Hellooooo dollies! Or whatever. (That’s a thing, right?) Or something similar? >.> Someone help me out here. SO ANYWAY. I’m running out of fabulous greetings! What’s your favorite? While you’re thinking about that … say hello to Rebekah Weatherspoon! Not only is she a first timer at ALBTALBS, she’s also a part of our Smithsonian Black History Month celebration! This is what Rebekah had to say.
My First Year as a Hybrid Author:
A Few Things I Learned/Confirmed About Romance Publishing and Myself
2013 was a strange year for me. I released two full length lesbian romances with Bold Strokes Books that had been written earlier in 2012, but by the time NaNoWriMo 2013 rolled around, I’d only penned a few very short stories for the year. Me and NaNoWriMo never really mesh, but I figured while the internet was hot with writing fever I should settle down and try to pump something out.
What I wrote was the first draft for the first novella in the FIT Trilogy, Fit. I had high hopes for Fit. I wanted to sell it to a particular publisher. When it was promptly rejected, because frankly, it wasn’t ready for submission, I decided to rework some aspects of the story and self-publish it as a stand-alone. But then Grant had co-workers and friend who just needed their stories told so I decided to run with a trilogy. Fit was published in June of 2014 and the final book, Sated will hit digital shelves March 2015.
I learned a lot getting Fit ready to go and even more as I saw my lesbian titles continue to thrive with my publisher. Here’s a bit of what I learned.
There are TONS of amazing editors, formators, and cover artists out there willing to help you. And they charge perfectly reasonable fees. I was terrified that I was going to have to sell body parts to afford quality services, but boy howdy, was I wrong. All I had to do was ask around and I met an editor and a cover artist I wanted to work with within a couple weeks. I love them both.
There are tons of amazing authors who will help you as well. As soon as I told people I was thinking about self-publishing, so many authors pointed me to great resources and made themselves available to help me through self-pub related breakdowns.
Good cover art goes a long way. Listen, this cover made me a whole lot of friends. The first time I shared the cover for Fit, strangers came out of the woodwork to congratulate me on that nice piece of beef. (My cover artist Thaigher Lillian, knows her abs.) I attribute the initial attention Fit received to this cover.
If you’re on your own, you really need to stick to deadlines, which can be hard when Netflix and Tumblr have so much to offer. When I hand a piece over to Bold Strokes, I know I have a limited amount of time to screw around when it comes to deadlines. They’ve already added my book to schedules and put it up for sale to distributors. But when I’m on my own the release of my book is up to me. There are no distributors waiting, just awesome readers who are so patient and amazing I wish I could hug you all, but instead I should just get back to the next book. 🙂
I am BAD at consistent self-promotion. So so so bad. I can tweet all day about Sleepy Hollow, but I often forget to mention to people that I have books available. I have new stuff on the way. I have a backlist. This is something I need to work on.
It’s possible to write hetero and LGBT fiction. Readers are cool with it. I made my name in lesbian/bisexual fiction. I knew I was going to write about straight couples one day, but I was worried about how readers would feel about me writing both. Turns out they don’t mind one bit. I didn’t even have to come up with a pen name. yay! (I barely respond to one name. Two would cause problems).
Romances that focus of the LBT in LGBT need more love. In branching out, I’ve seen more of the inner workings of how conversations go in the romance community and what I’ve seen is that if a cis man isn’t involved, readers, bloggers, and publishers alike just aren’t as interested as I think they should be. There are some AMAZING LBT romances out there. They deserve to be a part of the conversation more than they are now.
We’ll see what 2015 holds.
Violet Ryan loves the delicious food she gets to eat on the reality shows she produces for The Food Channel. What she hates is her expanding waistline. Determined to drop the pounds, Violet hatches a plan to kick start a fitness regimen. But when her determination isn’t enough to get her through even one intense group class without breaking down into tears, she knows she needs a new approach and possibly a new trainer—one with a lighter touch.
Grant Gibson has always managed to mix business with pleasure, but now this trainer by day, and Dominant by night, is bored. Bored and lonely. Even though he owns one of L.A.’s hottest private gyms, his personal life is sorely lacking. After his last submissive tried to kidnap his dog and the contents of his bank account, he’s in no hurry to take a new lover under his wing. Not until the voluptuous Violet falls into his lap.
She may be wary of his unorthodox approach of using sexual gratification as a reward, but even before her initial weigh-in Violet can’t seem to stay away from the sexy fitness god. She may have to let Grant show her there’s more than one way to get in shape…