Guest post by Mima!

Please welcome my friend Mima, who has just published three interactive stories. (Which is a very cool concept!)

Secrets, in which an Author shares details of her rejections, and an upcoming reader bonus

I am person with no secret agendas. I want to be a better person. I want to be good at my job. I want to be a writer, and constantly improve, and try new things. But the next step is tricky: “I want to be a good writer.” That’s where people have a thousand shades of judgment.

I’ve been doing this semi-professionally for a few years now. There’s a whole sliding bar to mark success. Print. That’s scary, because I need an agent. E-books. They’re awesome, although success marked by popularity was only recently recognized by the American professional romance writer’s organization. Well, I could be all angsty about how long it took them to change their mind, but I’ve recently changed my mind too.

A few years ago I looked at people who self-pubbed as lazy. For heaven’s sake, I thought. Polish that book and send it to e-pubs. At least then you’ll have some self-respect, and a partner for the journey. If someone couldn’t get it accepted at e-pubs, well, then that meant they weren’t good enough.

I just self-published three books. They are all choose your own adventure-style romances, with touches of erotic romance. These are stories where the reader is presented with choices which lead to totally different endings. One was rejected by the e-pub I wrote it for. I’ll be honest here and say that the reason was: Neither the writing or the scenario was good enough. Ouch.

Undaunted, I wrote another. They rejected that one, and the first (revised) one was rejected by a second publisher.

The first one (Becca, a scifi) was rejected by the second publisher for being fundamentally what I wanted it to be: risky. She wanted all happy endings. I just disagree with that being an expectation, because these books aren’t really pure romance, they’re choose your own adventure, and without risk, where’s the fun? But she represented a ROMANCE e-pub.

The second one (Lauren, a contemporary western) was rejected because of some story continuity issues. The initial relationship offered at the beginning is never faced in some of the endings. She didn’t like that. Okay. Again, if readers are expecting only one storyline, I’m thinking they’re not the reader for this work. And also, she didn’t feel the endings she read were romantic. She was right. Those weren’t the romantic endings.

And in a small defiance, I wrote a third. But I didn’t even BOTHER submitting that one. First of all, I now saw the heroines of all three as a unit, because the project in my mind was about experimenting with choice, and consequences, and all three challenged my plot skills. I came to think of them as The Ladies. Second of all, rejection, like, sucks.

So I lifted my chin and protected Charlotte (a paranormal, OF COURSE with vamps and werewolves) from the madding world and realized: self-publishing is (for me) an admission the books did not succeed at a romance e-pub. But I’m much proud of them, and want to share them.

Is it true that they failed? Yes. Is it because I was lazy or they’re not good enough? I honestly believe, no. They’re just too different for the brand of romance e-pubs, who have a job to do of building a certain client satisfaction.

Risk is what self-pub is all about. I’ve put $250 into the Ladies (each) in covers, editing, and formatting. I have no idea if I’ll see that back. I’ve now had 3 readers (the editors who rejected the books) who said they didn’t like them, although they were all interested in the concept. I’ve also had 4 readers (my testers and editor) who said they were good. Thus I added a disclaimer to my blurb. I hope people pay attention to it.

Warning: You are NOT buying a traditional erotic romance. This book features eleven adventures, ranging from romantic to sexy to deadly. The fun of this book is in changing your mind.

The Ladies are meant to be an hour’s diversion. A lark. A game. A way to toy with being a bad girl, be surprised by adventure, or make crappy choices in men. A challenge to find the single, rare, fairy tale ending. They join a host of other books who have also played with this conceit. Check out my blog for as complete a posting of modern cyoa’s as I could find:

http://mimawithin.blogspot.com/2011/01/so-who-are-my-associates.html
http://mimawithin.blogspot.com/2011/02/associates-part-2.html

And now that all my private gory details have been revealed, I’ll share one more.

The Ladies are selling for 2.99 (US), but as of this week they are also going to bundle as a trilogy for $7! YAY! For the price of one mass-market paperback, you get 3—NO, 39—stories! C’mon! Don’t you want to take control of them?

Visit my webpage for more information about my books, awards, and reviews.

http://www.mimawithin.com

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11 Responses to Guest post by Mima!

  1. Very clever idea, Mima. I've often wondered when someone would take advantage of hyperlinking in electronic documents to tell a story, or multiple stories.

    Well done and I wish you great success,

  2. amy kennedy says:

    I think they sound remarkable! And Brava for you taking a risk and not writing the same-old, same-old. Much success with these ladies!

  3. angel Graham says:

    Mima, I'm so proud of you. (I'm still reading and exploring Charlotte. Having a BALL doing it.)

    I'm go glad you decided to take the risk. I think you are in on the cutting edge of a new way to read. Before your books, I had only heard of one and it wasn't exactly like the way yours works. Now…I have found at least one more book that is being marketed as an Interactive Book.

    Love the idea of the Trilogy! Wishing you all the best.

    Can't wait for you to be at angel Thoughts on Thursday.

    @David…
    Thank you David for hosting the lovely Mima today. I love learning more about how the concept and implementation of these Take Control Interactive books happened. You've got a great looking site going on here! Wishing you the best of luck in your writing!

  4. Mima says:

    Hey David!
    I had a 16 hour day full of rain, flat tires, dense fog, torrential thunderstorms, and gorgeous lightning. I'm so sorry I didn't make it on earlier. You are too cool and were blocked at work. 🙁

    heretic, thank you for coming by! i'm not such a special snowflake though, there's been others who have tried this, and tried it in romance too.

    angel, if you really enjoy the format, you'll def want to check out the 2 links i included at the end of the article, it's all the ones i could find, and there's more than a dozen.

    amy, it was a lot of fun. it didn't work out officially, but unofficially, i invented my own secret club stamp and am happy to let the ladies romp.

  5. Sasha Devlin says:

    Color me intrigued, Mima! I remember discussing cyoa with you and my brain threatened to fold in on itself.

    I think we're conditioned to always see things a certain way, and self publishing is challenging those beliefs. I do thank you for the Warning. I hate being blindsided 😀

  6. Jess says:

    Sounds awesome! I'm having a blonde moment — where do you buy the bundle??

  7. Hi Mima!

    I was really interested when I saw a publisher's call for CYOA books, and I'm impressed you tried so hard to make it work. I just grabbed the Kindle sample of Becca and am looking forward to trying it out. I realise, of course, a sample isn't the best way of trying out a CYOA book, so I'm pleased the whole thing is a nice low price. Thank you for providing something different!
    Immi

  8. Hi Mima,

    This is such a great concept. I'm definitely intrigued. You've obviously worked really hard to make your project fly. Good luck with it!

  9. Amber Green says:

    CYOA books fascinate me.

    Good luck with this venture!

  10. Mima says:

    Thank you Amber and Shelley!
    Sasha you are Perfectly Capable of doing this. I blog about how to do it at Paranormal Romantics on July 11.

    Immi, thanks so much for giving it a try. Yes, the samples are really only good for the first chapter, then… doesn't make much sense. One of the cyoa's i looked into had just a one page first chapter… talk about sample fail. everything else was a hopscotch mess.

    Jess, i hoped to have the trilogy live today. but it didn't work out… by this weekend i'm thinking, and it will only be at amazon.

  11. Mima says:

    jess! i lied!
    the trilogy fileS came through. smashwords is down (!?) but when it gets running, i'll have the trilogy there and at ARe as well. uploaded it to nook and amazon tonight, so it should indeed be live by saturday.

    thank you for your support!

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