Coming in on the back of Tess's amazing post from yesterday, I knew this would be a tough act to follow. As authors we want to know why a reader will choose to buy one book over another. Important stuff. Is it the way the author presents herself on a yahoo group? Is it the look of her cover? Name recognition? Do sales generate from a cover ads, contests, and excerpts? These are all great things to know and help authors immensely in marketing a book.
Today I want to know what readers are looking for in their reading material. That's a tough nut to crack, folks, because let's face it, we are all individuals with individual tastes. However, authors and publishers watch trends. Romantic reading covers all the bases from inspiration to erotic. There is sweet, spicy, sensual (I've always wondered what the difference is between 'spicy' and 'sensual'...does anyone know?) and the hot hot stuff that is labeled either erotic or erotic romance. As to erotic and erotic romance there are so many sub-genres it makes the head spin. We have heterosexual along with male/male, female/female, bdsm, menage, cougar, paranormal, contemporary, historical, etc. The list seems to go on endlessly. The authors here at Three Wicked Writers plus Two write erotic romances...erotic but with strong romantic elements and most usually containing a happy-ever-after ending. siiiiigh. Who DOESN'T like a happy ending?
I'll start here by stating my preferrences. I'm an author but also a reader. I love contemporary, erotic historicals, and paranormals. In my paranormal reading I love shifters and I'm DONE with vamps...sick of them. Vamps exploded onto the scene years ago and before long it seems every new title out there featured the sexy blood-suckers. Don't get me wrong...I liked them but now they are kind of 'been there, done that' for me. I like reading menage, especially if it's set in the paranormal realm and the menage is built into the mythos of the storyline. I enjoy a lot of humor and my personal reading material isn't always erotic romance. Sometimes HOT does it for me. Longer or shorter books? Depends on how much time I have. Novella length is usually a good choice for my busy lifestyle and provides a more meaty story than what a 'quickie' will do. If I have a long, slow weekend with no pressing things to deal with, give me a full length novel that I can curl up with.
During Ellora's Cave's Romanticon convention in October, authors Fran Lee and Amber Skyze presented an informative reader-track forum where readers (not authors) told us their likes and dislikes. I'll try to summarize here but it might be more helpful to check out EC's Redlines and Deadlines blog post about it. Readers loved novella length and contemporaries were as popular as paranormals. Readers identified five key elements they look for in a story.
•Hot, delicious sex
•Strong, engaging (and enjoyable) characters
Sex for the sake of sex wasn't necessarily a good thing for these readers. So all you authors out there? Ramp up the sexual tension and keep it appropriate to the story. Yes, they want it hot and they want it often but make it true to the characters. Readers emphasized they wanted a strong emotional impact. Make them LOVE your hero and heroine.
So here are my questions to you 'readers' out there.
1. What is your favorite genre
2. What is your least favorite genre
3. What settings are your faves? Urban? Fantansy/Sci Fi? Small town or country?
4. What types of heroes and heroines make you keep reading?
5. What is your preferred book length?
Tell us what you think. Authors are always interested in giving readers what they want more of. Cowboys? Cops? Bad-boys? Friends to lovers? You name it and I promise you, we'll try our best to provide it.