So I Published A Novel

So I went and self-published my novel, Bad/Tender. In this post, I give you a behind-the-scenes sneak-peek of how and why I did it.

Bad/Tender Cover by Aurora Campbell

Bad/Tender

Bad/Tender is a coming-of-age literary novel focusing on an abusive relationship, written before #MeToo but appropriate for our times. The story touches upon consent, rape, mental illness, immigration, social and professional uncertainty and survival with the London nightlife scene as a backdrop.

Through the graphic and at times repulsive relationship between the two main characters, Bad/Tender questions the ideals and idols of our entertainment-saturated society focusing on the ‘bad boy’, an unrealistic blend of sleaze and tenderness, to show that there is nothing glamorous in the sadly wide-spread trend of the abusive partner.

Bad/Tender is a novel for uncertain times, where mental illness is discussed openly, job security isn’t a thing and bad sex and abuse are laid bare before the reader’s eyes.

You can read a full press release for Bad/Tender here and you can buy it from the following platforms:

It can be read on laptops and iPads by downloading the free Kindle or Adobe Digital Editions app or iBooks. Complimentary press codes are available for review purposes. If you’re based outside the UK, you can find it by searching for “Bad/Tender” on your local Kindle store and it should appear there for you to buy. 

Why I Wrote Bad/Tender

Bad/Tender is FICTION. I CANNOT STRESS THIS ENOUGH. However, if you read this blog and/or you have gotten drunk with me at least once, you probably know I have been in an abusive relationship.

This happened in 2014, as I was about to graduate from university. It was the darkest time of my life, and I have never felt more scared, or more lonely than that. I had anxiety before, but during the relationship and after it my anxiety sky-rocketed, and then came depression and PTSD. #goodtimes. I feel like I’ve only managed to shake off the effects of all that very recently.

I felt like I needed to process what happened but also make use of it, as a learning experience for me and for others. Something inside me needed to explore all the possible better and worse alternative endings for that story. So instead of running through them in my head, I wrote them, and Bad/Tender happened. Also, I wanted to somehow put all the hate I felt for myself into something that wasn’t my head, so that I could move on. So Bad/Tender starts with reality and ends with fiction. It’s inspired by fears and situations most women go through and based on two characters I’m glad I don’t have to deal with anymore.

I wrote it on a bunch of notebooks while I was couchsurfing by myself in the United States, running away from myself and from whatever I had left in London. I started writing it in Italian, but I felt that my language could not convey the lifestyle I led, the hate I experienced, some of the words that were said and things that were done to me. So English it was.

People that have read Bad/Tender said they felt disgusting for wanting to read it, but that they couldn’t stop reading anyway. Like a bad but good porno. Which reminds me, if sex grosses you out, maybe don’t read it. And definitely don’t think I’ve done all those things. Or do, if it makes you buy the book. Whatever. Just buy the book.

Me & Writing

Bad/Tender isn’t actually my first novel. I’ve finished at least five – and I’m not talking about the novels I write in my head when I’m in an anxiety loop. My first short story was a weird witch tale I wrote when I was 9 that I still have somewhere on a notebook. Then I started writing detective stories when my dad bought the family our first laptop, when I was 12.

I finished my first novel in Italian at about 18, and my first novel in English at about 19. Spoiler alert: they were both shit. Everything I’ve written before Bad/Tender makes me cringe and was not ready to be shown to the public. Except that my mum and some friends have read some of my old stuff and, dear God, I’m sorry.

Why I Self-Published

By now you’re probably used to my anxiety and to how ambitious I am. So imagine how that translates into me trying to email all literary agents and publishers on Earth to PLEASE FOR FUCK’S SAKE PUBLISH MY NOVEL.

At some point a writing competition came up, and my first reaction was: “I’ll write something similar to Bad/Tender, so that if I win it’ll get some attention.” But when I got down to writing, nothing came out. I was over it. Over the story. I was sick of telling it over and over. I had moved on. I wanted to write about something different, something new.

That was when I put my book through its first edit, and cut or changed ruthlessly stuff that didn’t resonate with me anymore, or that just sounded unpolished. Or stuff that was maybe more true, but that sounded less believable. Trust me, sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.

I decided that I was sick of waiting, of emailing. Fuck it, I was even sick of feedback. I had poured my heart onto those pages and I just wanted to get them out, however unpolished on imperfect they were. Plus, it was really time. I may have very little to add to the #MeToo space, but my healing has been patchy and complicated, and if Bad/Tender can help anyone, or entertain, or shock, now it’s its time to do it.

So chances are you’ll find faults with it, and that is fine. I am happy to hear your thoughts and critics as long as they’re polite and constructive. But do bear in mind that English is not my first language… and that if I was THAT good a writer, someone would have published me ages ago! Or maybe no one likes me. Who knows. #foreveralone 

How I Self-Published

As a broke PhD student, I could only afford to publish in an eBook format. I used a service called eBookpartnership.com to distribute my novel to online retailers and format it into an eBook. I asked the amazing Aussie sketch artist Aurora Campbell to design my cover and she went above and beyond coming up with a unique concept that I fell in love with. Based on the invisible pull abusive relationships have on their victims, it’s both raw and beautiful at the same time. You can see more of her work on her Insta below.

Buy It Plz

So am I a real writer now? Fuck knows. Just buy the book plz.

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