Thursday, April 9, 2009

Inappropriate Masochism

By Kim Dare.

Masochism - I suppose the same could be said of any form of writing for publication, but what I’m talking about is specifically those writers who write for publication and then make their lives far more difficult and painful than they need to.

I have nothing against a little bit of masochism at the right time and in the right place – but while seeking publication is probably not the best time to indulge in it.

Rejection hurts in a very nasty way – and it doesn’t matter if it’s from a publisher or a reviewer. Reviewers are tricky – you can’t please all the people all the time, it’s easy to get glowing and scathing reviews for the same book.

But why invite more rejection from publishers than is absolutely necessary?

I’ve been writing for what feels like forever, but I’ve only been writing with a serious intent to publish for about sixteen months (it was a New Years resolution for 2008 to be exact). So, I’m no expert on anything, but I suppose what I’m advocating is somewhere in the middle of what everyone else has been saying.

I’m not saying you should write to the market as such – mostly because I’m very bad at it. My characters tend to do whatever they hell they want no matter what I’d been planning for them.

Trying to force those characters to do one thing when they obviously want to do something else is painful for me – and not in a fun way. So I don’t stress myself out over making sure they do something the market will approve of. If they do something my current publisher won’t accept – then I’ll look for somewhere else to send them. I’d rather do that than compromise the project or the characters.

But that brings me to the other side of the story – what I do believe in, is submitting each project to the right market. As Jude said – know the guidelines and follow them. And send the story to the place that is most likely to accept it. Then, if you get a letter back saying it’s rejected because it’s too X or there’s not enough Y in it, next time you send them something – try to send them something with less X or more Y.

Meanwhile try to find a publisher who likes more X than Y in their stories, who’ll be more likely to accept your previous story. Don’t keep hitting the same publisher over the head with what they don’t want – you’ll be the one who ends up with a headache!

I tend to work with all sorts of different story ideas milling around in my head and on my to-do lists at the same time. (I assume that most writers are the same.)

If there’s one of those story ideas that has a better chance of being accepted by a certain publisher or for a certain call than another story idea, I think its common sense send off the one they are more likely to accept and keep the other one for another day and another publisher.

There’s no reason to invite rejection by making getting published any harder than it has to be. I don’t think I’m advocating writing for the market as such – but maybe I’m saying that it sometimes makes sense to concentrate on those story ideas that are more acceptable to the market you’re aiming for at the moment?

As for myself?

I’ve had one or two stories that haven’t been accepted into the projects I first had planned for them, but so far everything I’ve submitted for publication has found its rightful home somewhere.

I don’t know, maybe I’m just lucky in that I happen to be writing the kind of stories that the publishers I’ve chosen to submit to are accepting at the moment. Maybe that will change - Markets fluctuate after all.

I like kink, romance and happy endings, and that’s what I write. If the demand for BDSM erotic romance dries up, I’ll be in trouble. I may have to re-think and make a few painful realisations about my chances for continued publication.

But until then, I’m keeping the masochism strictly for play time!

Kim Dare.
Kink, love and a happy ending. Do you Dare?


  1. Good points, Kim. I think each author should do what's right for him or her. Many times I've had a story to tell, written it, and then searched for a home. But I'm not ashamed to say I write for a certain market sometimes, too.

    Some publishers have very specific wants and needs. If you want a shot with that publisher, you might have to take that into consideration. Some people say "Hell no, I'm not going to change my story for them," and that's fine. There's plenty of epubs out there, most likely one who will take your precious piece as is.

    I don't mind some revamping if I like the publisher. And I love a nice, tight edit!

    Take care,


  2. Hi Kim,

    Some thought provoking comments there, lady.

    I write to the markets a great deal. I'm one of those authors who will write pretty much anything and adore the challenge of getting my work, my style, to fit into what a specific publisher wants. Usually, I'll answer a call for submissions or be asked to write for a specific anthology. Knowing what's expected, I work to create the characters who will fit. Sometimes it doesn't work and I'll set that piece aside.

    I completely understand not 'forcing' a character to do something that he or she wouldn't do. I once had a Dom refuse to open a door for his submissive. It took me a week to figure out what the heck was stopping the story. Duh! He was right, I was wrong. It made very little difference to the book, so it wasn't a problem.

    We're all different, we grow and change and our work does too. That difference is what makes us wonderful, yes?

    Thanks for the post.


  3. Very good points, Kim.

    One idea that I try to remember, and that I share with newer authors: if you're a writer, there's always another story, waiting for you to get it onto the page. (Or ten!) So having one story, even one novel, rejected is not necessarily the end of the world. Maybe you can find another home for it. Or maybe you let it sit on your hard drive for a while (appropriately backed up) until you see the perfect call or the perfect publisher for it. Or perhaps you will decide at some point to revamp the story in order to suit the requirements of a publisher that had previously rejected it.

    I had the latter experience recently. I have a longish BDSM menage story that is part of my print collection FIRE. I submitted it to my publisher, who rejected it because 1) it wasn't long enough; 2) it contained MM interactions, which she wasn't looking for at the time; 3) it was written in the first person present.

    After thinking about it, I decided to transform the story into what she wanted. It was an interesting process - actually I was writing a new story, even though the initial premise was the same. The characters were subtly different, and became more so as the story progressed. Of course, they'd have to be, since the ending (MFM as opposed to MMF) was completely different. I set the story in a completely different area than the original, and added a lot of sex scenes (well, the original was only 7K and the new one had to be 15K - I had to do something ;^)!)

    The exercise was difficult, but quite enlightening. And it made me feel that perhaps I was gaining more control over my craft. Previously, I've found that my stories have incredible inertia, resisting anything other than the most minor changes after I've finished them.


    P.S. the story in question was accepted and will be published, as "Truce of Trust", by Total-E-Bound in June.

  4. I suppose the truth in the long run is that if you want to be published you have to find a way to fit in to what is being asked. Its a business so it can't be helped. Lonely business though.


  5. Hi Jamie,

    I think the thing is the term 'writing for the market' makes me think of those writers I know who write erotica or erotic romance because they think it will be easy money and anyone can write those.

    Very different to someone who loves what they write tweaking a story to make it more appropriate for a certain market. That's just being practical :)

    Thanks for commenting,

    Kim Dare.

  6. Hi Jude,

    I really admire people who can work that way. I think I'm slowly getting better at expanding and accepting new writing challenges, but it's a slow process for me at the moment.

    I wrote my first MFM for a call a little while ago. It wasn't something I ever expected to write, but I really enjoyed it when I got into it and found a pair of guys who has a good reason to share :) The challenge did feel good.

    Thanks for commenting,

    Kim Dare.

  7. Hi Lisabet,

    I think you're right - most authors have far more than one book in them!

    I'm working with quite a backlog of first drafts at the moment (54 at the last count) and I'm in the process of slowly going back and re-writing them at the moment. It's... interesting. But at least I can see that my writing has improved between then and now.

    I noticed Truce of Trust on TEB's coming soon page - it looks great.

    Thanks for commenting,

    Kim Dare.

  8. Hi Garce,

    I think I'm lucky in that publishers happen to be looking for what I'm writing. I had no idea that would be the case when I started writing my genre - hell, I didn't even know it was a genre!

    But who knows where the market will go next? Stick to your guns and you may well find your writing the next big thing!

    Thanks for commenting,

    Kim Dare.


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