I am writing this at 4am, only four days until our next book(s) launch and I’ve just received my first cancellation from a well-known podcast host; “In reading the first chapter and looking at the TOC… it’s too racy for my audience.“
We knew this was a possibility. In fact, we joked that it might actually sell more books, in a 50 Shades of Grey kind of way. And yet, I can still feel the panic beginning to creep in.
What if these books cause a major backlash for Brad, Seth, Jason and Ryan? (Our valued partners)
What if it stains the stellar reputation of all of the community members that have supported us thus far?
and maybe worst of all,
What if the books don’t sell?
These are the thoughts running through my mind at 4am on the Friday before Aaron Goldfarb’s Guides go on sale to the public.
I’ve never been easily offended. Perhaps it was living with my boyfriend (now my husband of 20+ years) and his bandmates in my early 20s. I was the only girl, most of the time (things haven’t changed much) and I heard a lot of raunchy, boys-only conversations.
In my 30s, as my writing & speaking career took off, someone said to me “Sandy, you’ve got such big balls.” At first, I thought she was insulting me, then I laughed and named the final step in my training program “B.A.L.L.S.” (an acronym for belief, authenticity, live out loud, “liciousness,” & super hero)
I thought it was funny and the women loved it.
If you’ve met me in person, you know that my favorite response to “How did you end up at FG Press?” is “I used to be a self-help guru and I got sick of myself.” So when I discovered that Aaron’s first novel made total fun of the industry I had grown annoyed with, *and* he sold over 130,000 copies of that first novel, I was pretty excited.
I did read The Guide for a Single Woman first, and while it’s an exaggeration for sure—just as The Guide for a Single Man is—the writing is great, and I could immediately see Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey bantering back and forth in my mind in the movie version.
There were many, many, many (yes, three manys) discussions at FG Press Headquarters about whether we should publish The Guides. For me, it all comes back to Aaron, the writer. He’s not any of the characters in the books, he’s a really talented writer. Aaron has worked extremely hard to be accomplished at his craft. He wanted to do something unique and little bit risky and the big publishers said “no way.” That’s what FG Press is all about—supporting talented writers in building something beyond just one book.
So for all of these reasons and many more, we are publishing Aaron Goldfarb’s Guides. Some people might be offended. Some might criticize us. Podcasts might cancel on us and who knows what the media will write. I’m scared. But I’m also excited. Whether you love or hate Aaron’s books, I’m excited that FG Press has the B.A.L.L.S. to stand behind our motto, “Making authors royalty.” It’s a philosophy that I believe in. Writing is hard. Coming up with fresh, unique ideas is a lost art. And when you finally do come up with a fun, new way to tell a story, the traditional publishing industry will tell you “no.”
And if I have anything to say about it, FG Press will still be here, ready to take aim at the “usual” ways of doing business, ready to take a chance on a talented writer who wants to try something edgy and unique.
I hope you’ll support Aaron and FG Press by buying a copy of The Guides this week and telling some of your open-minded, maverick-loving friends to buy some copies too.
We’d love to hear from you! What do you think? Too racy? Too edgy? Were you offended? Do you agree or disagree with our decision? What would you have done in our position?
*UPDATE* The well-known podcast host reconsidered after we pushed him to read the first chapter of The Guide for a Single Woman. With his permission, I’m publishing his response:
“I‘m reading the first chapter of The Guide for the Single Woman, on Sandy’s suggestion, and it’s just great writing. I’m glad you guys didn’t let me off the hook when I had my moment of weakness a few nights ago. The books are terrific.”
Len later left this review for Aaron’s books, unprompted;
“I loved this novel and look forward to interviewing the author today for this week’s Kindle Chronicles podcast. This story is hilarious, racy, snarky, wise, and–in the end–touching. Its pairing with The Guide for a Single Woman, published the same day, covering the same setting and same four main characters, is simply brilliant.”
Listen to Aaron’s interview on The Kindle Chronicles here. (interview starts at 19:11)