Thursday, April 4, 2013

Authors Are So Neurotic

by Giselle Renarde

Let's get all deep and psychological, k?

I've got two novels sitting at the back of my hard drive.  I wrote them.  It took aaaaaages.  Now all I need is to edit the hell out of them before sending them out to publishers.  Every so often I open one of the files, thinking, "This is it.  I'm going at this thing, hardcore!"  I read one chapter, make some changes... and then I shut it down.

I like these books.  I mean, I REALLY like them.  It's not like I'm putting off editing because I think it's going to be difficult and time-consuming (though, realistically, it probably will be).

So, why am I procrastinating?

Because, once I'm finised with the edits, I'll have to decide what to do with these manuscripts.

Do I send them to publishers I've worked with before?  Makes sense. The possibility of getting a contract is higher at houses where I've already established roots.  But maybe I should take a chance by sending them somewhere new.  Is new better?  The grass is always greener at that other publishing house.  Oh, if I get in there, just image the distribution, the sales!  Imagine finally being able to pay the rent AND eat more than oatmeal for every meal!

Except, it never works out that way.

I've been here before.  I've sent my work to that perfect publisher, been accepted, and felt thrilled because this is it!  This is the book that'll hit the big-time!

And then... it doesn't.  We authors have such high hopes, but they never seem to pan out.  I've heard from writers contracted by the big publishing houses that they've never earned out their advances.  Bigger doesn't necessarily mean better.

Regardless of publisher, once a book is up for sale you've got to market the hell out of it.  Still, if nobody's interested, they're not going to buy.  And if you've worked your ass off on a manuscript and nobody buys it, how do you feel?  That's right--like a failure.

Take The Red Satin Collection as an example.  My trans lesbian Christmas erotic romance won the 2012 Rainbow Award for Best Transgender Romance/Erotic Romance, but... I won't even tell you how few copies sell.  It's too embarrassing.

So, do I feel proud that my book won an award, or ashamed because nobody buys it?  I'll give you one guess.

Or what if a book sells really well, but the whole world hates it?

I've been there, too.

My book Stacy's Dad has got it Going On was an Amazon bestseller.  It hit the ground running.  And then the reader reviews came in: "OMG so boring! Worst book ever!"  That might even be a direct quote.  I tried to put it out of my head.  Professional reviews were highly complimentary, but readers hated it.  (Seems odd to distinguist between readers and reviewers, since the readers are posting reviews and reviewers are obviously reading the books.)

And once that title became plagued by 1-star reviews, that was it.  Sales dried up.  The end.

It's no wonder I'm procrastinating when it comes to getting these two lying-in-wait novels on the market.  In my mind, they're either going to sell and be hated, or be loved and barely earn me enough to buy oatmeal.  Those are the only options.

And they wonder why authors are so neurotic?

Giselle Renarde  
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  1. it is frightening. sometimes i'm glad i'm so obscure ;)great post, Giselle :)


  2. Writers have to be tough.
    Submitting manuscripts alway puts a lump in my throat. Not only do we think the stories up, write them, edit the bejesus out of them, but then we find we haven't met the word count, or the exact tone they have in mind. All that work customizing the work to the publishers' requirements and here comes another rejection. Or we get accepted with accolades and sell four copies in a quarter. Daunting stuff. I guess writers have to be pretty resilient when we are led to think our baby is ugly.

    Be well-
    Daddy X

  3. And it never gets any easier! (except that I'm not emotionally impacted by rejection anymore, so I guess it does get a little easier)

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  5. I'm reminded once again why I stick to (or am stuck in) writing short stories rather than novels. Besides being lazy, I'm usually writing them with a specific deadline in mind, and if I miss that, well, another deadline will come along for an anthology where it might fit, and maybe I'll get it finished up in time for that one.

    (Oh, and I deleted this the first time because I'm also compulsive about fixing typos even when it's really too late.)

  6. Oh, Giselle! You write the best trans characters I've seen. I was planning to buy a copy of The Red Satin Collection, but had too much else to read & do a.s.a.p. Trans erotica might not have found a large audience yet -- but wait & see. One good thing about being a writer is that you can still become famous after your death. (Yes, I know, who wants to wait that long?)People who give you 1-star reviews are ignorant & unwashed.

  7. Hi Giselle! Welcome to the grip!

    It doesn't sound neurotic, it just sounds like you;ve been through it all. Authors like E L James drive the rest of us crazy. When someone asked Mick Jagger why the rolling Stones hit it so big he said it was luck. He meant it too. They were an okay band, but also they worked hard and they were just lucky and they grew.

    I don;t know. The reality of writing is always so different than what we dreamed.

    Have you tried groats? I can talk your ear off about groats.


  8. Hey, Giselle,

    Never, ever, ever be ashamed of your books. Sales, or the lack thereof, have no relationship whatsoever to quality. FSOG is eloquent testimony to that fact.

    Have you submitted The Red Satin Collection to Erotica Revealed for a review? That might help you to get the word out.

    Anyway - you have at least one fan - me! You're one of the bravest, kinkiest authors I know.