There’s a review at Dear Author currently for Inari Gray’s WARS OF THE HEART. I have this book on my TBR pile so I didn’t read the review, but I did read the comments. Why? Because once in a while readers will begin a conversation about science fiction romance in response to that type of post. Sometimes readers will start recommending other titles. That’s the case with this particular thread.
In response to an inquiry about recommended authors, one of the participants mentioned authors Linnea Sinclair and Susan Grant. That’s awesome and a testament to their staying power as storytellers. And it got me thinking…
When I think about science fiction romance, especially in terms of recommending books, I don’t (or can’t) think about one author in particular. First, I start splitting the stories into their various subgenres and settings. Then I further split the list into types of characters, the romance-SF ratio, heat level, and so forth. I always end up with a list of books across the SFR spectrum as opposed to just a few authors.
However, I am probably a big exception in that sense (in no small part because of the fact that I read voraciously in this subgenre and am very adventurous). Most folks, however, probably just want to hear about the top 3-5 (or even just the top 3) titles/authors (whatever “top” means at any given time).
So the reason that DA thread got me thinking was this: Linnea Sinclair and Susan Grant have earned that “top” spot, but I know there’s room for more. But how did they get there? That’s the question I encourage you to contemplate because it wasn’t just by virtue of being traditionally published. Linnea Sinclair in particular did an enormous amount of outreach to readers in a variety of forums and as a result, her name is synonymous with the phrase “science fiction romance.”
The question of the title for this post is not about who will replace Linnea Sinclair or Susan Grant, but who will join them? Whose name will be automatically mentioned in review threads and mega reader forums such as Goodreads when the subject of science fiction romance arises?
With the rise of ebooks, there’s much more competition for the attention of readers. Still, there are actually two choices available to us. One is for dedicated authors to work together as a group to raise the visibility of science fiction romance as a whole (e.g., recommending your favorite titles; retweeting the SFR news of fellow authors on a regular basis; blogging about SFR topics in an entertaining way without the hard sell of one’s own books).
A second way is to be strategic about the promotion of your own books. A good starting point is Kristen Lamb’s WE ARE NOT ALONE: The Writer’s Guide To Social Media. (This book, which is geared specifically to writers, came recommended to me by a fellow Brigader who may out herself in the comment section if she wishes!). Lots of good tips are inside this book and they can go a long way toward helping authors stand out. A little—or a lot—of competition is a good thing!
Because here’s the bottom line: I know that there are plenty of entertaining SFR titles out there, but I’m not the reader you have to convince.