I notice that a lot of romance readers do not like strong heroines.
I think those of you who read my books are the exception. Often, I hear over and over that people like my sweet heroes and the fact that my heroines aren’t afraid to stand up for themselves. But when I look at comments I get on Wattpad, the majority of people there hate the fact that Sue Lewis (in An Inconvenient Marriage) is so strong. There is one chapter in particular where they get especially upset with her. I’m a lot like Sue Lewis, so when I see their comments, I often wonder, “Would these people like me if they were to meet me in real life?”
Sometimes the strong heroine can come across as a you-know-what. She can be seen as bossy, temperamental, and rude. They instinctively feel sorry for the hero, or they think the hero is a wimp for putting up with her. If only they could see how my marriage is… My husband is a beta hero. I am an alpha heroine. I don’t necessarily act alpha at all times, but when push comes to shove, I’m a Type A personality. I lead because my husband tends to look to me to make the decisions. He has a more relaxed and easy-going personality. So I guess we do write what we know to some degree.
And before you think I became a Type A after marriage, the truth is, I was always a Type A. My mom used to joke that I was like Lucy in the Charlie Brown TV shows and comics (except I wouldn’t pull the football away from the poor guy). My mom and sister were both Type B’s. My dad was a Type A. I take after him in a lot of ways. So I guess we can blame my dad for how I turned out. 😛
I think Type A’s and Type B’s naturally complement each other. The people I have been closest to in life have been Type B’s. I don’t see Type A women as being rude and overbearing. I see them as being the type who isn’t afraid to go out and get what they want, but they aren’t usually the most popular personality type. I think Type A’s (esp. women) tend to rub a lot of people the wrong way unless they suppress that side of their personality (which I do). As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned to “tone it down” so I don’t come across so much like a “Lucy”. My husband, however, might not agree. But then, he gets to see the real me all the time. (Lucky guy. LOL)
Multi-author promotions are only good if an author is with other authors who write books similar to theirs.
I did a boxed set with authors I hadn’t read. (Well, I had read one of the author’s work.) I made a serious error in judgment in joining because my book was not a good fit for the set. The authors in the set all sell very well, so they write books that a lot of romance readers want. Judging by the reviews, these authors write alpha heroes. Looking back, I realize the best thing I could have done was decline to join. It probably would have been best for those authors if I had because over and over the consensus among the readers who were familiar with those authors did not like my hero because he was a “wimp”.
It was a good experience because it taught me that when doing a multi-author set of any kind, it’s best to join if the stories will complement each other. You want authors similar to you to work with. Otherwise, you’re going to piss off the audience and possibly hurt the other authors in group. (I hope I didn’t hurt sales for any of the other authors I was in that set with.) So I guess that would be my advice to any authors reading this is to make sure you are a good fit for the authors you are working with.
On the debate of “write to market” or “write for yourself”…
I love self-publishing. It has given me the freedom to write the exact story that I want. I don’t have to write something a publisher wants me to do. I can create the stories and characters the way I want. That doesn’t mean I don’t ask for opinions from people who like my books. Their opinions are very important to me. I started writing the stuff I did without any feedback because I had no author platform at the time I began publishing. To be honest, I didn’t think anyone else in the entire world wanted to read the kinds of romances I was doing. But since then, I have been fortunate to meet people who actually enjoy my work, and now I take them into consideration with every book I write. I’m no longer just writing for me. I’m writing for them, too.
There’s a huge debate on whether to “write for yourself” or “write to market”. I know of authors who write specifically for a popular market, and they do very well. This is going to have to be something you decide on. I happened to love historical romances and the tropes already popular in the genre (marriage of convenience, arranged marriage, mail-order brides, just to name a few) when I began writing romances. However, I’m a big fan of beta heroes, and those tend not to be as popular in the genre as alpha heroes are. So I mix and match. I can’t write completely to market. To do so would make me lose interest in the story. But I don’t completely exclude the market when I write.
As you write, I think you’ll find your comfort zone. I don’t think it has to be one extreme or the other. I think there’s wiggle room. Writing somewhat for yourself will probably mean less sales. I don’t sell as well as I probably could if I were to write completely to market. Now, if you’re writing for a publisher, then you need to write for the publisher’s market. Otherwise, the publisher won’t take the book.