This love letter to my readers was supposed to be written three months ago. My blogging is as timely as ever.
October 16, 2011 was a very special day for me. It marked five years since Book 1 came out. It’s never been a hot seller by mainstream publishing standards, but it has most certainly sold. It’s still selling at a steady rate and I do very little to publicize it (that’s changing as of this year). It inspired other people to write similar books or do similar things. I like to think it was a moment where people connected to the industry saw there was a need to take it seriously as a business and they could create business-related offerings without unnecessary justifications or the worry that there wasn’t a market.
Would I rewrite it? Oh yes. But I recently re-read it and it wasn’t quite as bad as I remembered it being. (This has nothing to do with what I think about its value to others, only what I — the author — thinks about my own writing from the perspective of self-criticism.)
A lot has happened to me in the last five years. A lot has happened to the economy in the last five years. Still, that book has helped male readers stand in an escort’s shoes and has helped many woman understand what escort work requires from them before they take their first client. That was the whole point of the book. I get feedback from readers almost every day. It’s always humbling, especially the positive ones (this doesn’t mean I’m a free-advice hotline, though I always want to help). You’re all very welcome.
Book 2 came out three years ago. Though some sections of it are already dated (that’s what happens when you discuss Internet technology and specific websites — sigh), it too has helped many escorts take the next step. I see this on their websites. I have seen some of my early Book 2 readers survive and thrive in this economy because they absorbed the lessons well — and then took off on their own. I helped them learn to fish and that was the whole point of Book 2.
This summer I knew a reprint was in its near future. That turned out to be November. Quite a moment for me. So thank you all. Such a huge “thank you.” I can’t even tell you. Even though it was a small print run, both first and second runs, it’s still gratifying and humbling beyond belief.
I have a problem many authors would kill their firstborns for…people constantly asking when Books 3 and 4 will be out. I have no set time line for them, but work on Book 3 starts this week. Yes, finally. I’m in that space and am ready to go.
And finally…I’ve entered the 21st century and both books are in ebook form. They were actually turned into ebooks nearly a year ago, I sat around and failed to bug-check them. Then I did that process and now they’re being sold on Kindle (soon to be in iBookstore, B&N, Kobo, Sony Reader Store, Copia and selling off the book’s site too). They aren’t re-written, they’re the same as is, only in digital form. This ebook-thing is exciting. The technology has finally caught up to where I needed it to be and I feel comfortable doing this. The next step is to write short books just for e-release and hopefully…start producing others’ work for e-release (and selected small print runs too). This turns my company into a small press — which has been my ultimate goal from Day 1. I have no set time line for accomplishing this but the goal is now much closer than it was when my company was just a rough draft of a book no one thought would sell, a bank account and an idea.
The whole reason I can even make these plans are because of my readers — the vast majority of whom are my fellow sex workers. That is the sole reason. There is no other cause. I am grateful. I enjoy escort work and meeting clients (though I have less and less tolerance for the non-serious wasting my shortened time) and will continue to enjoy being an escort on a limited basis. My heart is with my books. I’ve been a reader since a very young age (I won an award in first grade for reading the most books in a year) and a scribbler almost as long. My books are my babies and they’re finally growing up!! I created them but only my readers can provide their growth. They’re my babies but they live in the world of my readers.
For a kinda-sorta-writer, there is nothing so sublime as knowing you created something that is wanted. I’m not crowing about a cheap ego-boost. Quite the opposite. It’s often surreal to observe how I’ve influenced my own industry — and not just in the US. It’s the scariest thing in the world knowing that what I’m writing is affecting real people with real lives. It’s paralyzing; and part of the reason I haven’t sat down to work on Book 3 all last year. My humble, deep gratitude to my readers is tempered with fear. I have responsibility to ya’ll and it’s bigger than I thought it would be. Regardless of my churning thoughts around these books, I am writing Book 3 this year. I am at that place: mentally, emotionally, physically (I’m a writer who must have a nest). Question answered.
To my readers — each book sold has been sold to a distinct individual and that’s a lot of people. I sincerely thank you. Each one of you.