be M/M. Is that something publishers would "allow"? I adore reading romances of any sexuality, as well as writing both, but I sense publishers might want to keep the two separate? I know some readers only read M/F and some only read M/M.

Would it make selling the series more difficult?
 

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Yes, it will make selling the series more difficult.

Most readers who only read MF will not read an MM book and visa versa. There is probably a higher percent of MM readers who also read MF, but it's still one of those things where people are looking to scratch different itches.

I read legal thrillers and I read romance, but I don't pick up a legal thriller if I want a romance and visa versa.

I love MM plotlines in non romance books, but I don't read MM romances. They don't interest me.

I don't think it will hurt your career to include an MM book in your series, but it won't help your career either.

If it was my series, I would write the three MF books and include the MM plotline as a subplot across the series. It's fun to have an additional romance subplot because you can do some more not-romance-friendly things like breaking the characters up for a long period of time or having them see other people.
 

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I just had a reader leave a review that said they wish I could have left out the LGBT characters and pairings, for what it's worth. (My book is fantasy, not romance). Knowing that, I still would write the book the same way.

If you want to give your gay character a happy ending, just do it. Nowadays, I try to be true to myself before I worry how anyone else is going to react. That might not be the best mentality to have if you want to sell more books, but it's the way I choose to live.
 

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Yes, it will make selling the series more difficult.

Most readers who only read MF will not read an MM book and visa versa. There is probably a higher percent of MM readers who also read MF, but it's still one of those things where people are looking to scratch different itches.

I read legal thrillers and I read romance, but I don't pick up a legal thriller if I want a romance and visa versa.

I love MM plotlines in non romance books, but I don't read MM romances. They don't interest me.

I don't think it will hurt your career to include an MM book in your series, but it won't help your career either.

If it was my series, I would write the three MF books and include the MM plotline as a subplot across the series. It's fun to have an additional romance subplot because you can do some more not-romance-friendly things like breaking the characters up for a long period of time or having them see other people.
Oh dear, that's lovely advice. You should always, most definitely, absolutely, gatekeep authors into censoring, toning down, and not being creative/different/original with their ideas and writing, and not being inclusive, out of fear that it might not necessarily be marketable, or you'll lose a sale or two or few, and you'll have trolls, or bigoted readers come for you, or critics and reviewers will go to town with you, and the literature community/industry, won't agree with it, and yeah, you should absolutely care what they think. :rolleyes:
 

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EDIT: I'll give you guys a hint. I was clearly being sarcastic, but I think some people weren't sensing or getting what I was doing. So just to be clear and safe, I'll just reveal that I was being sarcastic/melodramatic lol; so unfortunately I have to spoil my little trick I was doing, but okay.
lol.


Yeah I disagree with Crystal in this instance, just wow. Smh. I don't know if you guys are aware, but I am a gay black man, and damn it, I'm also a gay black author, which is a more popular category/trope to franchise myself on. So maybe, that's why I'm more triggered. As I'm typing this message, I am congruently and concurrently, dealing with racism/homophobia/just being different in general in the literature community.

Although I don't personally, really give a solitary damn what they think; not to be confused or to avoid misconception, I do care, how this correlates to author stock, author reputation, book sales, getting my name out there in general etc.

So no, I don't care what their opinion is, or what troll comment, review, criticism that isn't in the least bit constructive, which I could understand. I don't respond, relay, or do anything, because that's not going to accomplish anything, but give them more attention.

However, I am concerned my future readers will follow what the trolls are doing, and yeah. So no I don't personally care what troll, insults, misinformation, reviews and criticisms they leave. But I do want to remedy, how this won't prevent my author name, and future fans/readers, so yeah etc. So it's complicated, and I hope I'm making sense of this all.

More importantly, and recently, how bigoted/racist/judgmental, "Booktube and Authortube" and literary/literature, social media, belittling and bullying authors/writers/books, and shaming people. Mostly because they want to start drama, just because they can, and for views and notoriety and for attention and for something that people can talk about, and just to start any type of buzz or scoop; just pettiness, and they do, what children do, and silly drivel like that. Smh lol.

Of on all things, books and literature. I can understand if a book isn't for you. Great, lovely, amazing, wonderful. However, keep your negativity to yourself, and put that same energy to an author/book, that you actually care for lol. So that way everyone is happy, and you're not trolling, or belittling, or stabbing or putting salt in someones wound, or yucking someones yum, or just making someone feel less than, and not worthy, by doing that.

So ergo, that doesn't effect my agenda and what I'm doing, and therefore, I'm still able to keep my sanity and clarity, and do what I need to do, which is to write stories, and write stories well. I'm still promoting myself and my stories, and god forbid my future projects and ideas.

So hell no. I don't agree with that particular sentiment, but that's their opinion, and more their opinion on conforming to the literary world. So yeah.

So in other words OP, write what you want, and if I were you, I wouldn't listen to Crystal, but that is their opinion, so take that it as you wish, and may. So yeah. Thank you. :)
 

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EDIT: I'll give you guys a hint. I was clearly being sarcastic, but I think some people weren't sensing or getting what I was doing. So just to be clear and safe, I'll just reveal that I was being sarcastic/melodramatic lol; so unfortunately I have to spoil my little trick I was doing, but okay.
lol.


Yeah I disagree with Crystal in this instance, just wow. Smh. I don't know if you guys are aware, but I am a gay black man, and damn it, I'm also a gay black author, which is a more popular category/trope to franchise myself on. So maybe, that's why I'm more triggered. As I'm typing this message, I am congruently and concurrently, dealing with racism/homophobia/just being different in general in the literature community.

Although I don't personally, really give a solitary damn what they think; not to be confused or to avoid misconception, I do care, how this correlates to author stock, author reputation, book sales, getting my name out there in general etc.

So no, I don't care what their opinion is, or what troll comment, review, criticism that isn't in the least bit constructive, which I could understand. I don't respond, relay, or do anything, because that's not going to accomplish anything, but give them more attention.

However, I am concerned my future readers will follow what the trolls are doing, and yeah. So no I don't personally care what troll, insults, misinformation, reviews and criticisms they leave. But I do want to remedy, how this won't prevent my author name, and future fans/readers, so yeah etc. So it's complicated, and I hope I'm making sense of this all.

More importantly, and recently, how bigoted/racist/judgmental, "Booktube and Authortube" and literary/literature, social media, belittling and bullying authors/writers/books, and shaming people. Mostly because they want to start drama, just because they can, and for views and notoriety and for attention and for something that people can talk about, and just to start any type of buzz or scoop; just pettiness, and they do, what children do, and silly drivel like that. Smh lol.

Of on all things, books and literature. I can understand if a book isn't for you. Great, lovely, amazing, wonderful. However, keep your negativity to yourself, and put that same energy to an author/book, that you actually care for lol. So that way everyone is happy, and you're not trolling, or belittling, or stabbing or putting salt in someones wound, or yucking someones yum, or just making someone feel less than, and not worthy, by doing that.

So ergo, that doesn't effect my agenda and what I'm doing, and therefore, I'm still able to keep my sanity and clarity, and do what I need to do, which is to write stories, and write stories well. I'm still promoting myself and my stories, and god forbid my future projects and ideas.

So hell no. I don't agree with that particular sentiment, but that's their opinion, and more their opinion on conforming to the literary world. So yeah.

So in other words OP, write what you want, and if I were you, I wouldn't listen to Crystal, but that is their opinion, so take that it as you wish, and may. So yeah. Thank you. :)
It’s really easy for you to say “don’t listen to Crystal” when you’re not the one who has to deal with the income, or lack thereof, from writing a series where the last book veers off into a different sub-category from the first three books.
 

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if your books are stand alone (I.e. i can read them in any order), i don't care if your characters are M/F, M/M, F/F or alien/human. actually, even if i have to read them in a specific, i still don't care.

and remember my old rule-
no mater what you do:
some people will love it.
some people will hate it
some people just want a good story
some people want the tropes
and some people just want chocolate
 

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It’s really easy for you to say “don’t listen to Crystal” when you’re not the one who has to deal with the income, or lack thereof, from writing a series where the last book veers off into a different sub-category from the first three books.
Hey, if OP mentioned, or pointed out in their post, and said they were writing to make big big money, or like if they don't sell any books, they don't eat etc. Which even then, I wouldn't put conforming over profit, but whatever. Then I would understand, but it seems like the OP really wants to write this particular plot/storyline/idea, and the fact people are telling them not to, I don't know.

All things considered though.
 

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Oh dear, that's lovely advice. You should always, most definitely, absolutely, gatekeep authors into censoring, toning down, and not being creative/different/original with their ideas and writing, and not being inclusive, out of fear that it might not necessarily be marketable, or you'll lose a sale or two or few, and you'll have trolls, or bigoted readers come for you, or critics and reviewers will go to town with you, and the literature community/industry, won't agree with it, and yeah, you should absolutely care what they think. :rolleyes:
But the Op asked if publishers would accept it. That, of course, is a different question to the one you have answered. And yes, I knew you were being sarcastic; there was no need to explain.

The fact is that publishers don't like anything different; they are afraid to take a chance on it. So the answer to the OP's question is no, they wouldn't like it. But I wouldn't worry about being different, because I self publish and Amazon couldn't care less.

I have a time travel series that has one book with a gay romance. Amazon, in its wisdom, has included it in the LGB whatever category, but it sells as well as the rest of the series. Of course, it's not a romance series.
 

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It's been done by big names on both sides. Emma Scott usually writes M/F but she has an M/F series with an M/M in the middle. Garrett Leigh usually writes M/M but has a series with an M/F book.

Most of us aren't big names, so you have to decide what your priorities are. If making the most money is your priority, consistency will always be advised.
 

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Hey, if OP mentioned, or pointed out in their post, and said they were writing to make big big money, or like if they don't sell any books, they don't eat etc. Which even then, I wouldn't put conforming over profit, but whatever. Then I would understand, but it seems like the OP really wants to write this particular plot/storyline/idea, and the fact people are telling them not to, I don't know.

All things considered though.
Actually, I realize now that the author is interested in going with a traditional publisher. That likely makes it even more important for them to conform to expectations.

I mean, don’t get me wrong. I understand the pull of doing whatever the muse wants and to hell with the expectations of others. There’s definitely an appeal to that. I just don’t think it’s fair to the person asking for the advice to tell them to just go ahead and do whatever they want without any consideration given to their goals. Because the person giving the advice doesn’t have to deal with the potential fallout of that advice. They just give the advice and walk away, and the person who asked for the advice is left wondering what happened to their sales, never realizing that the advice they got wasn’t in line with what they were trying to accomplish.
 

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Hey, if OP mentioned, or pointed out in their post, and said they were writing to make big big money, or like if they don't sell any books, they don't eat etc. Which even then, I wouldn't put conforming over profit, but whatever. Then I would understand, but it seems like the OP really wants to write this particular plot/storyline/idea, and the fact people are telling them not to, I don't know.

All things considered though.
Actually, I realize now that the author is interested in going with a traditional publisher. That likely makes it even more important for them to conform to expectations.

I mean, don’t get me wrong. I understand the pull of doing whatever the muse wants and to hell with the expectations of others. There’s definitely an appeal to that. I just don’t think it’s fair to the person asking for the advice to tell them to just go ahead and do whatever they want without any consideration given to their goals. Because the person giving the advice doesn’t have to deal with the potential fallout of that advice. They just give the advice and walk away, and the person who asked for the advice is left wondering what happened to their sales, never realizing that the advice they got wasn’t in line with what they were trying to accomplish.
 

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It’s really easy for you to say “don’t listen to Crystal” when you’re not the one who has to deal with the income, or lack thereof, from writing a series where the last book veers off into a different sub-category from the first three books.
Yes, people love to tell other authors to do something, but it's not their income on the line. I see it all the time, in both not important ways (should I write this trope mix) and important ways (what should I put on the cover).

In the real world, readers are not politically correct, and they (mostly) don't care about appearing politically correct in their choices. Look at the charts for a few months if you don't believe me. Tell me how many times you see an Asian man on the cover of a romance novel. I can count that number on one hand, after stalking the IR category for multiple years, and every single instance was the same "BWAM" series.

I can't change what readers want and neither can you. We can only change what we do. We can nudge readers. We can even trick them into reading something they don't naturally want by giving them what they do want, but we can't convince them they want something they really don't want.

If you want to point to an author who has a successful series with three MF books and a fourth MM book, then I would love to see it. But I have never heard of that. I do know of a few MF series with an MFM book in there or even and MMF book. But those are rare as well.

Even the big authors people point out as mixing MM and MF on their pen name are generally not seeing a ton of cross-over readership (based on my guesses with ABs and the popularity of things). Readers are extremely specific in their tastes. A lot of my readers won't even cross over from "rock star" to "not rock star."
 

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Think of it as the way you are sculpting your audience.

Every time you do something that your readership strongly likes and/or agrees with, you get more buy-in, and that ultimately translates into a following for your work. However, every time you do something that your audience finds questionable, you subdivide your following, some abandon you and others buy-in further.

So, it is not a question of whether or not you should or should not do something; it is more a question of knowing your target audience, their various preferences, likes, and dislikes and then serving them well. But of course, if success does not interest you at all (not meant as a sleight; some people publish for other reasons) you can do whatever you want.
 

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It sounds like you haven't published any of this series yet and are planning to shop it to trad publishers? If that's the case, there isn't any need to even worry about it at this point. If you're lucky enough to get an offer, the publisher will work out the rest of the series with you. Shop it around and include in your letter that you're open to changing, leaving any particular book out or splitting it off in a different series.
 

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I've just noticed that Olivia Atwater's Regency Faerie Tales series is following up the first two M/F books with a F/F story (just bought it, haven't read it yet). I think these are indie published. If you have any interest in going that route, you might want to watch that third book and see how well it does with the M/F-reading audience Atwater established with the first two, which were very well received.
 

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As a black bisexual author (I add that because I guess it adds credibility or something) who has published a MF, MM and MMF romance novel this year, I can tell you very confidently that Crystal is correct. Before I switched subgenres I took a poll of my subscribers. 80% of my MMF readers were willing to check out my MM story. But only about 30% of them were interested in the MF story. And these are readers of MMF which includes both MM and MF romance within it.

I have since released the MM and MF books and my also-boughts reflect what my poll suggested. So, if the OP is hoping for cross-over readership, it's a poor bet.
 

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Y'all are Looney Tunes. Probably reason enough the literary community currently, is in shambles, as is; oop, lol. Egad, my god. Writing novels is already stressful, catatonic, and grueling already, lol, so now I have to factor in conforming to please audience, market, and damn, just people in general. Okay, I would have been fine with that possibly twenty, ten years ago. It's 2021, that's going in one ear, and out the other. Absolutely not. Please. I see that we aren't are going to agree though, sadly. ^_^.
 

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Everyone has their own set of needs and priorities. If the OP is following the thread, they can see a variety of advice and choose the path that suits them, which is good. 🙂

BTW, that new Atwater book is wonderful. I've stayed up way too late tonight to finish it. I really hope it does well.
 
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