Conversations with my editor (Getting to know Mira, Part Three)

In case you missed it, I have a new book coming out next Friday.  I think one or two people may not have heard me scream it.  😀  I promised to introduce you to Mira over the next few days until the release.  If you missed it, here are the first two posts:

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Getting to know Mira, Part One (Why it’s all my mother’s fault that I can’t speak French)

Getting to know Mira, Part Two (The Rod of Love)

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There’s been some rumbling…and even (shock!) insinuations that I might deserve a spanking for not telling you about Mira earlier.

In my defense, I did tell you back in October.  The book has been finished for several months now.

Why didn’t I tell you sooner?

I was told that Mira wouldn’t sell.

It didn’t follow a formula.  It didn’t have a traditional romance, or juicy sex scenes, or the voyeuristic tone of several-pages-long intimate descriptions of a spanking including fifteen synonyms for “buttocks”.  It didn’t set up a recognizable storyline from the beginning, and it didn’t tell the same story with the same characters.

I was told that I should write a story that people actually want to read rather than write the story I thought they should read.

(I write the story I want to read.  It’s all about me, folks.  :D)

So I put Mira away.  I loved her, I’d worked hard on her, and her story contains some of my favorite scenes ever.  I wasn’t going to send her out with just anyone.  I didn’t care about the “glory” of getting published just for the sake of saying she’d been published. I wanted her to be loved.  Cherished.

Then I thought perhaps I should market Mira as a romance.  Except it doesn’t follow the rules of a romance.  I don’t want to spoil the story for you, so I’ll just say that it’s not a typical Harlequin romance by any means.  (Did you really need me to tell you that?)  I thought perhaps I was being too stubborn and should overhaul Mira to fit the romance formula.  Maybe I had made the story all about me and what I wanted.  Maybe I should think more about what readers would like.

I talked with a good friend about this, and she finally stopped me.  “I keep hearing you say that you like it the way it is,” she said.

That made me think.  I did.  I do.  But would it sell?  Would anyone like it, or at least anyone besides Ana Vitsky?  Anyone besides my loyal and loving supporters/readers/friends who spoil me shamelessly?

After much soul-searching, I decided that I wanted it the way it was.  I submitted it to Blushing.  You know the rest of the story.  Acceptance a few hours later, fast-track to publication the following week, and a contract/cover art form the next day.  My choice of release dates.

Holy moly…

As if that wasn’t exciting enough, my editor patiently listened to all of my fearful questions (“I heard this and this before.  Should I change it?  Should I take this out?  Should I make it more…you know, like everyone else’s books?”) and offered to let me change whatever I felt necessary but said that it was okay not to.  I thought about it again, endlessly, and went back to her.

“I’d like to keep it as it is, if you really think it’s okay,” I said.  I still didn’t know if I was a petulant writer refusing to take constructive criticism (those early words stung deeply), but I was going to take the chance.  Listen to my editor…and my heart.

Oh, I’m glad you’re not changing it. It is beautifully written and delightfully poignant.  I love how the book kind of slowly seduces the reader.  Well done.  We need more variation. I have to believe readers get tired of the same old-same old.

I’m glad you left the ending the way you did. You know, so many of these books are formulaic – couple meets, there’s some sort of tension/need/conflict that leads to a spanking, they sort it out and end up together. I think your book broke that mold beautifully and that’s why I’m in love with it. It’s good for the reader to be shaken up once in a while and the ending was bittersweet and lovely and – I thought – apropos to the story. It was a romance, just a different start. I love the Agape angle. Simply wonderful.

And I’m honored to be your editor.

I know!  Are editors allowed to say things like that?  Aren’t they supposed to be evil and…well, evil?

Holy…

I think I’m in love with my new editor.

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Desire in Any Language (January 18th), Blushing
Mira thought she wanted a spanking.  What she got was love.

On her own for the first time, Mira is studying abroad for her translator’s certificate.  Unfortunately, the heady excitement of dance clubs, late-night parties, and endless shopping quickly distracts her from her educational goals.  Mira’s advisor offers her private tutoring, but the combined pressures of culture and language difference threaten Mira’s progress at school.  She is unable to get her act together until she makes a discovery that horrifies and tantalizes her: in her new country, corporal punishment is a way of life.  The secret to her academic success just might also fulfill her wildest, unspoken dreams.

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26 thoughts on “Conversations with my editor (Getting to know Mira, Part Three)

  1. Sassy Chassy says:

    I have goosebumps. I for one thank you for sharing yourself, your fantasies, and your take on this genre. I think it’s time to break the mold. The sparking genre has grown by leaks and bounds just in the last five years alone. It has been people who are willing to write what “they” like who have done this! I am ecstatic for every new wave in this area because it means that people are ready for change. They are ready to say this is what I like and this is what I like to read! We need authors like you who are willing to put themselves out there to grow this genre even more! If you like this type of a story chances are there are MANY others who do as well.

    Like

    • Ana says:

      I hope you are right! The first spanking fiction writers must have been told by romance writers that they weren’t following the rules either, right? At least I hope so.

      If I had been able to find stories that satisfied me completely, I wouldn’t have started writing. Maybe that’s not such a bad thing. 😀

      I know authors tend to like to think we’re all special and we get to break rules…but maybe, just maybe it’s true.

      Thank you so much.

      Like

      • Joelle Casteel says:

        I imagine they were, Ana. I think any time any one tries to push out of a genre formula, there will be resistant people. I forget the title, but I remember loving this collection of short stories & essays about Joss Whedon’s “Firefly” that my Master told me to read. That show has tons of fans, however Joss was told he couldn’t do it. My favorite memories from that book- you can’t mix Western and Sci-fi, you can’t have a married couple who is in love and has great sex.
        Like I insist on romance with my BDSM and sex… I’m sure the “I love you”s in my book would have many a BDSM publisher telling me no.

        Like

      • Joelle Casteel says:

        Ana, I think about advice like with my main BR. She has given me tons of valuable advice- heck, she advised me to break a book in half, making two books that are closer in size to the rest of my planned series. However, one of her favorite lines to me is “You’re a perfectionist. You need to say ‘yes, it’s good’ and let the book out into the world.” Sometimes that’s good, but I think I’ve beaten “Out of the Night: Book One” into pretty good shape by repeatedly subjecting it to rewriting and editing.

        Like

  2. pao says:

    You’re amazing for being true to yourself despite the doubts against your ideas. It’s wonderful that your editor is so supportive of you 😀 I can only imagine how thrilled you were with Mira getting accepted!

    Like

  3. Natasha Knight says:

    I love that post Ana! And I’m so glad you stuck with what you wanted! I’ve rewritten stories whole because of one lousy rejection and the ended up scrapping the rewrite and submitting the original to someone else. Novel idea, I know…

    Well, I’m curious and really very excited for you.

    Like

    • Ana says:

      We are lucky, as writers, that we have more publishers and more options for publishing. Sure, there are downsides (predator publisher/editors, books that really should have been rejected until the writer could learn basic grammar), but on the whole I think it’s a huge step up for writers.

      I think sometimes, instead of rewriting or scrapping, it’s good to put something away for a while. I took out Mira after more than two months, and I found that I liked it more than when I first wrote it. That encouraged me. 😀

      Sometimes if we get the same feedback from more than one place that is a good sign, but yes it is not always a bad idea to try somewhere else.

      Like

  4. Minelle says:

    I think there is a great difference between taking constructive criticism, and rewriting your story to suit someone else’s expectations. Seriously you write from your heart and that is obvious to everyone. It is always okay to look at someones ideas and give them validity but it has to make sense in the story.
    I also strongly believe that we all like to read spanking fiction based on our mood, I want to read what the author writes. Sometimes formula is good, harsh, mild, whatever….other times we want to stretch our minds and desires for something else.
    You go girl!!

    Like

  5. Jade Cary says:

    Fantastic. The author editor relationship should be collaborative, not confrontational. You will not be happy writing a book for the masses, so don’t. Write what you love, and others will love it too.

    xo

    Like

  6. Roz says:

    I love this post Ana. Good on you for remaining true to yourself and writing the story you wanted to write. When a author writes what they love, from the heart it shines through the book and that draws the reader in.

    Wonderful you have such a fantastic and supportive editor.

    So happy for you!

    Hugs
    Roz

    Like

    • Ana says:

      Thank you so much, Roz. (Sorry, I just saw this now.) I hope that I can get lucky enough to have readers like you. It takes a brave and strong reader to look past the easy formula stories and give something else a chance.

      Thank you. 🙂

      Like

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