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A good first day

It was great to wake up this morning and see pre-orders for The Knife of Narcissus at All Romance! Thank you to everyone who made the first day so exciting.

It’s now exactly one month to the release of the first part of the serial. My editors and I have worked hard so far to bring it all together, and I look forward to adding a few polishing touches as each part goes live–plus adding in the bonus novella in part 7, Saturnalia. That’s not reflected in the current book length listed on All Romance or Smashwords, so expect an extra boost to the word count.

Covers

Wouldn’t be able post to Smashwords, AllRomance eBooks, and (eventually) Amazon and Barnes & Noble without ‘em. Here’s the full set, except for whatever will be on the all-in-one edition, which is still being tweaked.

KoNallcovers_200x300

 

The model is courtesy of Shutterstock and some Photoshopping to give him a rounder face. At first I wasn’t sold on him as the face-of-Lucius, but suddenly it all just snapped into place, with the faux-fresco background and the dagger element. He definitely has what I think of as Lucius’s nose.

I haven’t been successful in finding models for Trio or Arpalycus, either of whom it might be fun to put on the sequel novella that will be included with book 7, but the search is interesting!

One step closer!

The info for the first 6 parts of The Knife of Narcissus will be distributed soon to those retailers who accept erotica titles from Smashwords (B&N, etc.), and then they’ll be available for pre-order from various sources, including Smashwords itself. Once I convince the Smashwords system that Book 7 isn’t just a couple of disembodied chapters but is actually the climax (yeah, I couldn’t not say that) of a serial novel, it will join Books 1-6.

Thank you to everyone who’s been checking in on progress!

I’ve bitten the bullet, taken the leap, and now The Knife of Narcissus ebook serial is available for pre-ordering through Smashwords. It will also appear on Barnes & Noble and other online retailers (including Amazon, eventually, but not for pre-order). I’ll let you know when it’s available from other retailers.

Spoiler note: There are mild spoilers in the current descriptions of each part.

The editorial refining is a process that will be completed before each part’s publication date, but you can view a sample of every part now (if you don’t mind spoilers). As a special thank you to anyone who takes the leap with me and reads The Knife of Narcissus as a serial, there will be a bonus prequel story included with the final part; so the current word count listed on Smashwords is about 50% shorter than the actual word count will be when Book 7 is released.

When it gets closer to the first pub date—August 24—I’ll be doing a little promotion on blogs, romance and erotica sites, other sites with great serial stories, and hereabouts and thereabouts.

Please drop me a line if you purchased one of the keychain editions at a con, to get a special Smashwords discount coupon!

Thank you to everyone who picked up a keychain with the first four parts of The Knife of Narcissus! I’m experimenting with providing the rest of the story via Wattpad, with access limited to followers, so that my early readers can get the first peek at the serial as a whole novel.

Info will be posted here. In the meantime, everyone can preview the first chapters right here or on Wattpad.

I have a few flash drives with the first 4 books (of 7) of The Knife of Narcissus available at the convention I’m attending this weekend–a sampler/teaser. It will be interesting to test it out with an audience I think is the target market.

For folks who have read the first half: info on how to read the rest of the story will be posted here after the con.

Report to come!

After a rejection, the advice used to be: submit somewhere else. Find the publisher who’s a perfect match for the manuscript. Nowadays, the advice is as often: self-publish your eBook. Eliminate the gatekeeper and put the story out there. Find your own audience, cut out the middleman publisher, and only share the resulting heaps of profit with Amazon, Smashwords, or whichever other distributors you use.

So, yes, this post is inspired by a rejection.

I queried the publisher where I submitted Knife of Narcissus and received a pleasant reply. As rejections go, it’s quite encouraging and complimentary. It’s nice to get that sort of praise from a house whose list I like so much. True, I made a friend read the email first to see how badly it was going to hurt before I dared look at it myself, but it all turned out just fine. As rejections go.

Their response does, though, repeat something I’ve been told before. There isn’t really an audience for what I like to write (and read). There aren’t enough people out there who’d want to read m/m set in the ancient world. Truly, my chances would be much better if I could write about hockey players or Navy SEALs. Or even something as modern as Regency. This isn’t the first time I’ve been warned off this setting.

So why do I keep writing this stuff?

Growing up, I thought these stories (the historical part, not the naughty bits) were as normal and popular as science fiction or crime dramas or noir mysteries, the other books that crowded the shelves at home. The house was full of pulp paperbacks as well as Victorian tomes. On weekends we watched CinemaScope Technicolor Roman epics with casts of thousands, with the occasional Greek myth via Harryhausen or Pyramid-building with actors slathered in Light Egyptian No. 5 makeup. Chariot races and decadent emperors. Pomp and statues. Swords and sandals.

I should have focussed more on the science fiction that was also popular around the house, but stories based on ancient topics are at the top of my list of things I enjoy more than anything else (make it a crossdressing heroine time-travelling to the ancient world and I’ll have everything I ever wanted). But, as with any weird hobby, I have to wrap my head around the fact that this is not going to make me a famous novelist, or a popular purveyor of naughty stories. It limits my writing “career” to hobbyist. I’m not sure why I’d want to do this to myself, while watching friends and colleagues expand their creative reach with dark fantasy or contemporary YA or fun middle grade fiction. I can’t even properly say whether it’s out of love for the setting, or contrariness, or not wanting to work harder to write something that doesn’t immediately move my muse. Not everything can be a passion project—not if you want an actual audience.

It’s been suggested by friends that I tone the naughty bits way way down and make KoN a PG-level historical, to expand the potential readership for a self-pubbed eBook. I might actually take their advice, for once.

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