When authors take chances, readers win
WHEN AUTHORS TAKE CHANCES, READERS WIN. As a reader, I was blown away when the indie revolution started... I'd gotten so tired of romance as a genre, but then I was given an ebook reader. Suddenly my world was full of new kinds of romance novels. Challenging romances. Crazy romances. Romances that broke the rules and imploded my understanding of what a romance novel could be.
It sort of kicked ass, right?
For decades, the rules of the romance genre required authors to follow certain formulas if they wanted to get published. Formulas based on publishers making money, not on empowering authors to push the limits and create new things. Ebooks changed that, and suddenly brave authors were taking chances. In the process, they created magic... True magic.
EL James, Tracey Garvis Graves, Jamie McGuire, Colleen Hoover and Kristen Ashley are just a few of those women. They took chances. Crazy chances. They ignored conventional wisdom and bet EVERYTHING that readers wanted something new and fresh from the romance genre.
They bet, and we all won.
Now, as readers, we need to remember that the books we love most are from authors who took chances. (And I may be an author, but I'm also a reader.) When you see a beloved author publishing a book that sounds strange and different, she isn't betraying you. She's showing you respect and refusing to give you less than the most powerful story she has to offer, even if it means she'll earn half as much by putting out a book that's different from her earlier work.
When a writer publishes something totally new, she's literally risking her livelihood to give you the best story she has.
Take a minute to really think about that... The indie revolution taught us that when authors take chances, they can create magic. Some stories can't be denied. They claw at a writer's soul, burning so powerfully that writing them is almost a compulsion. It's stories like these--strange stories, stories that break the rules--that keep our genre alive and worth reading.
I've heard people say that writing romance novels isn't art. I think art is creative expression that combines technical skill and talented inspiration to produce something that leads to transcendence. If a book sucks you in and spits you out six hours later with no clue how that the time passed, that's art. If a book makes you laugh or cry or wish you could run outside, grab the first person they see and beg them to read it, too... That's ART.
And great art is created by people who take chances.
Authors aren't stupid. We know you won't like every book. That's okay. If you don't want to read a book, don't buy it. If you decide to give it a chance and you hate it, that doesn't mean you've betrayed the author. It just means you didn't like the book. Some books fly high and others fade away, because that's the nature of art.
But please... Please, please, please... Don't condemn an author who's brave enough to risk her reputation, her income and her sanity when she writes and publishers something that's new. Something strange. Something nobody thought she could produce.
Don't judge an author because she can't meet your expectations every single time--thank her for choosing to push the envelope.
Even if her book isn't your next great read, her courage may inspire another author to take a chance and write a genuine masterpiece.
Peace and love,