Thursday, February 11, 2016

Guess who wrote a porno?

A couple years back I got an idea in my head for an erotic short story. Some ideas are like cravings: you just can't rest until you indulge it. So I wrote it up. And one story became two, and then three . . . and The Collected Stories of Isolde was born. It's the story of Isolde, an orphan, who seeks a job at the castle to put a roof over her head, only to be chosen to be a handmaiden for Sir Rhys, the liege lord. Sir Rhys has a mysterious affliction that causes him to live in near-seclusion with his handmaidens--and now Isolde is about to learn his secret.

I didn't write them under my real name because I wasn't sure how my publisher would take it, if the company would think that it was harming my "brand". That was around the time self-publishing was exploding, publishing companies weren't sure how they felt about authors directly competing with themselves in the marketplace. Fifty Shades was hot as wildfire and many writers decided to try their hand at erotica. I didn't want to be seen as thoughtlessly jumping on the bandwagon.

Three years later, things have changed a lot: for me, my career, the publishing business. So I thought I'd come out of the closet on this one. From this experience, I learned a few things about self-publishing and how hard it is to market a book from a dead start, when no one knows your name and you have no presence on social media. At one point, I talked to my agent about selling it commercially but he didn't think there would be much of a market for it because it doesn't fit in any particular genre. My readers won't be surprised to find that it's not a romance. It's set in a high fantasy world, with explicit bits. A little BDSM, a little tongue-in-cheek with a nod to old-fashioned porno.

If you'd like to read it, it's only available on Kindle as an ebook. The reason is practical, not political: Amazon recently launched the capability to advertise on its site but it's only available if you, the author, join KDP Select, which is an exclusive deal: for 90 days, you can't sell it anywhere else. I want to see if advertising on Amazon is worthwhile. (Self-publishing is all about experimenting with marketing.)

If you do read it, could you do me a favor and post a review on Amazon? I'd like to get at least ten reviews before I pay for advertising. I'm asking for an honest review. And please bear in mind, it's intended for mature audiences so if you're under 18 years old or don't like that kind of thing, then please don't feel you have to do anything out of loyalty. 

Thank you for your patience. And I'd love your feedback: do you think this will harm my brand? Should I have kept this one in the proverbial box under the bed?