Because in an ideal situation, I wait in-between writing important things so that I can view them with a more impartial eye when I edit, I’ve returned to my FRIGID BITCH query letter to see if it’s still in good shape. (For a good idea how to write a query letter, I always recommend Query Shark. I learn best when I can see examples of good and bad queries.) As it turns out, I only needed to clean up some of the wording, but agonizing over it a month or so ago translated into some pretty tight writing for me. I’m a chronic overexplainer, so culling all the information about my novel down to the most important relationships and plot points was an interesting exercise in brevity. Then again, I cut FRIGID BITCH to 98k words from about 117k, so I guess I’m getting better at knowing what to keep and what to cut over time. Writing short stories also seems to help. (That’s also just how I write: get it all out first, then clean it up and see what sticks.)
I think I wrote FRIGID BITCH at a good time in my writing experience. It’s my first erotic novel, but it’s not my first novel. I’ve cut my teeth on a few non-erotic novels (whose concepts I still love but which need to be rewritten). I was pleased and anxious about it all through the writing and editing process, but I realized during all my edits that the story really had good potential, and I enjoy rereading it. While I love the title, it probably won’t be FRIGID BITCH forever. Maybe it’ll become SANCTUARY or some more poetic and less crude title (or a SANCTUARY erotic series – I do have ideas for a sequel).
FRIGID BITCH has been on my radar for the last two years, writing first during NaNoWriMo 2009, then a first edit the summer of 2010, then another one that winter, and a final polishing this summer of 2011. A great deal of it flowed steadily – I reached my fits and starts mostly in the promotion process. Let’s face it, I’m nervous it won’t be taken up by an agent or a publishing company, but I’m more nervous about FRIGID BITCH actually taking off.
I’m down with the fact I’ll have to market it, and I’m willing to do things like book signing and readings, but I’m not sure where to even begin, should it be needed. I mean, if it were even just a romance novel, I could probably do readings at local bookstores, but erotic novels are a bit more niche … and just where would you be allowed to share some of the more provocative prose? For that matter, how does the average author treat those passages? Do they turn on their inner porn star and hear bad porn music in their ears as they pant out their characters’ lustful exclamations? These are the things I wonder about. I’m not averse to putting myself out there, in spite of my introversion, but there’s just the matter of how.
And not knowing makes me very nervous. Then there’s the matter of coming out with the content of some of my fiction – I’m not ashamed, but I’m secretive, and that makes it even more difficult to network than it is to sell my jewelry in person (which I’m very bad at … working on it).
If FRIGID BITCH makes it (by makes it, I simply mean respectable sales), there may be lots of changes in my life; if it doesn’t, there may simply be a delay in changes as I try something else, perhaps another erotic novel, perhaps one of my non-erotic rewrites. Writing is what I want to do, but it’s all I’ve been doing so far. It’s what comes next that’s the great unknown. It’s nerve-wracking; it’s different; but it’s a little exciting.