Author Jade West came to me with her dream: she wanted her debut erotica novel Dirty Bad Wrong to storm the charts and blow the rest away.
That’s a big ask. There’s a lot of competition out there. But when I saw Jade’s work I knew straight away she had a chance of realising her dream. Here was a story, a good one at that. Here we had believable characters – believable because they’re outrageously real. Here we had a plot twisting toward a ‘golden moment’ in the truest sense and a satisfying denouement, enhanced all the way by clever storytelling techniques.
On release day, Dirty Bad Wrong burst into Amazon’s top 100 and sold 10,000 copies in 10 days.
You read that right: 10,000 copies.
After Jade picked herself up off of the floor, she wrote some nice things about me, but she needs to take a whole heap of credit. This is a writer who really knows her craft.
10,000 sales in 10 days?
Putting the Right in Dirty Bad Wrong – my editing process with John Hudspith
John Hudspith’s editorial reputation precedes him and I knew I wanted him on-board. Tough, but fair, with the eyes of an eagle and an innate ability to mirror-shine your storytelling. That’s what they say about him.
And they’re right.
There could be a level of embarrassment during the construction of a novel like Dirty Bad Wrong. I mean we’re talking exhibitionism, extreme BDSM… We’re even talking golden showers. Yes, you may have heard of the infamous wet-room scene already, it’s sure been making the rounds. Dark erotica is still quite a risqué genre, even in times where Fifty Shades of Grey is still dominating the charts. It can raise some eyebrows, provoke a whole truckload of judgement and bares its jaw for a few mighty swings from the censorship brigade.
It’s because of this I wanted Dirty Bad Wrong to stand tall; unapologetic in its subject matter and tone. I wanted it to be a professional piece of work, slick and polished, with a sound storyline and watertight editing. I wanted satisfying pace, believable characters and dialogue. I wanted a traditional romance arc to balance out the sex factor. For every person who’d say the novel made me sick in my mouth, I’d hoped they’d follow it up with but it was a mighty fine piece of writing. That’s where Johnny came in, and boy did he come in.
With Johnny I could talk freely. We discussed the dirtier details of Dirty Bad without even a hint of awkwardness. The wet room scene at the end of the book was a joint decision, made for the sake of both tone and plot, the ‘golden moment’ (scuse pun). Johnny encouraged me to push the boundaries, stroll out beyond the confines of the mainstream. He was supportive and enthusiastic, offering up a whole host of shiny gems to help me along my way.
He told me when it was hot, and equally as importantly he told me when it was not. It makes me smile to think of his comments on my initial description of our handsome protagonist Masque: “Your words do not invoke a great image, he ‘looks’ like Desperate Dan,” Johnny said. And he was right.
That’s the thing about Johnny, he’s always bloody right. Call it instinct, or talent, or call it his amassed experience in editing Lord knows how many novels to date, or call it his fine appreciation for the craft of writing. Call it whatever you want, but he’s got it in spades. And the incredible thing is he can apply it to any genre.
You don’t need to believe my gushing, but the facts of it are that Dirty Bad Wrong smashed into the Amazon Top 100 just ONE day after its official launch. It sold 10,000 copies in the first ten days. For a debut erotica novel, which aimed to combine romance and the downright dirty, it’s exceeded every dream I dared to indulge.
Not only that, but for a novel of its genre, and its blatant lack of mainstream taste, the reviews are surprising. Out of 108 reviews on Amazon US at the time of writing, 70 are five stars and 25 are four stars.
Comments such as these litter the entries:
“For a debut novel, I have to say congratulations on a fantastically well written book, Ms West. Your command of the key elements needed to turn a story into an absolute blinder of a book was excellent. I enjoyed how you introduced each character, how you managed subtle changes in their disposition while they engaged and embraced new experiences… Ms West, I cannot praise you enough for your attention to detail, your knowledge and your execution.”
“The dialogue is so well written that it pulls you into the taboo in such a way that you may reconsider some things that may have been off limits to you.”
“Very well written, reads as easily as one speaks.”
“It introduced me to a new ‘act’ that I haven’t had the pleasure of reading about and even though it was bit much for me to ‘swallow’—it was written so well that it sounded hot too.”
“The author’s writing was insanely good.”
Thanks, Johnny, I have to say I owe you one. Dirty Bad Wrong wouldn’t have been the novel it is without you.
“Dirtier than the bottom of your shoes, and then some. An entertaining and boundary-pushing heap of filth.”
Well, this boundary-pushing heap of filth is dedicated to you, Johnny, bold as brass after the title page, and that is every bit deserved.
10,000 copies sold in 10 days – that is nothing short of amazing.
Thanks so much, Mr H, here’s to many more!