As with any business, sales slumps come with the territory. In publishing, genres seem to come and go in waves of popularity. While Romance as a category always sells well, the divisions within it change. Westerns are popular for a while, then Scottish Highlanders. Erotica will sell, then everyone's writing steamy sex scenes and the backlash goes to sweet romances or shapeshifters. Or paranormal. You get the drift.
My sales numbers have plummeted over the last six months. Partly that's because I only had one new title (Winter Break) but even that book hasn't done as well as past titles. It's no secret Ellora's Cave is behind in their royalty payments - I eagerly check each week to see if maybe this will be the week they catch me up, but it hasn't happened yet. Soon, I'm sure. They took a chance on me and gave me my start. It is my fervent wish they find their footing and keep going. But even the royalty statements I have gotten show sales for some titles in the single digits for the first time ever.
I suspect the erotica market is now glutted and finding new readers isn't as easy as it used to be with all the authors now choosing to self-publish. The first titles I released on my own did wonderfully well. The last ones? Not so much.
To be honest, I'm starting to grow a bit bored writing erotica, myself. I had a lot of fun with it and am happy to have written as many books in the genre as I did. But it isn't only the marketplace's tastes that change - writer's appetites do, too.
To that end, I've been challenging myself lately, writing in several styles, just for fun. I've written a short story in the Action/adventure genre, several non-fiction travel pieces, and an epic fantasy (that's currently taking up much of my time!).
This isn't to say there won't be more Diana Hunter stories. Hot sex is still fun to write on occasion but honestly? Mystic Shade outsells Diana. You're more likely to see more stories from Mystic than Diana, especially after the egg laid by Winter Break (still don't know if people who bought it liked it or not. Please leave reviews!!!! Good or bad, it's the only way we writers get feedback).
Sales are in a slump and the way out for me is to keep writing. Even one book sold is one more reader touched by the story I've written and that doesn't suck. Reading back on this, it sounds pretty depressing and I don't mean it to be. Waves happen in business. The trick it to keep going. If I stop writing all together? Then I'll never find that next wave to ride, and I'd hate to miss the fun. So don't worry - there will be more books, more stories, more genre to choose from.
In the meantime, play safe - and leave a review!!! :)