Should mainstream romance series include M/M couples?

shadows-seductionWhen I first learned that Shadow’s Seduction, the next installment in Kresley Cole’s popular “Immortals After Dark” series will feature a M/M relationship, I was super excited. Even though I’m only an occasional M/M reader, I thought including a gay couple would be great for the series. In fact, I think that more mainstream romance series should follow suit. My fellow Badass reviewers agree:

Regina: “I love the idea of mainstreaming same sex relationships. For example, I believe that the sitcom Will & Grace helped the USA along the path toward increased tolerance.”

Wendy: “The more mainstream authors that buck the status quo the better.”

Angie: “If someone is passionate and willing to do research, I say write away. The best thing we can do for each other is to try and walk in each other’s shoes. Hopefully it brings us to a place with more compassion and understanding.”

Not that Ms. Kresley is the first romance writer to have this idea. This honor belongs to Suzanne Brockmann, who has ball-through-the-nighteen telling the love stories of gay characters in her “Troubleshooters” series WAY before the M/M sub-genre was popular, before same-sex marriage was legal all over the country or even before “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” was repealed. Most recently, when J.R. Ward wrote about Blay and Qhuinn in her “Black Dagger Brotherhood” series, fans clamored for Ward to tell their story.

However, not everybody’s happy that things are moving in this direction and not only because of moral or religious beliefs. Some romance readers who accept gay people in their real lives are just not interested in reading M/M romance. “Shadow’s Seduction” hasn’t been published yet but it has dozens of reviews where people say they won’t read the book. Others question Ms. Cole’s motivation, which made me wonder…doesLover_at_Last.JPG it matter what the author’s intention in writing M/M? Angie thinks so:

I don’t want an author dipping their toes in the M/M waters because it’s the next big thing. They’re a bandwagon a lot of writers have jumped on because it’s hot for the moment, and I’m left wondering if their hearts are even in it. When it comes to M/M, I follow most of my favorite authors on social media, and it’s loud and clear from their posts that the LGBT community is something they’re passionate about. And that comes through just as loudly and clearly in their books. So selfishly, I want hot-trope-of-the-moment writers to stay away from M/M.”

Personally, I don’t think the author’s motives matter as long as they do the story justice. Writers are people too and they have a right to spread their wings and try different things. Maybe some mainstream writers will find writing M/M is not for them while others would love it.  But I don’t think they’ll find out unless they give it a shot! Wendy agrees:

Wendy: “[Ward] threw everything into the development of their relationship, spanning multiple books.  Sure she originally intended a novella and was eventually convinced to write a full length novel equal to all her het-romances.  But, I’m not sure it should matter what the motivation for that was.  She wrote it, and she didn’t hold back anywhere.  It was as steamy as all the other books.”

A friend of mine thinks that including an M/M couple is pretty much the kiss of doom in a mainstream series and for proof, she points out to the 21% decrease in Goodreads ratings* between BDB #10 (M/F couple) and BDB #11 (M/M couple.) Since then, ratings for the series have been decreasing at a rapid pace. It’s indisputable that including an M/M couple in a mainstream series will turn off some readers. But I think there are may be other factors that contributed to this particular series decline: story arc, increasing number of POVs, lengthy series, etc.

Here at Badass Book Reviews we look forward to more and more mainstream authors writing M/M. What do you think? Should mainstream romance series include gay couples? Why or why not? Tell us in the comments!

*Goodreads Ratings of Black Dagger Brotherhood Books #10-14 as of Oct. 16 2016.
Lover Reborn (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #10): 60,560 ratings
Lover at Last (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #11): 48,318 ratings
The King (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #12): 34,642 ratings
The Shadows (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #13): 19,790 ratings

The Beast (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #14): 11,854 ratings

© 2016, Badass Book Reviews. All rights reserved.

Comments 7

  • I personally don’t like it when mainstream authors dip their toes in M/M. It’s not my thing, I don’t like it or think it’s hot (just my opinion) so when BDB went M/M I simply stopped reading the books. I’ll either skip Cole’s M/M or stop reading altogether. I read and follow a series because it’s what I like if I want to read M/M I’ll read those but I choose not to. This is taking away my choice and not allowing me to continue seeing what happens in that world.

    • Thanks for your post, Julianne.

      I guess that’s the question that authors would have to ask themselves before they decide whether they want to give M/M a shot. How much of their audience will they alienate?

      Re-choice: I think sometimes readers can influence what an author writes but at the end of the day, it’s all up to the author. It’s their world and if they want to go down a certain path with the story, our only choice is the one we make with our time/wallets.

    • Not something I read if that is the main couple, though I don’t care if a mainstream author wants to write for another group. Of course, I don’t read rock star romance books/dreamland stuff/BDSM main themed books. None of these things are a turn-on for me, so I simply don’t read certain books, even if I like the author. I don’t mind if this stuff is just a small and minor secondary part to the book in a mainstream author’s book.

  • I would love more lgbtq and diversity in books and in a mainstream series. I did wonder if there was a decrease BDB ratings due to it not being a great book? I read loads of mm fiction and to be honest, didn’t enjoy BDB 11 at all. Looking forward to the new Kresley Cole!

    • Lots of my friends didn’t like BDB 11 either. I gave up at book 8 because I didn’t think there was a cohesive story arc. Too much meandering in that series!

    • I think it’s likely that BDB lost some of readers due to the Qhuinn/Blay book. However, I actually think that most of the decline is due to a the inconsistent writing and the million plot lines. Even people who are reading them are less happy with the later books. (Complaining of the same things that DG is saying.)

      Also, I’ve noticed (over all the years on Goodreads) that most series less member ratings for the subsequent installments. I think it’s just a matter of the longer the book is out the more readers it picks up.

      Just my opinion, though. 🙂

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