Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Interview with Gay Erotic Romance Writer Nick Navarre

In this blog post, I interview gay writer Nick Navarre, who writes dreamy romance fiction and steamy erotica. His books include Threesome at the Gym and Cowboy Up!

Nick Navarre

Tamworth Grice: What inspired you to write?

Nick Navarre: That’s a great question because I really just started writing a few weeks ago!

My first book, Threesome at the Gym, was written as an exercise. My writer friend Destiny Drake wrote an M/F/F threesome erotica story. Just for fun I took that story and turned it into a gay M/M/M threesome story. Ms. Drake encouraged me to put the result up on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords as an ebook, so I did. I guess I got bitten by the “writing bug,” because I began writing a second book, Cowboy Up!
Destiny Drake

TG: Tell us more about these two, especially about Cowboy Up!

NN: The first book, Threesome at the Gym, is a sexy, fun, and exciting erotica story. A peeping Tom in a gym spies on two gay men having an encounter in the shower room. When he gets caught spying, he’s invited to join in the fun.

After that book, I wanted to write something with more psychological conflict, and something where the readers could get to know the main character a little better. I wanted to write in the romance genre. So I created Cowboy Up!, a gay erotic romance, in which Clinton, the main character, is going through a bad time in his life, and his problems are resolved in the course of the book.

TG: Tell us more about the plot of Cowboy Up!.

NN: Clinton is a gay man from Boston who’s in a terrible partnership with a cheating lover named Steve. To help heal their relationship, they go off to spend a few days together at a dude ranch in Wyoming. Ironically, instead of working on improving his affair with Clinton, Steve immediately hooks up with another guest. So Clinton is sitting around feeling depressed, but then he meets Travis, a cowboy ranch hand who helps him regain his self-respect.

TG: What inspired you to write this book?

NN: I think cowboys are incredibly sexy. And I think there’s been an interest in gay cowboy romances ever since Brokeback Mountain.

TG: What are you working on now?

NN: I’m working on another gay cowboy romance! It takes place in Nevada. One character is a rodeo rider, and the other one is a gay man from the Midwest who’s completely outside the “cowboy world.”

TG: Romance continues to be a hot genre. Lots of agents are eager to represent romance writers, and several highly successful publishers specialize in this type of book. So why did you go the self-publishing route?

NN: As far as I was concerned, there was no other route! I mean, why even bother with agents and editors? I don’t know why any new writer would want to go through that.

I’ve never submitted anything to an agent or a publisher, but I know how that system works. You send some agents a preliminary email about your book. And then you wait forever for the agents to respond. Next, assuming someone wants to look at the book—and usually no one does—you send the manuscript. And again you wait forever hoping for acceptance. But more often than not you’ll be rejected.

If the agent does accept you as a client, you wait again until the twelfth of never as the agent sends the manuscript around trying to land a publisher. And maybe it’ll never find a publisher! But if it does, you grow old as you wait months and months for the publishing company to edit your book, and then to print the book, and then to get it into the stores.

The whole process can take years, and I wasn’t willing to wait that long.

Author Waiting to Hear Back from an Agent

Plus, at the store the book will go straight to the bottom shelf and get no publicity because you’re an unknown author.

These days a new and unknown writer is expected to have a “platform,” a base of readers who will buy the book, and is expected to do his or her own promotion, and pay for it all. Publishers have little or no money for publicity for new writers. So why even bother with them?!

Also, ebooks are now outselling print books, so why bother with print books? You don’t need an agent and a publisher to get an ebook into the marketplace. So I decided to “take the bull by the horns” to use a cowboy metaphor [laughs], and self-publish my work in ebook form.

TG: And your readers are glad you did. That’s all the time we have for this interview, Nick. Any final words?

NN: Thank you for interviewing me. And I hope all GLBT people around the world will forever be proud and happy!

Readers can buy Nick Navarre’s books on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Three Reasons Why I Don't Believe in Sharing My Numbers

There seems to be a trend for self-published writers to share their sales figures in blogs.

I don't care what other writers do, but for myself, I don't want to share my numbers, and here's why.

First, I value my privacy. I don't tell people on the Internet where I live, I don't give out my phone number to strangers, and I don't leave the curtains open when I get undressed.

Second, I want the interest to be focused on my books, and not on how many copies my books sell. I'd rather have people say, "That character is really compelling" than "I can't believe she sold (or only sold) x copies last month."

Third, I see only limited benefits in sharing sales figures. Yes, if my books are selling really well, this fact might inspire others. However, I think it's equally possible that if my books are selling well, this fact might discourage others whose books are not selling as well. Different people react differently to others' success. Some applaud it and some are encouraged by it; but some are depressed by it, some disdain it, and some feel a  need to disparage it. In my experience, people in general--especially on the Internet--are more likely to deride someone else's success than to offer congratulations. On the other hand, if my books are selling poorly, this fact might discourage other indie writers. And it might cause potential readers to be dismissive: "If the books are so good, why aren't they selling?"

Again, I can't--and don't want to--tell other writers what to do. But for myself, I don't believe in sharing my numbers.

Of course, that might change when I've sold a million books!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Smashwords Premium Status

Having written extensively in my last post about formatting a book properly so as to achieve Smashwords' "premium status," I wanted to add some information.

"Premium status" on Smashwords means that besides being for sale at, a book will be listed in the Smashwords Premium Catalog. Acceptance into this catalog means Smashwords distributes the book to major online retailers such as Apple, Sony, and Diesel eBook Store (Smashwords also used to distribute to Borders and the Borders' ereader company, Kobo). These retailers require that the book conform to requirements, such as a quality cover image, a copyright notice at the beginning of the book, and an ISBN (which you can get free from Smashwords).

I've been helping a few other writers, notable Destiny Drake, format their books for Smashwords. Destiny's books have all achieved premium status. However, Destiny says that although 16% of her total sales are coming from Smashwords, not a single sale has come from outside In other words, no sales from Apple, Sony, Diesel eBook Store, etc.

To me this says, "Don't waste your time trying to conform to the rigorous formatting requirements of the Smashwords Premium Catalog." And especially, don't waste your money paying someone else to do the formatting, unless you're just a perfectionist, and unless you're rich, and unless you're confident you will sell to the "major online retailers."

Monday, August 1, 2011

Formatting for Smashwords

I'm working to put my books on Smashwords has an 87-page formatting manual. To make things easier for myself, I made up a checklist.

An expanded version of this blog entry is now available as an ebook on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, etc. under the title
"Basic Formatting & How to Create a Hyperlinked Table of Contents for Smashwords." I hope you will buy it and find it helpful!