Is It A Guy Thing?

Gee, maybe I’m on to something, with my giving 40% of the point of view to the male main character, in Irish Firebrands.

J. B. Garner (“everyone’s favorite struggling author”), in his recent review of a paranormal romance, remarks, “The main PoV character for large sections of the book is the male lead…. Refreshing.”

Perhaps there’s hope for my kind of writing – among the Y-DNA Demographic.

Zane_GreyI’m not exactly sure why I wrote Irish Firebrands like that. I’m a pantser, and it just came out with one male and one female POV. Maybe I got it from Zane Grey, because he often wrote his novels that way. I grew up reading a 60-volume matched hardbound set of his western and adventure tales, and I still own and enjoy them. Most of his stories include a strong romance, although none of Grey’s good guys actually wear white hats.

I did do some male character development research while I was writing the story: I needed to know about the kind of home fitness equipment a man might invest in. Having birthed and brought up three testosterone-based life forms, and being the mother-in-law of a fourth, I took my questions to my local focus group.

The consensus was that while a “normal” guy (their description, not mine) would buy only one piece of large exercise equipment, a bodybuilder would own several. Result: one male character owns a treadmill, while another has outfitted his house with a complete home gym, including an attached shower room and a rack stacked with fluffy white towels. (He also has a huge flat-screen TV hanging on the wall over a glassed-in fireplace.)

Garner also commends the paranormal-romance writer for not being afraid “to blaze off of the over-used pathways other writers in this genre have tread.”

Irish Firebrands is Fusion Fiction: it mixes the Contempo-Ro, Boomer-Lit, social controversy, supernatural, visionary-inspirational, and psychological-melodrama genres. As such, it doesn’t always adhere to the traits, tropes, tableaux, and themes that are supposed to be traditional in romance-focused writing. So far, so good.

It’s also a minor-epic-length stand-alone, not a boxed-set novelette. Thus, promotion has focused on how this big story is flexible enough to meet a variety of literary-indulgence needs.

IrishFirebrandscoverartBut this approach has also been “gender-generic,” which may not have helped the cause. For example, Irish Firebrands also does not have a bosom-and-biceps cover, which probably inhibits sales to readers of both sexes who look for that sort of thing, when skimming actual and virtual bookshelves for a romance-based read.

Changing curb appeal seems to be an obvious fix. But conversely, the Sixty Shades of Chartreuse phenomenon has a very understated, almost plain-brown-wrapper set of covers, compared to the hordes of headless, half-naked torsos that hunker down on the covers of most love stories. And if there are women who report the embarrassment of having to carry around such covers, there also must be men who prefer not to have some other dude’s pecs and abs pushed under their noses, every time they pick up their current choice of fiction.

kimballWriting is an Art, and there are no Hydra’s Teeth that Authors can sow, which will sprout patrons who come screaming to buy our books. In addition, my sales have undoubtedly suffered because of constraints that are beyond my control. But I did study marketing and professional selling at university, under Dr. Bob Kimball, who also recruited my middle son to act in a marketing video he directed, back in the late ’90s.

I just have to figure out how to bring the content of Irish Firebrands to the attention of the Y-DNA Demographic. Unfortunately, I haven’t met many men who have this kind of eclectic taste in reading (only one of the Plouvier fellas has read his mom’s magnum opus, although the son-in-law is awaiting the audiobook).

Or is Irish Firebrands a sleeper that’s just waiting for its prelude to come out?

Here’s what my market research has found on the Web, so far:

The Romance Genre
Romance stories for men
Smart Men Read Romance Novels
Men Reading Romance: Meet the Romance Man
The Real Men Who Read Romance Novels
Are Men Writing Romance?

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8 Comments

Filed under Audiobooks, Fiction, Literature, Novels, Reading, Writing

8 responses to “Is It A Guy Thing?

  1. Thank you for mentioning me in your article!

    I think what you’re dealing with is something all of us indie authors deal with. While the self-publishing boom has let us get our works out, often for the first time ever, it also has put us in a wash of seemingly infinite amounts of other books, some great, some horrible, with few ways to figure which is good and which is bad. I know I’m dealing with it myself … I’ve got some good reviews, I have some more reviews coming … but outside of free sales, I’ve yet to see a real spark for the pay volumes, despite the good press.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a very good point you raise. I was actually discussing something similar tonight with an attorney friend regarding appealing to certain audiences versus specific audiences and the benefits of each. I agree that the cover makes a difference one way or another, depending on the person’s particular taste. However, as you know, ultimately, the story quality is what keeps people coming back. Irish Firebrands is very well written and I love the actual story itself. Sadly, though, I hate that we all can’t “just be writers.” We have to major in marketing and minor in writing just to compete with other indie authors who don’t write as well or have as creative of a plot, but are better at sales ad marketing. I wish there were more forums here in the U.S. to help the indie author, such as England with their Britain’s Next Best Seller.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your praise for Irish Firebrands. I’m glad you’re enjoying the story, even though its being a text-to-speech audiobook in beta testing is not its best presentation. 😉 I sincerely appreciate your work as a beta listener. 🙂

      US crowd funding platforms do exist, although many of them are not run specifically with publishing in mind, so unless the site is well organized and the writer already has a large number of willing patrons lined up to pledge, it’s possible than an individual book could get lost among the massive variety of other projects seeking funding. But I have seen some small presses and subsidy presses advertise the concept, so outfits like BNBS are a definite option for writers who are looking to publish under an imprint that’s not their own. I have neither experience with nor opinion about any particular crowd funding platform, so my recommendation is just, “read the fine print.”

      Liked by 1 person

      • Well, I have seen where other indie authors have used those funding platforms, and while they do seem legitimate as far as getting the actual money raised, it still seems as if they have to do the legwork themselves as far as promotional awareness, getting stores to carry the books, etc. Whereas, (from what I’ve read) BNBS seems to do everything for the author as far as marketing.

        I’ve noticed this same philosophy in other businesses as well. Such as in my photography studio… I’ve attended countless seminars led by what the industry considers “master photographers” who take in tens of thousands of dollar PER wedding! And honestly, I don’t see anything superior in their photography, and oftentimes, I don’t even like it much at all. But their sales pitch is what is phenomenal. They have a remarkable gift for getting the public pumped up about NEEDING to use their studio for their wedding at any cost. Because of that, they then also have the exorbitant amount of money needed to do things like direct mail advertising and elite bridal shows where they can offer things such as iPads for door prizes, which then nets them more suckers – I mean customers who will spend that kind of money for mediocre photography with a “designer name on it. My point is that I do believe there are sub-par indie authors who may have through-the-roof sales because their real gift isn’t writing but rather marketing and sales.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Sounds like you can spot a “Professor Harold Hill” a mile off! 😉

          That would be nice if BNBS does do all the marketing and selling (and does it effectively), especially since even the traditional publishers now insist that new authors not only must be agented, but also agents and publishers both require the author to have a marketing plan, as well as evidence of the author’s long, varied, and phenomenally successful presence on social media platforms (even if phenomenal “success” can be bought for so-much-per-“Like”).

          Liked by 1 person

          • I know… That’s insane! But, then again, isn’t that why we blog? (Rolls eyes!)

            Sometimes, I just think I’m not cut out for the way the future is headed. Did you ever see the movie The Village? THAT is where I want to be. 🙂

            Like

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