So, last August I said I couldn’t put out any Jesse stories (or any other GQ books) because the book wouldn’t pay for itself. And that is definitely still true. But frankly nothing I do is likely to pay for itself. I just don’t manage to write mainstream stories, even when that’s exactly what I set out to do.
But I’ve recently been working on Jesse anyway, and I want to eventually tell all of Henry & Martin’s life together. At this point it’s very unlikely that there will suddenly be a huge swell of new readers/fans of the series putting money into my coffers. It’s a niche series for a select few :D So how do I put the books out for those few?
I don’t think I’ll have access to the same cover artist, which is a disappointment for me, but I don’t know that readers care anywhere near as much as I do. Going forward without her, putting out books through traditional means would have different costs for me, but I really don’t know if they’d be higher or lower. Regardless, a book with good cover art will cost more than I’ll make, so it’s a bad option for me no matter how I look at it.
I actually signed up for Patreon a very long time ago, but at that point they wanted people to put up videos introducing themselves and I am just not doing that, at least not yet. I’m shy. I’m a writer, for chrissake, not a freaking thespian. I do have gorgeous hair though, and maybe it’s wrong to keep it to myself.
Anyway, I understand Patreon is easier for people like me to work with these days. Right now, my thinking is that it would probably be better to charge a per-creation fee for patrons rather than monthly. I really wouldn’t want to turn Patreon into a job that I’m constantly producing content for; I’d rather be writing and having patrons be charged only when I actually put out a GQ story.
How they’d differ from the books you already have: If I offered stories through Patreon, they might be offered without cover art, or with maybe just a fancy title page. I believe I’d be able to offer them in all formats.
So finally, here’s my question:
Thanks for your input. I want to do something that will work for most/all people that isn’t a stupid decision for me.
P.S. If you love the books, but have never gotten around to reviewing them at Amazon or Goodreads, I would be most grateful if you’d say even just “I liked it!” somewhere. Amazon keeps stripping reviews away from me, and I didn’t really have that many to start with!
22 thoughts on “options for putting out more GQ stories + POLL”
While cover art is lovely, it’s never really been what I come for! I love these characters and this universe, and any time we get to spend more time with them, I’m overjoyed.
Yay! I’m glad you’d want to spend more time with them regardless of covers. I do suspect the covers are really just my thing :D
Wasn’t it the Duke of Wellington, when threatened by a former lover that compromising letters would be published, said: “Publish and be damned!” I just love the world you created, and its characters; can happily spend time (and money!) on them … So, please, please, please, do put more out there, Darrah! I’m still hoping to find out, if Henry copes with a marriage :) And Jesse and Russ’ s continuing relationship vis-a-vis Elizabeth. And, of course, Martin’s birthday gift!
I have left a praising review at Amazon for the whole series. Ironically, I won’t miss the cover art if you go forward. I’m so sorry – I did find them cartoonish I always thought your series would sell like hotcakes with hawt photos of men representing Martin and Henry on the covers but I know, that may have been beyond your financial reach. But readers are drawn to beautiful photos. (It’s shallow, yet it’s true.)
Well, it’s very fortunate all around that I really want to write about the exact things you want to read! Some of what you mention will be covered in the Jesse stories I’m working on.
As for photos…I know a lot of people didn’t like my cover art, and before I published I really had no idea how jarring it would look next to other people’s books, but I really like illustration and I felt like illustration gave people more room to imagine the characters looking however they wanted, where a photo is so specific (at least to my way of thinking). Also, there is no such thing as Edwardian/Gilded Age stock photography, at least as far as I can find. I have yet to see a cover photo model who has the degree of muscularity I imagine for Henry and Martin–they’re not scrawny, but neither are they big, bulky guys! I actually love the idea of the right photographic covers for the books, but I would have to have financed my own photo shoots and paid for era-appropriate costumes to be made, and I never would have made my money back. I do have a fantasy of one day finding the right models and doing just one (shirtless) photo shoot, but that’s an idea for a more solvent future!
I definitely appreciate your continued interest in Henry & Martin’s world :)
I don’t quite know how I imagine Henry looks, but personally I like to think of Martin as a young Nigel Havers in Chariots of Fire :)
Oh, he’s lovely! He’s a good Martin!
Also, thank you for leaving a review <3 I appreciate it!
I dont know about Patreon. Would you be selling paperbacks? For ebooks, I will buy them anywhere even if I have to use amazon (which I loathe), but I’d love to get paperback copies.
I absolutely love the covers. They are what drew me in.
I love them too! I haven’t been in touch (or been able to get in touch) with my cover artist for about three years, but I know she’s seeing more and more success doing zines, etc. I thinks she’s so talented, and I feel fortunate I was able to help her along her path.
When I knew I was going to publish, I had this idea about paperback cover illustrations of the 1960s, specifically the work of Robert McGinnis, and wanting an Edwardian version of that, which is a lot of ideas for a m/m book cover, or really any genre book cover, but I honestly didn’t realize how different my covers would be until they were in the market. And then I weighed “this is maybe a mistake” against “but I like them” and you can see which way I went :D
I actually hadn’t considered paperbacks, but I will have to look at what the options are. Honestly, I don’t know about Patreon either, but I need to try something. If the small group of people who are interested in this series are willing to pay a few dollars in return for an ebook, that should cover my production costs for the ebook without any cover art beyond a nice title page. The idea of putting out a paperback with just a fancy title page for a cover doesn’t entirely sit well with me, but I realize it might not bother some readers, so I’ll have to consider it.
It’s not a priority at the moment, but I am going to eventually format the 8 books of the series thus far for print and will hopefully be able to offer them in paperback. I would like to have paperbacks of my own books :)
I’m not a fan of Patron – I’d (grudgingly) go there for GQ stories, though, if that was the only option. I’m a kindle user only because I’m afraid Nook will eventually disappear, so its much easier for me to get my books from the evil ‘Zon. As far as covers… I love the original cover art. Love. It. That said, I’d read them written on receipts and diner napkins, so it clearly isn’t a deal breaker for me. Knowing there’s more GQ in the future made my day!
I am not really a fan of Patreon either, tbh, and I haven’t 100% settled on it as a solution, but at least this poll has made it clear people would like to have the stories regardless of whether they have the same type of covers as the main eight. I’m now also looking at Payhip as a very straightforward option to just sell them from my site and that might be preferable for everyone.
Yay! I’m glad it made your day!
Anything to get more! =) Marin’s birthday present, Jesse and Russ, Jesse and Eli… all of it! I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t really curious about seeing a little Charles/Si behind-the-scenes, too.
Yay! I love hearing that anyone wants more! The Jesse stories I’m working on definitely include Martin’s present :)
I’d like to do more with Charles & Simon. I don’t always know very much about Henry’s friends/classmates, but I know a lot about Charles, so of course I want to share it. But a Charles story will have to wait for a few others to be written first.
I will take your stories anyway you can get them to us. I would love to just download them from your website. That way you get all the $. After you make your first million you can go back and add any artwork you want.
I don’t care if you have to learn smoke signals to keep the GQ series alive! This series has so much life and truth in its characters that they deserve to have their stories continued. I don’t know about anyone else, but not too many stories hit me right in the heart. I’m not saying the plot is the same, but I identify so much with the joy/despair moments between Henry and Martin. Let’s just say that in a time long, long ago, I had that magic–no slaves involved, though! Years later, it’s that incredible part of my life that has never faded. I’m re-reading the series and can’t believe how fresh it still is. It still touches my heart and reaffirms my own story. As for Patreon, I only know that my son uses it rather successfully, for video game-type animation. Also, the cover art is not (in my opinion) going to raise or lower the interest. Perhaps the Noveau typestyle you used could make a very effective cover design. (Spoken from the standpoint of a long career in Graphic Design…) Would Jesse be a spin-off, or would he remain a part of GQ? Either way, he IS a fascinating character.
I love that the story mirrors aspects of your own life. I did wonder when I wrote a sort of oddball historical fantasy/romance if people might recognize their own feelings and needs in these people I’ve…made manifest, I suppose, so it does make me happy to know this is the case. In all the important ways, the characters are very real to me, so to know they (or their experiences) might resonate with other people too is just the best gift.
Jesse is always a part of GQ! Jesse’s story runs parallel with Henry’s. I know what happens to Henry and Martin all their lives, and I’ll find a way to tell that. I really want to tell Tom’s story, which diverges from all the others fairly early on. I have only recently really started using Patreon as a patron and I’m just not sure it’s for me as a creator. As others have suggested, it might just be better to figure out a way to sell books directly from this website. I think it’s probably quite simple to do at this point–it’s only that I haven’t done it before that makes it seem daunting.
Dear Ms. Darrah – Any chance of a GQ story for purchase? I’d love to give myself a Christmas present ☺ (I know what I like)
Nothing for purchase yet! But I am close to putting something out.
Oh, I’m sorry that I can’t purchase for Xmas BUT if you are working on a continuation I will be patient – with all best wishes, a devoted fan! I love your world!