You know I have the utmost respect for your time, right? That’s why I only publish a few posts a year and keep them short. I usually tell you about things I’ve learned or people I love. Sometimes I tell you odd things that happened to me.
This time I need your advice.
As an author, I’m a “push the envelope” type of person. I like to shake things up. I think the worst thing an author can be is boring or predictable, so I created a new series about a former kidnap victim. I wrote two books. The first is present day, where 24-year-old Dani Ripper is a private investigator who searches for missing kids. Nine years ago she was kidnapped by a serial killer/rapist who held her captive in his basement for a month. Obviously, bad things happened in the basement. By using her wits and courage, Dani eventually managed to escape.
I have an advisory council, people who read my books before publication. I send them my manuscripts, they give me valuable feedback. Their comments make my books better, so this is something I recommend to all authors.
Before you run out and get five friends to read your books and tell you how great you are, you need to know my group is hyper critical. They usually beat the crap out of me and force me to defend my reasons for what I’ve written.
I love them for it.
My group talked me into two rewrites for Call Me! The result? A much better book than I would have written on my own.
The second book. The Little Girl Who Got Away, is the story of Dani’s kidnapping, imprisonment, and escape. My advisory council said I shouldn’t publish the book because my heroine is 15 years old. One member wanted to toss the manuscript after five pages because the subject matter was so offensive and the events too creepy. She said, “Every time a kid goes missing the police will search your basement!”
I was told if I publish The Little Girl Who Got Away I’d lose my fan base overnight. It would shock and horrify people. It’s every parent’s nightmare. The dialogue will make people wonder about me!
I said, “Several best-selling books have been written by girls who escaped their kidnappers. I haven’t read them, but surely their books include the bad things that happened.”
I was told the public likes true stories about these situations, but not fictional accounts. My agent called it a taboo subject. My publisher doesn’t even want to read it!
I don’t want to lose my fan base, alienate people, or make them think something’s wrong with me. I wanted to write something edgy about a resourceful young lady forced into a horrible situation, who found a way to survive and escape. Yes, it was creepy and terrible, but I thought it was a compelling story that would hold my readers’ interest. I don’t want to ruin my reputation or the good will I’ve built as a writer, but I also don’t want to throw a book in the trash simply because it’s too controversial.
Is my advisory council right? Are some subjects so offensive they should never be published?
I decided to take a poll. Please click the yes or no button that asks if I should publish the fictional story of Dani’s captivity. I’m not trying to sell you on it. I want your honest opinion, and your vote is completely confidential.
Thank you so much for your help.