Smart Girls Read Romance

Smart Girls Read Romance -- so do the bestselling and award-winning Authors who write this blog. Join them as they dish about Books, Romance, Love, and Life.

Friday, August 26, 2016

I've Been Put in a Niche by Vonnie Davis

Look at me. Do I look like I'd fit in any kind of niche? I'm no tiny woman to slip into a tiny spot. My editors at Random House Loveswept feel they have a niche I fit in quite well. I'm their Shifter author. I'm pleased--to a point. But I have to tell you, getting there wasn't easy on my writer's ego.

I've always jumped from one sub-genre to another, depending on the characters or storylines that came to me. I've written contemporary, historical, romantic suspense, and paranormal.

Another aspect has to be thrown into the mix:  My off the wall sense of humor. Readers seem to love it. My editors at Loveswept say I write slapstick and tell me to pull back on the humor. For me, that's like squeezing my size twenty behind into a size eight girdle. Ladies, it just isn't happening!

Highlander's Beloved, my first paranormal series was full of humor. Everyone's favorite secondary character was a pink-haired, crazy a loon, grandma--Effie.



Then they told me to write a series about wounded warriors. I'm sure they thought I couldn't make that subject funny. And they were right. They never expected my quirky, secondary characters in that series either.

While I never expected the low sales. I only had 128 pre-orders and the team at Loveswept considered the three-book series a bust. I'd already turned in book two, so it'll come out on schedule. Book three was already history. All this was decided before book one was ever released. Publishing is a rough business. Sell or perish.

So, I needed a third book to fulfil that three-book contract. My editor claimed my plots were too heavy--kinda like my hips. I was told I needed to "dummy down" my writing. Write us a book with a thin, thin plot focusing only on the hero and heroine with merely a mention of other characters. First person, which I'd never tried writing.

So, I started. I submitted the first three chapters. They were returned. Too funny and not enough sex.

I cut out the humor and shook my head as I wrote a sex scene in chapter two between strangers. I sent it in. They sent it back. The sex scene was hilarious. I had everyone in stitches. Well...someone pass me a chocolate bar...QUICK!

We went back and forth like this for over a month. Finally, I got a call from my editor. They realized a large part of my voice was my humor. The team had looked over my sales numbers and realized my Highlander series was a slow success. Not a "one week out and on the best seller's list" kind of success, but a constant seller. So, they want another bear shifter series.

Humor will be okay. But no secondary characters. Who are they kidding? Secondary characters are the glue that make a story strong. Wait until my readers meet Milo Rogers, an American ex-serviceman who's on an island with the bear shifters. And that's only the beginning of what I plan to toss in their laps. I'm glad to be back writing my fictional world with paranormal happenings, but I'm not overly thrilled about being put in a niche. I just don't fit.

17 comments:

  1. I am soooooo excited that you are writing another bear book!!!! My HUSBAND and i LOVE them! We laugh and then we kiss and then we.....hahahah! I have him read the sexy parts. Talk about getting your bear reeved up!!! Xxoxxo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm sure my bear-shifter stories are the first paranormals to also be classified as sexual manuals. LOL I'll be chuckling all day.

      Delete
  2. I love your voice, Vonnie, and I'm so glad you stuck to being you! I follow authors, not publishers. When I find an author's style that I like, I read every single book. So, keep at it!! I haven't gotten to the shifter series yet, but I loved your Fireman series! And the humor? LURV it! Stay true to you. Your readers love you for it :)
    ~Auria~

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, Auria, you'll love Effie. Everyone does. I dressed as her one day at RWA last year in NYC when Random House had their signings. Pink wig...pink feathered boa, black and pink dress, and pink pelican baffies (bedroom slippers in Scottish). Calvin and I walked by the long line of women waiting to get in and a collective "Effie!" rang out and women ran toward me! I didn't know what to do! I hadn't expected anyone to recognize one of my secondary characters.

      Delete
  3. Slow build to bestsellerdom is good, Vonnie. Keep going.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It looks like my books sell the way I move. LOL Slowly. But I'm building a wonderful base of readers and that's what I want.

      Delete
  4. Ditto to what Auria said. I haven't gotten to your bear shifter stories yet either, but I adore your voice and style. Your heroes are smokin' hot sexy, your heroines are relatable and you've made me laugh out loud. Please don't ever stop being you. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Joanne. I always worry when someone reads my shifter stories. I'd written the first one as a play story...something for me to work on when I'd hit a wall in my current WIP. I knew nothing about shifters. Had never read about them. Didn't know how they were to behave. They were pure imagination. I still feel a little deceitful calling myself a paranormal author when I so seldom read it.

      Delete
  5. Great post. Who doesn't love comedy? Stay true to yourself, your voice, and style. I try to sneak as much of it as possible in my writing. I just read some dialogue in Robynn Carr's Virgin River series where the hero gets decked in a grocery store, and it had tears rolling out of my eyes--and I was wishing I had written it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, Judy, I love books like that. I grew up during the time of I love Lucy and all those comedic greats. I soaked in their impeccable timing. I use it a lot. Not everyone finds things as funny as I do, but I laugh a lot as I write. What a fun job I have.

      Delete
  6. I look forward to your next bear-shifter series.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Emily. I look forward to writing them.

      Delete
  7. Vonnie, your unique humor is my favorite part of your books. I can't imagine you writing anything else.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Evidently, even when I try to be serious, it just creeps in. My editor says there's not much room for room in contemporary stories. Huh? She claims readers expect reality. Don't they look around and see the absurdity of life?

      Delete
    2. I need to read my replies over before I hit the publish button. I meant to say "My editor says there's not much room for humor in contemporary stories." ACK!!!

      Delete
  8. Vonnie, I love you and your humor. It makes me sad to hear how you are being squeezed into a niche and the best of you squeezed out--or so they want. Fully released Vonnie is awesome.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Vonnie, I love you and your humor. It makes me sad to hear how you are being squeezed into a niche and the best of you squeezed out--or so they want. Fully released Vonnie is awesome.

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for commenting on Smart Girls Read Romance. We love to have comments...as long as they're not spam. Pour your heart out, but please don't try to sell something with your comment. We love readers and love their comments.