On this last day of the Riptide Launch Party & GayRomLit After Party we have another guest author from Riptide Publishing here at Rarely Dusty Books. Only this time it’s an author who hasn’t been to GayRomLit, like the other authors who have been our guest this past ten days. Aleksandr Voinov however is one of the founders and co-owners of this new publisher (together with Rachel Haimowitz and Chris Hawkins). Aleksandr is talking about his view on the m/m genre and gives a prediction for m/m in 2012. Don’t forget to check out the end of the post for a chance to win some more of the great prizes Riptide is offering.
By Aleksandr Voinov
Lots of people have written great, insightful analyses of where the m/m genre might be headed. We seem to be headed for the mainstream, while the market itself seems to get more competitive. There have never been so many books published by so many authors. Publishers fold, others, like Riptide, are just starting out. It’s certainly a vibrant little industry.
It’s also getting a lot more competitive—as so many books are getting published, it’s harder to be noticed in the din. At the same time, I feel we’re right now in a new stage in our development as a genre. Some readers are getting tired of shoddy editing, naked-torso covers, and repetitive plots. It used to be new and thrilling to read explicit gay sex in books, but I feel we’ve reached the stage where that’s not enough.
Readers, on Goodreads, Amazon, and many other reader forums, are demanding “more”. More characterization than “the blond”, or “the cop”, more plot than: “They meet, they fall in love at first sight, they have mind-scorching sex all night, pledging each other eternal lurv, and they are off to the church and then adoption agency the next morning.” And more editing than commas being at “roughly” the right place. After all, the internet is full of badly-edited writing and gay sex – who wants to pay for something that’s not better, or sometimes even worse! – than what you get for free? I wouldn’t.
So my prediction for m/m in 2012:
1) More big names in the m/m space are going to self-publish. Josh Lanyon is already putting stories directly on Amazon. Others will follow.
2) Other authors are more likely to migrate to friendlier contracts. Friendlier contracts being: No ROFR clauses that force them to stay with the publisher; a bigger slice of royalties (why sign your book away for 25% if you can make 50%?); contracts that run out faster (three or four years rather than seven or “lifelong”).
3) All other things being more or less equal, editing and good covers are becoming more important. If an author can choose between a vaguely embarrassing PhotoShop botch-job and a cover that actually represents their story’s mood and characters – which one is more attractive? Also, there are many authors that want to get edited properly – which means a lot more than getting a quick visit from the comma police.
4) Quality control will get more and more important. Readers are tired of “meh” stories. They want new, different, exciting, well-written stories that look good, read well, and don’t feel like they are the millionth cheap copy of a cheap copy. To produce that, publishers and authors will have to work even better together, in my book. I think in some ways, it might be time to learn some lessons from mainstream publishing and respectable indies.
At Riptide, we’re trying to account for all of those trends (minus the self-publishing, but then, the owners are publishing some of their work through Riptide). We’re only accepting stories that have real potential – gay sex isn’t enough (unless it’s for our erotica line), we want good stories well-told. Once acquired, we’re striving to guide every single book through the production process until it’s the best it can be.
We’re taking risks on unconventional stories, offering a wide range from m/m romance to gay literary fiction, and we also publish trans fiction and ménages. We’ll never put a cover on that we (or the author) would be embarrassed about. People only get a naked torso if they really, really want one. :) And, being authors too, we’re offering one of the friendliest contracts in the industry.
I’m pretty sure we’re well-prepared, whatever happens to the genre next year, or in ten years, or in thirty years.
Riptide Grand Opening Giveaway
Leave a comment on this post for a chance to win any backlist book of choice by Aleksandr Voinov (excluding Counterpunch and Dark Soul 1)!
Riptide is having a Grand Opening tour, of which this blog post is a part. At the end of the tour stop, Riptide also awards one lucky commenter a big Riptide swag bag, US resident only. If an international winner is chosen, they will substitute for a gift certificate to All Romance E-Books.
The best part is, that each comment in the blog tour earns you one entry in the grand prize drawing for an iPad. Other prizes are a Nook and a Kindle.
Website Riptide Publishing | blog tour list | website Aleksandr Voinov | weblog Aleksandr Voinov | Aleksandr Voinov on Twitter | Aleksandr Voinov on Goodreads