Last year, I joined the other playwrights of Skypilot Theatre to write a one-act for kids, based on one of Aesop’s Fables. It is technically my first theatrical publication, which is fun stuff.
"Lights Off, Eyes Closed" premiere! Attendees include my lovely aunt and mother. (Taken with instagram)
The above quote was from yesterday’s meeting of LARA RWA, the Los Angeles chapter of the Romance Writers of America.
I was there to
whore out my play inform the lovely men and women of that organization that I’d written something that they might enjoy watching. (I had postcards with discount codes and everything. I was very impressive.)
And because to just show up, tell people I’d written a play, and jet out immediately afterwards would have made me a total douchenozzle, I stayed for the entire meeting, listening as the members discussed the month’s business — contests and anthologies and please complete your profile for the member directory.
All that was interesting from an anthropological standpoint. Then, they started talking about self-publishing.
Specifically, the creation of a position to serve as a representative on the organization’s board for authors who are primarily self-published. In proper Stringer Bell-approved fashion, they proposed adding the position and opened the topic for debate, which is where that quote comes from.
Self-publishing in the romance novel world, it turns out, can be a pretty lucrative business — working with a publisher means giving up a pretty big cut of the profits from your work, but e-distribution on your own can make you thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, if you know how to properly leverage the platforms and your audience. New authors are getting a chance to put their work out there. And established authors are getting back the rights to their older books, distributing them through Amazon and making BANK.
I am writing this post for people who are not romance novelists, because it is so so important for everyone to remember this: DISRUPTION IS HAPPENING EVERYWHERE. Romance novels are literally the most popular books on the planet — romance fiction sales were estimated at $1.368 billion in 2011, according to the Romance Writers of America — and their writers are having these discussions, are rethinking their medium, are reapproaching the fundamental nature of how they do business.
These men and women (and let’s be clear, these are, on average, not tech-native people) are talking about building audience. They are examining how to partner and collaborate with each other in meaningful ways. Holy hell, later they mentioned the great gigantic problem that is DISCOVERY. In over five years of paying attention to this stuff, this meeting was what really revealed to me the scale of these seismic shifts.
And here’s the most important bit: While the web video world may be less conscious of the fact that this disruption has an expiration date, romance novelists are very much aware. They’re aware that at some point, the major publishers and distributors will figure out how to control ebook distribution, and that now is the time to move in terms of developing their own brands and selling their books on their own. Now is the time to carve out their place in the industry, because never before has the independent creator had this level of power, and they never might again.
When creating the SPA board position was called to a vote, it passed with a resounding majority.
I might have been given the task of capturing audio from a random TV show to serve as sound effects for Lights Off, and I might have gone mad with power.
Some photos from last night’s rehearsal of Lights Off, Eyes Closed, from our rehearsal space at the Sherry Theater. All I did was take these photos, cut three lines, add a joke about tax returns, and marvel at our super-talented, super-attractive cast and crew.
We open in just FIFTEEN DAYS. Cannot believe it. If you have a chance, perhaps check out our lovely IndieGogo campaign? Tickets are starting to go fast, so helping out now is a great way to guarantee you’ll be able to get seats!
I shall conclude this post with a quote from the play: “Troi with three breasts? That’s insane.” Have a nice day. :)
If you’re having sex with the leading lady, you pretty much have to get her flowers.
The short version: As you may have seen me mention here or there, my first full length play is opening in less than three weeks. It’s called Lights Off, Eyes Closed. It’s about love and romance novels and the difference between the two. If you’re in the LA area anytime from March 24-April 29, you can come and see it! And/or support the IndieGoGo campaign! I would be so thankful if you did.
The long version: I started writing Lights Off, Eyes Closed in the fall of 2006, and as I’ve grown up over the past six years, so has the play — multiple drafts, condensed to a one-act for a staged reading in 2009, then expanded out to a two-act version again. (It is almost embarrassing how many different drafts exist. I had to change the numbering scheme once we went into rehearsals.)
Lights Off is in part inspired by my mother, who has been writing romance novels for the last ten or so years, though it’s heavily fictionalized (just for starters, my mom is very much alive). Really, what it’s about is a young woman learning how to balance the perception of romance with the reality of actually falling in love.
Oh, and also, it’s about sex. And people writing about sex. And talking about sex. Sexy sex sex. Like so:
We’ve been rehearsing nearly daily for the last month, and it’s been a real thrill to see it come together slowly but surely. The director is doing a fabulous job with a crazy talented cast (who are all very tolerant of my semi-constant script changes), and our lead actress’s Patrick Stewart impression cracks me up every time. There’s still a lot more work to do, but it’s hard not to be excited at this stage.
Tonight we launched an IndieGoGo campaign to help with the building of the set and other financial considerations — chipping in now basically means you can get reserved tickets at a discounted rate, and would be a huge help for the show, and would make me your best friend. Yes, you. Really.
If you’ve read this far, thanks so much. Either way, there’ll be more about Lights Off as we get closer to the premiere — though not TOO MUCH. Just enough.
Excerpt from “Lights Off.” In case there was any doubt in your mind that I wrote this play… (Taken with instagram)
- Worked a full day on Attack.
- Posted a thousand words on Liz Tells Frank.
- Ate a delicious veggie sandwich from Five Guys.
- Sent about a dozen emails about the play that I will go into detail about very soon.
- Attended four hours of rehearsal for said play.
- Shot video for video to promote said play.
- Came home over 12 hours after leaving it.
- Revised and submitted an essay for consideration by yet-to-be-named-publication.
- Sent some more emails.
- Wrote the post for tomorrow’s Timey Wimey TV (which will be AWESOME, just FYI).
- Around midnight, settled down to watch some TV.
- Vegas bookies lay even money on me falling asleep in approximately five minutes.
It’s a good life. If it doesn’t kill me first.