Thoughts About Writing · Uncategorized

I Bit The Bullet…Again

To offer discreet covers or to not offer discreet covers, that was the question. And eagle eyed readers can probably tell -per the image above- that I opted with TO offer them.

I debated about this with myself for a long time. But sales have been non-existent for the photo covers, and I didn’t think I had much to lose by taking the plunge. Romance readers follow trends, for one thing. For another, they ‘eat with their eyes’ and, as much as I love my photo covers, there is something to be said for bright, eye-catching designs that actually do leave a lot to the imagination. (I have included a warning about the explicit content in the preface of those new print covers, though.)

However, what I didn’t anticipate was how much I’d prefer the alternative covers when they arrived. They’re currently Amazon exclusive (because I can’t really afford the Ingram Spark set up costs to make them go wide right now), but they are absolutely gorgeous in person. I did a little TikTok unboxing video for anyone who wants to see my reaction, haha.

I feel guilty for thinking this, but I actually prefer them to my original covers. So much so that I might just cancel the photo covers for the rest of the series and focus solely on the discreet ones going forward, which was never the plan.

See, I hate it when I’m collecting a set and the author changes the covers midway through, but that’s what I’m considering doing right now. I might upset the grand sum of 6 people who bought the original covers, but that is a risk I am willing to take.

Yes, this means I’m kind of rebranding. Yes, this means I’m giving myself additional work (removing the old covers entirely, unpublishing with Amazon and properly merging the new covers across etc). But…I’m excited about all of it. The old ones aren’t selling. I haven’t sold a paperback in months. Just because I have an emotional and sentimental attachment to them shouldn’t mean I should stick with them. Gotta cut my losses and move on, really.

(Here’s where I eye Charlie’s biceps and sigh sadly, lol.)

Honestly, I’ve made so many mistakes in this self-publishing journey. This has the potential of becoming yet another one. But I’m happy to take the risks now: to make the changes and play around while I’m still relatively unknown, rather than give up. And, hey, if these changes don’t pan out? I can always bring the photo covers back. That’s the beauty of being in control of my own publishing, I guess.

Anyway, I’d love feedback on the new covers, or on whether you’ve also tried rebranding/new covers and how that went for you. I know I’m not alone in trying to figure things out, so any advice is welcome!

Thoughts About Writing

TikTok…Tick Tock

I am getting old. 

There. I said it. 

I’ve finally reached the point where new technology confuses and scares me. I have officially become THAT PERSON. (Note that I very diplomatically did not write “I have become my mother.” Also: sorry Mum.)

How have I discovered this? I have given in and joined TikTok. 

I’ve posted a few little TikToks now. I’m slowly getting a handle on what I can do…though I keep reading about ‘the algorithm’ like it’s some sort of boogeyman and, in various Facebook groups, have been warned not to confuse it or I’ll have to start all over again from scratch. So this already daunting thing has become even more daunting. 

And, you know, just because I’m a writer doesn’t mean I’m creative enough to come up with content and post three times a day. Additionally, I don’t want to bomb people with my books in every post, but there’s only so much I can talk about what inspires me, too. I’m happy to collab with other authors, but I have no idea where to start. (Send help!)

I am watching what other authors are doing. I’m not afraid of humiliating myself (I do it on the daily anyway, haha), but I also want to be genuine and stick with who I am. However, who I am happens to be an aging introvert pretending to be extroverted…who has no idea what she’s doing.

I can literally feel the clock ticking away above my head. The building sense of urgency to put myself out there and get noticed is at war with my fear of failure. But there’s no success in not trying, either. I know this. I do.

Still, TikTok terrifies me like nothing else I’ve ever come across. It’s different. And demanding. And confronting. 

And trendy.

I’ve never been trendy.

I think the fact that I use the word ‘trendy’ is proof of that.

But I’m going to persevere. I’m even starting to have a little fun with it. Video editing has never been my strong suit -and, even though I’m a marriage celebrant, talking in front of a camera about myself and my life is waaaay out of my comfort zone- but playing with sounds and text and stickers is actually a bit addictive. I’ve also discovered photo morphs and it might have created a monster.

So, while I had no intention to turn this post into an ad, if you’re interested in following me, the link is:

I’m geeky. I’m silly. I’m aging and I’m still learning. But maybe -just maybe- the ticking clock above my head isn’t such a bad thing after all.

Thoughts About Writing

Hashtag Triggered

My last musings were on spoilers, and whether or not it was worth leaning into them. In the end I chose not to – my own personal dislike winning out over the evidence that suggested it wouldn’t hurt.

But then my brain moved further along down the track, loosely connecting the concept of ‘spoilers’ to ‘triggers’. (Yeah, I know. My brain, she’s special.)

In Handle With Care I attempted to keep my hero somewhat believable. To me, he was swoonworthy, but still human. So, some of the choices he (read: I) made were substantially less than heroic. And, I won’t lie: that might have been a mistake for the romance genre.

He (oh, here we go, breaking my own rules with a SPOILER ALERT!) slept with someone else during an almost year-long stint during which he and the heroine were apart. They were not at all in a relationship at the time. In fact, he didn’t think he would see her again. (And it happened ‘off screen’ as it were.) I kind of put myself in his shoes and went with it.

But for a romance novel, I’m aware that this might have made him just a little too flawed. Moreover, I’ve received feedback that suggests that his lack of celibacy requires a trigger warning.

I’m taking the feedback on board. (And I’m learning a lot about which rules of the genre I can bend and which ones I really should stick to!)

But, as usual, now I’m overthinking the whole concept of trigger warnings. If something like that requires a trigger warning, what else should I be warning readers about? How far down the rabbit hole do authors need to go? Do they really need to do it at all?

Obviously, there are traumatic situations where I understand it might be worth issuing a warning. Deaths, rapes, graphic violence etc…you know the drill. Darker stuff. But I don’t usually read dark romances, and I never write them, so I’ve never taken notice as to whether specific warnings have been issued. So then I wondered, as a reader, would I like to be given advance warning of these things? Would it change the way I approach reading the book?

For me personally, I’ll admit that make assumptions on what to expect from the typical tropes of a genre. And, if I’ve read other books from an author, I also generally know how they might tackle specific issues.

Have I been taken by surprise before? Hell yes. The twist in Frankie Says Relapse by Siobhan Curham got me good. The fact that I read it over 15 years ago and it has still stuck with me -and begs me to re-read it every other year- says something about the reader experience (particularly when ugly crying has been invoked). But would I have liked a warning? I don’t think so. Maybe that’s just me, though.

So, again, this blog post has been more thinking and less decision. Haha. I know that you can’t please everyone (not just as an author, but in any situation) but the last thing I want to do is trigger someone and upset them. I write fluff and happiness, and that’s ultimately what I’d like to impart in the end.