We’ve been going through the motions of what it’s like to be self published, and we’ve learned a few interesting things along the way.
All our experience is with Independently publishing books, and this post isn’t meant to scare folks away from going a more traditional route.
But back to the post. What if you had a project you were interested in exploring, spent months with blood, sweat and tears, and money you could never get back, but it didn’t connect with people?
Would you throw in the towel? Or would you research where you went wrong to fix the problem?
We’re releasing an Erotic Romance named “F*THS”. It was meant to be a lot of things. It was supposed to explore themes that are typically shunned in Romance, including friends with benefits themes we got to explore in Same Page, but with people who were single.
The main character Theodora King, like us is Afro-Latina(our first venture making an Afro-Latinx character, yay!) but entertained two love interests. This is what the original cover looked like, which we loved!But as we put it on Amazon for pre-order, we noticed very little, if any connected to the cover highlighting a girl with two love interests. Romance readers can be very protective of monogamy, and polyamorous relationships are often shunned unless they’re intentionally meant to be Menage a Trois story.
We admit, the main characters are both bisexual. Both are attracted to emotionally, sexually and psychologically to folks who identify as a man or woman(cis or trans). It could’ve easily been geared to be a Menage book for that reason, but there was a fear the audience we were writing it for would feel alienated.
After all, the main female character does gear more toward one than the other. And most of her open door love scenes were only with one.
Same Page, despite how readers responded to the blurb and cover, one-clicked like it was nothing. Two attractive people on the cover sparked an interest that having three people on a cover did not.
When we realized that, we took F*THS down(and lost our pre-order privilege, but hey…)and went back to the drawing board.
We heavily emphasized the relationship between the two main characters more, and while it garnered a less brave story, it allowed the audience we’re writing it for to seek it out more. All of these changes were literally made overnight. All of it required reworking chapters, a new blurb, and a new cover.
Traditional publishing is awesome. The resources in comparison are unmatched. But they want books to win. They spend a ton of money trying to make something win. Storify-ed conversations about diversity in romance by Alisha Rai and K.M. Jackson highlight it better than we could, especially since they’re traditional/hybrid authors.
But we’ve since redid the cover to reflect the changes:The cover has a sleeker look, different models, and an interesting design. I can’t say whether it’s better or worse, but it’s definitely been better received.
I hope to be braver, and be able to introduce relationships that aren’t always monogamous. Being polyamourous isn’t negative, it’s just modern society isn’t used to a relationship with more than one person.
Maybe these changes were for the better =D
We received our first advanced review, and it was well received. All the fears we had are still there.
Fear of an Afro-Latina character who doesn’t have long cascading hair, or looser curls, with much darker skin. Fear of two characters who identify as bi-sexual. Fear of friends with benefits stories. Fear of creating a Black woman with a chronic illness. ALL of these things were the things some of the advanced reviewers connected with. There are other topics in the story(along with a cliffhanger, which folks hate!) they wont connect with. So we’re preparing ourselves for those who wont connect to it now XD
But we regret very little about self publishing. It’s not every day you can fix something you broke…
You can request F*THS on Netgalley =D Click the link or book above for details!
Not on Netgalley? Shoot us an email at rebelliousvalkyriepress at gmail dot com! We’d be happy to provide advanced copies to those willing to provide reviews for it’s release!