Once a Romance Writer

IMG_4778It’s not a bad thing to say that once you are labeled a romance writer, you will always be a romance writer. It’s just true. At least for me. No matter what I write. I’m okay with that label. I’m okay with the multicultural label too. At least it’s a bigger box.

I was on Amazon a lot yesterday because I had a Book Bub ad and was checking on my rankings obsessively. I noticed that all my categories except for “Best Sellers” (My book is #335 on that list this morning) have romance at the beginning of the ranking line, despite Book Bub slotting me into crime fiction, where I think it is better suited. Anyway, on Amazon, my numbers look like this:

#3 in Books > Romance > Multicultural

#5 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Romance > Multicultural & Interracial

#25 in Books > Romance > Romantic Suspense

Those were my rankings about 10 pm last night EST. Amazon is three hours behind us in Seattle, so it would have been 7 pm there. I wanted to stay up to see if the book ever got to #1 but I’d had a glass or three of celebratory wine and just couldn’t make it. (I have no idea if you can retro-check something like that; if you know, please tell me!)

Another new thing I noticed this morning on Amazon is my “Author Rank.” I don’t know if I ever had one before or if the number was too high to mention, but this morning it is #56 in Romantic suspense , #57 in Suspense #61 in Mystery & Suspense.

I am not a numbers person and I don’t do well with analytics and charts and things. I am not sure what any of it means, not precisely, but in general I think it’s all good. When my book first came out I was #onebilliontrillion in the “best seller” category, and into the thousands in other categories, so a lot of progress has been made.

Writing this post has made me look a little more closely at my rankings and I now see that not all of them call me a romance writer. Those Author Ranks only mention it once out of five labels. The categories are four romance and four other labels. And really, I don’t mind any label. IRL I am an extremely romantic person. I love a good love story and absolutely insist on having Whole Lotta Love in my marriage. My husband likes Led Zeppelin so it works out for us.

Even when I set out to write a book with NO ROMANCE, it still gets in there somewhere in the plot. I’m in very early stages of writing my next book, set in St Pete, and so far there is no romance. I deliberately made the female lead 20 years older than the male lead, who is in love with someone else who does not love him, and for good reason. But like I said it’s early days in the new book and I said the same thing at the start of Lily White in Detroit.  

A wise writer once told me that labels and categories are useful to publishers, booksellers, and agents. Not so much for writers. Gotta say, I agree.

Romancing the Romany

First, my novella Sweet Melissa is free for five days here. Melissa’s is the story closest to “true” of all my novels. I did hitchhike across the country when I was about Melissa’s age, ran into some shady characters, was almost raped, and that ghost of my grandma saved me on a concrete set of church steps about a million miles from home.

Oh and just like Melissa I lost my virginity to the man I loved. Okay, maybe not just like her. I had to add that in because it seems to me people pretend teens don’t have sex anymore at least in the YA I read (I love YA except come on you know they are doing it!)

Some other things are true–like my Romany heritage,which I didn’t know much about beyond my great-grandmother got her family through the Depression by reading tea leaves. And there were, like, rumors. My own mom claims to be psychic. I read tarot cards but I am not particularly intuitive. The cards are symbols and you read them in patterns. That’s not magick to me. Interesting, but not strongly influenced by my Rom descendants.

I’ve always been interested in Gypsies, though, so I did my homework and that part of the ritual and lore of my people in this book is correct as I could make it with the help of many experts. That said, the time/space travel is not for real. Even though in his song “Sweet Melissa” Greg Almond does claim “the gypsy flies from coast to coast.”

I love Almond’s song and having a free book for you this week. Hey and it has zoomed up to #40 on the New Adult charts in just a day. Lucky Gypsy lady.

Sweet Melissa

Sweet Melissa has a new cover…and it’s #FREE for five days on Amazon Go here:. https://www.amazon.com/Sweet-Melissa-Traveling-Girls-Book-ebook/dp/B00KMXE484

Melissa is the character whose teenage journey most resembles my own. (That photo is vintage me btw) In fact, it’s memoir wrapped in magic. The magic parts didn’t happen but I for sure felt the heavenly presence of my grandma angel when I sat late at night on those church steps. Far from home, knowing nobody, no money, no place to sleep, nasty boys wanting to do bad things to me.

How I got through it, and how Melissa did, too, is part of that story. I hitchhiked my way across the USA same as Melissa and other parts of the journey, including the junkie mom with a car she made me drive across several state lines, is true. Hope that baby of hers turned out okay.

Anyway, I have a few books on Amazon KDP, indie titles, and I don’t pay too much attention to them. I made them indies because I wanted to be able to give them away free as part of the KDP exclusive program. So I’m going to get better about doing that. And about a thousand other things. For some reason the steroids are really ratcheting up the marketing ideas! Just donated a set of up print books to the local library and introduced myself there yesterday. What will tomorrow bring?