We have some big changes to announce about our upcoming book, ‘Guns n’ Boys’. Yes, book, not serial. We struggled with this decision for a while, but in the end it had to be made. It was hard to make this change just a month before publishing, but we have decided NOT to make ‘Guns n’ Boys’ a serial. There have been many options we kept pondering for this story simply because it’s so long. I won’t lie, it’s very sex heavy, a proper erotic romance where a lot of the communication between the characters is done in bed and through the way their sex life changes, so a serial, would divide that into smaller chunks. There’s a risk when a long book has a lot of sex that the scenes will become boring for the reader and that is the last thing we want, but with an intense story like Guns n’ Boys, cutting sex scenes simply wouldn’t work because of the way those interactions shape Dom and Seth’s relationship.
This will be a digression, but what I love about writing erotic romance is that sex isn’t always about just showing a hot scene, but it can convey so much more meaning. In Guns n’ Boys it is a reflection of Dom and Seth’s constant power struggle, a moment of vulnerability, a way to communicate when words fail. That’s why I hope that even without the story being a serial, each scene, sexual or not, will get to have its full impact.
Because the first book is almost 200,000 words on its own, we struggled to decide what to do with it from the very beginning. We didn’t want to just cut it and make it lots shorter, we felt all scenes that are in the book are vital to show both the mafia aspects and the growth of the relationship. I know some will disagree, but that’s the pleasure and burden of self-publishing – at the end of the day, the decision is ours, but at least we get to tell the story the way we want to. With the characters in GNB being so stubborn and problematic, giving them a quick route to love would be underwhelming for me as a reader, and I always try to write the books I would want to read.
Not only is a 200,000 word book unusual in our genre, it also creates a problem of pricing, since we don’t want our books to be too expensive, yet we can’t undervalue such a long book either. So at first we thought of just splitting it in half, with a nice, juicy cliffhanger in the middle, but we got burnt with readers unhappy about the cliffhanger in ‘Special Needs’. So bit by bit, the idea of doing a serial was growing on us. I like watching TV dramas and the idea of building tension and anticipation really speaks to me. But then, again, came the problem of pricing. We didn’t want to cash in on expensive episodes, nor be accused of that, but if we priced an episode at $0.99, Amazon would only give us 35% royalties, when between $2.99-9.99, it gives 70% royalties. That makes anything under $2.99 invalid. With 8 episodes, the whole season would cost 24$. So we tried to think of a way to sell a whole ‘season pass’ where a reader would pay upfront and get their episodes every two weeks as the season lasts. We couldn’t find a good system to do it without setting up a whole shop and dealing with a lot of extra hassle. So we came up with sending out Smashwords coupons to those who would follow the serial, so they could buy the episodes at $0.99. At Smashwords, we wouldn’t be losing out on royalties, as they have a flat rate. It was never the best of options, since a lot of people like to do their shopping at their preferred vendors and we’d be stuck with the $2.99 price everywhere else, and then only publish a compilation at the end of the season.
But then we started getting feedback from some of our readers that the beginning, even when they like it, feels like a taster, isn’t enough. And in some ways, it’s true. It doesn’t yet let the reader get immersed in the world of Dom and Seth. So in the end, we decided to bite the bullet and do the first book in two big chunky parts after all. We hope it will be a better reader experience and with the two parts clearly being labeled ‘Book 1 Part 1’ and ‘Book 1 Part 2’, there won’t be any surprise about a cliffhanger. It will also allow us to price them fairly, in a way that doesn’t deter new readers. Because the two parts are integral to each other, we will also try to publish them close together. The first one, on the 11th of September 2014 and the second, at some point in the following October. We have plans for a Christmas special in December, and then book 2 will appear sometime in 2015. I won’t lie, there are a lot of books planned in this series and we’ll try to write fast, but it is a long journey with these guys. I want to take you on a rollercoaster that is their relationship and I hope you’ll enjoy the ride.
To those of you who have received ARCs, I will send you the extended version as soon as we have it wrapped up, so don’t worry. All I can say is – sorry for the hassle, but it’s for the good of the book. For those of you interested in reviewing ‘Guns n’ Boys Book 1 Part 1’ (especially on Amazon, it’s a pain in the neck to get reviews there) make sure you’ve read the warnings. If you’re fine with them and interested in getting an ARC copy at the beginning of September, let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org, I have a limited amount available.
I’m really curious of readers’ opinions. What do you prefer: A long story all at once or a serial?