I like to take risks because the greater the risk, the greater the reward. At least that’s always been my experience…Of course the flip side of that is the risks that cause a budding career to go kerplop.
Readers and writers who have followed my posts and teasers know I have a very risky WIP that I’m currently tweaking to increase its marketability without losing sight of my original vision for the story. Although I’ve received some encouragement from my loyal betas and a few others, there are undoubtedly readers who will hate the story for the same reasons the marketing giants don’t use average looking (by society’s standards) plus size models. Books, like television, movies, and magazines are selling a fantasy that begins with a beautiful, intelligent, woman who is perfect is nearly every way with the exception of maybe one or two minor flaws.
We read romance to take us away from real life and imagine that the heroine, who is warm, funny, accomplished, and drop dead gorgeous will fall in love with the likes of us. There is evidence regarding what does and does not sell well and publishers have to pay attention to this. An even more compelling argument is that authors who write about the common Josephine or characters that really cross the line of abnormality in the reader’s minds, will turn off so many readers, that they’ll never recover that shaky base (especially true for newer writers like myself). I kinda hate the word abnormal and the traditional view of what is considered beautiful and appealing. I sneak in a PSA (public service announcement) every time I can in my books.
Recently, I’ve read an increasing number of posts or private messages that readers want to see books about someone like them, whether it is about a person of color, a person with a disability, or an old, fat, dyke (those are the exact words a reader used – I swear).
I do believe that I will be able to make enough adjustments to my first draft and it will see the light of day, because I’m like a dog with a bone – I’m not giving up on my new favorite child. In the meantime, I’ve written a short story I plan to submit that will hopefully make the cut. The story is a nod to the small groundswell asking for stories about someone like them. I’ll do my part, if you (the reader) meet the writers halfway and prove the publishers wrong. Vote with your pocketbooks and support that growing market for stories about women who don’t look like Zena or Gabrielle. Go dumpy, middle aged, women with mousy hair and unremarkable eyes.
If you want to read my PSAs on beauty…yup…you know the drill…click on the links below.