I know it’s been forever and a day since I last posted here. You’d think that I haven’t been writing, but the truth is I have. I just haven’t been writing romance. I told you guys about getting burnt out two years ago, which is true, but there’s more to it than just burn out.
The industry has changed dramatically in the last three years. A lot of publishers are no longer buying romances and those that are buying aren’t giving writers the best deals (understatement). Readers are buried under mountains of ‘To Be Read’ piles. Mountains that they’ll never get out from under. (And yes, I’m speaking from experience. Mine puts Everest to shame.)
Self-publishing has been a blessing and a curse. I’ve made more self-publishing than I ever did selling to New York. But in order to make a living (yes, this is my job), I had to write faster than I was used to writing. I sped up, but I never seemed to be fast enough. I would inevitably receive an email within a day of my new release asking me when the next book would be available. It was lovely in the sense that readers were eager to read the next book, but it left no time to celebrate. I was immediately thrown into must start the next book mode.
While this was happening, I noticed a drop in sales. I know there were many factors for this (ie more self-publishers, the rise of free books, algorithm changes, dropping of quality, not advertising enough, competition from other media sources, etc.) I was busting my butt to write book after book and seeing less and less money for my effort. It’s normal for publishing to be feast or famine. That’s just the nature of the business. I understand this and have begrudgingly accepted it, but it did make me ask myself a very important question: Why am I doing this?
And for the first time, I didn’t have an answer.
I wasn’t getting any joy from the writing. I wasn’t getting paid. I was getting little to no feedback other than demands for the next book/s. Worst of all, I was putting off writing books that I’ve been wanting to write for YEARS. Books that excited me, but I had no time to work on because I couldn’t keep up my romance release schedule and write my passion projects at the same time. There are only so many hours in the day and only so many days in a life.
Something had to give…and it was me.
I hit a wall with the romance. And it’s a wall I haven’t been able to get over or go around yet. I have tried multiple times to finish the two series that I started. I’ve written chapters in both series, but have been unable to complete the books. Every time I pick them up, something inside of me shuts down. HARD. So after several false starts, I picked up one of my passion projects and a miraculous thing happened–the joy returned.
I’m not ashamed to admit that I cried. I seriously cried because for so many months I thought I’d never enjoy writing again. The voices were gone. (Unless you’re a writer, you have no idea how frightening that is.) So when they returned, I wept.
The moment was bittersweet though because the writing that is bringing me joy these days isn’t romance. There is no crossover between the genres. If I continue to pursue this route, I’ll be disappointing readers who mean a lot to me. Readers who’ve supported me and loved my books. Readers who have brought me joy. I hate disappointing anyone, but I especially hate the idea of disappointing my readers.
So I find myself at a crossroads. Do I stay with what has in the past earned me a good living or do I take a leap into oblivion and hope that a net appears?