Strings - Kendall Grey
I haven't read this book, nor was I likely to as it's not entirely my thing and that warning in front of it put me right off with how rude and judgmental it is. However, I think it's safe to put a review here now since the author has chimed in with her thoughts on her own book.Bottom line: Kendall Grey thinks this book is trash and you're trash for reading it.Don't believe me? Here you go, in her own words: "Selling Out 101I self-published an urban fantasy trilogy last year. I spent four years writing it. I poured all kinds of money, time, and energy into that bugger. I did everything “They” tell you to do: blog tours, paid advertising, securing reviews, professional editing and cover design, book signings, pimping, pimping, pimping. I put way too much cash into making my books as perfect as they could be.They tanked.Okay, they didn’t really tank, but the output wasn’t remotely proportional to the input. I viewed the series as a bomb, despite good reviews and positive feedback from readers. The books just didn’t do what I needed them to do. They didn’t make money.So, I went through all the stages of grief, and in the end I got angry. Anger is a great motivator for me. I looked at what was hitting the tops of the bestseller lists: Contemporary. New Adult. Erotica. None of my preferred genres. But I was so driven to prove to myself that I didn’t suck as a writer, I did something I swore I’d never do.I sold out.I wrote an erotica book.It kicked my UF series’ ASS in sales and rankings.Go effin’ figure.Some hard truths came to light through this process. The biggest revelation was that as authors, we have to decide whether we’re in this business to make art or to make money. We can’t have both. Very few authors make art that sells. Commercial viability does not lend itself to artistic endeavors, and vice-versa. If New York doesn’t want your book, then you’re probably too creative. If they do want it, then you’re marketable. New York publishers run a business. They don’t give a shit about art.Apparently, they have something there. Readers generally (don’t throw stones—I’m referring to the masses here, not individuals) don’t want art either. They want easily digestible, bite-sized nuggets of warm fuzzies. They want simplicity. Art is neither easily digestible (you sometimes have to chew on it for days to filter meaning from it) nor simple.I made $10,000 in two weeks off my new erotica book STRINGS. Nearly three weeks later, I’m selling over 100 copies of the book a day. And this piece of trash never even cracked Amazon’s top 100. Imagine how much I’d have made if I’d busted open THAT list. My beautiful, artistic, deep JUST BREATHE urban fantasy series? Well, I’m still in the hole there if that tells you anything.I spent exactly two months plotting, writing, editing, and publishing STRINGS. The JUST BREATHE Trilogy? Four YEARS.My total production cost for STRINGS was under $500. I’m embarrassed to reveal how much money I poured into producing the three JUST BREATHE books.How did I transform from nobody to Somebody? I sold out.And you can too!Or not.I know it’s depressing to hear that in order to find success, you may have to compromise your principles. I’ve come to grips with the fact that in the current market, trashy smut sells, and urban fantasy does not. Tough shit for me. If you want to sell books, you have to feed the market what it craves.You can be noble and stick to your guns and say, “Screw that! I’m gonna keep writing what’s in my heart no matter what!” Fine and groovy, as long as you accept that this guerilla mentality of badassery won’t pay your bills. More power to you for upholding your principles!For us artists who want or need to make a living at writing, there is a silver lining. Once you’ve done your part to feed the reader machine, and you get paid ridiculous amounts of money for publicly shaming yourself and lowering your standards, you’ll be armed with the power to write what you want. Once you’ve built your readership, there’s a good chance many of your readers will follow you into your preferred, artsy-fartsy genre because they like you. Yes, you may have to compromise and write more sell-out books along the way to feed YOUR machine, but the beauty is that you can do BOTH and make it work.Compromise: The name of the game for writers in the New World Order of Publishing.So, who do you write for? Yourself or the market? How far are you willing to bend to achieve your dreams as an author?"Clearly she thinks very little of the erotica genre and its readers and therefore set out to write a "piece of trash" that the low-IQ masses can easily digest and for which they would be willing to shell out their hard-earned money. So I only imagine that her disdain bleeds through the pages of this particular book.There are plenty of authors out there who consider erotica to be a part of their "art". Who don't think that they're "publicly shaming" themselves or "compromising their principles" writing it. They'll appreciate your money instead of calling it trash while cashing checks and would love to have you as their readers.