Okay, so…wow, I have things to say. First, let’s do fun stuff! The cover of The Baby was revealed on Instagram! I sliced the picture into twelve posts and posted four a day over three days to end up with the full cover showing in the connected pictures. This was how it looked after all twelve posts were made:
As I said in my newsletter, yesterday, there are 171,476 words in the English language and there’s still not enough to describe the amount of sheer relief that I felt at not screwing up that posting order! Could you imagine if I’d borked one of the pics in the middle?
Anyway, each of the twelve pics was accompanies by some information or an excerpt and quite a few had extra background context from me on it. I like to think that I avoided spoilers, too. You can find all the posts on Instagram by clicking here, but I also cross-posted to Facebook for people who don’t have Instagram and you can find my Facebook here.
I’m also doing something really fun for the pre-order. In order to finish the book, I had to rewrite one of the chapters from Sebastian’s point-of-view. He leaves the room to have a conversation with another character without Lita there. I needed to know what happened in that conversation to write the rest of the book.
Otherwise, when I write Sebastian’s Baby, I would have to make their conversation fit the end of the book instead of the end of the book being informed by what happened in their conversation. I hope that makes sense. Anyway, after I posted about the pre-order, I had a few people on Facebook tell me they’ve already pre-ordered!
So, I’ve decided that I will add anyone who let’s me know they’ve pre-ordered to a list. If they contact me after they’ve read the book (or at least up to the point where Sebastian goes to have a conversation and Lita agrees to wait while he has it), I will send them that chapter to read. Thus meaning that you’ll get to read it a full year before anyone else gets to read it in Sebastian’s Baby.
If you want to pre-order The Baby, you can find it by clicking here.
Now…moving right along. You all know that I’m new to the self-publishing world. I’m learning about this whole thing as I go. Well, I recently came across this article on The Verge about the self-published romance world. It covers bookstuffing and all manner of horrendous practices that, apparently, make authors a lot of money (until they’re caught!). It’s a truly awful read.
I was reflecting on my own author career as I read it. I’ve thought about this before, because in author groups online there is a lot of the same repeated advice. Find a profitable niche. Write to market. Make bank.
I was inspired to write The Album by the song “Gives You Hell” by The All-American Rejects back in 2011. When I published it this year, I had no idea that rock star romance is a massive niche. I did not “write to market”. I hit some romance tropes, but I try to buck them as much as I can. I try to write characters who are real humans with complex emotions. Ariana meets the perfect guy, but she struggles with anxiety and self-worth issues and simply can’t allow herself to be happy. I refused to turn Harrison into an alpha male douchebag who is jealous of Sebastian and Heather’s friendship.
I am trying (and I like to think that I’m slowly succeeding) to build a readership of people who really enjoy my books and my characters and get deeply invested in what I’ve written. I have put so many easter eggs into my books for readers to find and, god knows, I hope that one day I have readers avid enough to figure them out…
Do you guys even know that both The Album and The Wedding each have a secret in them that will earn you a signed copy of the book if you’re the first person to let me know you’ve figured it out? I’ll be honest, The Wedding’s is easier than The Album’s. Which has reminded me that I need to add one in to The Baby.
Basically, guys, I care about my books and I care about my readers. I rewrote The Abum based purely on reader feedback. Last week, I even got into a long and intense discussion with readers on Goodreads about The Wedding.
I love giving insight and background information about the books, hearing people’s thoughts, and getting their perspectives on the stories and characters. The people on Goodreads, god love them, had some very real feelings about what happened in The Wedding. It means so much to me that I was able to touch them in some way with my writing, even if what they felt was negative. I also learned that I need to be very careful with the information I give out, because as the author, my writing becomes canon very quickly. So, if I write something, I need to be certain that won’t change in the future because it will be quoted back to me (Mum already does this to me, anyway! 🤣).
I cared so much about the readers on Goodreads, though, that it caused me to sit down and write one of the chapters of Harrison’s Wedding so that I could get into his head and give them that context. Writing from a single POV is tough, because you don’t get the other character’s thoughts and feelings for context when reading the book. I’ll write a separate blog on this, but I firmly believe it means you get far more invested in your main character.
However, I did know Harrison’s thoughts and feelings, which were at the back of my mind during the whole discussion. So, I took the time to write that for them to have some of the same understanding of what he was thinking and feeling. For the record, I intensely disliked the experience. I’m going to have to write his book slowly, chapter by chapter, whenever I feel emotionally capable of writing any of it.
My approach to self-publishing may not have me sitting at the top of the Amazon bestseller charts. I may not be making $50,000 a month, and I may be sitting and writing this while on my lunch break at my “day job” that I certainly won’t be quitting any time soon. But, I don’t give a shit.
The concept for my series isn’t an original one. You can go search “rock star romance” on Amazon and find fifty other series’ like it. What is original are my characters. They are mine. They are unique human beings. Yes, they fit some tropes. Yes, they have common experiences with other rock stars. But their emotions and how they interact with one another, that is as unique as you and I (in that no one is really unique, I guess! 😉).
My books are complicated and messy, the characters get a happily ever after, but it will hurt to get there. Rest assured that I will never serve up some ghostwritten tropey bullshit just for $$$. Everything that I publish will only ever be something that I truly care about and believe in…often paid for with my own tears.
On that note, I usually end these blogs with the phrase “happy reading”, but if you’re reading my books it’s not necessarily happy reading, but you’ll always get a happy ending. I’m not sure I should switch to that phrase, though…
Happy reading! 😝