Writing Gay Romance

laura manloveromanceToday Laura Baumbach, author and publisher of ManLoveRomance Press, is on the site. We’re very privileged to have Laura with us because as you can imagine she has an incredibly tight schedule. I know that authors AND readers will be interested in what Laura has to say about the direction of this sub genre.

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Some people might think that writing and publishing what is considered a small niche market a doubtful move in today’s economy. I disagree. I’ve been writing gaylaura photo erotic romance for five years. My first print book, A Bit of Rough, was published in 2005.  It was so popular, the distributors asked my publisher for more titles from me and a career was born.

My second book, Out There In The Night, followed the next year and I haven’t stopped writing since. My work is steamy, explicit love stories between two complex, unique and different men. Simple, everyday stories.

And I have a simple philosophy about my writing. I write what I want to read and I hope there are people out there who like what I like. So far it’s been a successful ground rule.

bit of roughAnd what makes it such a success is that the audience who reads my work is not just the small niche market of gay men. My fan mail over the last five years shows that my readership is almost equally divided between straight women and gay men. No one will argue that straight women are not a small niche market. Not even when you reduce them down to the percentage who find they like to read about men in love. Romance is the second largest genre of books purchased in the USA.

Every day our society is becoming more and more integrated. It’s been a battle for equality but there are definite signs that GLBT culture is becoming a part of the mainstream culture. Yesterday the largest GLBT publisher Windows Media filed for bankruptcy. A decided increase in mainstream media covering GLBT events was cited as one of the contributing factors to the company’s financial instability. I’m not saying this is entirely a good thing, a voice for GLBT issues and accomplishment needs to be present, IMO, but it does illustrate a point. The lines between our differences are blurring so society is truly beginning to see people as PEOPLE, not straight or gay or lesbian. The differences aren’t mattering as much anymore. Our younger generation is seeing past those walls. I think this is a welcome change.

Just this year for the first time even some literary awards programs like the EPPIES have removed the GBLT category from their judging, making all stories equaloutthereinthenight_coverlg and able to compete on a level field of talent. RWA accepted a new chapter that as founder, I’m very proud of — Rainbow Romance Writers, a chapter devoted to furthering this genre of romance. It’s a big step forward for a very traditional organization with an eye toward more acceptance already being seen on the horizon.

Writing gay erotic romance is like any other type of fiction writing. You have to love it, be drawn to it, and understand it to write it well. Then once you have the itch, you have to have the right tools–writing skill and storytelling talent– to pull it off. Just like any other author.

So, is it career smart to write gay erotic romance? For me it’s a calling. I’ve just recently quit my day job as a RN to write and publish fulltime. My press, MLR Press, LLC is growing more than I ever imagined. We’re receiving coverage in the mainstream publication PW and this December will have a commerical on OUTtv in Canada, a cable station. Our mystery Death Vows by Richard Stevenson was named one of the best mysteries of 2009 by National Public Radio, a decidedly mainstream venue. We’re prospering and it is our readership that is making it happen. I can’t see myself doing anything else. It’s working for me.

Author

I live in Canada and I love big dogs, music, movies, reading and sports – especially baseball

16 comments

  • I loved “A Bit of Rough” and the sequel. *grins* I read and reread them on a regular basis.

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    I agree with Tam (and you, Laura) that writing what you love to read is the most important thing.

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    For me, Gordon Merrick was my first exposure to ‘gay’ fiction and romance (in its way). He’s been a hero of mine since I was 13. It’s kind of fascinating to wonder what he would think of the gay fiction sweeling (pun intended) that he helped to start.

    ~Tis

    Reply
  • A Bit of Rough was the first book of this genre that I owned. A mere novice with no clue of what an ebook was, once I knew of it’s existence I had no idea how to get a copy and became obsessed with doing so. I finally went to Barnes and Noble and ordered it, followed by a lot of explaining.

    I drove them crazy at the store until the book arrived. It was promptly devoured. I can’t believe that it only came out in 2005! Four short years, and roughly 400 m/m books later, here I am.

    Laura, thank you. My own first full length novel comes out in January of 2010. If not for you, Abraham, and James, it never would have happened.

    Reply
  • As a man writing a tiny sub-genre of the m/m genre, finding a publisher like MLR Press was a godsend. Laura wants us to tell a good story, period. That gives the authors much freedom to create, and readers who purchase MLR Press books are the benefactors.

    Reply

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