One of my favorite writing blogs is A Newbie's Guide to Publishing not only because it's funny and informative, but the comments section often provide a lot of insight and perspective. If you're thinking about going the self-publishing route, the blog is a MUST read. However, there's still a wealth of knowledge to be gained even if, like me, you are submitting and querying publishers.
A recent guest post by Dakota Madison addressed the push-and-pull of writing what you love vs. writing what will sell. After writing several "interesting" books that resulted in low sales, Karen Mueller Bryson decided to become romance writer Dakota Madison and starting writing books that have earned, in her words, "pay-the-mortgage" money. As a romance writer, I'm thrilled to hear about her success because it means there's a chance I might one day encounter similar good fortune with my writing. Yet, I can't say I'm entirely comfortable with the tone of her post because she makes the process of writing romance novels sound easy and implies it's a path to big bucks. At least that's what I took away from it, but I might be reading too much into what she's saying.
Writing romance isn't easy, at least not for me. Part of the problem is that I edit as I write, but I'm also questioning the direction my characters are taking or whether my plot is really working. As a result, it's really slow going for me, but the end product is a work I'm proud to submit. And I don't think I'd be able to do it at all, slow or not, if I didn't enjoy what I was writing and have a genuine interest and passion for the genre. I'll admit I kind of wish chick-lit would make a big return because I LOVE writing stories with bitchy, self-absorbed narrators. But I know that trend has run its course, for now anyway, and more heartfelt, steamier romances are what's hot right now. It's all a matter of striking that balance between the stories you want to tell and the stories that you know will sell.