I was asked a question during an interview a few weeks ago that I think is asked of all of us romance and erotica authors: How do you feel about contributing to a genre that is, for the most part, not taken very seriously by the mainstream publishing market or the media? Why choose to follow a path when then the deck is stacked against you in such a way?
In my experience mainstream publishers and the media like what pays best and as romance is consistently a big seller they like it fine. There aren’t worldwide statistics available but according to Business of Consumer Book Publishing 2013 romance fiction sales were worth $1.438 billion in 2012 and was the top-performing category on the best-seller lists in 2012. And that’s just the USA.
It’s impossible to see how much romance erotica sales are worth as sub genres like historical romance, erotica romance, paranormal romance and so on are all lumped together.
There aren’t statistics for the Malaysian market, but what I can say is that while we have some rather strict rules about what may be published locally (it’s a Muslim country) industry gossip and my own sales tell me that ebook sales points like Kobo and Smashwords are fuelling a boom for all types of romance - including romance erotica and dark erotica.
As for having the deck stacked against me: that’s true for everyone who writes and for a lot of other industries too - especially if you’re a woman. It is never easy making it to the top whether your business is aviation or zoology but that doesn’t mean you have to lie down and give up. Risk is all part of life and I like living life to the full.