Fans of Interracial Romance discussion

71 views
General IR Book Discussion > Readers: Lets Give Authors Our Feedback

Comments Showing 1-50 of 72 (72 new)    post a comment »
« previous 1

message 1: by Savannah- Quad Motherin' Book Readin' Diva (last edited Jun 09, 2013 07:00AM) (new)

Savannah- Quad Motherin' Book Readin' Diva (quadmom2005) | 1437 comments A few of the ladies here brought up a very valid point to me earlier this week; smart authors take our feedback to heart and make adjustments accordingly. After all, this is a market like anything else the public is expected to buy into. It only stands to reason that our voices be heard and considering that this site is such a springboard for especially new authors to get their material noticed, I think it makes sense for us to come together in some form and voice the things that turn us on AND off about this genre so far.

I've been pretty vocal about some of my complaints on a couple of books I've read recently. I make no apology for that since like the rest of you, either I bought the material or someone was kind enough to loan it to me. But even a free book is an expenditure of our time. I don't know about the rest of you, but in my house, time is a valuable asset! I expect mine to be spent wisely and when I finish a story that makes me feel like I wasted mine, it leaves a mark LOL!

SO, with that in mind-let start by saying that I think lazy writing is one of the biggest issues this genre faces. There are some ladies with real talent out there. But they are guilty of wanting to ONLY deal with the meat of their stories and neglecting the bones that hold it all together. The devil is almost always in the details and you cannot tell a truly great story without backstory, detail and taking the time to SHOW the reader what it is you're trying to convey.

Too often, I think novice authors want to beat us over the head with their point. They don't trust their readers to be savvy enough to figure out "Yes, its more than sex" or "Yes, they are really getting to know each other." Instead, they TELL us...almost literally. Right now, I'm reading a book (I won't bother to mention the name, because honestly it doesn't matter. Its like a lot of IR books I've read recently. The author is good in my opinion. She has a very strong talent for some scenes that would be difficult for others, but she's in a hurry to GET to those scenes so instead of showing me as the reader all the ways that her two leads are falling in love, she's tossing in "They hung out all day" with absolutely NO scene descriptions and no content to prove to me that this "hanging out" is the stuff that falling in love is made of. Its all about the action or the heavy scenes. Then theres the "they slept naked, but didn't make love". I'm not even halfway through the book but that's been tossed in at least 3 times, and I know its to tell me as the reader that its not all about sex. But the thing is, had she fleshed out those "hang out" scenes, I'd already be convinced of that. Heaven knows the sex gets drilled into my eyeballs LOL.

Last thing I want to mention is the redundant word usage. A thesaurus is BEAUTIFUL tool when you simply cannot think of another word to describe this or that. Professional writers admit to using them all the time! If Nora Roberts can use one, why can't someone just starting out LOL?! I don't need to hear the word "pounded" every single time this couple goes to bed to understand that the lovemaking is intense.

OK-done for now. PLEASE, I'd love to hear from some other discerning readers and maybe keep this thread going as a source of genuine feedback for some of the writers who come here. I'm tinkering with my own story, but honestly I spend more time reading and taking care of my little ones. It may be a year before I have enough to even call it halfway finished. This might help me avoid some mistakes I'd otherwise be clueless about.

Oh, and please- give me more AVERAGE guys! I think that most ladies love a good alpha, but that doesn't mean he has to be as rich as Midas! There are strong, males waiting to be written who are blue collar and regular white collar.


message 2: by Tank (last edited Jun 09, 2013 06:08PM) (new)

Tank Savannah wrote: "A few of the ladies here brought up a very valid point to me earlier this week; smart authors take our feedback to heart and make adjustments accordingly. After all, this is a market like anything ..."

This is a beautiful idea, Savannah. I hope we can keep this thread going with loads of feedback and frequent check-ins by authors we enjoy reading and newbie authors. You've made some extremely valid points concerning content and narrative.

My biggest peeves when I read IR and contemporary romance in general is that billionaire crap. I've actually made it a point to avoid some of the most popular series in the two genres because the billionaire alpha is just too easy. Give me a blue collar dude any day...a guy who isn't afraid to get down and dirty for work. Give me a man who isn't insecure about what he does for a living or about how much money he makes...show me those calluses so I know it's real(LOL).

Another major red flag for me is the YA female lead. Let's keep it real, a lot of women buying IR and contemporary romance novels are 30+, so why are so many of the female leads barely legal? Give me a woman who has lived a little, has a past with experience, gone to the School of Hard Knocks, and isn't immediately swept off her feet by the first playboy that comes her way. I don't mind reading the occasional novel with a 20+ female lead, but COME ON let's stop feeding into that male ideal of women being old and washed up once she hits 30+. All of the romance novels I've read have been written by women and almost exclusively read by women, these are supposed to be OUR fantasies ladies, not the typical male fantasy of the just hit 18, virginal, tight and toned doe-eyed nymph.

On that note, I've been reading some of the other threads in this IR group concerning descriptions of AA women and our skin tone, hair texture/length, body composition. I've chosen not to participate because I can be a bit argumentative and passionate when it comes to those subjects. I'm an AA women with natural (wool-like) hair, plus-sized, over 30, with brown skin (brown like you'll find in the crayon box). I started reading IR to see more of myself reflected in the female leads, but what I'm finding is a lot of you-have-to-look-like-Beyonce-or-Alicia Keys to be worthy of consideration, average women need not apply. Again, these are OUR fantasies and we are supporting the genre, I don't need the "closer to whiteness" type of mentality when I have chosen specifically to read about a character who should resemble me and the other AA women I see everyday. I realize we come in all shades and so on, but the Beyonce/Kim Kardashian/Zoe Saldana version of AA women is way too prevalent. We already get this message constantly in mainstream media, I don't need it reaffirmed in the books I buy.

That's all that is coming to me at the moment. Hope I didn't go on a full-on rant. Until next time, Ladies of IR!!!


message 3: by Connie (new)

Connie | 761 comments Ms. Savannah, you make me smile at your postings. You are real and you are definitely helping out the genre with your postings if the authors come and actually read what you write.

On that note, I can concur with what you say about being repetitive with word usage. We want sexy and not just sex. Even if the characters are going to have sex we don't need detailed info every time if it is all going to sound the same in every scene every time they do it. One of the things that gets me is when the author comes up with an atypical storyline and they rush through that part that caught the reader's attention such as the supposed plot and get down to the nitty gritty sex scenes. The authors may need to slow down, take their time (not too much) and add a couple of more pages. On average we are spending more money for this genre of books in comparison, the least you could do for us as readers is give better details to help us visualize the characters lives and why they are like they are.


Savannah- Quad Motherin' Book Readin' Diva (quadmom2005) | 1437 comments Tank- you were SO far from a rant! Theres absolutely nothing wrong with anything you said in my opinion. And I definitely appreciated reading it and found myself nodding while I did. You are so spot on about this being OUR fantasies. I think a lot of the time, writers are afraid to break the formula, no matter what way we're talking about. Be it the age ceiling or in the looks department. They see what else is out there being read and think that's what sells. Or maybe they just believe that since its fantasy, that's what we should all be fantasizing about; looking like Halle or Beyoncé. I don't know, but whatever it is, they're wrong.

Connie- you did a much more concise job at stating the issue with detail than I! lol And all I can even think to add is that I think sometimes maybe writers are seeing feedback about SOME books where readers are complaining that there is "too much detail" and they are getting "bored". The authors may be trying to avoid this? I'm sure that may be the case sometimes, but chances are, its simply because a.) either the story itself is boring overall, or b.) they are actually looking for erotica NOT a genuine romance novel so ofcourse they are bored by anything that isn't leading to the bedroom (or the wall, or the kitchen table lol). Sometimes I almost wish we could draw a firm line between erotica and romance. Unfortunately, I enjoy some hot sexage once in a while so I'd probably be shooting myself in the foot wishing that line to be drawn. At any rate, I think maybe if readers go after books that are specifically listed as erotica they can save themselves some boredom instead of ending up with true romantic fiction.
Overall though, I think its laziness that keeps these writers from fleshing things out more. Its more fun to write the emotional scenes, but they have to realize that a reader is going to get WAY more out of the emotion they are trying to convey if we've been allowed to INVEST in the characters along the way. I do not care if a man "cries in her arms" if I don't even really have a feel for who he is. Hell, maybe he cries all the time with his women. LOL


Micky Blue Skies | 114 comments I totally agree with the majority of what you ladies said. Like Connie, I definitely think many authors are in such a rush to get to the sex scenes they miss so much. And speaking of sex scenes, I personally feel that a lot of the IR books have way too much sex and not enough relationship building. I am sorry, but I am not having sex one-year weeks after I met someone, and I don't want my protagonist to do it either. It seems like some of the relationships are built on sex and not much else. That doesn't make make a believable book.

Another thing I would like to is what Tank mentioned, an everyday guy who may or may not have his own business and an everyday woman who hates her job and is trying to create a better life for herself and through whatever force of nature they meet. Why does everyone have to be filthy rich? The whole billionaire is getting way too old.

Now the whole light skinned protagonist thing I don't think I ever really gave it a thought. However, I will say that it has been my experience that white men prefer darker complected women with natural hair than those who are my complexion, so I think the writing should reflect that. I know that reading is a form of escapism, but I do like stories that appear to be more realistic and likely to happen.

Another thing that I have noticed is missing from many of the IR books that I have read is an outraged family who is beside themselves because their son is now in love with a black woman. Too many families are just floating on a cloud and happy because their son is happy. No way is that real. I would love to see couples really struggle the lack of a supporting family and circle of friends.

Where are the protagonists 40 and older? I don't read much about them. Heck, I am 45 and and am tired of reading about all of these younger women, but someone my age. Oh, and it would be great to read about more plus sized women who don't hate themselves. Maybe they want to lose weight but still have a healthy self image.

That's it for now and this is a great thread.


message 6: by L'Poni (new)

L'Poni (lponi) | 82 comments Finally! The thread is made! As an author, I love this thread already~! I think I avoided most of the things here, except the thesaurus and billionaire thing because I write about dragon princes. I like the ideas of 30-year-old female leads. This thread is very valuable!


message 7: by MsKingsPens (last edited Jun 10, 2013 03:00PM) (new)

MsKingsPens | 689 comments I was so glad to see this thread in the good reads update email today! I read a bit of everything and as much as I hate to say it, I am more reluctant when it comes to buying IR because I have been burned- quality wise - too many times. My main issues:

Money: I am growing tired of the billionaires, especially the 20 something self made variety. I get that really rich guys tend to have more free time to spend with our heroines and more money with which to pay for fancy dinners, but do they always have to be Bill Gates rich? How about a successful professional? I am even up for a millionaire... yep, I just seriously typed that. I don't mind reading about the occasional blue collar guy, but I would prefer my hero/alpha/lead male have money because if I wanted to read about everyday people I would read non-fiction. Give me a fantasy, just not the same one repackaged.

Romance: If 80% of the book is sex, call it erotica. Two conversations and a trite misunderstanding do not a romance make. If I buy a book labeled as a romance and get porn without a plot I am returning it. I have no problem with erotica, but when that's what I am looking for that is what I will buy.

Race: Someone above wrote that race is rarely an issue in the books they read. Please, share the names of those titles! More often than not race isn't an issue for the heros in the IR books I have read. The heroines spend a good amount of time belly aching about IBMs and how they never thought about dating outside of their race. Their families are even worse. If any of the white characters have race issues, they are crazy pants. If any of the black characters take issue they are usually given a pass. Racism is racism, it is there. So address it, deal with it and move on.
Also, a personal pet peeve is every other black woman being described as "mocha skinned". I have read books where this term is used on every other page. A thesaurus is a gift that will keep on giving.
Oh, and what's with all the slang coming from heros lately? I would prefer my heroine not be overly prone to it and that goes double for my hero. A forty something white guy would be unlikely to ever utter "girl, you know how I roll".

Research: If you want to write about athletes, spend a little time learning something about the sport/league you are using. If you have a cast or a lead that is supposed to be extremely wealthy, please do some life style research. If you want your story to take place in a locale you've never been to, look at a tourism website or something. I am so tired of reading poorly researched books. A billionaire would more than likely buy his girl friend underwear from somewhere like La Perla not Victoria's Secret and I highly doubt he'd drive a Lexus. NFL drafts don't happen in the winter. People in Brazil speak Portuguese.

The Man/Woman that came before: The hero's ex is always the second coming of Rachel Hunter. The heroine's ex is Eddie Griffin. She is prefect, but dull. He is a self indulgent cheater. On the rare occasions when this is reversed, substitute Rachel Dratch and Idris Elba.

I know I probably sound like a harpy (and I assure you that I will have more to add), but I really love this genre. When IR is done well it STAYS with you long after you put the book back on the shelf. It's my hope that more good IR will lead to wider readership and more attention. I think if the characters and the stories they inhabit are more nuanced that hope will become reality.


message 8: by L'Poni (new)

L'Poni (lponi) | 82 comments Oh my god.
I'm still amazed at this thread. SO VALUABLE!
My thoughts on this thread:




message 9: by Leichelle (new)

Leichelle | 22 comments Savannah wrote: "A few of the ladies here brought up a very valid point to me earlier this week; smart authors take our feedback to heart and make adjustments accordingly. After all, this is a market like anything ..."

Savannah-Thank you for your thoughtful and constructive post. As a novice writer I enjoy when I get feedback that will aid me in my storytelling. I appreciate a reader telling me what they would like without impeding on my creative style. Before I was a writer I as a reader, still am and I understand the importance of not treating your readers like "dummies" and also not taking some things too seriously.

I think some authors shy away from groups or responding to feedback because some readers are....hard to narrow it down to one adjective. Let's just say some of the rudeness and sometimes downright meanness in some responses/reviews make those putting their work out for others to see a bit more camera-shy and resistant to suggestions, even well meaning ones. One young writer said she'd never write again. I tried to encourage her and explain that opinions should never be the determining factor in your writing but do try to appreciate where those who pay for, read or give of their time to read your material. I hope she'll write again. As for myself I look forward to weaving another story that is reflective of the beautiful women in my life and their experiences. I hope to have more good than bad.

I look forward to being a part of this group.
Happy Reading Everyone!


message 10: by Paganalexandria (last edited Jun 10, 2013 04:50PM) (new)

Paganalexandria  | 4037 comments Okay I don't mind billionaires or alpha males (a Fifty Shades victim) but I do want real emotional connections along with the raunchy sex. I feel like a lot of the IR genre is comprised of short spank stories. I like full length books. I want to luxuriate in the characters journey.

I'm admittedly very book shallow and don't want average everyday people in any of my romance novels (not just IR). If I see Plain Jane, frumpy, geeky or plus sized in the blurb it's an automatic skip. I feed my book realism needs in other genres not romance/erotica. Maybe I'm weird because the beautiful SMART female characters are a part of my book fantasies as much as the hot alpha hero. There are a couple of exceptions to that rule but for the most part physical perfection with a few personality quirks is fine with me.

I totally agree with Savannah's comment about thesaurus usage. I find it annoying in any genre when a writer over uses a phrase. Anyone who reads Laurell K. Hamilton knows exactly what I mean with the phrase "...he brought me screaming."


message 11: by Tina (new)

Tina | 1367 comments JV wrote: "I was so glad to see this thread in the good reads update email today! I read a bit of everything and as much as I hate to say it, I am more reluctant when it comes to buying IR because I have been..."

Oh, I adore your whole post. I'll add mine.

Money: Please no more billionaires. There aren't that many and those that are are not young, ripped or cute. You can still have a hot alpha hero who just has a good job. There are tons of lucrative professions Doctors, lawyers, investment bankers. But you know what....? I don't even need my hero to be rich. Just not struggling. Cara McKenna (non IR Romances) writes blue collar guys and they are wonderful. It isn't the money they have that makes them awesome heroes. It is their character that does it. She just makes them supremely masculine and sexy.


Romance: No more insta love. I want to watch the h/h fall in love. I want to see them discover it in each other. I like a good sex scene. But don't sacrifice the relationship for the sex. There is a reason Kristen Ashley is so popular. She gives you 500 pages of the h/h getting inside of each other's heads.

Race: I don't like for it to be an issue. I prefer the romantic conflict to be something more emotional if it is internal. If it is external, make it feel like it is almost insurmountable. Race conflict, in an IR novel feels like a gimme. And although there are still people who will clutch their pearls over IR romance, the majority just do not. There is research that backs this up. But if the conflict simply has to be about race, be creative about it. Don't just make it be about family members being racist. Make it be more nuanced. Maybe they could be lawyers arguing a landmark case about Affirmative Action and he's on the against side and she's on the for side.

Research: If you are giving your H/H a job or a profession then learn about it. Making someone a billionaire who goes to meetings and calls for the jet is just boring. Make what they do a part of the story. It can add some much needed depth to both the plot and the character. Julie James writes her characters who all work in the law. You can tell she was a lawyer because the scenes where they are in the work place just crackle with authenticity. And they are fun to read.

Characters: Give them personality tics. Likes & dislikes. Fears and ambitions that are simply part of them and not necessarily important for the plot. Go deeper with them as people beyond skin color and shape. Megan Hart wrote a book featuring a biracial heroine named Olivia who was adopted. Her father is Jewish, her mother is catholic. The character has this underlying thing where she always feels that she needs to choose between two differences: black vs. white, Jewish vs. Catholic. This has nothing to do with the romance or the plot of the story. It is something that just enriches the character.

Story: Write a full story. Give some believable conflict both internal and external. Give her a job he thinks is too dangerous. Give him commitment issues. Give them both children that makes blending the family hard. Put them on the opposite side of a philosophical, moral or legal issue. If it is PNR -- build a world with believable systems. Venture into different genres. Create an alien invasion or alternate history. Make your heroine an anti-heroine. One of the coolest books I read last year the heroine was an assassin. Make her the head of a covert agency or a rogue operative.

There is a world of possibilities. Since I believe most IR writers are self-pubbed, you don't have the editors telling you 'there is no market for that'. I think the opportunity is there. And as you can see from here we are hungry for good content. Rather than just mimicking what is happening in mainstream romance, subvert it and do things that push the envelope a bit. I think a lot of writers have grown up reading trad pubbed romance novels and have subconsciously internalized a lot of the conventions. But I don't believe those are always necessary. Don't just make your heroine a brown/beige copy of a Harlequin heroine.

I'll re-state what others have said. I love the genre and want to support it and see it grow. Let's help it along!


message 12: by MsKingsPens (new)

MsKingsPens | 689 comments Tina wrote: "JV wrote: "I was so glad to see this thread in the good reads update email today! I read a bit of everything and as much as I hate to say it, I am more reluctant when it comes to buying IR because ..."

THANK YOU for mentioning the insta-love! If it isn't a paranormal "fated mates" set up let me experience the stages of falling in love. As much as I like a story where the couple has been acquainted all their lives, this seems to be the new way to skip skip love and get to drama.


message 13: by Savannah- Quad Motherin' Book Readin' Diva (last edited Jun 10, 2013 06:48PM) (new)

Savannah- Quad Motherin' Book Readin' Diva (quadmom2005) | 1437 comments Thank you ladies so much for contributing! I was hoping I wouldn't be left out here hanging likea harpy! hahaha!

I just wanted to add one thing about the "insta-love" thing. And "I'ma" try to be honest:)

I think it CAN be ok if written with SUBTLETY. Meaning, we as readers recognize what it is, but the two leads have no idea. I like a connection that's too strong to allow them to stay away from each other. I want all the signs there, but NONE of it voiced until there has been time spent developing their story. I want us to look back on the story and decide it was love at first sight because their behavior proved it to be so, not because they were spouting off about it being as much. There is honestly nothing worse than some guy, sweet as all get out, who declares his love for the heroine and you're left wondering what the hell he see's in her because she's been nothing but dismissive, shallow, rude, argumentative, etc. By the time HE is saying he loves her, we need to be a fan of hers and vice versa.

Oh, and I think that I agree about the money thing as well. I'm sick of unrealistic wealth from men barely out of high school. It doesn't take wealth like that to be fantasy material for me, it just takes being comfortable. The guy should have enough to have his ducks in a row and be established. I've read some heroes I absolutely ADORE who were actually broke when they met the heroine (ofcourse, this is mainstream) and in some cases it actually adds to his appeal; ie, it feeds into his perception that he's not ready for finding The One, yet here she is. He has nothing to offer her, yet here she is. That type of thing. It can be romantic to an extent but again, I don't need to see someone struggling throughout. That's too much reality LOL.

Oh, and I'm sick of sad sack big girls. I'm not sure who else mentioned this, but I agree that I have NO problem with a larger heroine who wants to lose weight. However, I do not need to read ANY more books about women who think they are unworthy of attention simply because they are oh so dreadfully obese at a size 14/16/18/20 WHATEVER. I'm not saying they have to be super confident about it. It just can't be such a crippling issue that the entire story is spent with him propping her up trying to convince her he loves her in spite of her size. That's nonsense and I'd honestly rather have a guy who just said "hey, I've never been attracted to thin women, I prefer larger ones" and put the entire issue to rest in the first few chapters.

Oh, and PLEASE...stop equating "alpha" with a$$hole. The two are not synonymous. I think some writers are getting it twisted and thinking that just because a man is extremely take charge, he has to be an insensitive, overbearing jerk. Not so.

If anybody has read J.R. Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood...THOSE boys are ALPHAS. lol They will dispense a beat down or kill somethin' in a heartbeat but when it comes to how they treat women, they would rather walk on their lips than disrespect a female.


message 14: by Paganalexandria (last edited Jun 11, 2013 01:48PM) (new)

Paganalexandria  | 4037 comments I really thought about this thread and something keeps popping up in IR romances that really irks me. Why in BW/WM IR novels there is always an evil pseudo racist black ex-boyfriend plotting against the couple? It plays into an ugly hypothesis that a black woman is dating a white men because black men are (fill in the blank). I also don't like when it's the flip side and the hero's white ex-girlfriend is wrecking havoc against the couple with racist comments. I understand bringing in a ex to add drama to the story but it's racial under tones injected that sometimes bother me. Why can't the ex be the same race as the new significant other, Asian, or Hispanic? It still adds conflict without being cliché.


message 15: by Ren (last edited Jun 11, 2013 01:50PM) (new)

Ren | 291 comments The reason why we get the quality books we have now is because readers,at some point, gave the writers the okay to write as they do now.

Personally, I prefer a book that is more than 200 pages. Not to say that there are not well written books that have less than 200 pages, but I think an author can develop the plot and characters when the book is a bit longer than 100+ pages. Yet, a lot of IR authors only write novellas with more sex and little relationship building and they get the 4.5 star rating. Readers give authors permission to write lower quality books.


message 16: by Echo (new)

Echo  (mrsbookmark) | 307 comments Neat thread. I have more suggestions of things I'd like to see more of since a lot of other topics have been covered by previous posters in detail.
1. An unconventional "successful" heroine. Meaning, everyone's definition of success is not nice car, designer clothes, big house in the suburbs. What about someone who does adventure travel; or runs a homestead; or works as an artist or...just something different.
2. Smarter heroes. Alphas are fine, but I'd love a wee bit more intellectualism. For so many heroes with Harvard degrees etc they never seem to know about much other than sex or music or sports.
3. A moratorium on lawyers:)
4. More stolen kisses, lingering looks, anticipation...rather than easy booty calls.
5. Paranormal romances in which the paranormal creature does something other than mate. This is not just IR; there seems to be a sort of laziness creeping into the paranormal genre. I swear, there are like a million books all with" vampires looks for blood whore" " wolf looks for true mate." It seems like
immortal, magical creature ps would have more to do than bang and breed.
6. Foodies. I love to eat. I like novels were people eat good meals and enjoy them.:)


message 17: by Andrea (new)

Andrea Jackson (paperbackdiva) | 335 comments I'm an editor and this thread is fantastically helpful! Keep it coming.


message 18: by M.J. (new)

M.J. Kane (mjkane) | 97 comments As an author, I applaud you ladies for taking the time to share your thoughts about what your looking for in a good book, and honestly, a lot of what is said here goes beyond just the IR genre. Before I published my first novel, I spent the time researching, developing my characters, and telling a story that readers can relate to. It wasn't an over night thing either...4 years to be exact. I joined this IR group and read in the back ground to discover what it is readers were looking for. Nobody is perfect, lol, but I am proud to say a lot of what you ladies have mentioned are the things I put in or avoid in my writing. For those who said they want a real man, hard worker with those callouses? I've got you! For those who want a story that has depth, where you get to know the characters and more importantly, they get to know each other before jumping in the sack, yep, got that covered, and its well over 200 pages...383 to be exact, because I love a good story. I write what I want to read. The realities of IR dating are there too, both internally and externally, but it's not the main point of the story. If you haven't read A Heart Not Easily Broken, take a few moments to check out my author page, read what 110 other Goodreads readers have had to say in their reviews, then, check out my blog where I break down what The Butterfly Memoirs series is all about.

My author page:
http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16...

My Blog/Website:
http://authormjkanebooks.wordpress.co...

Thanks again for taking the time to share your thoughts, and believe me, I will continue to drop in. It is always a blessing to see what our readers have to say, even if it stings a little. After all, how else can we improve?

MJ


The FountainPenDiva, Old school geek chick and lover of teddy bears (thefountainpendiva) | 1210 comments Steampunk. High Fantasy. Alternate Universe. Non Eurocentric Paranormal.

These subgenres are my heart and I would love to see more IR authors jumping into them. I want to see those tired old plots and tropes put to rest for a bit. No more billionaires, no more mafiosos, no more pity party heroines. I want sass a la Kate Hepburn when paired with Spencer Tracy. I want heroines who break the mold and heroes who know what it means to be alpha (sorry but the BDB guys don't cut it in my book). And while I don't mind the occasional short story, I really miss those days when romances were the size of bricks, LOL.

Someone touched upon it, but yes I do think we have a colorism issue in IR. I don't think it's intentional and it might have more to do with what I've been saying about finding a better way to describe our varying skin tones, but it is there, and in a way it feels as if we've taken two steps forward and one back.

Blue collar heroes rock by the way! And more Asian men!


Savannah- Quad Motherin' Book Readin' Diva (quadmom2005) | 1437 comments M.J. wrote: "As an author, I applaud you ladies for taking the time to share your thoughts about what your looking for in a good book, and honestly, a lot of what is said here goes beyond just the IR genre. Bef..."

Thank you SO MUCH for dropping in on this lil' discussion we have going here! I'm definitely going to add your book to my list. I'm slowing but surely chipping away at it and since I'm also weeding several out as I learn what I do NOT want to read now:) the list is getting shorter faster.


message 21: by M.J. (last edited Jun 12, 2013 05:41PM) (new)

M.J. Kane (mjkane) | 97 comments Savannah wrote: "M.J. wrote: "As an author, I applaud you ladies for taking the time to share your thoughts about what your looking for in a good book, and honestly, a lot of what is said here goes beyond just the ..."


Your welcome and thank you! Writer's wouldn't get anywhere without readers! You can find me on FB and ask me questions at anytime and I will reply! Happy Reading! :)


message 22: by Inola (new)

Inola Clemmons (InolaWrites) | 13 comments This will be my third attempt at posting to this thread.

I have taken away a few things. No more billionaires, no more instalove matches, and more character development.


message 23: by Connie (new)

Connie | 761 comments Yeah, those are good starts, but even an insta live match wouldn't be so bad as long as the rest of the story would make sense. It could be instalove, but there be angst in the rest of the story, but in the end it all comes together, but more than in just the last few paragraphs of the story.


message 24: by Inola (new)

Inola Clemmons (InolaWrites) | 13 comments How many of you would read a 400 page book? Back in the day, I think romance novels were usually 300-400 pages (non-Harlequin). Now, since so many of us read off of e-readers or our smartphones, I worry that a 400 page book would be too much.

However, I'm not really keen to the idea of breaking this story down into a serial.


Paganalexandria  | 4037 comments Inola wrote: "How many of you would read a 400 page book? Back in the day, I think romance novels were usually 300-400 pages (non-Harlequin). Now, since so many of us read off of e-readers or our smartphones, I ..."

Inola, big books do not scare me, actually miss them. I am so over every book being part of a series.


message 26: by Danielle The Book Huntress (Wants to Read More), Sees Love in All Colors (new)

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Wants to Read More) (gatadelafuente) | 7308 comments Mod
I'm fine with a 400 page book, so long as it's well-written, edited, and interesting.


message 27: by Connie (new)

Connie | 761 comments I too could go for a juicy novel. I believe that is what is missing. All of these serial novellas gets a bit old. I'm with Ms. Danielle, as long as the editing and flow make sense, then I would be all for it.


message 28: by Inola (new)

Inola Clemmons (InolaWrites) | 13 comments Do you prefer paperback or e-books? Sorry for the questions, but I am just hoping to get an idea of how to move forward with my new stories.


message 29: by Connie (new)

Connie | 761 comments Well I do like a book to hold, but in reality I buy more ebooks than paper.


Paganalexandria  | 4037 comments I haven't bought a paper book since getting my first kindle 2 years ago. I do read paper books, but they are just old copies I feel comfortable reading in the bath.


message 31: by Echo (new)

Echo  (mrsbookmark) | 307 comments If I'm reading a long book, I'd rather have a paperback. However, when it's a writer I haven't read before- I'm more likely to purchase an ebook novella to see if I like the voice & style. If I do, then I look at what else they have and are far more likely to invest in a long paperback.

I do miss the days of the doorstop romance sage too.:)


message 32: by Tina (new)

Tina | 1367 comments My understanding is that a standard, mass market novel runs 360-400 pages or 80,000 to 100,000 words. I went and looked at page counts of a lot of my keepers and they are about 380 - 390 pages. So for people who habitually read books a 400 page book should be never be problem.

And like Paganalexandria, since getting my e-reader I pretty much stick to e-format. The only time I don't is when I really, really want to read a book but 1)won't spring for it and 2)it isn't lendable. So I'll get it from the library.

From a personal standpoint, I was conditioned from years and years of reading to like the 'normal' length books. Heck, I love fantasy novels and their default length is usually over 600 pages. From my experience it is rare to get a fantasy novel under 400 pages.

It is the novella that is problematic for me. And that is mostly because in the ones that I've read, it feels like a lot of writers who write novella length don't know how to work the length effectively.


message 33: by MsKingsPens (new)

MsKingsPens | 689 comments I love it when I find a full length digital romance novel. My reread list is full of them. I read a lot and really quickly, so if a book isn't at least 300+ I will be done with it in less time than it would take to watch a Christopher Nolan film. Plus, when I am looking for free reads and Amazon is a bust I will read fanfiction and that gets ridiculously long.

I am in total agreement with Tina as far as the influx of novellas. When done well, they are awesome, but they are rarely done well. And I am am not a fan of paying $3.99 for what often boils down to a pamphlet about dating rich guys.


message 34: by Inola (new)

Inola Clemmons (InolaWrites) | 13 comments Different genres have different standards for word count. For self-published authors, the trend seems to be leaning towards releasing shorter novellas in an extended series or serial.

For sci-fi, a standard piece might be well over 100,000 words, but for a New Adult romance, it can be expected to run between 50,000 to 80,000.

With the availability of e-readers, I fear that people won't be interested in reading novels with 100,000 words. I see this commercial about how the average person is distracted by the computer, smartphone, and television, and I wonder how that translates to the casual reader.

I'm a read all-night type of person if the story catches me. I'm sure that I'm not alone, but I don't think it is as common as it used to be because there are so many other diversions.


message 35: by Andrea (new)

Andrea Jackson (paperbackdiva) | 335 comments If the plot holds up I have no problem with a 400 page book. Lately all the long books I read seem to be paranormal or science fiction.


message 36: by Tina (new)

Tina | 1367 comments Inola wrote: "With the availability of e-readers, I fear that people won't be interested in reading novels with 100,000 words. I see this commercial about how the average person is distracted by the computer, smartphone, and television, and I wonder how that translates to the casual reader."

I think the needs of the story should dictate story length in the end. A good fantasy book often needs to be long because in that genre an author also needs to build a world and/or a magic system. That takes time and word-space.

I would argue a good romance also needs word space to build a relationship. Too often a truncated romance novel sacrifices the one thing it really shouldn't -- the falling in love part. Think of the act of two people meeting and falling in love as romance novel's version of world-build/magic system.

For the casual reader who doesn't habitually read they may not care about some of the things hard core readers care about, but I don't think length is necessarily the biggest issue. Look at 50 Shades. That is a 380 page novel and to me it is the definition of a book that captured the casual reader. I have friends who don't pick up anything deeper than a a magazine and they devoured that book.

For any reader, casual or hard-core, it is going to come down to keeping their attention to your story. While a shorter story may attract a larger pool of more casual readers in the short run, I don't believe that it is the casual reader that sustains a writer in the long run. I would posit that the readers any self pubbed writer without a Big Publisher marketing campaign behind her wants to cultivate are the ones who go beyond the casual. They are active and involved in books, they push discoverability of that writer onto other people. The ones who have blogs, squee about you on twitter/facebook, review and discuss on GR and Amazon. I know I have discovered authors I never would have considered if they hadn't been discussed widely here on GR.


message 37: by Gwen (new)

Gwen (gwenk) | 201 comments Inola wrote: "How many of you would read a 400 page book? Back in the day, I think romance novels were usually 300-400 pages (non-Harlequin). Now, since so many of us read off of e-readers or our smartphones, I ..."

I've read a six hundred plus page book on my computer. It was well written and enjoyable.

I've also read hardcover and paperbacks that were over one thousand plus pages. It really doesn't matter to me how many pages it has as long as it's well written and holds my interest. :)


Paganalexandria  | 4037 comments Tina wrote: "Inola wrote: "With the availability of e-readers, I fear that people won't be interested in reading novels with 100,000 words. I see this commercial about how the average person is distracted by th..."

I have to agree with Tina because the needs of the story should dictate book length. I have read huge books Acheron (Dark-Hunter, #15) by Sherrilyn Kenyon that I didn't ever want to end.
That being said some books have felt like homework due to their wordiness.


message 39: by Trickiegyrl (new)

Trickiegyrl | 27 comments If the story flows and progresses at a steady pace, length is not an issue to me. I absolutely hate fillers to any story.


message 40: by Gwen (new)

Gwen (gwenk) | 201 comments Paganalexandria wrote: "Tina wrote: "Inola wrote: "With the availability of e-readers, I fear that people won't be interested in reading novels with 100,000 words. I see this commercial about how the average person is dis..."

Great book! I didn't want it to end either! :)


message 41: by Shiree (last edited Jul 21, 2013 11:12PM) (new)

Shiree McCarver | 305 comments As a writer who majority books are 100,000 plus I can sure you e-readers are interested in adequate romantic reads just as they were when holding a paperback in their hands. Ebook authors are only fooling themselves into thinking any differently, mainly because they are trying to get more books out for a bigger royalty check. Hopefully their readers won't let them get away with it if it happens more than once.

Thank you for this thread. I appreciate the frank honesty. I also know that it's true you can't please everyone and stay completely true to your creativity but most of these are doable I think.

The Contract Sunshine (Unconventional Beginnings)  by Shiree McCarver


message 42: by CaliGirlRae, Mod Squad (new)

CaliGirlRae (rae_l) | 2002 comments Mod
This is a great thread for readers and authors. As a reader, I see a few things I would like to see as far as more romance and the thrill of falling in love. IR books of the 90s started out with such a wonderful bang of books from the Genesis Love Spectrum line. Although there were a few books with editing issues, the stories were pretty good and they held a hope of promise for the genre. Now I'd love to see that promise of more genres. I think the IR genre is in a bit of a rut now, especially since so many readers can spot the formula right off the bat. I've taken a bit of a break from it because most of the books weren't what I'm interested in (I agree with Danielle I think who said it had become IR = erotic books) but reading the feedback here, I can get an idea of what's available.

As an author, I'm a bit guilty of the 'too short' reads. I come from a sci-fi/horror/fantasy writing background and short fiction is still popular in those genres but not so much in romance. So I tend to write based on the story I'd like to tell which is mostly via external action rather than the internal (which romance is mostly). My AKOAT book was the first book at 300+ pages and I was so happy to have written my largest book to date lol.

Anywho, I digress. I do agree that it isn't too far to readers to sell a short story for the price of a full length. Especially if the focus is only on the sex and not developing characters and story. It only frustrates a reader looking for some meat in the story.


message 43: by Savannah- Quad Motherin' Book Readin' Diva (last edited Jul 22, 2013 05:13PM) (new)

Savannah- Quad Motherin' Book Readin' Diva (quadmom2005) | 1437 comments Tina wrote: "Inola wrote: "With the availability of e-readers, I fear that people won't be interested in reading novels with 100,000 words. I see this commercial about how the average person is distracted by th..."

I love you. lol

All I can add is that your 50 Shades comparison brought up another thought for me. Its quite possible that the reason why non-habitual readers loved that book so much is because they don't have the expectations that some hard core book fans do. I LOATHED that book, for reasons I won't even go into. For me, the only thing mildly interesting about it was the male lead. But when paired with such an essentially unlikeable female, even he didn't make it right for me. I think non readers gobbled it up because they had no idea romance novels were out there with hardcore, explicit sex. They are bowled over by the "mommy porn".

Anyway, I agree with you about romance needing to be built. I'm a big fan of two people meeting and maybe knowing in some part of their gut its meant to be. I even love a guy who decides she's what he wants and won't stop until he's got her. But the insta-love thing has gotten way too pervasive.


Savannah- Quad Motherin' Book Readin' Diva (quadmom2005) | 1437 comments M.A. wrote: "

1st off - THANK YOU to savannah for starting this conversation - it's one that needs to be had!

2nd - you all are speaking some TRUTH!!!

umm, so can we talk? as a reader, i agree with pretty mu..."


LOL, you're welcome! I'm glad the thread is still going and has people TALKING.

Oh, and thank YOU for those gifs..seriously. I'm sitting at my desk literally crackin' up.


message 45: by Savannah- Quad Motherin' Book Readin' Diva (last edited Jul 22, 2013 05:24PM) (new)

Savannah- Quad Motherin' Book Readin' Diva (quadmom2005) | 1437 comments Paganalexandria wrote: "Inola wrote: "How many of you would read a 400 page book? Back in the day, I think romance novels were usually 300-400 pages (non-Harlequin). Now, since so many of us read off of e-readers or our s..."

Same here. In fact, I get upset if I end up with a book under 200 pages. In fact, I've been known to back burner them on my ereader because I just assume that I'm going to find it lacking in one way or another. I think that the new generation of readers (some, not all!) are being conditioned to expect shorter. They automatically file longer as "overkill". And that's sad. As Tina said, we're talking about a world that needs to be built in order to tell a great story. Don't leave me hanging with a half realized world.


message 46: by Echo (new)

Echo  (mrsbookmark) | 307 comments I thought about the IR I read that I liked- from Christian to super erotic; long novels, novellas, all themes and tropes trying to see what made them memorable. Ultimately, I think it comes down to feeling emotionally connected. I took a break from IR ( all romance actually) for a while because I felt a lack of connection to the characters. I do reviews so I read a lot of romance and far too many have character types but not characters. It hard to explain...I think it comes down to an author taking the time to make a character truly deep to have a certain voice, gestures, speech patterns etc for just that character. It comes down to having a writer really understand characterization & dialogue well. I have read some novels that have pretty standard tropes, but stood out because the characterization was so well done. likewise I have read novels with lots of drama that left me cold because even though a lot was happening in terms of action, nothing was happening emotionally. Even sex scenes need to have an emotional change that moves the plot forward. In real life, a comfort level with a sexual partner changes & that should show in a novel too.

Perhaps there are too many hastily written IRs. Perhaps it's becasuse there are so many one time writers who don't do several drafts or spend time honing their craft. It's not about being a perfect writer; but it is about caring about what you've written and having it show. It doesn't have to be high art; just real.


message 47: by Inola (new)

Inola Clemmons (InolaWrites) | 13 comments Savannah wrote:I think that the new generation of readers (some, not all!) are being conditioned to expect shorter. They automatically file longer as "overkill".

This is exactly what I am wondering about.


message 48: by Tina (last edited Jul 22, 2013 07:48PM) (new)

Tina | 1367 comments mrsbookmark wrote: ". I do reviews so I read a lot of romance and far too many have character types but not characters. It hard to explain...I think it comes down to an author taking the time to make a character truly deep to have a certain voice, gestures, speech patterns etc for just that character. It comes down to having a writer really understand characterization & dialogue well. "

So much This!

I get exactly what you are saying. I had recently gotten into a conversation with one of my GR friends about my 'Favorites' shelf. Some of the books on my Favorites shelf are 4-stars and many, many books that I rated 5-star aren't on my favorites shelf. I realized it came down to the fact that that shelf featured books where I simply fell in love with how the author brought the characters alive. I might have had some issues with the story or plot (hence the 4-stars) but there was something about how I connected with the characters that made these books stand out for me and hang out with them over and over again.

One good example (not an IR) is Tangled (Tangled, #1) by Emma Chase by Emma Chase. The plot is rather by-the-numbers of a rich womanizer guy who falls in love with a co-worker. But man, oh, man, it is told from the POV of the male character exclusively. The writer gives him so many layers and such a strong voice that he made the book for me hands down! FYI, here's my review


message 49: by Shiree (new)

Shiree McCarver | 305 comments Savannah wrote: "Tina wrote: "Inola wrote: "With the availability of e-readers, I fear that people won't be interested in reading novels with 100,000 words. I see this commercial about how the average person is dis..."

My goodness Savannah, I thought I was one of the few that felt that way about that book. *spoiler alert* At first I didn't like Christan, but by book two I like him and he was the reason I continued. First that is actually only one book that good publicist and publisher milked for all it was worth. The lead female personality was very bipolar. I saw in some parts a bit of myself until she started instigating the kink when he was happy to let go of it now that he was finding love, but she kept pushing him to do it then resent him for it? Sigh. Okay no more it's already gotten more talk and press than it deserved. lol


message 50: by Echo (new)

Echo  (mrsbookmark) | 307 comments Tina wrote: "mrsbookmark wrote: ". I do reviews so I read a lot of romance and far too many have character types but not characters. It hard to explain...I think it comes down to an author taking the time to ma..."

That review is awesome. I must read that now. I am like you...I looked over books that I liked and realized that if the characterization was good, I could overlook any other flaws. I read one by a self pub writer that had a few clunky passages admittedly, but I still liked it enough to read twice because the writer clearly had a gift for dialogue.


« previous 1
back to top