Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Hey! I'm Officially an Author!

"The more you earn, the less you keep,
And now I lay me down to sleep.
I pray the Lord my soul to take,
If the tax collector hasn't got it before I wake." ~ Ogden Nash

OK, maybe I've been thinking of myself as a true author for a little while now, but the proof came in the mail yesterday: my 1099 form reporting my royalities from Samhain. Yes, that's right, since I've officially made money on my writing, I have to report those earnings to the IRS!

Lucky me.

Still, I won't complain.

I added a little feature to my sidebar, right at the top: Allie's Appearances. I'll keep a list of any places I might be showing up with books or promotional things, in the monthst to come. It feels a little decadent, but hey, if the IRS thinks I'm a professional, I should act like one, right?

Finally, I think I've made a startling discovery about my writing: I'm not sure I write straight romance. {gasp} I think I might write women's fiction, instead.

I didn't even know what "women's fiction" was, to be honest. But I was doing research for an article I'm writing, and I found some interesting differences between the two genres. Primarily, the difference seems to be that in a romance novel, the love story is the central focus. Everything else in the plot works toward and around that.

But in women's fiction, the story centers on the main character, her struggles and triumphs in her world - which might include romance but also deals with her work relationships, her family, etc. And it may or may not have a happy ending. (Mine do, so far anyway) Here are some other interesting definitions I found:

"Women's Fiction can be commercial (and usually is) or literary; it can be here-and-now contemporary or a multigenerational saga, like Rosamund Pilcher's books. The woman is the star of the story and her changes and emotional development are the subject."

"In women's fiction the heroine's relationship with her family or friends may be equally as important as her relationship with the hero."

So honestly, I think that is what I write. Don't get me wrong: I am a sucker for true love. But I also feel as though I need to explore more than just that, in my novels. Some of the critics who didn't like One Night in Boston thought the hero and the heroine should have gotten together much sooner. If it were a true romance, that might be an accurate criticism. But as I've been re-reading the galley, I realize that the story is more about Maggie trying to come to terms with her past and her present, than getting her into bed with her hero. (Lost in Paradise, on the other hand, I would call more of a true romance novel. I was experimenting.)

I hope that doesn't turn people away from my writing. I would hope that readers will care less about the label and more about what's inside the pages, though I do know that marketing counts for a whole lot.

Still, when I update my website in a few weeks, I think I may shift my "brand" just a bit and go with something like "Allie Boniface, Best-Selling Author of Contemporary Romance and Women's Fiction." (I can say "best-selling" 'cause I was, on the TWRP list for a while...right?)

What do you think?


Anonymous said...

Absolutely agree - I think the addition of Women's Fiction works well!!
Congratulations on your appearances at Border's.

Marianne Arkins said...

So funny... when I got my statement from Samahain, I was thinking the same thing! LOL... I've never been so happy to report earning to the IRS before.

I dunno about the womens fiction thing... frequently in WF the heroine doesn't have a HEA with a guy, or whatever. It's one of the things that puts me off of the genre.

Your stories, OTOH, are very fulfilling to my needy little heart.

Devon Gray said...

Hi Allie- I like the addition as well. When I took a couple of classes instructed by Leigh Michaels at Gotham Writers Workshop, she classified a romance as follows:

If you can remove the romance between the couple and you still have a story it is not classified in the romance genre. If you remove it and the story collapses, it is in the romance genre. With so many subgenres, however, who can ever really be sure?!

Congratulation on being an "official paid author". Like you said, though, you have been an author for a long time! Still, so exciting.

So, is your current wip romance or women's fiction?

Have a great one- Devon

Ceri said...

I got my statement from Samhain too! I haven't opened mine but what an accomplishment!

And congrats on your appearances!!!

Diane Craver said...

That's pretty neat, Allie! I write women's fiction, too. I have romance but not the center focus. So far I've had the happy endings though.

Well, my reaction was a bit different when I opened my W-2 yesterday. I went off my diet (ate candy)but today I decided to be thankful that I'm published, regardless of my income.

Dru said...

I think that is a good idea to add "Women's Fiction".

Congrats on the appearances you have coming up and a big congratulatons on being an official paid author noted by the IRS.

BethRe said...

Sure I think you can say that

LaskiGal said...

I sure would say it!

As for women's fiction--I think it would work. I think you open yourself up to covering far more than romance--you get to explore real issues faced by real women. Some of my favorite fiction is women's fiction--I like romance, but I am always intrigued by how real women lead real lives.

Congrats, Ms. Author!!!