Welcome to Biting-Edge, a blog shared by authors and vampire experts, Mario Acevedo and Jeanne Stein. We’ll cover urban fantasy, vampires, pop culture, and all things Joss Whedon. Unlike other fantasy blogs, we don’t insist on body cavity searches (unless you ask politely). Snarkiness is most welcome...though we won't promise not to bite back!

Thursday, May 24, 2012
  Last Chances

Last chance to win a free general pass to RomCon in June. Details here . All you have to do is submit your name in comment form and mention RomCom. The deadline is midnight Sunday, May 27. The pass is valued at $149.00! Shannon Baker was last week's winner.

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The deadline is approaching for the Colorado Gold writing contest as well. If you would like to get your writing in front of an agent or editor, don't miss this chance. Details  here .   Deadline for submitting is midnight June 1.

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I have a question for all you readers out there. But that's later. First I want to explain why I'm asking.

This week I attended a workshop (which was really a two hour infomercial for this person's $175.00 workshop) about e-publishing. She has two very successful romantic comedies out and a third to be released this summer. If you judge by money, she's doing VERY well. Better than most traditionally published authors by far. I should also mention that I haven't read her stuff. She may be the best writer since Nora Roberts in this genre. I don't know. It's not something I generally pick up.

But I digress. Here's what she's done. Her first book came out and by some quirk of fate, she got a plug on some big media outlet and the book took off. When the second book came out, she noticed sales were good but not as good as the first. She also noticed a lot of emails saying in her love triangle, she picked the wrong guy for the heroine to end up with. So, what did she do? She rewrote the book and issued it with an alternate ending. It was a hit.

Now, when Fifty Shades of Grey (which I also haven't read and I'd be interested in comments from those who have) came out and was a HUGE success, she thought. Aha!! Mommy-Porn. I can do that, too. So she rewrote the books AGAIN as erotica. They are to be released this summer.

Okay, here's the question--WTF? Is this something you as a reader want? The same story rewritten to catch each wave? Does it bother you? Or is it just me? I may be way off on this but it seems like a cheat. Because these books are epub'd, she can have them out in 48 hours. I'm just surprised she hasn't issued a version where the characters are vampires or mind-reading waitresses. 

If you think I'm wrong in my take, let me have it. I've been criticized by the best (Mario and I are in the same critique group, remember.) I really want to know what you think.

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One last thing. I had a conversation about inspiration with my doctor (who is also a friend) and I told her about this Nike ad I cut out from a magazine decades ago. I've kept it pinned on a bulletin board ever since. Her reaction was so positive, I decided to share it on FB. Now, in case you're one of the dozen people left on earth who isn't on FB, I'm sharing it with you. If you click on the picture, you can read it easier.

I hadn't heard about either of the rewrites but I'm also in the WTF camp. So, 50 Shades will have three MORE books, or is it four, rewritten as erotica? I was SO hoping those books had gotten their 15 minutes of fame and were going to fade into the great beyond. I haven't read them, but I've seen snippets and to be honest I thought the writing was "immature" if that makes sense.

When Twilight was at it's biggest, back when the fans were waiting for the first movie, I remember older women wanting more from Edward's POV, and they also wanted sex scenes. They were young adult books so that wasn't happening. So, I guess it doesn't surprise me that some readers will buy the same books written differently, but I still don't get it.
Yet another case of creative bankruptcy. In the first case it sounds like she was using her readers as a focus group. That's what beta readers and critique groups are for, not your paying readers. At least she's giving them what they want in the end. For a small price, of course. I could understand jumping on the erotica bandwagon IF she were writing an entirely new book, even if it had similar characters and plot as to her earlier book. Clearly we are not talking about the most creative and original writer in the world so I think expecting her to think up anything to wholly original might be a stretch. But to take the EXACT SAME BOOK and rewrite it to fit the genre du jour??? That is just plain stupid. Ridiculous.

Sure would love to see her marketing campaign. Book 1: My story. Book 2: The Way You Wanted It. Book 3: Now With Porn!!!

Is she listing all three at the same time?

Haven't read any of the 50 Shades books. I did pick one up at Costco the other night and skim over a few pages. I don't see what the Big Deal is. They won't be making it onto my Nook. I did like the SNL 50 Shades/Amazon/Mother's Day fake commercial, though.
Hey Brenda-- you and I are on the same page here. I think I read that the fifty shades books started as fan fiction. There's probably some Twilight fan fiction floating around out there, too, with sex included.

Hi Cat! The funny thing is this author will have all three books listed in both formats at the same time but she's using a pen name for the erotica. Now the book titles are the same so what is the point of a pen name?

My other quibble with these things, especially the fifty shades books, is that there are a lot of really good erotica writers out there who have been at it for a long time. All of a sudden these other books are a hit? Someone please explain this to me.

You've hit the marketing strategy right on the head, too!! It's just another example of how crazy this business has become.

Jeanne I have not read any of the books you mentioned above, but this is my take. If books were visual art (like photography, drawing, calligraphy) that I had created I would like to think that I as a artist would stand by my original work despite what people said. Yes if I have an art exhibition and it falls flat, then I'm out money (those photographs don't frame themselves), time (time IS money), and the creative side of me would also take an emotional blow. Once the disappointment wore off though, it seems like the lack of reception for my show would serve to inform future marketing of my work, and not how I fundamentally make it. Instead of redoing all the same work but in a style different from my own, one would ideally reassess the situation. Why did the people I want to see my work not finding out about it? Do they not frequent the part of town that I held my last show at? Did I not announce the art exhibition in the right places?

I'm not quite sure how all that ties into writing and selling books professionally. But, it seems like one would pour a great deal of themselves into the writing of a book, just like someone would into the creation of a drawing or a photograph. If you continually rework something like that then you are not only selling yourself short, but you are taking the soul out of the work as well. Continually reworking the same document also seems a bit short sighted. Yes what you write will satisfy what is currently popular, but it prevents you from defining yourself. People will remember the one book you rewrote over and over again instead of the defining stylistic narrative quirks that span all of your stories - no matter what their subject matter. You know, the part that makes the book *yours*.
Also, thanks for sharing the Nike ad. I would have missed it since I was unaware the you were on fb :P
First of all, Happy Birthday to my least favorite critique partner. And second, I don't understand the fuss about Elle revisiting her stories. She's taken the what-if's and expanded on them. And making money.
Hi Leia-- I agree. Marketing is such a hit and miss thing. Writing, for instance. I started out writing mysteries. I love writing mysteries. It's what I read almost exclusively. I wrote what I thought were some pretty good ones, even got an agent. But they didn't sell. So I thought about what else I loved to read--vampires. I had just discovered Buffy, read everything Anne Rice wrote, reread Bram Stoker, My friend Charlaine Harris began her Sookie series. I loved Ira Levin's Rosemary Baby and decided to write a contemporary vampire story with the protag being a vamp struggling to maintain human connections while dealing with her new nature. I've never regretted it. Have I taken some of those ideas from my mysteries to incorporate into the series? Yes. And I will continue to have a strong mystery thread in each book.
But as a writer, I want to reach an audience. Call it validation, call it ego, call it anything you like. But I don't want to write in a vacuum. I want to share my stories. I guess what I'm saying is writing and art are not so different. An artist creates for herself, sure, but there is such a thrill in sharing it with an appreciative audience. If it means tweaking occasionally, it's a small price to pay. Tweaking. Not simply redoing. There is a difference imho! And who knows, that original art or story may get its chance to shine, too. Another day.
Mario-- No fuss. And I didn't name names. You did. I just don't happen to agree with the philosophy. And it seems I'm not alone!

PS Thanks for the grudging HB!!! :-)
This comment has been removed by the author.
Blogger Photographer Leia said...

Jeanne - You make a good point. Like I said, I have a sense of how these things work on a small scale, but when you are talking about larger audiences or taking it to the next level I'm not entirely certain how it all translates. In the end, however, we all like to have an audience for what we do and far be it from me to begrudge anyone that. After all, audience/creator interaction is part of what makes the long arduous process of creation worth while. I suppose that as long as someone enjoys what they are doing, believes in the process that leads to their final product, and is keeping it all legal then more power to them. It is not something that I personally would be able to do, but then again, I'm not the one who is able to make a living from their art :p
I hear you, Leia! I don't know too many artists who can or do make a living out of their art. And I don't begrudge anyone success. I just don't agree with how this particular writer is going about it. But it's one person's opinion and obviously, even my blog and critique partner doesn't agree. So here's to the First Amendment!

Here's to the First Amendment indeed :)
Happy Towel Day/Geek Pride Day to you and Mario, btw.
The Big Bang Theory is becoming my favorite show-- I think I now qualify for true geekdom!!
Between than and your admiration for Joss Whedon, I'd say you are well on your way. I also commend you on your incredible taste in television shows. No bias here ... of course.
The wife of my son's friend says she LOVED the Shades of Grey books and can't wait for more.
Leia-- :-)

Mario -- I wonder if they are the first erotica she's read. I think a lot of the people reading the Shades books don't realize it's been around for a LONG time!!
Just dropping in to say THANK YOU!!!! for the pass to RomCon. I've been in my writing cave cranking on a draft and then packing like a fiend so just coming out for a breath of air before the massive revisions. THANK YOU, THANK YOU. and also, love the quote!
I'm so behind in my life right now! Is RomCon usually here? Mostly brain-dead minds want to know! (Sadly, I can't go this year, Amy comes into town Friday)

Mommy porn ... yawn. I read a lot of it five years ago, but it became repetitive, predictable, and mostly dull after awhile (seriously, you can only say those things in so many ways after awhile). I certainly would NOT repurchase a book because the author had "expanded" the sexual situations. Subtlety is more interesting ... example, Sookie & Quinn on the kitchen counter. The unexpected sneak attack of "Wow! I wasn't expecting that." BTW, this is why I stopped reading LKH. I mean really, multi-men in a situation completely devoid of sexual tension or emotional involvement? Gag.

LOVE the Nike ad. Lots to think about, lots of inspiration to find there.
Shannon-- you are very welcome. We'll see you there.

Vicki-- wish you could come to RomCon. Is there a chance? Since I have no other takers, you'd be a shoo-in for the tix!!

Hi Mario, sorry I'm so behind on your blog. As far as re-writes, well, if you bring a certain Dryad back from the dead, I promise to buy a copy of the e-book or whatever you publish.

I'm still on the lookout for the next Felix novel, and getting new friends hooked on the ones I already own. :)
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