I’m in a mood. Prepare yourself for a long one today folks…
I’m asked a lot about my experiences as a male romance author. All the time. How did I end up writing this genre? Are there advantages or disadvantages of being a male who writes this genre? It’s a bit semi-controversial on that last issue. It can breed lively discussions. But, it’s important enough of a topic that I thought it warranted its own blog post (which I rarely do) and I’m feeling feisty as fuck today. Pardon my French, I say fuck a lot on the computer because it’ll be repeated by a toddler if I say it out loud.
So here goes nothing…
Some of this might piss some people off and all I can say is “sorry not sorry.” It’s my blog and I can type what I want. Let’s get to business. <rubs hands together>
I don’t know of any other genre where gender can polarize authors as much as in writing romance novels. But it is ever-present in this genre, and up in my face all the time. Please read the whole blog post and let me explain why.
It does actually make sense to me that it’s so polarized, to be honest. The target demographic for this genre is pretty much 100% women. The gender of the authors is pretty much 100% women. See what I’m getting at? Sure you do, you’re smart. It’s understandable that when a male writes in this genre, it raises eyebrows at the least, and causes controversy at the worst.
For those who aren’t familiar with me, my name is Sloane Howell and I’m about to take you on my journey to becoming an author. I published my first piece of romance/erotica in December of 2014 (I think), but there was so much more before that. My road from tax accountant to author was such an unorthodox path that I should be automatically kicked out of any case study that tries to examine and draw conclusions from this gender phenomenon.
I was a tax accountant for ten years. I’m a giant goofball that gets along with children better than adults. Playing with my son’s trains in the floor and acting silly and goofing off all hours of the day is my favorite thing to do. It’s who I am. It’s my brand. Just look at my picture at the top of this post if you don’t believe me. I make inappropriate jokes, and have entire conversations in movie quotes. I love Legos and Star Wars and baseball and Olivia Munn. I could sit around and watch How I Met Your Mother and Silicon Valley and Gilmore Girls all day long, pay my bills late, and it wouldn’t really bother me at all. I’ve tried to procrastinate being an adult my entire life. I rarely take responsibilities seriously. I am a true man-boy and completely self-aware of that fact.
But, because of this I never dated a woman for longer than four months until I met my wife. I knew from day one that she was the one for me. Things went well after our initial encounter where she thought I was an obnoxious asshole, but I quickly I won her over. I had to. Like I said, she was the one. I passed the four month mark with her and thought I was on top of the world. Until one day, not long after that, she realized she was on her way to graduating college and I was on my way to a restaurant I worked at to see if I could trade bar shifts with someone so I could go play golf and then go out to the bar and spend all of my rent money. But the cool thing was, I didn’t have a car payment because I didn’t have a car at 24 years-old, and my rent was only $100 a month because I lived on my buddy’s couch and I could just work a shift the next day and make enough cash to pay him. I was seriously a loser by any definition, but I didn’t care. I thought it was awesome. I was having fun and I knew I was smart enough to go back to school any time I wanted. So I was going to have fun for a while and it morphed into years. I could very well still be doing that if I hadn’t met the love of my life.
She had different ideas though, and one day out of the blue, she stopped talking to me. It was shit or get off the pot time for ol’ Sloane. I’d lived the fun irresponsible life for one day too fucking long. And like a typical dude, I had no clue why she wouldn’t talk to me. I had to have her though, so I chased down her best friend and begged and pleaded for her to tell me what was wrong, because like I said dudes be dumb and I didn’t know what the problem was, even though looking back it was pretty fucking obvious. I wasn’t taking no for an answer though. No way. I finally got a confession out her friend. She was head over heels in love with me, but I was going nowhere with my life. She was about to graduate college within two years and start being an adult. She wanted an adult, or at least someone who could be a part-time adult to share her life with. I damn sure wasn’t it and she was wasting her time with me. It took me all of zero seconds to realize I’d do whatever it took to get her. She was mine. We were meant for each other.
I called my mom and moved home that same day, enrolled in college the next day, and started taking 18 – 21 hours per semester and 12 hours in the summers. I finished three years worth of college in 18 months with like a 3.9 GPA and graduated before her with the safest degree that had the most job security. The juvenile goofball (who was also a math nerd) had become an accountant. Woot!
I worked for ten years as a tax accountant or senior tax analyst in the public and private sectors, effectively advancing through the ranks despite adding funny memes to financial statements and turning a chart of accounts into a dirty joke book. He was ready to plant his equipment into her receivables. Riiiight??? <nods and grins>
But after ten years in a career you aren’t in love with, it just wears on you. I wasn’t myself much anymore. People didn’t find my practical jokes and funny quotes in my email signature to management all that funny and I was certainly told it wasn’t professional. I thought they were a bunch of snooty pricks with no sense of humor to be honest. This was all at my second job. My first job was actually pretty awesome, I just didn’t love the work.
So how the hell did I become an author?
I’ve always been sort of an entertainer. On my own personal Facebook page I would make posts about my crazy ass family, my entertaining home life, the same type of posts you see now on my author Facebook account and Twitter. And to be honest, even in my personal life, before authordom, I was king of the Facebook likes. Nobody got more likes than this guy here. <stares> Nobody!
One day in 2012 I think, I decided to start up a tax practice on the side for some extra cash. I’d read that blogging could help with business, generate new clients, etc. Being a tax accountant for years, I was all too familiar with the look whenever I would try to explain even simple tax concepts to non-tax accountants, which are 99.99% of taxpayers. Even though I prepared and consulted with mostly pass through entities and corporations, most people think you’re the same as the school teacher who took a 12 hour quick tax class at H&R Block to make a few extra bucks on the side.
So blogging, I could do that. Just write some articles, right? I wanted to see if I could make tax concepts fun and easily relatable for the regular Joe on the street. So I wrote some satirical comedy stuff, with crazy analogies to help explain things, like using cheeseburgers to explain the basics of a traditional IRA vs a Roth IRA. People actually started reading my posts and liked them. They told me I was a natural writer and storyteller. So I created a fictional blog with my sister that was essentially me posting short stories most of the time to practice writing and because it was just fun. They were outrageous and over the top comedy. I’m currently working a romance into this old material to publish soon. If this post doesn’t end my career, those books are very likely to do the job. <laughs> They are so baddd. But it is who I am, and I have to stay true to that.
The blog got a large following pretty fast. People started saying I should turn it into a book and once again let me know I was a great writer and storyteller. Wait, huh? Writer? I’m a math nerd. English and literature were my worst subjects in school because I thought they were boring. I know you just gasped and want to get the pitch forks out. I’m sorry, I’m being truthful Sloane today. I hated Shakespeare, Dickens, and Hawthorne. I still do. I didn’t discover a love for reading until I started writing as a hobby and started reading books again. If I’d read 1984 or Fahrenheit 451 or Ender’s Game or Catcher In The Rye in high school, I think maybe I would’ve discovered this love sooner.
I thought long and hard about what the people had said though. A writer? Was I a writer? I started writing science fiction and comedy, just for fun and reading everything I could get my hands on. A few things are floating around out there on Amazon as we speak, but I’ll never tell because it sorely needs an edit in the worst way. I was a rookie when I wrote it. But I gave it a go. I learned how to self-publish on Amazon. I made a few author friends I still stay in touch with to this day in the sci fi community. I made about $15 in royalties over three months of which $3 may have been me buying my own book just to see a rank pop up.
My stint in science fiction was short-lived, though I’d very much love to revisit it one day, because it was my first love. But my son became ill. We didn’t know what was wrong with him. I was home from work a lot taking care of him, and I had more time to write. My family needed money. I thought maybe I could make a side business of writing instead of doing taxes. I certainly loved it more, and since I had the skill set of a financial analyst, I put it to use. It wasn’t very hard, because it doesn’t take a genius to find the top 100 Amazon paid store and scan through the covers of abs and couples making out to know romance/erotica dominates the book market. Especially since it was right after EL James and the FSOG viral revolution occurred, along with the self-publishing boom and low barriers to entry for indie writers to get break into the e-book market.
So that’s how I ended up writing romance. It was a strange thing. I’d never read it. I didn’t know there were rules about things. I didn’t know people didn’t want cheating and wanted HEAs for the most part. I did as much research as possible, but I needed money fast so there was a learning curve as I went. Which is funny, because once I developed my long-term strategy for my author career, I gave up making money in the short-term for better long-term gains.
So what did I do? Well, any intelligent person would say, “Gee, you should probably read some of these books that are selling well to see what people like and what these erotica romances are all about.” Seems like common sense, right? So I picked up a book that was top ranked in the Amazon erotica free store, because hello, I needed money and was a poor boy. The book I downloaded was The Invitation by Roxy Sloane. The cover was hot as balls and it just called to me from the page. Not to mention the fact I’d already chosen my pen name, and I saw Sloane so it just seemed like a moment of fate. Which is crazy, because I don’t believe in that kind of thing, so I chalked it up to a ridiculously awesome coincidence.
So I sat down, not knowing what to expect, and read my first piece of smutty romance less than two years ago. Now, I want to be as honest as I can in this post. Anyone who says there isn’t a stigma on erotic romance from the outside looking in, at least from authors of other genres, is lying to themselves. There is absolutely a prevailing thought out there that romance and erotica isn’t “real” literature. That it’s just sex stories and book porn for middle-aged women. Mommy porn is a term for a reason. I didn’t necessarily believe that at the time. I was open minded about the genre and I wanted to write it because at least it might make my other writing better. I had talked to Hugh Howey in an email and he’d told me to branch outside of my comfort zone. I don’t know if he meant the furthest zone possible, but he said it would make my writing better. Love stories prevail through all genres pretty much anyway, so it made sense. But the stereotypes were front and center in my mind as I flicked my Kindle on. I expected to get a plotless story designed to get the downstairs mixup firing on all cylinders, like the Penthouse Forum I used to read when I’d sneak magazines from my dad. I guess the way I felt, and the vibe I got, even on the indie scene as a sci fi writer, was this feeling that I was about to sell out, or I was selling my soul to the devil to make money. Which is utterly fucking absurd, but I battled with it at the time somewhat before realizing why I was doing it.
My kid was sick. I didn’t give a fuck what I had to do, barring something that would destroy my marriage. I was going to give the book a fair shake and remain objective. I’m so thankful the planets aligned and I chose Roxy’s book, because when I opened it, the words came alive on the page. I was engrossed in the story. It ended on a cliffy and I one-clicked the shit out of everything she’d written. It was brilliant writing, with male povs I was jealous of. It was a love story that hit you in the chest, with larger than life characters and hot sex that pushed the button on every erogenous zone in the brain faster than the episode of The Simpsons where they all sit in electrical chairs and shock each other. It took me back to my days at college and I felt like I was there.
I’ve never told Roxy this, even though I talk to her from time to time and she’s always been the sweetest person ever, even when she messaged me back when nobody really knew who I was. She still took the time to talk to me. And I’ve always appreciated and been thankful for that. So if you’ve read the intro to Panty Whisperer, you might even notice it has a similar feel to the opening from The Invitation. Fourth wall breaks and an alpha male talking directly to the readers in a smoking hot way is where the similarities end. I never expected anyone to read that short story, let alone for that series to nearly break the top 100 in the Amazon paid store over a year later (I think it got to 102). It was just kind of testing the waters of the genre to see if I could write it, and if I liked it.
But that opening was a tribute to her for introducing me into this world, and I’ve been a huge fan of hers ever since. It’s why if you follow me on Facebook you see me rave about her books the way most readers rave about their favorite authors. I’ve been called the ultimate fangirl or fanboy, because I’m not afraid to react like a reader when I love another author’s work. I do the same for Celia Aaron, Helena Hunting, CD Reiss, and Alexa Riley. So if Roxy is reading this, thank you! Reading your books was instrumental in my career and I don’t know if it would’ve turned out the same without you.
Anyways, that short story got kind of popular by my own metrics. More popular than I thought it would anyway. I actually had people messaging me asking for more. The first person/blogger to read and review it was Cecily Bonney and I still talk to her at least once a month. I still send her all of my books signed with messages to her. I’ll never forget her either, and I’ll never stop sending her books as long as I’m writing them.
Moving on… I need to pick up the pace, I know. In the beginning when I chose my pen name, I’d wanted a name that could work as female or male. I paid attention and there were seriously not many male authors I could find that really had a place near the top of the pack. I think maybe Sylvain Reynard was the only one I’d seen at that point. It was ALL female and ALL female readers. I just wanted to fit in and be judged on my writing abilities and for people to be convinced a female could’ve written my stories.
So, I pretended to be female for nine months. I also did it so that my wife wouldn’t be uncomfortable, just in case I received inappropriate messages from female readers or anything if they knew I was a male. It seemed like a safer, wiser play. My goal was to write books and make as many fans as I could. I didn’t care about selling books. Math was my strong point and I’d studied the shit out of that Amazon algorithm, and charted new releases and would go check their ranks throughout the day and plot them out. I was an author earnings report fiend, reading everything Hugh Howey and the Data Guy put out. I would find patterns, perform statistical analysis, attempt to separate the signal from the noise.
All conclusions led to the fact that it was all about the first few days of sales. I needed a strong fan base to launch books. I researched everything I could on it to figure out strategies, etc. Fans were the key. I was going to throw my books at anyone who would read them for the first year. No reviews even necessary. I just wanted people reading my work. I’m still not sure how many books I gave away then, and I give away even more now. Because the bigger my fan base grows, the higher my rankings shoot on the first few days. I was going to treat my fans like gold. They were going to be family to me. I’d do whatever I could for them and get to know them. When you make a personal connection with someone, and they know you’ll do anything you can for them, they will reciprocate almost every time. And if you have a lot of those people who are singing your praises and telling anyone they meet about your books and sharing your releases, that type of organic promotion is more powerful than buying ads, buying promotional newsletter blasts, etc. It just takes a lot more work, but it was work I was willing to put in. Plus, I enjoy making them smile and buying gifts for people, and interacting. So it was a win win.
That’s kind of how I got to where I am today. A very unconventional road was taken by someone with shitty grammar who likes to goof off way too much and at the time thought they were better with numbers than letters.
Now, the controversial topic I made you read my biography to get to. This whole “male author” ordeal. This keeps showing up everywhere I look, and who knows, you don’t have to agree with me. You might get pissed off. You might love it. I have no idea. But these are my raw unfiltered thoughts on this whole debate, and it’s the last time I’m going to address it. If someone wants to know, I will direct them here. I love the sharing of ideas and opinions, so if someone disagrees that’s fine. I can only speak from my own experience on this so don’t take it as the Gospel. Take it as a man-child’s opinion based on what he has seen.
So when I decided to come out as a male it wasn’t easy for me at all. I hated lying to readers in the beginning. It felt really deceptive. You can only take so many, “Dayummm girl.” messages, especially as a dude, coupled with the fact that I was being dishonest. My tweets and stuff were all the same stories with my family, I just modified my gender in them. But, finally I’d had enough and I was getting more popular so I decided it was time to rip the band aid off and if anyone wanted to cut ties, I’d rather they do it then rather than later. I apologized at the time, and I still do sometimes for deceiving authors and readers. It ate me up inside. I just wanted my stories to be read with an open mind and not the whole, “a man wrote this” preconceived notion. I didn’t want anyone to pass my books up simply because I was a male. In all fairness, I never had one person ever tell me they’d pass on my story because I was a male. I’ve heard other authors say they’ve experienced it, but I have not.
I honestly had expected to lose a lot of fans when I made the announcement I was a guy, because nobody likes being lied to. It makes you feel stupid, taken advantage of, etc. I still don’t know if I lost any fans. I might have, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it’d be. Everyone was so supportive. There were a lot of “I knew it!” and “That makes sense!” tweets. I was crazy happy that so many readers were supportive, even though those previously mentioned tweets made me pause a bit, because when I write I want it to be impossible to guess my gender. So I just assumed they wanted to look like they knew it, when really they didn’t. It’s what I tell myself anyway. I’m sure they could probably tell. I had face shots in my first few books which I think gave me away because I was told women never really write that. <shrug> Did not know that at the time, lol.
Fast forward all of this to today, where I’ve found enough moderate success to be able to write full-time and stay home with my son. There are more male authors today, but honestly there are just MORE AUTHORS. The market is saturated with romance authors, and I’m not bitching about that fact. Just stating that it’s true. It just means I have to work even harder to write better books and stand out. It’s also great for readers because it raises the supply side and there are more options for them to choose from and it naturally lowers the prices of books.
I’ve been asked a billion (not really but a lot) times if there is an advantage to being a male romance author.
I could go off about this topic all day, but I usually shy away from these questions because they’re controversial and I don’t like controversy unless it’s warranted, which is rare. If not controversial, it just breeds tense debates and discussions. I don’t usually like to be serious. So I usually ignore it. Or I give some stock bullshit response that can’t get me in trouble. And it’s not necessarily controversial to a reader, but to other authors out there both male and female it can get heated. In my mind, I’m an author. I have my own brand, and if anything I’m an “Immature Boy Romance Author.” Just look at my logo. It’s a kid in sunglasses and a backwards hat. I mail out toys and Star Wars stickers with my books.
But today, I’m going to answer this question and we’ll just let the chips fall where they may, because I’m honestly just tired of being asked about it. I’m an author and I write all kinds of shit including comedy, science fiction, blog posts, Facebook posts, text messages, and emails. Other authors are my colleagues and they are not my competition and I don’t refer to them as female authors when I talk about them. If Helena Hunting (a bamf at writing male povs) writes a kick ass book (that happens to contain my book girlfriend, fyi so stay away) and someone is considering a book, but also considering playing their Xbox or watching movies, and they buy her book and read it, and then fall in love with it like they’re destined to do… Well, they might say, my God, I forgot how much I love to read. I’m going to do that more and they go and buy all Helena’s books and some of mine, well how the hell is Helena my competition? She just made me money by writing an awesome book and essentially promoted my own book with no work done on my end.
Roles reversed, if Sloane Howell writes an absolute piece of shit, that he rushed to market with all kinds of typos and editing issues, but slapped a pretty cover on it and took his time with the blurb and first 10% of his book just to make money… Someone might read that and say dafuq is this nonsense? I’m going to the movies. I just spent $2.99 on that and it was horrible. Where did that asshole learn grammar?
Other authors are not my competition, they are my friends, and they help me. The competition is other forms of entertainment, and bad books. This is not rocket science.
So, let’s get back to the question again because I sort of went off in a different direction. My bad.
Is there an advantage to being a male author?
Ensuing rant coming, and you have been warned!
Sure there is. It’s a no-brainer. People might disagree with me, but give me a break. Especially if you market yourself in a way that appeals to women sexually in a downright blatant and chauvinistic manner. (I’ll talk about this more in a bit) And I don’t mean having a pretty face, or even posting a shirtless #TBT. That can help some, sure. Males can flirt a little and it probably gets them some sales. But I try to steer clear of downright blatant flirting and making readers think I am like the characters in my books. I don’t private message with fans that are likely to engage in trying to lure me into a sexual conversation because it’s disrespectful to my wife and kid and I want to be professional and sell books. I want to write as a career and that is a short-term marketing gimmick anyway. But I don’t judge the light semi-harmless public flirting too much, especially if the author is single and a pretty stand up person who’s just having a little fun with their fans. But it’s very easy for innocent fun to turn into something troublesome and in my opinion it’s playing with a den of vipers. You’re going to get bitten eventually. So I just don’t do it.
And from my own observations, there are female readers out there who will promote male authors simply because they are male. If anyone says that’s not true, they are lying to themselves. I’m not saying it bothers me at all or even that it’s wrong. It doesn’t irritate me at all. I worry about what I’m doing, and I have a long-term vision for my career. I also have enough to worry about with a wife and a toddler as it is. I don’t get bogged down in the controversies or rumor mills unless it’s something I feel passionate about that effects me directly. But enough people ask me this question, I’m just going to lay it all out there.
I hope nobody promotes my work just because I’m a dude. It’s not the reason I want them promoting me. I’d prefer it be because they loved my books, or thought I was a nice person, or because I try to treat my fans well, or because I’m funny or brighten their day with a sweet post on social media. But honestly, I really hope it’s because they like my books. I also want readers to see the real me. I’m a husband and a dad who loves to write any kind of story, and to entertain people. I have a batshit crazy family I wouldn’t trade for the world. I have a beautiful wife and an amazing boy. I tell date night and potty training stories, boy mispronouncing regular words as dirty words and his love of truhs and trahs (trucks and tractors), the wife getting the best of me in a battle of wits, or her reminding me that she runs shit around the house and I need to accept it.
But I’ve heard some male authors complaining about how persecuted they are as a male romance or erotica author, and I’m not going to lie, I roll my fucking eyes really hard when I see it. Sorry guys, it’s true. If it’s that big of a problem for you, go create a female pen name and write under it. Seems like the easiest solution if you’re about to be burned at the stake in Salem for having a dick. I don’t go out searching for these posts, but they pop up in my newsfeed occasionally, and it’s usually an author who’s always complaining about something anyway, or is an asshole with most of their posts, then wonders why they can’t sell a book. So I expect them to never find success, but that’s their problem, not mine. I worry about me and those close to me who share the same visions, and can help me get to the place I want to be and vice versa, along with trying to provide some guidance to up and coming authors who I can tell love to write and are willing to put in work.
It’s not one person in particular either that’s always doing the complaining. I’m not singling anyone out or naming names. I’ve seen plenty. I come from a no-nonsense type of family, so I usually want to go post something like “Sack up, or take your ball glove and go home. This is a business. Work harder. Go write your manuscript instead of a woe is me post on Facebook. Become a better writer. Take criticism and appreciate it. Listen to your readers and ask them what they want and what they like.”
I don’t have much sympathy personally for people who make excuses for why they aren’t succeeding, instead of going out and actively trying to succeed. We live in the golden age of information where if you want to know something bad enough, you can go and find it with Google. If you want to succeed it means hard work, staying up until 5 a.m. getting that plot point or character voice just right. Not being lazy and telling instead of showing and taking info dumps all over the pages. Writing a draft isn’t hard. Fine tuning that shit into something special most certainly is. It’s difficult to show instead of tell and sprinkle information throughout the narrative with dialogue or action instead of telling it to a reader like a text book. It means paying your dues in the trenches and rolling pennies or trading services to get an editor. Learning photoshop or Gimp and how to design graphics. Analyzing your plot points and getting the most out of every single one of them. Reading your dialogue aloud and making sure it’s snappy, and your characters have distinct voices, etc. Learning html or at least the basics of formatting a pretty book. Learning how to make a google form and reaching out to bloggers. These are the things you should be doing instead of crying to your audience, but it’s easier to complain.
But, this is a business, so I keep those thoughts to myself most of the time. Not today though apparently. I’m just getting it all out there. Plus, it’s just not worth the hassle and dealing with the controversy because someone is wanting to whine in front of a crowd. If you see me whine about something on social media, it’s most definitely sarcasm. There is a difference. But the legit complaining as an author, just no! Find an author friend and bitch to them in private. You will need a shoulder to cry your problems into and someone who can understand them and sympathize. But don’t make excuses, it’s a waste of time. Because someone who makes excuses is unlikely to change, and that goes for both male and female authors. We all have bad days, but it looks bad for your brand to complain publicly. Know why? Because perception is reality, and even if you’re making $20/month in royalties (I know, I’ve been there), you are an author! Readers don’t see your bank account. To your fans you are like a celebrity, and when you bitch on Facebook about people not buying your book, or about other books that aren’t as great as “your baby” and they are ripping up the charts, do you know what your readers are thinking?
They’re thinking, “I just shoveled shit for eight hours, or sat in a cubicle, or flipped burgers at the Maccas and this person is writing stories for a living and complaining about how hard they have it? Fuck them!” They might be nice to you, because like I said before, they see you as a celebrity and that makes people act different. But in their brain it’s lodged in there. You have an Amazon page and a website and an author page. They think you’re making a lot of money, even if you aren’t. You have professional looking graphics and a brand and a newsletter. If you’re not making it yet, you’re damn sure faking it until you get there. And that’s what they see!
It’s the reality we live in, even if it isn’t true and you’re working two jobs to try and pay for those giveaways you just did to try and get some likes on a Facebook page. It doesn’t matter. It’s part of the gig. Your fans are precious gems, your gold mine, and you’re insulting them when you do it. You’re not doing yourself any favors. Make your own luck and work harder than the pack. Offer up as many great stories as you can to the Amazon Gods and pray that their algorithm works in your favor on one of them. If you’re writing for money, you’re in it for the wrong reason anyway. There are seriously a million better and easier ways to make money. So find one of them if you aren’t prepared to write for pennies. I Flove writing. That’s why I made a go of it in romance, because I had to write something no matter what. I had voices in my head and stories I had to get out. Romance was the best bet to make it. But if you aren’t prepared to be broke, you’re in trouble. Because the majority of authors will never make enough to support themselves.
Fortunately, I now do. But that can change in the blink of an eye. It might change after I make this blog post public. I hope not, but it could happen, and I never take that shit for granted. Not for one minute. If you want it bad enough, you can get it.
I’ve also seen some male erotica authors (idk of any in romance, but maybe they exist) who seem to pretend to be one of their characters I guess? Like a 25 year-old billionaire dom and call their followers kittens or pets or some shit, like they’re just a dommin’ ass daddy. Fake pictures, talking about spanking readers, just… I’m sorry but I laugh when I see it, because I’m picturing some balding fat guy behind a laptop getting his rocks off on it. I get mine off too, in the phantom variety as I make a jerk off motion in the air and usually toss the splooge right at the profile picture before I scroll on and go about my day. I may even make sound effects. 🙂
I’m sure some people may say, why do you care? It’s harmless and it doesn’t affect you. Well, yeah it kind of does. See, the indie community, especially in romance is very tight-knit (Should that be hyphenated? I really need my copy editor Stacey to read this first, but there’s no time. I can’t be held accountable for my grammar. Thanks for understanding.). And it is almost entirely female authors. And contrary to whatever the daddy dom might think, daddy dom needs the support of other authors. And if I’m a laid back man-child and it gets my attention enough to have a good little chuckle and jack ghost swimmers at my computer monitor, what do you think all those female authors out there think about it? They’re busting their ass writing stories and doing their best to interact with fans, and some guy with a questionable sized dick comes along posting some fake daddy-in-a-suit pics like it’s really him and talking about flogging readers’ asses and pulling their hair and shit to get sales.
Look, this is my opinion and nobody is forced to agree with it, but this is my blog so I can write what I want. That is disrespectful to women. And women are your core audience. You’re not getting readers based on your writing ability, and to most people you look like a royal douche commander. You don’t know if they are married or not, you don’t know if their kids might walk up and read a comment their mom is tagged in and it’s directed at her. And yeah, it affects me because I unfortunately fall under the category of male author with you, and I honestly look down and wish I had a vagina when I see it.
I’ve gone out and looked at the rankings on some of these peoples’ books when I first saw stuff like that, and a lot of them are highly ranked for their genre (which quite frankly shocked the fuck out of me) and they are making decent money doing it. So, do males have an advantage? Umm, yes. If you can act like you’re going to cane a reader on the back of their legs and get Kindle Unlimited page reads for it, then yes, sorry chaps. We have an advantage. A female author could not pull that off and get sales.
Here’s the other thing that I touched on briefly above. It’s also disrespectful to the female authors out there. You need to show them respect, because you’ve barged into their safe place and it belongs to them. I struggle with this one so much, because I absolutely love writing this genre. But a quick little history lesson on Wikipedia will show you that this world is not fair to women. It’s gotten better over time, but it has a long fucking way to go.
I’ve worked in the corporate world and seen it firsthand. I was an accountant. I know how to read numbers, and it’s not hard to scroll a finger down a payroll report and find a pattern when it comes to how much women are paid for things vs men. It’s not hard to see how they aren’t taken as seriously as men. It’s not hard to see how many men are in management roles, and more females are in the worker bee roles. It’s not hard to Google women’s suffrage, and see how they weren’t considered important enough to get to vote until August 26, 1920. That’s LESS than 100 years. There are some women still old enough to be able to remember that time. It’s not hard to see that women are treated like property still in some parts of the world. They have their reproductive organs mutilated, they’re murdered. The shit even happens in the free world. Yeah, shit is not even close to being equal. And our readers are global, and some are living this every day.
Romance books are one of the few things in the world that belong to them. It’s almost entirely women. It’s their safe haven, where they go to escape a lot of the bullshit that’s wrong with the world, and to drift into a fantasy. IT IS THEIRS! Fortunately, they are a bit more kind, for the most part, and willing to share that with us men, if we treat them with the respect and dignity that they deserve, and acknowledge these facts. I still feel bad that it might seem like I’m taking from something they’ve built, or asking to be a part of it. But when a guy comes in swinging his dick around like he owns the place, I’m sorry but that pisses me right off. It’s not hard to be polite, say thank you, and treat women the way they should be treated. You may see it differently than that, but I sure as hell don’t. And like I said before this here is my blog. And I’m entitled to my opinion. My opinion of a male author coming in and being a dickhead and acting cocky and thinking he runs shit and is here to get paiiiiiid, is that you’re a major league cunt bucket. True story.
I also have to admit, some of what I’ve said above seems to contradict something that happened to me recently, so I want to explain. The other day just this week, BT Urruela asked me to be a part of a Fraternity group on Facebook for male authors. I almost said no to him because of those last few paragraphs and really this whole message here of being labeled as a male author. He’s probably one of the only authors that I would say yes to, and I did. Because he’s a stand up guy, a vet, does all kinds of charity work, served our country with honor, and I’ve never heard a bad word uttered about him that held up to scrutiny. I’ve talked to female readers, authors, and bloggers who have nothing but good things to say about him and they love him, and yet I still almost said no just because of all the stuff above, because it seems to highlight the fact I’m a male romance author, but I saw opportunity regarding all of this when I joined.
Regardless of all that though, it’s incredibly kind of women to share this little piece of sanity they have with me, and let me be a part of it. I get to make a living and achieve my dream of being a full-time author. I get to stay at home with my son and watch Chuggington with him as I type this post instead of pounding on a ten key in a cubicle. He gets sick a lot and I get to take care of him. That’s because I’m fortunate enough to be a part of this industry that’s dominated by women, and I take pride in that and it’s an honor to me to be included.
I was so skeptical though about the group sort of labeling me as a male author. But it was BT. How do you say no to BT? He’s an awesome guy who is adored by authors, readers, and bloggers alike, and he had some other guys he trusted to be in it, so I joined. I felt like with some of the ideas everyone was kicking around about how to interact and cross promote with female authors, maybe we could help bridge some of the gap or distrust that I can sense regarding thoughts about some male romance/erotica authors within the community. It was an opportunity for me personally, to maybe help make things better, and lead by example to show that not all male erotic romance authors are cocky assholes trying to take over a female led industry. It was better than sitting on the sidelines and watching the problem possibly get worse as more and more authors flood into the indie world.
So yesterday, I did a challenge in the group to dare the other guys to post a throwback picture with the most inspirational women in their life. Mine was my wife. Some of them chose their spouse or their mother, some of the guys are straight, some are gay. It’s very diverse. But I did that challenge so that readers and other authors would see how important women are some male authors, and how these special women in our lives shaped and molded us into men that respect them. And I think the readers really enjoyed that. At least I hope they did. I hope other authors who may be on the fence about male authors saw it and appreciated it, and maybe it gave them a little hope that there are decent guys writing romance, who grew up with strong women in their lives. I know I grew up with several. I’m hoping a lot of positive comes out of that group, and I know it will.
But the entire point of this post comes back to the few paragraphs above regarding equality and how grateful I am to female authors for opening the door for me. I’m fortunate enough to have never had a beef with any other author (sans a plagiarist who was not an author), and I love all of them for allowing me to be a part of what belongs to them. They didn’t have to do that. They could shun me. They could not help cross promote my releases, or invite me to their author events and signings. If they banded together, they could easily drive me back into a cubicle of misery. They hold that power over me. But they don’t use it. They’ve been kind to me because I do my best to show them the respect they deserve, and let them know that I’m aware that I’m a guest in their house and thank them for allowing me in. So to my female colleagues and mentors, thank you once again for that gift. I appreciate it more than you’ll ever know, and I will never forget it. I will never take it for granted. I hope to spend many years writing alongside you and us helping each other out as the landscape of the written word changes. Thank you for treating me as if I’m just another author, and not a male author.