Category Archives: not writing

finding an audience

audience 500

Be forewarned, this isn’t instructional about finding an audience, because I don’t actually know how to do that. Rather, I’m going to be asking for help. This is perhaps a cautionary tale about writing a book that doesn’t fit any particular genre when you already know less than nothing about marketing.

I didn’t set out to create something problematic, yet somehow I ended up with a very long story (divided into four books) with teenage main characters who have lots of graphic sex in a historical setting featuring a non-historical version of slavery as a prominent fantasy element.

Despite their ages, it’s definitely not  a YA book. Despite the detailed 1900 setting, it’s not entirely historical because, hello, there are slaves. Because there are slaves, it’s a fantasy, but it’s certainly not classical fantasy with magic or dragons.  And despite the presence of slaves, it’s not a BDSM story.  All of these things are marketing problems.

Of course, none of this seemed like it would be an issue while I was writing the books.

I don’t know much about the lovely people who have already read A Superior Slave and A Most Personal Property. I don’t know their reading habits or their other interests. I have to wonder if they are people who also like yaoi manga (as I do), because I think that some portion of that audience would like these books despite the lack of  illustrations. It even occurs to me that people who like ball-jointed dolls (as I do) would like these books because, obviously, the entire cast of young masters and slaves as BJDs would be an absolutely magnificent thing.  (I would kill for Henry and Martin dolls.) But these are mere notions and definitely do not constitute a marketing plan.

I am very pleased that most of the people who read the books like them. If you’re one of those people, perhaps you’d be willing to tell me how you heard about the books or what about them appealed to you, as that information might be helpful in promoting additional books in the series as they’re released. Also, I’d love to hear from other authors who’ve written books that don’t easily fit into existing categories. Were you able to find a way to introduce your story to people who’d be especially interested in it? How did you find your niche?

Chicago…but not GRL

aladdinsane500So, I just spent a few days in Chicago looking at all sorts of art, David Bowie’s costumes, and two performances of Rosas danst Rosas, as well as eating one of the best meals I’ve ever enjoyed at MK, which was well worth the hefty price tag.

My youthful fixation and enduring fondness for Bowie was the impetus for the trip, the Rosas performances were a chance to see a dance company we were first captivated by 20+ years ago, and the Art Institute visits were because we’re starved for art here in the hinterlands. The Mr. doesn’t share all of my fascinations (gay porn, for instance), but we crave a lot of the same stimulus, and I’m grateful we enjoy so many of the same things.

We were at the Art Institute looking at European paintings, and I was expecting room following room of just that, but the Mr. comes up and taps me and says, “Come see,” and leads me around a corner and I literally gasped and my heart skipped a beat because I was faced with an entire wall-sized case of Joseph Cornell boxes, which was basically like being 6 and being given an extra Christmas. Now, if he’d left me to my own devices, I eventually would have made my way to the Cornells and been nearly as delighted, but it made them even better that he wanted to give them to me.

There were so many amazing things at the Art Institute. I like miniature things particularly well, so I was very happy to discover the Thorne Miniature Rooms, particularly this one that is an amazing replica of the front hall of The Hermitage, Andrew Jackson’s home here in Nashville.

The Bowie exhibit was great. I know just about everything there is to know about Bowie between about 1970 and 1983 (my period of special interest), so it wasn’t really a learning experience so much as a voluptuous wallow in high-level nostalgia. You’re given a headset, and as you move through the exhibit, you hear different music and snippets from interviews, and it’s just really well done. He seemingly kept every single thing that ever passed through his hands, and the costumes are in impeccable condition.

The costume was on display, and the song was playing over the headsets, but I was disappointed that they didn’t show the entire Starman Top of the Pops performance (video below) that was so shocking to 1972 audiences, what with Bowie’s generally alien appearance and the casually possessive way he slung his arm around Mick Ronson’s neck. I must admit, I have a certain fondness for Bowie’s original, slightly terrifying teeth, which are much in evidence here.

These boots are a thing that should be available to purchase in the museum gift shop. I made do with a catalog that has a picture of the boots, but obviously that’s nowhere near as satisfying.

Anyway, if you’re in Chicago for GRL but have a couple of hours to spare, the Bowie exhibit at the MCA is definitely worth seeing if you have any interest in his career.

I’d only been to Chicago once before a decade or so ago (to see Nick Cave and Colleen Moore’s Fairy Castle) and that was a short trip fraught with traffic weirdness, but this was less frenetic and much more pleasant. We did a lot more walking than I ever get to do here (Nashville is not a walkable city), we ate a lot of Do-Rite Donuts, and we also had a great meal at Beatrix (half the price of MK, but  unfortunately 10x the douchiness in our fellow patrons). Oh, and of course we went and stood beneath the Bean.

Verdict: Well, it’s no NYC, but I’d happily go back :)

vanity breaks

Writing is my full-time job. I write pretty much all the time. Like, probably 10-16 hours a day, I’m in my chair typing and researching. I had a very extreme writing block for a number of years and was unable to write anything at all, so now that I can write, I’m a little afraid to stop.  I break for food, sleep and yoga classes, and I take vanity breaks, as well.

Every week, I get a blow-out. I hate washing and drying my own hair. It takes me 45+ minutes to dry it, and it’s never as smooth as I want, so now I just don’t bother. I have thick hair, so I can get away with washing it once a week. It takes my stylist just as long to dry it, but somehow I don’t mind it as much, and she gets a better result than I ever do.

KBShimmer Sweet Wave over Zoya Rocha

Roughly each week, I take an hour or so to give myself a pedicure. Even though I’m somewhat ambidextrous, that facility doesn’t extend to painting my own fingernails. I can get one hand neat and nice, but the other is a slapdash mess, so manicures aren’t fun. It’s much more satisfying to do my toes and have them all look good. In recent months, I’ve been all about the glitter topcoats. I’ve got a fairly sizable polish collection and haven’t even used them all, but that doesn’t stop me from getting more.  Zoya polishes are my staples, and I’ve only recently branched out into indie brands like KBShimmer and Cirque Colors, specifically the glitter polishes.

I don’t do a full face that often, but I went crazy and got about 30 sample shadows from Fyrinnae, and I’ve been randomly giving myself makeovers just to try things out. All of the shadows have some degree of shimmer, from subtle to dazzling, and the colors are absolutely unique. They’re a small operation and seem to get frequently overwhelmed by order volumes, but their products are beautiful, of excellent quality, and so worth trying. The samples are very generous, enough for multiple applications. Everything is vegan, if that’s of concern, and the company makes a point of saying they’re “dedicated to serving customers of any gender and any skin tone,” so, yay for that.

It’s easy to not take care of myself at all while I’m in the midst of a writing  project, so having regular appointments and shiny distractions keeps me a little more aware of my physical self and a little less likely to devolve into an unwashed troglodyte, though I still spend a lot more time in my pajamas than is good for me.