Ease Yourself Into MMF Romances – Part V
Narrow Down Your List of Potential MMF Novels To Read
This is part five 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
a) spent a lot of time astonishing yourself at the sheer number of MMF romances out there, and the sheer range of stories, categories and styles available.
b) built a very long list of possibilities (I hope), and scared yourself silly about, hell’s bells, which one are you going to pick???
c) or else no list at all because you genuinely felt like you really didn’t know where to start.
If you’re in camp (c), then go back and start building a list. Any list. It really doesn’t matter. You’re picking titles that look intriguing because of their title, and the back cover blurb, and because they are MMF romances, and they’re in the right sub-category for you (historical, paranormal, romantic suspense, etc). You don’t have to be too, too fussy after that, because narrowing down your choices once you’ve got ’em on the list is what this post is about.
Do not sort your list into preferences, or A’s, B’s, or C’s, or anything like that. Don’t predetermine whether you’ll like a book or not, because then you’ll be researching the book with bias already built in. Just leave the list in the order you wrote the titles down and start from the top or bottom, or stab at the list with your pen.
There are several key facts and information about the novels you need to gather before you will feel comfortable choosing your first MMF romance.
1. How much MM stuff is involved?
You can interpret “stuff” as sex or romance, or both. If you’re still not comfortable with two guys locking lips, then even mild MM romantic scenes fall under the “stuff” label for you. You’re looking for the smallest injection of MM possible in your MMF romances.
2. How romantic in general is the author?
Some authors seem to focus in tightly on torrid sex plot lines, and romance seems to only pop up at the end of the story. Other authors develop their romances right along with the sex, the suspense, and everything else that is happening. What is your preference?
3. How good is the story, period?
You don’t want to read a dud, do you?
Luckily, most of the resources I suggested to you, last post, self-sort themselves into recommended and best-seller lists quite naturally. However, that doesn’t cover the first two points, or mean that what works for everyone else is going to work for you.
That’s where the wonderful world of word of mouth comes to the rescue.
Again, you get to hear what everyone else thinks of the books you’re thinking about buying via the Internet (charge up your coffee cup again). This is an advantage no brick and mortar bookshop in the world can offer.
Amazon has the best collection of reader review and ratings ever. And the readers rarely pull punches. If they don’t like a book, they’ll say so — I know, because I’ve been on the end of a few of those frank reviews.
Head over to Amazon and closely read what the reviews are saying about all the books on your list. Apart from knocking a few titles off your list, you may also be able to figure from the wording of the reviews how much MM action is in the book, how romantic the book is, and if the book is really for you.
Also, if the book is part of the “Look Inside” program, you can even read an excerpt and see if it intrigues you.
Amazon will also have professional reviews listed as well.
Your next stop for feedback is the review sites and blogs. Head over to Google and put in the book title, the author’s name and “review”. Amongst a few negative results, you will get a listing of links to reviews of the book. Check them out, both for overall impressions on the quality of the book and for hints about how much romance and MM action are contained within the story.
While you are cruising these review sites, if you find that there is a particular reviewer whose voice you like, bookmark the site, or subscribe to their feed. This is a reviewer who is into MMF romances in your sub-category, and they may review an MMF romance you will like in the future.
Goodreads won’t provide you with much feedback. Readers tend to rate books, but rarely review them, except for a few words here and there, and even then, the words are often misleading or over- or underrated compared to the rating they give a book. (One reader’s three stars is another reader’s five, and another’s two, and the odd comments reflect that.)
What Goodreads will do is give you a second composite star rating on a book (if Amazon’s isn’t enough), just in case you’re dithering and can’t decide yes or no on a title.
Don’t completely give up on your rejects straight away. They made it onto your list for a reason. What was that reason?
If you rejected the book because of a technicality (the novel has too much MM, say), what about checking that author’s other titles out? She may have other MMF romances that don’t feature as much MM action in them. Speaking from personal experience, as an author, I inched my way into this genre, so my earliest MMF titles have the least amount of MM stuff in them. Later on, though… This may not hold true for all authors, but it may for some of them, and some authors may write less MM for different publishers, because that’s a house requirement there. So it’s worth checking out. Other factors, such as the romance factor, may also vary between an author’s books, series, and publishers. You could end up with the perfect title and it wasn’t on your list in the first place.
Also, if you find many of your titles are grouped together from the same publisher, try wandering over to the publisher’s site and doing a direct seach (although you’re back to the same problem as last post: trying to find the MMF amongst usually bad search tools and little or no categorization or tags — in which case, fall back on Google Advanced Search again).
Select Your Final Title(s)
All this research should make at least one or three titles pop out at you, going Buy me! Buy me! If you can wait patiently to finish researching your whole list to see if there are any other must-buys on your list, then your problem is now solved. You have at least your first MMF romance novel selected.
Go buy it from your favourite bookseller, in your favourite format.
Once you have read it, if you like it, you can either buy that author’s back list, or see what else Amazon recommends on that book’s page, or see what else readers bought who bought that book on Amazon (another way of researching similar books).
Or you can buy the next MMF Romance that popped up on your Buy Me! list, and buy that author’s back list, once you’re done reading that book.
And just like that, you’ve eased yourself into the MMF romance genre.