Last month, something extraordinary happened. And I don’t mean in the sense that it was something great. Quite the contrary – All Romance eBooks imploded in a sudden and unexpected four day event that started on December 27th, leaving many readers without access to their purchased books and authors with little to no royalties for three months of holiday sales.
I was one of the lucky ones, but only because I have very low sales to begin with as a fairly new author. But some of our author friends got burned for thousands of dollars in the collapse.
A few days after the announcement, I started thinking – there has to be a better way to do this. One that is a) specific to our community, and b) minimizes the risk of such a massive collapse and fall-out. On a whim, I purchased the domain name Queeromance.com, and left it to percolate a little longer.
On January 2nd, Kaje Harper, a writer friend of mine, wrote on a post-ARe Facebook group that she’d love to see a site put together by authors, for our own community.
My husband Mark and I were supposed to be in Ecuador. Mark’s brother had invited us down for a week – they had rented a couple apartments, and with miles for the flights, it would have been almost free. But my husband Mark got sick, and so we stayed home, and I was around to see Kaje’s post and to have the time to act on it.
I contacted Kaje immediately. I had just used a WordPress Plug-in (app) that seemed tailor-made for this undertaking, so I asked if she would work with me to figure out how to pull together a site. She thought about it, and eventually said “yes”. We were off.
Mark suggested an add-on to the Queeromance name – Queeromance Ink. I love the playful nature it gives to the site.
It turned out that the plug-in developer was also a former MM romance author, and was keen to work on the project with us which would also help build out her own plug-in. So we found a good WordPress theme (the thing that makes everything look pretty and work together). We tapped Catherine Dair to come up with the awesome Q-heart logo, and started finding the other pieces we’d need to make this work – a membership/payment module, an ad plug-in, and a better search plug-in.
Bit by bit things fell into place.
We recruited some beta testers, and then once they had shaken down the site a bit, some gamma testers. By 1/25, just 23 days after we started on the site, we were ready to launch.
What strikes me about this site is that it all came together so well. In part, that’s because it’s relatively easy these days to build a new site in WordPress. But I also believe it’s because a) we had a fantastic developer, and b) a great team of folks who all came together to help get it up and running.
The right thing at the right time.
As of this writing, five days after launch, we have 74 authors signed up, and are just shy of 300 books listed. Over the next few weeks and months, we will launch additional features, including custom fields that will allow us to list heat level, romantic content, endings, and much more; and the ability to filter searches and book pages by a wide variety of criteria to find just the book you want.
For my Queer Sci Fi friends, don’t worry. We have no plans to abandon the site. It’s still my great passion. And QRI is very supportive of genre based romance too.
Check out the new site at http://www.queeromanceink.com, and let me know if you have any questions. 🙂