Tuesday, April 21, 2015


On May 1, I will release Second Chances, the fourth (and most likely last) erotic romance short story I wrote to use as tools for learning about writing and publishing.  With each title, I've learned lessons that will be helpful when I finally finish one of these novels.  Although there is a wealth of information available online, I needed to experience it for myself.  Especially since much of what I've read is contradictory or doesn't translate to erotica.

Requesting reviews - I did this much earlier with this title but have yet to receive any responses.  I'm not really surprised; with so many writers seeking reviews, they are inundated with requests daily.

Promotional sites - requests made.  Once I am able to schedule free book days, many more promotion sites to be contacted.

Release event/party - For a short story, this feels like overkill to me.  Yes, I know there are authors making beer money by publishing erotic shorts weekly, but that's not the path I'm taking.  I had no expectations about sales; this was all about working my way through the learning curve.

In the Indie Author Facebook Group (a wonderful resource), we discussed release events earlier this week.  As I mentioned before, I attended a multi-author event on Facebook a few weeks ago and said that I would contact some of the writers who participated and ask if they would share their results.  Angel Payne, Audrey Carlan, and Piper Malone kindly responded.  Here are their results and recommendations:
  • Collaborate with other authors.
  • Don't do it on release day.
  • Number of fans/followers increased, added members to street team.
  • Small increase in sales attributed.
  • "Marketing is a marathon, not a sprint."
 Each author offered small giveways and there was a very nice grand prize. To see what the event looked like, here's a link- Release=apalooza
If the event wasn't immediately profitable for them, a trickle down effect could last for some time. I just bought a book by one of the authors two days ago.

Seems like a low cost promotional tool to me, but not for a short story. Another item to put on the list of potential to-do's for the novel.

NEXT POST: Launch part deux

Monday, April 13, 2015

Which pic is worth 11,261 words?

When I embarked on the journey in self-publishing, I knew I had to do it on a shoestring budget.  With no guarantee of return, I couldn’t afford to invest in an editor or a cover designer.  Being stubborn as a mule, I decided to make my covers myself.  Trial and error, I should embroider that on a pillow.  Eventually I stumbled on a process that worked for me without having to struggle through the frustrating learning curve of new software.  I use Word and then convert the end product to jpg.  Having figured out “how,” now I needed to come up with “what.” 

If you research information on erotica covers, you’ll be advised to “sexy them up.”  This was hard for me.  I prefer covers that are symbolic of the story, not literal representations.  For example, the cover I wanted to use for Interview with The Mistress was a photo of a necklace with a heart charm; Mistress A. gives one to Vanessa in lieu of a collar.  I buckled and this is the cover I settled on.

I’m okay with it; it fits the story.  Here is the original cover I made for Viewer Discretion Advised (top) and the one I replaced it with. 


Did I notice any difference in sales when I updated the covers?  No   A Facebook friend and fellow author conducted a survey in February, asking readers how they choose their reading material.  Covers were far down on the list.  I don’t choose what to read based on the cover but I realize that in my case, it’s due to my poor vision.  I can’t see the thumbnail covers on my Kindle very well.  If I search “erotica,” the results all look very similar.  I know that’s not the case for most people, but still, I don’t want my books to look like everyone else’s, and I want them to be more closely tied to the story than good looking half-naked people. 

The mythological phoenix plays a part in my next story to be published, Second Chances, and it IS going on the cover.  My other option is an image of a slutty bride and I’m not going for the obvious this time.  My only problem is I can’t decide which color.  If you have an opinion, please, please comment.  I could use the advice.


I do believe the cover art on print copies is more of a factor for potential buyers.  When I still bought books in a physical bookstore, covers did catch my eye, but it was still my normal practice to gravitate toward my favorite authors first.  If there was nothing new from them, I checked out what was else was  in the genres I preferred.  So until I’m convinced otherwise, I’ll choose attractive covers that make sense to me.  There’s that mulishness again.

NEXT POST:  Launch sequence

Monday, April 6, 2015

Support your local (erotica) writer

When I first started learning about the business of writing and self-publishing, I read every article, blog post, and how-to book I could get my hands on.  One of the best I found is Martin Crosbie's How I Sold 30,000 eBooks on Amazon's Kindle.  Martin is a strong advocate for paying it forward with our fellow writers and establishing relationships throughout the indie writer community.  After spending ten years at an environmental nonprofit, I recognized this philosophy.  Building relationships with donors (and potential donors) is the cornerstone of fund development at charitable organizations.  Partnerships with like-minded groups often play a big part in the success of each as well.  So when I read Martin's book, I knew his process was something I was familiar with and could translate to my writing endeavors.

Until VERY recently, I was struggling with one of his first recommendations - find a support group and surround myself with people who are successful at what I'm trying to do.  There are several reasons why it was not as easy as you'd think - there has been a huge increase in erotica writers self-publishing after the success of 50 Shades, so many of the authors I was meeting were in the same boat, several of the Facebook groups I found have closed or have become little more than promotional posts, and the most active participants at my go=to resource, AbsoluteWrite.com, are almost all traditionally published.  Unfortunately, I have also seen the green-eyed monster rear its ugly head between writers; it's unnecessary and counterproductive.  I kept writing and posting and requesting reviews though, and I have met some very nice people who have been helpful.  Still not as many folks as I'd love to have in my inner circle, but it's a work in process.  These things take time and while I have infinite patience with others, I have very little with myself.  Something else to work on!

Friday night, I attended a release "party" for multiple authors on Facebook organized by two of the hosts, Angel Payne and Zoey Derrick; the others were Victoria Blue, Audrey Carlan, Piper Malone, Red Phoenix, Kennedy Layne and Kallypso Masters.  Although I wasn't sure what to expect, it seemed like something I should check out. It was fun!  Fast-paced with contests and giveaways, there was also plenty of opportunities for asking questions.  I asked Kallypso, there to promote Nobody's Dream, what she thought is the biggest challenge facing writers today.  She gave me a very thoughtful answer and one psychically appropriate for me.  She remarked on how difficult it is to have patience, given how easy it is to publish your own work.  She recommended waiting until you have three books ready so readers know you're serious and in it for the foreseeable future.  Thanks, Kallypso!

Last week, I received a contract offer for a short story I submitted to several publishers before I started self-publishing.  For some reason, I didn't have a good feeling about it and I mentioned my unease in a post at AbsoluteWrite.  I was given a link to a thread that helped me make an informed decision on whether that publisher was a good fir for me.  Everyone respectfully let me decide for myself but they made sure I wasn't doing so with newbie ignorance.

That's the kind of support I've been looking for and hopefully will be able to pass on as I gain more experience.  To all those writers who already have it down, please know how much we rookies appreciate every bit of help and encouragement you give us.

Next post:  Cover that thing up!