decisions… Decisions… DECISIONS.
The thoughts of the last few days have created a quandary for me. I released a new book that has gotten some very nice reviews so far, which is obviously rare for the genre I write about. What’s strange this one is that it brings me to a crossroads. I started writing because I needed a release and it was very therapeutic. It eventually became a drug and very addictive, but more for the motivating stories that popped into my head and less about the sexual gratification.
In the past, this usually came full circle. Depression, therapy, motivation, gratification then back again. The hard part now is that I want more. My friends have suggested that I crossover from a smut writer to a more “traditional” fiction writer and possibly use my real name. The thought of moving to the lighter side of fiction was intriguing, but using my real name was terrifying. Using it meant revealing more than I ever wanted to and could jeopardize my life.
This is not uncommon for anyone living in secret as a transgendered man or woman, but for someone who still feels shame, humiliation, confusion, fear and isolation… it can be overwhelming and can put you on the edge of the blade. Which brings me to the suggestion that was made recently.
I wrote an autobiography a few years ago as many of you know. The book was my first and was horribly written because I simply took my journals and threw them together. I added some graphic memories and tried not to fictionalize them, but after over 30 years, it became difficult to tell a story when pieces of it were missing. The book didn’t sell and I eventually pulled it off Amazon.
A few months after that, I figured out that Goodreads doesn’t pull books off that easily and it stayed out there for a while creating a little bit of buzz. The book description prompted a number of questions and direct messages from the LGBTQ community, weirdos and parents asking where they could get a copy of it. I didn’t feel comfortable at the time and chose instead to respond to each request individually – hoping I could answer the real questions without giving up too much of myself.
After the release of this latest novel My Perfect Partner, a great friend made a comment that the book had some true life experiences that I shared with her; and another friend who has been a great mentor and inspiration to me as a writer suggested I revise the biography and re-release it. Difficult choices to have that include some risk, but anyone who has skeletons in their closet – whether “normal” or a little bit different – have to deal with risks everyday.
I guess the real question is what to do next. I work alongside people of all walks of life and those who seem content with their lives are those I tend to shy away from. I am always looking ahead and trying to be better than I am today. I am drawn to risk and challenges, but this one is one of the hardest ones to make.
Do I re-release the autobiography? Do I use my real name?
This may seem like a couple of easy answers… if I am not willing to use my real name, then releasing my autobiography is not that hard of a decision and doesn’t seem like that big of a risk. The tougher questions are…
Am I considering a re-release to tell the real story or is it just to try and make money?
The money is not really a concern. If you follow independent writers, you already know they don’t make a lot of money and many don’t write for the financial gain. The first release as I mentioned was a release for me. It was a way of talking to someone who was willing to listen and understand. That someone was my wife, who really never knew about my past in graphic detail. After she read it, she understood but never really wanted to talk about it again. That was enough for me, but now I think it may be a good idea to take another stab at it and see if anyone else is willing to offer an opinion. Whether you are connected to it in some way, for it or against it. Maybe the story just needs to be told.
What do you think?