Addled Kat was a novel that I wrote because my ex-agent asked me to.
Porn was big a couple of years ago, notably because of the phenomenon that was Fifty Shades of Grey.
I’m happy to have a remit, to try to hit a target, when I’m writing, but I’m also an artist, so what you get will always be coloured and tempered by my talent, craft and, possibly, by my politics. That’s OK, because mostly commissions work.
Of course, in this instance I wasn’t being commissioned by a publisher with an existing franchise, an established world within which to develop a new story. I was simply being asked by my then-agent to write some porn.
I suspect that she was never going to get what she expected. She didn’t know me terribly well, and probably wasn’t aware of my politics. I wasn’t simply going to rewrite Fifty Shades of Grey. I thought the book was badly written and that the sex was dull, and I can’t tell you how many things I thought were wrong with EL James’s view of BDSM or of women and relationships.
I did, however, think that I could write porn, or at least something that I refer to as Clit-Lit. Writing characters isn't difficult for me, and plot wasn't a problem; there was also plenty going on that wasn't sex. On the other hand, a decent percentage of what I write is physical, and I didn’t think that writing sex scenes would be very different from writing fight scenes. Both are about the interaction of bodies, after all.
My agent didn't like the book that I wrote, and it caused a rift between us that led me to end the relationship. When I’m commissioned, I don't expect the project to come to nothing; it never has before.
My time had been wasted, except, of course, that I had written a novel, and it wasn’t going to go away.
Eventually, when my new agent was unable to broker a deal on Addled Kat, I had a conversation with my brother, who thought I should self-publish.
I’ve talked about self-publishing over and over again. I don’t like it, and I don’t think it ever leads to anything good. I’m a pro, and I won’t do it.
I finally decided that I’d use the novel as an experiment.
I decided to give it to all of you.
Initially, I trickled the novel out through this blog.
People began to read it.
Because I’d spread the novel over a number of posts, I was able to check back and see how many people were reading Addled Kat, and how much of the novel people were choosing to read.
Quite a lot of people have read Addled Kat. This book is only available on this site, and my blog has a limited reach, so I'm pleased with the numbers. I'm also pleased by the numbers of readers who continued with the novel, and read it to the end.
Self-publishing does not allow a writer to know how many people saw their book, but chose not to read it, and once a self-published book is in the hands of the reader… Once any book is in the hands of a reader… it’s impossible to know what percentage of buyers read the book to the end, or even opened it.
This is particularly true of books that are very cheap or free to read.
From the stats on my blog, I think Addled Kat would have found an audience out there in the World. Of course, it wasn’t to be, and that’s OK.
If you haven’t read Addled Kat yet, do feel free. You can find it in six parts under the free to read heading in the right hand column of this blog.
Have a look, and let me know what you think. I might not ever make money out of this work, but that doesn’t mean it has no value.