Today’s prize is a $15 Amazon gift certificate. Remember all commenters from all the days will be entered into a drawing for a bottle of Spanking Bottom Red Wine. (Comment all five days, get five chances to win).
By August 2010, a year after I signed my first contract (Intimate Submission with Black Velvet Seductions), I had two short novellas published on the BVS website and one anthology available as an ebook and in print on Amazon. But no one seemed to know BVS existed. Ellora’s Cave people knew. Samhaim, yes. Loose Id, yes. Black Velvet Seductions, uh no. I had a freebie WordPress blog (see it here) and nobody knew it existed either. In a week, I’d get maybe 50 visits.
And then on August 2, 2010, I logged onto my blog at 9 a.m. and discovered 75 people had visited already. I checked where they were coming from, and they were referred by “My Bottom Smarts.” If you write spanking fiction, you know exactly who that is. MBS (now defunct) was a very popular spanking blogger who listed MY blog as being friendly to spanking. By the end of day, I’d had 350 hits! More–way more–than I usually got in a month at the time.
I was over the moon with excitement, and I thought, wow, spanking is hot. There’s a market here. I got a surge of motivation and inspiration from those hits.
I’d researched domestic discipline and spanking. The secrecy of the lifestyle intrigued me. Spankos do not tell their kids, their family, their vanilla friends about their kink. When I got that spike in blog hits, it sparked an idea…what if spanking didn’t need to quite so secret? What if there was a private club of men who spanked their wives? What if a naïve bride married a man who belonged to that club but she thought it was just a fraternal organization?
And Spanking Melania was born. I wrote the first draft of 26K words in 13 days (upon revision, it ended up over 30K). That book remains to this day the single most effortless piece of writing I’ve done. The story felt channeled. It was magical.
I realized midway through writing I had a series on my hands–that I could write about all the couples who belonged to the secret society. I submitted Spanking Melania first to BVS in September, who accepted it informally immediately (though it took a couple of months to get a contract). By January 2011, my publisher hadn’t done anything with Spanking Melania, had not begun to edit it, and from looking at my 2010 year-end royalties, it was clear none of my other books were selling with BVS. My gut (and my husband) told me Spanking Melania needed a larger, more visible publisher–especially since it would be a series.
It was a wrenching decision, but I asked BVS to release me from the contract, and the publisher graciously agreed.
I was so disheartened to be starting over at square one. But I polished Spanking Melania some more, retitled it Unexpected Consequences, and began researching publishers, devising a shortlist of three who might be interested in my kinky little DD romance.
Loose Id had said on its website that they wanted stories that would “make them squirm.” I thought Unexpected Consequences was squirm-worthy (it made me squirm!), but Loose Id was number three on my list because its focus seemed to be M/M and I was writing M/F.
I had my submission ready to send to Ellora’s Cave, which had just come out with a new”Taboo” line, which seemed perfect for a kinky DD romance. Samhain, because of its emphasis on quality stories ranked high on my list at number two. I had planned to sit on my submission over the weekend, read over my query one more time and click send on Monday morning. I’d been tweeting about my upcoming submission (not specifying where I would submit). That Saturday an editor at Loose Id DMed me on Twitter, said she’d read and liked Intimate Submission, and asked if I ever had considered submitting to Loose Id.
Now what the hell was I going I do? Should I stick to my strategy and send an “over the transom” submission into the “slush pile” of my first choice or do I submit it to my third choice who actually requested the manuscript?
Another pivotal, wrenching decision.
I chose Loose Id. I signed a contract in April 2011, and Unexpected Consequences was published September 21, 2011. I did not expect it, but on September 25, 2011, I received a royalty statement for four days. UC had made more money in four days just on LI’s website (Amazon royalties would come months later) than I had gotten in any quarter with the BVS books.
Unexpected Consequences became the goose that laid bronze eggs. It sold quite well for about year, and now nearly three years later, still has sales spikes and maintains a nice little income stream. UC gave me my first four digit monthly royalty check, and started to generate a fan base of spanking fiction readers. Momentum built. I was selling books!
And then I did something stupid, reckless.
Coming tomorrow: mistakes and setbacks. Tomorrow’s prize will be a $20 Amazon gift card.
Post a pertinent comment about something I’ve written today, leave your email, and you’ll be entered into the drawing for a $15 Amazon gift certificate and a chance at the bottle of Spanking Bottom Red Wine.
For book buy links, click on any book cover.