On Vampires and Disco

Vampires. People love them. But not enough, apparently.

For years now, I’ve been working on vampire stories, starting with my debut novel, Twice Bitten.

Then I had a story in the anthology When the Clock Strikes Thirteen, called “Love Bites, and then a story in Tales of the Grimoire called “Lizzie Borden Took an Axe.”

Most recently, I released book one in a novella series called The Vampires of Brooklyn Chronicles. The book is called Have a Bite.

Vampires are popular, right? Look at all the movies and TV shows that feature vampires and other supernatural creatures.

But getting some of that vampire lovin’ going on in Lesfic Land isn’t so easy. Obviously, there is a market out there for paranormal lesfic, but it’s simply dwarfed by all other genres. And it seems that no matter how much I do to promote my vampires, it isn’t getting the traction that I’d like.

So, now I have make a decision. Do I keep writing my vampire stories and doing what I love, or do I cater to the majority of the lesfic-buying community and stick to romances?

Don’t get me wrong, romances are fun to write, too. I particularly enjoyed writing my novella Add Spice to Taste, and all the romance/erotic short stories that I’ve had published, but paranormal is what really interests me.

But “love” and “interest” don’t pay Verizon, know what I mean?

You hear artists talk about selling out all the time, dissing other artists—musicians who allow companies to use one of their songs in commercials, or actors who promote adult diapers—but exactly when did it become wrong to make money from your work?

I mean, I get it. When you’re an artist, the product of your labor is art—it comes from your heart and soul, whether it’s a song, or a story, or an interpretive dance. But suppose your art is something else, like bricklaying?  My father was a master bricklayer. He built, by himself, entire homes, luxury master baths, and building facades (many of the buildings around New York City have his handiwork in or on them). That was his art, but he didn’t work for free. No artist does, right? Well, the hope is that there will be some remuneration for someone’s art (eventually, if not at first).

Wait a minute, you’re saying, no one said that artists have to work for free. Musicians make money by selling music and performing at concerts; actors make money by making movies or TV shows; writers make money through royalties (ha ha!). So I’m having a hard time understanding this “selling out” thing.

When I was younger, I was all like, yeah, don’t sell out to the man! But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve started wondering, how is selling or lending out your art “selling out”?

This rambling is leading me to say (or ask, rather) that if I write stuff that I’m okay with but that isn’t really the true product of my passion, am I selling out?

When rock musicians starting doing disco music in the 1970s to tap that huge market, they were lambasted. The world was at odds: It was the “Rock is good, I must admit/But next to disco, it sounds like shit” camp versus the “Disco sucks” camp. But, seriously, was it that wrong? Most of them survived, right? The Rolling Stones, the icons of rock ‘n’ roll themselves, released “Miss You,” and although rock fans will refute it, that was disco. YES, rock ‘n’ rollers—“Miss You” was DISCO. It didn’t change their status in the rock music firmament.

Of course, not everyone is the Stones (grammatically, that’s both correct and incorrect!). But every artist has the right to express him/herself in the way he/she wants. And if they want to dabble in other arts, they can do that, too. It’s always been done: actors releasing albums, singers taking on acting roles, socialite heiresses designing handbags…oh, wait, that last one is not at artist. But you get my drift.

It’s all stuff to think about. If you have an opinion and want to weigh in, I’m happy to hear your input.

Meanwhile, stay safe and be happy.


3 thoughts on “On Vampires and Disco

  1. I hear you. I guess it comes down to whether you like romances enough to do it. But also remember that those authors who become very popular don’t just write romance, they write a lot of it. I’ll never match the output needed to make a ripple in the lesfic pond–regardless of genre. I sometimes wonder why I bother to write at all, except that when I stop for a time, I get the itch to get back in. If I were younger and interested in writing full time, I’d probably suck it up and write romances by the bucketload to get known. Then I’d add in stuff I really want to write. But I don’t have to worry about supporting myself with writing, so it changes my outlook. And possibly my motivation.

  2. Write what you love or what sells: the ultimate question for an author. My answer has been to do both. My horror and lesfic suspense books weren’t selling well, and I came to a point in the suspense trilogy (the third book) where I was losing steam and dodgy my writing duties. I decided to write a romance, because I had an idea and it was something different than what I was stuck on. So far, it’s selling better than my passion projects. Does that mean I’ve sold out? Who knows. All I can say is that I’m still enjoying the writing, and I’ll eventually go back to the stuff that I started out writing – if romance doesn’t suck me in permanently. (Which, on my second romance now, it’s threatening to do; romance is more fun to write than I thought!) Good luck on getting to the right balance for you. BTW, I’m starting on Have a Bite soon – can’t wait to see what’s in store!

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