Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The reviews are in...oh wait, they're not

Reviews.  For a self-published author, they are as coveted and valuable as sales, no matter what genre you write.  If you write erotica, however, they can be extra tough to come by.   I have blogged about this before, but the subject bears revisiting.

The best reviews are the ones that happen spontaneously and unsolicited.  Let me clarify what I mean by solicited - requested from reputable uncompensated reviewers, NEVER paid for.  Take a look sometime at a few erotica titles with decent sales and notice the lack of reviews.  I could propose folks are reluctant to leave negative reviews, but I couldn't do it with a straight face.  There are plenty who don't cringe away from giving negative reviews in other genres.  My guess is readers are reluctant to attach their names publicly to books with graphic content.

Therefore, many of us turn to review sites.  They are plentiful, even for erotica and erotic romances.  The problem we run into here is the massive number of authors requesting reviews.  Reviewers are overloaded and most are honest about it and simply can't and don't promise a response to your request.  Before I published Second Chances, I submitted review requests to twenty individuals and sites, provided review copies when requested, and guess what.  Not a one has materialized as yet.  I'm not whining (well, maybe a little), merely citing an example.

I make it a point to post a review for everything I read, unless a sizable number of reviews already exist.  It only takes a few minutes, you don't HAVE to write more than a paragraph or two, and, in most cases, you can do so anonymously.  For example, on Amazon there is a link that allows you to change your display name.    I urge you to do the same, and remember to be honest in your assessment but please also be polite.  Write about the book, not the person who wrote it.  Personal attacks reflect badly on you and obliterate any point you are trying to make regarding the plot characters, etc.

With the huge number of ebooks being published, reviews can often be the determining factor when readers choose books.  Do us all a solid and provide feedback.  You will be helping readers and authors alike.  It's a proven fact that helping others make us feel good and who couldn't use more of that.


Thursday, May 21, 2015

Why the #lastwritten2day tweets, Jordan?

Once I open a Word document, I have no problem writing.  I have yet to experience writer's block (knock on wood) and happily type away for hours at a stretch.  What I DO have trouble with is opening that document every day.  I procrastinate, I write these blog posts, I clean the bathrooms fercrisake.  Why?  I believe I am the human embodiment of inertia.  A body writing tends to remain writing, a body not writing, eh.

I tried to stick to a goal of 1K words a day and it kept me on track until I went home to Virginia for a week to visit family.  Vacation brain set in and I didn't write a word on my novel.  When I returned home, my motivation didn't automatically kick back in.  I tried to blame it on jet lag, but not even I could buy that since I never left my own time zone.  My manuscript was gathering more dust than my furniture.

I happened to see a friend post about her struggle to embrace a healthier diet and how she was trying logging what she ate on her FB page.  She thought making herself accountable in such a public way would help.  *light bulb flickered on over my head*

What if I commit to tweeting my last line written every day  Will that make me more likely to push myself into doing it?  Yes.  So far it has, although it must be said I only started using this mind trick last week.  Although I'm not a huge Twitter user, I find I WANT to send that tweet every night.

If you'd like to join me, include the hashtag #lastwritten2day.  Give it a try; it might work for you too.

Everybody in high school had one, that teacher who thought she was imparting the wisdom of the ages but was actually diabolically crushing your spirit.  She once told me, "you couldn't give that stuff away."  Yes, I can and will.  For three days, beginning Friday, May 22, Second Chances will be free on Amazon.  Check out this feel-good story with a bona fide happy ending.  Thank you!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The story that refuses to die

I first started writing erotic romance for fun back in the late 90's when a chat room friend and I co-wrote a story, published in on Literotica.com, and shamelessly reveled in our 15 minutes of fame.  I went on to write quite a few more solo and loved receiving feedback from readers.  An earlier version of my most recent release, Second Chances, was posted there but even that one wasn't the original.

Another chat room friend challenged me to write a story based on the Nine Inch Nails song "Sanctified."  I listened to it several times and something in the lyrics reminded me of a news item I'd once heard while driving home from work decades earlier  A newly married couple had been hit by a drunk driver while going from the church to the reception venue and the bride was killed.  I took that event, wove snippets of the lyrics throughout the story, and threw in a stripper for good measure.  It had a sweet but sad ending and my friend loved it.

Fast forward a few years, I decided to rewrite "Sanctified" and submit it to Literotica's annual Halloween contest.  i deleted the lyrics for copyright reasons, changed the tone to a much darker one, and altered the ending making it cynical and appropriately spooky.  Although it didn't win the contest, it was rated well and received many positive comments.

When I began pulling short stories together for my experiment in self-publishing, this one jumped up and down, yelling "me, me, me!"  The characters were given backstory, the minor character of the club owner became a force in her own right, and the length of the story tripled.   My beta readers STRONGLY advocated for a full-blown happy ending which I cheerfully provided.  It still strikes me funny that Claudette speaks french and I don't, so hopefully the translator I used was accurate.

I can't say I like any version better the others; they feel like three different stories to me and each version is representative of where I was in life at the time to some extent.  If I'm as objective as one can be about one's own work, I can also say I'm a better writer than I was in 1998, thank God.  It continues to be my #1 goal to learn and improve but with OTHER stories.  This one deserves a rest and I'm satisfied with it..  Although, if the trend holds true that began with my first published story, someone will say it should have been a novel.

I'll think about it.  Maybe after I finish the other three novels I have going!

Friday, May 8, 2015

Terminology temperatures - ADULT LANGUAGE

When you decide you want to write about sex, or at least include sexual content in your work, you must find a level of explicitness at which you're comfortable.  Not to mention if you pursue a traditional publishing deal, many publishers have their own levels and of course, there is no standardization or consistency and their definitions are not always perfectly clear.  I get it, it's a subjective thing, and what I find tame, someone else may find shocking or offensive.
So, if I were in charge, I'd set up the gradations of explicitness by restating the same sentence as an example.  Tongue in cheek, people, tongue in cheek.

FRIGID (Medically correct)
He inserted his erect penis between the labial folds of her vulva into her vagina.
Nobody wants to read that, do they?

COLD (Purple prose)
He introduced his stalwart staff to the delicate flower of her womanhood.
Are we having sex or gardening?

LUKEWARM (deliberately vague)
He entered her.
Into a contest?

WARM (a little more descriptive)
He pushed himself into the warmth of her core.
 Now we're getting somewhere!

HOT (No doubt about what's going on)
He thrust his hard cock into her waiting wet pussy.
*fanning self and blushing but reading on*

SCALDING (not for everyone)
He pounded his enormous prick into her tight, juicy cunt.
Wait, WTF am I reading?  I thought this was a love story.

The parameters of the upper levels seem to hinge on whether or not you use the "p" and "c" words for female anatomy.  I'm assuming that's because most erotica readers are female and some are offended by these words.  Personally, I'm okay with them unless they are preceded by a derogatory adjective.  Nobody wants to hear "stupid cunt" but "beautiful pussy" ain't so bad, huh?

In my writing, I've found my sentimental style conflicts with really hard -coe terminology so I tend to stay away from Scalding.  It just depends on the story.  You don't wear combat boots to a tea party.

Friday, May 1, 2015


The last of the short stories I planned to self-publish as part of my hands on learning experience goes live today.  With each, I have gained a better understanding of the process that will serve me well should I decide to take this route with the novel that's now in draft form.  I have tried following the guidelines in the how-to books I've read; some I will continue to embrace, some I have discarded.   For example, I cannot in good conscience price a short story at $2.99 when there are many fine novels offered for $3.99.  I have also learned there are some subjects I'm not willing to write about, even if they are trendy.  I won't be missed; plenty of other writers are filling in the gaps.

The sexual content in Second Chances is less graphic than the previous three stories, it's more sentimental and sweet, and has an out and out happy ending.  Sometimes we need that.  I've been promoting it with the tagline "No billionaires, vampires, werewolves or shapeshifters.  Just real people, real sex, real love."  Maybe that's why I feel more attached to these characters; I'm all about emotion  According to a communications style workshop I was in a few years back, my communication is 50 percent emotion, 25 percent action, and 25 percent thoughtful.  No wonder romance is my genre, huh?

Some random facts about this story:
  • The story of Adam and Jenny is based on an actual news story I heard on the radio while driving home from work decades ago.  I never forgot it.
  • Some of the stripper dialogue comes from a former dancer friend of mine who was one of the most intelligent people I've ever met.
  • The bit about the cats at the end actually happened to our cat, Buster, the fattest cat ever.
  • Claudette speaks french but I don't, so I fervently hope the online translator I used was accurate!
In celebration of release day, I'm offering a $10 Amazon gift certificate.  To be eligible, visit my Amazon author page then send me an email (jordanbuchanan5771@gmail.com) listing my four titles.  The giveaway ends midnight May 7 and I will contact the winner on Friday, May 8.  Easy peasy.

If you honor me by reading Second Chances, I would be so pleased to receive your comments and feedback.  An honest review would be welcomed; remember you can leave reviews on Amazon anonymously by simply changing your display name.  

Second Chances Amazon page