To Summon Nightmares comes out in just over a month, and I’m filled with both excitement and trepidation.
I’m excited because I honestly believe that it’s a great book, and I can’t wait to share it with the world. It’s probably the best book I’ve ever written, and at the time of writing it, it definitely was. There was a flow to the writing that hadn’t been there before. I knew what I was doing, and although I ended up having to scrap and rewrite quite a bit, I felt confident in my ability to make it better, and to really write something good. I believe that confidence is one of the best tools that an author can have. To make the audience believe that you know what you’re doing, to make the audience trust you, is invaluable.
On top of that I’ve had a couple of people who read early versions go out of their way to tell me how much they liked it, and that it was one of their favourites.
It’s also a subject that is very personal to me, and writing stories with transgender characters is something that I feel is incredibly important. In this story, the fact that Cohen is transgender isn’t just a medical condition from his past (although I think stories that have trans characters without revolving around that fact are important too.) He’s in the midst of the turbulence of transition, dealing with issues of self and self-image, and wrestling with dysphoria. I wanted to get up close and personal with Cohen’s dysphoria, and much of it is lifted directly from my experiences. It’s a story about a turning point, and writing it mirrored and became a turning point in my own life as well.
So the trepidation I’m feeling is because I suspect very strongly that it’s not going to sell well. I shouldn’t care so much, I know. I should be happy if it reaches a few readers who really love it. And it really isn’t about money (although money would be nice, haha.) My last book, Ink & Flowers, did phenomenally well. But hey, it was a contemporary romance with conventionally attractive gay cis boys. That’s what sells. Paranormal fantasy with a chubby trans lead? Probably not so much. I know I’m getting ahead of myself here, and it might end up selling very well. I’m mostly trying to prepare myself for disappointment. But I’ve read plenty of testimonials from authors who want to write more trans characters, but unfortunately they rely on writing for their income, and trans stories, they say, just don’t sell.
I want to become a successful author with a wide reach. But I don’t want to have to sacrifice writing stories that mean something to me. (Not that I&F didn’t mean something to me, because it did, but so does Nightmares.) So what do I do? And I know I’m not the first author to lament this. But I do want to be able to retire from my day job eventually. And I don’t want to stop writing trans characters either. The only solution I can think of is just to keep writing really, really good trans stories, and hope they catch on!
Anyway, after all that, I don’t want to be a huge douchewaffle and start pressuring you to buy my book. Instead I think I’ll link to a few romance books about trans characters by authors who I would love to see more trans stories from. If you would too, consider supporting these books!
A Matter of Disagreement by E.E. Ottoman
Breaking Free by Cat Grant
Wallflower by Heidi Belleau
Static by L.A. Witt
If you know of more, please feel free to link in the comments! And of course, you can pre-order To Summon Nightmares here.
And this blog post is now over the recommended length of 500 words, and doesn’t contain anything close to the optimal quota of cat pictures. So I’ll leave you with a photo of my cat and no more words, and that’ll have to do! Cheers!