Ease Yourself Into MMF Romances – Part IV
Where To Find Your MMF Romances
This is Part Four of a Series
Part 1: Ménages Categorized
Part 2: How can MMF be romantic?
Part 3: How To Read Your First MMF Romance
Part 4: Where To Find Your MMF Romances
Part 5: Narrow Down Your List of Potential MMF Novels
Part 6: Keeping Track
Heading for your nearest bookstore is not the obvious answer. Surprise! The vast majority of MMF romances are published digitally, many of them only in e-book form — or in e-book first, and in print much, much later, or the print version isn’t available at your local bookstore, or both, or all three — so if you haven’t made the switch to e-book reading yet, this may be the excuse you need to jump over.
One major advantage to reading MMF romances in e-book form is that everyone sitting opposite you on the bus won’t be able to tell what you’re reading by the lurid cover featuring three scantily clad bodies in suggestive poses that you’re holding in your hands. An e-book reader looks so much more innocent by comparison…
There’s a three-step process to finding your first MMF romance to read. It’s the same process for finding new-to-you authors every time you go looking for fresh voices, new categories, or want to try something new in MMF.
1. Build a list of lots of potential book possibilities
2. Do some easy (and fun) research to narrow down your list and figure out which of these books are for you, and make your choice
3. Keep simple records of your reading, so you can zoom straight back to the source of that great book for more of the same.
It sounds like a pretty simple process, and because it’s all done on-line you can sip your favourite beverage while you’re doing it. But because we’re talking about sex and an industry that is still trying to figure out which way is up, it’s not quite as simple as it sounds.
Here’s the quickest way to get the most effective results. This way, you stand the best chance of not missing out on any MMF titles that might be hiding on some tiny little publisher’s site that is absolutely perfect for you.
Build a list of lots of potential book possibilities
For this step, quantity is the key.
You want as many MMF romance titles on your list that sound intriguing to you as you can find. And for this stage, you cast your net wide. Even if you prefer to only shop on Barnes & Noble.com, you don’t only search there. You search everywhere. You can buy your books on B&N later (or even B&N at your local mall), when you’ve made your final decision. But for now, you’re just collecting information, and for that, you look under every virtual rock and leaf.
Even if you can’t stand Amazon as a retailing, power-wielding behemoth, start here, because virtually every publisher in the western world has their titles listed here. Remember, you don’t have to buy from Amazon. You’re just researching. Also, if you want to buy your books in a different format, you can still research here, and buy elsewhere.
And the truly glorious facet about Amazon is categories and tags. Amazon allows authors, publishers and readers to add tags to books, earmarking them for other readers to find. And you can search on those tags.
And yes, there’s a tag for MMF romances. How wonderful! If you click here, you can jump straight to a presorted list. You can arrange that list by rankings, popularity, best-sellers and more. Start clicking on titles and covers that intrigue you, and reading the blurbs and excerpts, reader reviews (another advantage that Amazon offers) and building your list of possibilities.
When you have run out of title possibilities at Amazon (and that could take a while), you may want to try:
Members of Goodreads add their favourite books to growing recommendation lists, and there’s a collection of various MMF romance ones:
You can possibly access the lists without becoming a member of Goodreads (something I can’t test for myself, as I’m a member), but consider joining anyway and paying forward for the work that went into these lists by adding your own recommendations when you come across MMF romance novels that you enjoy as well. As you can tell from this article, tracking down good MMF romances isn’t always as obvious as it may seem.
I started building this list in March 2012, pulling from 4 and 5 star MMF romances from Goodreads, Amazon, and All Romance eBooks — including the lists I quoted above…and I’ll always be building it. It is a work in progress. I vet and cross-check titles to eliminate the ones that aren’t really MMF romances (they just have a bit of menage fun, but they don’t end up MMF forever, say, or they’re really MFM, but they crept onto an MMF list somewhere, sometime, and now they’re just copied onto everyone’s list). There’s a bigger and longer explanation for the filtering I do here.
4. Romance Publisher Sites
I won’t break down every publisher’s site individually, but I will give you one example, because I know it better than others. Be wary of heading directly to publisher sites, because if you’ve already combed through Amazon, then the titles you find on the publisher site will probably be repeats. There are two minor advantages to heading directly to publisher sites:
- Some publishers delay uploading their books to secondary retail sites like Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble by days or weeks, so you will pick up titles that haven’t reached the retailers yet.
- The classification of the publishers’ titles may help you find MMF romance books that readers/authors/reviewers have missed on Amazon.
On the other hand:
- You can spend a lot of time searching individual publishers’ sites, for the odd one or two titles you may have missed on Amazon…that you could eventually catch up with later, via reviews, word-of-mouth, etc.
If you have the time to spare, and a favourite publisher, you may consider the exercise worth it. But digging out MMF Romances, even on a romance-only publisher’s site, can prove to be a challenge.
Ellora’s Cave, for example, have an entire category devoted to “Menage or more” (which is actually a misnomer, but…). You can sort their entire library of available erotic romance novels on that category link. Which sounds great…until you start combing through the 35 pages of book titles (not books, titles) within that category. And you realize that some of these group romances are MFM, some might be MMF and some (these days) are even MFF. Even more might feature more than three, but it’s hard to tell, really, by the descriptions.
There’s a sneaky backdoor way to narrow down your search with a bit more certainty. If you search the MM category, which comes just below the menage category, then open up each title, and look for the little three people icon that indicates the book is, in fact, a menage, then you know you’ve got an MMF menage on your hands.
If you’re gun-shy about MM sex, then this isn’t going to work for you, first title up. Ellora’s Cave only slap the MM category on romances that have very strong MM story lines. As in, that’s the dominant thrust of the romance.
I have published seven MMF romances with Ellora’s Cave in the past and none of them made it into the MM category and one of them had very nearly more MM romance than MF.
But for later MMF romance titles, if you acquire a taste for it, this will be a great way to hunt down new authors who write strong MM storylines.
For any other publisher, you will have to do similiar detective work on how they sort their romance titles, menages (if at all) and what sort of advanced search functions they offer for you to further filter their titles.
Finally, don’t forget that Google Search has an advanced search function that lets you search an individual site, too, so if you’re really determined to mine your favourite publisher for gold, Google might cough up nuggets for you if the publisher themselves don’t offer tools that do the work. Just add your publisher’s name to the line that says “Search within a site or domain”.
You’ll notice I haven’t sent you off to Barnes&Noble.com, Kobo.com, Sony, Apple, and a host of other on-line retailers and book-sellers. Yes, even Smashwords, AllRomanceEbooks, and the new e-tailers who are right there supporting indie authors.
I’m steering you clear of those guys for a reason. Even if they’re your favourite, most trustworthy bookstore in the world, their range of information about romance novels, and MMF romance in particular, frankly sucks. They might sell the novels you’ll end up wanting to buy, but trying to extract those titles from the morass of “romance” novels lumped together on their sites is a quick lesson in frustration acceleration. These sites are not researcher-friendly. There’s also a pretty good chance they don’t carry all the titles Amazon does, so you’re automatically limiting your range by starting with them.