Continuing adventures in pre-publishing
It’s been less than a week since I made the announcement about having written a book. I asked for feedback, and wow… people have been amazing! Thank you to everyone who has sent encouraging words and suggestions.
There are many decisions to make, many options to consider. Used to be that when you wrote a book, you got an agent (quite the process in itself, from what I’ve heard) and they submitted it to publishers. Now, with the burgeoning self-publishing industry, all that has changed.
In the past few days, I’ve had communications with three published authors: fetish erotica writer Annabel Joseph; John Smith, author of Kink And The City: An Englishman In New York; and of course, our own Devlin O’Neill. They were very kind to give me their time and they helped me reach one very important decision: I’m taking the self-publishing route. For many reasons, but here is perhaps the one that means the most to me: Preserving my book as I envisioned it, and not having some editor at a publishing house try to tweak it and mold it into something that will “sell better.” Annabel described this as a “soul-deadening experience,” and I can well imagine that it is. Granted, there is still a certain cachet in being traditionally published, and some people still consider self-published books to be the redheaded stepchildren of “real” books. But that is changing rapidly, and it seems that very soon, that attitude may very well be obsolete.
Next… Mr. Smith asked a very important question. How long is my book, and to whom am I selling it? Who will be my audience? It turns out that the average book out there is 50,000-70,000 words. Just so you’ll have some idea of size, my fiction book What Happens to Naughty Girls? was a little over 47,000. Late Bloomer? At last count, 110,032 words. That’s one hell of a tome.
Mr. Smith said that if my book were all about the kink world and my experiences in it, it would be a slam-dunk — the scene would eat it up. But because I’ve expanded it to be about my life and background as well as my kink, that’s where the question comes in: Who is going to want to read all that? Are the people in the kink sphere, the ones who want to read all about my spanking adventures, going to give a rat’s a#$ about the first 1/3 of the book, pre-Erica Scott? And for those who are interested in the human interest side of the story, is the kink stuff going to appeal?
Am I really all that interesting that people will want to delve into all those words? Good question. I have no idea.
Oh, my head.
For now, I’m rereading the first 1/3 with a ruthless eye, trying to determine what I can excise. So far, not much. Ultimately, I have to make a choice: Am I trying to tell my story in its entirety, or am I trying to sell a lot of books? I’d love to think I can do both, but I am firmly grounded in reality.
I am seeking local photographers with boudoir photo experience to create the image I have in my head for my book cover. I’m a member of Model Mayhem, a networking platform for models and photographers. A lot of people on there are willing to do projects for the exposure and to add to their portfolios, without pay — I’ve been contacted by photographers who’d like to work with me that way. So I thought, well, why not put out a call for one myself? So I submitted what they call a “Casting Call,” describing my photo project and asking if any photographers out there would be willing to help me out, and I’d credit them in my book.
Did I get blasted! Apparently, I committed a massive faux pas. Some people did write to me privately and say I did nothing wrong, that they’d be happy to work with me if they were local. But publicly? Yikes. I was told there is nothing in this that benefits the photographer, that photo credits in a book aren’t worth crap, that there were no decent pictures in my portfolio (ouch) and anyone who wanted to take me on should be paid. One person said something along the lines of, “Why should I invest my time with you for nothing, when you don’t even have enough confidence in your project to pay for a proper cover photo?”
(sigh) I withdrew the casting call. Damn, I wish Zelle were local! Back to the drawing board — I am keeping my eyes and ears open for local pros who won’t consider my request offensive. I certainly didn’t mean to step on any toes. But I have read and been told by many that the cover is extremely important, and I want to do it right — proper framing, lighting and focus, Photoshopping imperfections, etc.
What a whirlwind… but it’s all so exciting. And I am not on a deadline; I can take my time. As Mr. Smith said, many people out there want to write a book, but damn few actually sit down and write one, seeing it through. So I’m quite proud of that.
Onward! Thanks for enduring my blathering. 🙂