#navbar-iframe { display: none !important;} The Naked Page: April 2006

The Naked Page

Author Jamie Sobrato's Diary


Couldn't Have Said It Better Myself

This is too funny... Should I have called my book As Filthy As It Gets?


Shock and Awe

Our previous talk about offending Rita judges has me wondering, should one of our main goals as writers be to offend people? I would say yes.

Since I write sex, and I write humor, I've always taken it for granted that I'm setting out to offend a large segment of my readership. I often don't succeed, because the middle ground is seductive and hard to veer off of. It's just so safe, so comfortable, so easy compared to the unexplored fringes...

If you write about sex or you write something that's supposed to be humorous, are you ever doing it right if at least half the people who read it don't want to hurl your book across the room? Aren't sex and humor by nature controversial?

The middle ground is the most traveled ground. It's where most people feel comfortable, so when you start exploring the fringes, that's where you either excite people or turn them off. That where you either make them laugh or piss them off.

One of the interesting things about writing within a genre like romance is trying to meet reader expectations while also pushing boundaries or trying something different. I think I don't nearly push enough boundaries, but I try to be conscious of the need for it--the need to keep the genre from dying by way of stagnation. Sometimes I succeed and sometimes I fail, but I'm always secretly pleased when I get some hint that I've actually offended someone (for instance that Rita judge who said my book wasn't a romance).


Ms. Jamie, If You're Nasty

I got my Rita scores back yesterday and was only mildly surprised to see that one judge deemed my Jan 2005 book, As Hot As It Gets, a story with "no strong romantic elements," AKA not a romance novel. (Please, nobody tell my editor I'm not actually writing romances!)

My books scored firmly in the lower half of all books entered. This is somehow a badge of honor. I'd rather have downright badness than ho-hum mediocrity. Right? Well, okay, I'd rather be a finalist than either of those, but it's interesting what it takes to be a finalist. You have to not offend enough judges to make them keep reading, and there aren't many people I don't offend.

Until RWA comes up with a Rita for Smut Books, I'm screwed. I have accepted that. And I should probably stop entering. Or else continue to console myself with the thought that most of my judges are people who think sex is ICKY.

In other news, I am horribly behind in finishing up a proposal I promised my editor, oh, like...last October, and also promised her at various other times including two weeks ago, so that is my excuse for not hanging around on my blog as much as I should. I will be better. I will finish my proposal today. I will blog again. Watch me!

(I'm not sure how the title of this entry relates to anything, by the way. I'm just having a Janet Jackson moment, without the nipple exposure.)


A Naked Birthday

The Naked Page is officially one year old now, so I suppose I should break out the birthday cake and candles or something. I should be getting all nostalgiac and stuff, right? I mean, just one year ago, I was a blog virgin, and you, dear readers, had not yet been assaulted by my incessant barrage of dildo jokes.

So as I look back on this first year here at The Naked Page-the realm of the perpetual birthday suit--I am astounded, and amazed, and shocked...that I could spend so much time saying so very little.

In honor of this momentous date, let's all pick out our favorite moment of the past blogging year. Mine is most definitely when we crossed the panty line of propriety and never looked back...it happened some time during the great panty wars of fall 2005.


Have I Angered the Cover Gods?

I just got my July Blaze cover, and, um, well. I'm not sure what to say, except what the hell is that glowing horse and cowboy doing on a book that's supposed to look sexy? And does my heroine know it's illegal to have sex with a minor?

Brace yourself:


Next Exit: Insanity 1 Mile

I hope you all didn't hold your breath and pass out waiting for me to produce the other half of my last blog post. Let's see, where did I leave off...oh right, I was just talking about how you will feel when you don't win a Rita but instead find yourself sitting in the audience at the award ceremony doing the loser's smile, clap, and nod routine...

Soon after, you will decide the Rita Awards are unfairly stacked against the kind of book you write and that such a goal as winning an award is pretty shallow and fruitless anyway. You will assure yourself that there are no sour grapes involved in this change of heart, and you turn your attention to other more worthy goals. Like becoming a New York Times bestseller and stuff.

More time passes, and you sell some more books. You start thinking you should be writing "bigger" books, and maybe you attempt to write one. Or three, or five, or ten. Maybe you sell one or all of them. Maybe you decide to get an agent, or dump your current agent and get a different one, or you become paranoid thinking all agents are parasites and decide to hire your pot-bellied pig to represent you in all future book negotiations (stranger things have happened in the publishing world).

(And for the record, I do NOT think my agent is a parasite or any other sort of blood-sucking organism. She is thoroughly goddess-like in all the ways that matter and a few ways that don't.)

I should probably have a way to wrap up this entry, but I don't. Because I am only in the middle part of the beginning of my career. How the hell should I know what goals I will obsess over next? My point with all this is that I've never met an author who feels completely satisfied with his or her literary lot in life. There is always the drive to achieve more (if we weren't so driven we would never get published in the first place--it takes both delusions of grandure AND a huge drive to succeed to make it past all that rejection), and with each success comes additional pressure.

From hearing New York Times bestsellers talk, I truly believe they have more pressure on them than any other authors out there. As the stakes rise, so does the pressure to be a success, and to build on each success. There's a lesson in there somewhere, but I'm not sure what it is. Maybe to learn to live in the creative moment, or something. To judge success by how happy you are with the work you've done, rather than any external factor out of your control.

Oh shit, I'm getting off topic here. The original point of this was supposed to be something about how our goals changes as our careers progress. Me, I'm probably somewhere in the middle of acheiving the "I just want to sell steadily and earn a decent living" goal.

Beyond that, there is the moon and stars--and of course let's not forget the NYT list.