It's all about the publication, promotion blues.
My mother was overly religious. She’s gone now, but if she were alive, she would have tossed My Splendid Concubine in the fire. That is what she did to books that had graphic sex in them. In addition, a couple of reviewers haven't been happy with the sexual content in My Splendid Concubine. One reviewer from Hong Kong was so upset about how I painted a young Robert Hart as a flawed person struggling to improve, that ‘he’ wrote a mean-spirited, one-star review posted on Amazon.com, and I wrote a lengthy comment. You may want to read both.
Eighteen months ago, I was nervous. I had no idea how my novel would be received or if anyone would buy a copy. Those worries are behind me now. During that time, Concubine won several awards, and received mostly positive reviews like the ones from the Midwest Book Review and City Weekend Magazine. The one star review from Hong Kong was the exception.
I gave free copies to bookstore owners hoping they would like the novel. They did and that led to several author events where readers told me they liked the story and wanted to read more. I’ve been a guest on more than thirty talk radio shows from California to Florida. I’ve been on Blog Talk Radio more than once, and flew to Phoenix to be interviewed for The Author Show, produced by an online TV production company. Radio86 in Finland used SKYPE to interview me for two pieces they published in several European countries. The first virtual book tour started last December and ended January 2009. Recently, I started the second virtual book tour to help introduce the sequel to My Splendid Concubine.
Our Hart (the sequel, to be released soon), doesn't have nearly as much sex as My Splendid Concubine does, and I don't believe the sex in Our Hart is as graphic. After all, most romances start out hot like Romeo and Juliet and cools as the love changes from lust to long-term commitment.
In My Splendid Concubine, there is lust.
There is very little lust in Our Hart. Instead, there is the beginning of long-term commitment.
The history for My Splendid Concubine goes back ten years. During that decade, I had two agents. The first agent represented the novel in 2002.
An editor at Random House looked but said no. My wife's agent took a pass. That first version did not grab her. That first version of the novel was written in first person POV.
After a year of trying to find a publisher, I left that first agent, returned to the computer, and did more research. I learned more about China, the people and culture. I visited China often. I revised, rewrote, and edited. The manuscript grew from three hundred to almost eight hundred pages. A third agent expressed interest. After she read the second, first person POV version, she said it would work better in third person.
After I found a fourth agent, I spent more than a year converting the manuscript to third person point of view. The fourth agent said she’d wait.
When I finished that draft, I decided to published the book myself. I was tired of waiting. After all, I had gone through four agents and been rejected by a top editor at Random House. Sure, the book had changed. It was almost three times as long as the first version. The point of view had changed and there was more depth and detail than the first version from 2002.
I didn't care. I didn't want to wait another six months or year. After all, I had been waiting and collecting rejections slips for forty years. My Splendid Concubine was not my first work of fiction.
I pulled the novel from the fourth agent. She tried to talk me out of it. After that, she didn’t reply to any of my e-mails. It seems, if you self-publish a book, cutting out agents and traditional publishers, you become a pariah. The only way agents and publishers will make an offer for a self-published book is if the book hits it big like The Shack by Wm. Paul Young. Sure enough, Young was offered a huge contract after his self-published book ended on the New York Times Bestseller list. Young rejected those publishers and kept on self-publishing. The Shack has sold over three million copies. Young waited for rejections too, and they arrived in his mail box from every publisher he submitted his book to before he went into the cold on his own.
I self-published with iUniverse. iUniverse had an awards program to honor books their editors felt were up to industry standards. Since then, they have merged with another company, and I’m not sure if that program exists anymore.
My Splendid Concubine went on to earn Editor’s Choice (at that time only 4.6% of the books at iUniverse had earned the Editor’s Choice award), and went on to earn Publisher's Choice (only .5% earn this award), which included the chance to have the book sold from a local Barnes and Noble brick and mortar bookstore of my choice where Concubine sold out and was ordered a second time.
If you want to learn more about the publishing world, I recommend visiting this Website at SelfPublishing Resources. This Website is loaded with facts.