Monday, October 9, 2017

Torn (#HEA #revisions #honesty)

Broken heart image

I recently reclaimed the rights to one of my stories, which had not sold at all through its original publisher. I am planning to self-publish it as part of my new Asian Adventures series. However, I’m facing a dilemma.

This tale is M/F romantic erotica, set in Cambodia. I guess you’d call it “literary”, in the sense that it concerns itself with issues like prejudice and cultural misunderstandings, as well as focusing on the relationship between the main characters. In the original version, the story has a bittersweet ending. The couple separates because, in the real world, it would be almost impossible for them to make a life together.

As I contemplate republishing the tale, though, I’m wondering if I should change it to have at least a HFN ending. I know that would probably increase sales. It also fits better with the first installment of Asian Adventures, which definitely does end happily.

But I’m wondering—would this be a violation of artistic integrity? Would it be honest to flip the ending just to fit popular tastes? A happy ending isn’t realistic for these characters. A happy ending would also reduce the emotional punch of the story.

On the other hand, emotional punch hardly matters if nobody reads the story... 

Am I being elitist? Silly? Or am I justified in feeling a bit like a whore if I modify the ending?

I am really torn. What do you think I should do?


apky said...

Personally, I wouldn't worry too much about "artistic integrity", elitism or even the silliness and all that. My first romance, BOUND TO TRADITION series didn't sell much to level out my bank overdraft. But the German translation - KHIRAS TRAUM - not only sold fairly well but also won me the Writer of the Year in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. BOUND TO TRADITION also won Cook Communications first prize (North Carolina, was nominated for the Caine Prize and the Commonwealth Writers Prize in London. It won Book of the Month and Book of the Year in 14 Book Clubs in Germany, the Netherlands, Austria, Switzerland and the UK (London only).

Despite all that, the books (both English and German versions) haven't sold enough to put me anywhere near the Bestseller list. All the same I continued to write the third book in the series, driven by the passion I felt for my interracial and intercultural romance story. I was happy to share it with those few who enjoyed the story and saw the social criticism I explored in the works.

My advice would be: ask yourself how you feel about your story, why you wrote it the way you did. Would changing the ending interfere with your original motivation to write the story? If yes, does that bother you, as the "mother" of your "baby"?

I hope that helps, for what it's worth.

Lisabet Sarai said...

Thanks for your input, apky. I'm still turning the question over in my mind.

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