As it turns out, a lot. I joined Romance Writers of America and learned very quickly that books set in the entertainment industry don't sell. Publishing houses were all too eager to tell writers that, as well.
"I read romances set in the entertainment industry all the time," you'll say. This was before self-publishing (which we called e-publishing when it first came up just before the turn of the century). There weren't a billion small presses willing to take on your book. There were big romance publishers and category romance (Harlequin, Silhouette, and Bantam Loveswept). And all of those publishers knew what sold and stuck strictly to it.
"What sold?" you ask.
To be more specific, cowboys, babies, and brides, which translated as cowboys, pregnant heroines, and marriages of convenience. For the next few years, I wrote books focusing on pregnant women marrying tycoons. I wasn't too into the whole cowboy thing.
Then came chick lit. Which was funnnn. And nobody said you had to write about pregnant women marrying cowboys. The trend lasted about a minute.
Of course, all along I wanted to write fun YA like the books I read as a kid. These...
...aren't the type of YA most publishers want, though. My voice was a little too "Sweet Valley High" for their taste...which meant by 2000s standards, it was more "Sweet Valley Middle School."
While there are more alternatives to traditional publishing today, cowboys, marriages of conveniences, and pregnant heroines are still popular with readers. Which is fine...but the action-adventure thing has taken off in romance, as well, giving writers many more options.
What are your favorite types of heroes and heroines in fiction?
I'm guest posting on different blogs throughout the month of August to celebrate the release of my new series. Let me know if you want to help out!