Let me tell you a story…
A few years ago, about three I’d estimate, I read an article about an author self-publishing very erotic stories. They estimated she’d hit $1 million in sales that year. Remember, this was pre- 50 Shades of Grey, so those numbers were impressive. I downloaded one of her stories from Amazon and had to admit, it was really, really dirty, even by my standards, and it was selling like hotcakes.
So I took a story I had lying around, a threesome that had been rejected by 2 publishers because the heroine was unsympathetic. I took Educating Ansley and I dirtied it up. Added all the sex scenes I’d been afraid to add at first writing. I even took the constructive rejection feedback to heart and gave Ansley a backstory to explain her behavior and character. Then I threw it up on Amazon and Barnes and Noble and didn’t say a word. I was a little afraid to since I wasn’t sure how it would be received by my regular readers.
Without promo it almost immediately began selling over 200 copies a day at BN alone, matched closely by the Amazon sales. That’s when I started to promote to keep the momentum going. When all was said and done, I’d sold 6,000 copies of Educating Ansley over the 6 weeks after release. For those who have no gage for if that was good or bad, it was shortly after this that Snooky hit the NY Times list with 9,000 in sales.
Then sales started to decline rapidly and I realized BN had begun hiding the erotica titles because of the rash of ‘daddy books’ on the market at the time. My reign of terror came to a screeching halt, but even if the monumental sale numbers fell, today, 3 years after release, Ansley still outsells daily most of my other, newer self-pubbed titles.
But whenever something sells well, you get a mixed bag of responses. Some people loved it and demanded a sequel. Some people hate it and articulated that fact loudly in their 1-star reader reviews. There was hardly anyone in the middle. So now, years later, I find that I have more 5-star reviews than 1-star reviews, but not by much. The love and the hate are nearly equal.
What makes this story so polarizing? I’m really not exactly sure myself. The level of sex may be one reason, but who knows.
Is it better to be both loved and hated because at least I’ve made them feel something? Perhaps being forgettable is death to an author and rage on the reader’s part is preferable.
I posted this today because Educating Ansley has been put in the hands of A LOT more readers over the past week. It is included in the ALPHA BAD BOYS bundle, which hit the top of the best seller charts at Amazon, BN and ARe since it released last Tuesday, so we’re talking sales figures that have impressed even the best selling of the authors in our group. And I guess I’m bracing myself for more reactions of all varieties–the good, the bad, and the ugly.
The requests for a sequel have been coming again and yes, I’m considering it. Very seriously in fact. With some help I’ve kind of planned out not one but two more books to follow up Ansley. Three sounds like a nice number. I suspect my plans for the threesome will bring on even more volatile reactions, but maybe that’s a good thing.
If you haven’t picked up the bundle yet, you might want to do it today. It’s still 99 cents for 7 complete stories by 7 authors, my Ansley included, but not for long. The price is going up VERY soon. Since the list price for Ansley alone is $2.99, that’s a real bargain.
GET ALPHA BAD BOYS AT:
Barnes & Noble