I’ve been getting questions about these two books enough so I thought I’d make a blog post about it. I think I’ll add this post to one of the FAQ sections on this blog because in time, this post will get buried and be harder to find.
The main question, of course, is “Will I write them?”
The answer is yes.
But…and these books are not on the priority list.
My goal at the moment is to have Wagon Trail Bride out by the end of this year. Barring any family emergencies (last year my husband almost died of a burst appendix and I lost a month of writing) or something else that will require me to put my writing on hold for a while, I should be able to get Wagon Trail Bride out by Christmas.
I don’t see getting His Convenient Wife out this year. Maybe next year at the soonest.
Why is it going to take so long?
I know it’s taboo to discuss writing and how it relates to business, but this is my job. It’s how I support a husband and four kids. I’m very grateful for this job. I love it. Nothing else would give me as much joy as writing books. In order to keep this job, I need to make enough money to support my family and pay taxes. (The taxes, by the way, are almost half of what I earn. So over 40% of my income goes directly into the federal and state taxes because I’m self-employed.)
This forces me to think of writing as a business. As ideal as it would be for me to say that I write solely for pleasure, the truth is, I do have to think of money. If I don’t think a book will sell very well, I push it down on the priority list.
I honestly don’t believe Wagon Trail Bride or His Convenient Wife will sell enough to put them high up on the priority list.
When I sit down to look at which books to put up high on my priority list, I need to look at a couple things:
- how long it will take me to write the book
- how other books in the series (or similar books) are selling already
- what I think will interest a wide audience when looking at a new series or book idea
1. The speed at which I can write.
I have been pushing myself hard ever since the year began to see how much I can write in a year. Up to now, my average has been 6-7 books a year. This seems to be about 5-6 full-length novels and a novella. I don’t know if I can write faster than that, but I’m trying.
If I can write more books in a year, then I can afford to take a risk on a book I don’t believe has a good chance of selling.
So if I can get out an extra book this year, it’s easier to make that book Wagon Trail Bride because I don’t need that book to help me making a living. It is an “extra”. I can afford to take a risk on an “extra”.
2. How books in the series or similar books are already selling.
I look at how my past books did to determine what to write in the future, and I determine in what order to write them. I need to do this in order to get a picture of what people want and how to better gear my writing in that direction. It’s a business decision.
I’ve noticed a couple of things that I wished I had paid closer attention to a couple years ago.
- 1) Romances where the heroine pursues the hero tend to bomb. Not many people like them.
- 2) Heroines that are soft and tender sell better than those who are more likely to give the hero a hard time. This is why I don’t do the “difficult” heroine anymore.
- 3) If a series isn’t popular, nothing will save it. It might be possible to boost the series, but longterm, it’s something to write off and move on to a more promising series.
- 4) Romances are 1900 don’t sell well. So I’m very reluctant to write after the 1800s.
Reason #3 is why Wagon Trail Bride isn’t higher up on the priority list. Richard Larson is the oldest Larson brother. My Larson books don’t do that well. I mean, the $0.99 books do well, but I can’t make a living off of $0.99. I’m keeping those books at $0.99 since that is what they were back when I published them. I try not to mess with books that are already published.
But overall, the Larson family really doesn’t yield a lot of interest. Not at $2.99, and I need that $2.99.
Reason #4 is why I don’t believe His Convenient Wife will sell very much. It takes place after 1900. Catching Kent (which took place after 1900) bombed. There’s just not enough interest in it, and I suspect there are two reasons for it. It had the heroine pursuing the hero (mistake #1) and takes place after 1900 (mistake #2).
3. I focus my time and energy on books I believe will attract the widest audience possible.
I don’t write for everyone. My books will always follow the guidelines I’m comfortable with: sex within marriage being the biggest one. Anything I submit to a publisher or co-write will have my core values intact in the book.
However, there is some nice leeway I can work with (and do). A couple times a year, I look over how my books have done. I look at common elements/themes that appealed the most to people. Then I look to see if there are any common elements/themes that turned the most people off. I’m now at 39 romances (a couple of which are novellas) and from this large pool of books, I aim to better gauge why my top sellers are top sellers and do what I can to make sure my next book is a success.
This doesn’t mean I don’t branch out and experiment with something different. I am doing fantasy romances this year, which is really a huge risk. The only reason I’m doing them is because they are already written. All I have to do is rewrite them which is an easy process. But it’s an experiment. If it doesn’t do well, don’t expect to see any other fantasy romances.
I’m also experimenting with mail-order bride books this year. I believe these have a good chance of success based off the sales from Bride by Arrangement and Eye of the Beholder (two books where I had that as a theme).
Co-authoring with Stephannie Beman and Janet Syas Nitsick have been successful so I’ll continue working on those types of books.
I already know Regencies do well. They do better than historical westerns, but my passion is so embedded in historical westerns, that I can’t “not” do them. I can, however, do without writing another contemporary. Contemporaries are a toss up.
Native American Romances, however, are not popular and I won’t be writing any new ones. I finished the series I have and that is enough. Yes, I loved writing the books, but love of writing a book is sometimes not enough. It’s sad to say but that’s just how it is.
I’m sorry to those I’ve upset. I would love to do it all and have it all out there tomorrow. But I can’t. I only have so many hours in a day and a family to take care of. I average 2.5 to 3 months for writing one novel. And I average 1 month for the editing team and me to go over the book with scrutiny. My editing team has been so wonderful about working for me at a fast pace. I rely on them because they ensure I produce quality books.
So that is about 3.5 to 4 months on average for every book I write.
I seem to revert back to working on 3 books at a time if I’m focused. If I add book 4, that book usually falls in the 100-200 words a day because that’s all I seem to be able to manage. I know some authors can write 5,000 words a day. I can’t. I usually do 1,000 in one, 1,000 in another, and 500 in the last one. Now, I have days where I do more than that and days where I do less. But this is my average over the past two years. And I usually write something every day. I rarely take days off.
When I’m not writing, I’m still working. I do emails (and yes, I’m backed up a lot), get my tax stuff together (which isn’t as easy as it sounds), write blog posts, go on Facebook, work on covers, work on book descriptions, help other authors, format my books, brainstorm ideas, tweak on my blog/website, etc. A lot more goes into my job than writing books, and I average working 55 to 60 hours a week. I enjoy all of it, though, and want to keep doing it. That is why I try to get books out there that I believe will enable me to keep doing what I do.