Wednesday, April 29, 2015

To DRM or Not to DRM... That is the Question...

I meant to get this up last week, but I was laaaaaazy and taking a break from writing altogether. I need to get cracking on the next JKC though, and I need to get started on this new series my illustrator is entirely too excited about. He keeps making... covers for it. I keep telling him that I haven't even written the first one yet, and now he's showing me cover #7. *sigh* I guess I better do it then! He also made a teaser image ... seriously, a teaser image... for it. Lemme see if I can find it.

Keep in mind, I've told him NOTHING about the series except the main character's name and the rough idea of it. No plots, no backgrounds... no nothing. Well, he's got some pics too to make covers from (duh), so yeah, he's really picked it up and run with it! Including a fucking logo for the secret agency, which you can see "stamped" on the background of the file. Who knew Jotham liked spy movies? Well, I do now!

Anyway, the topic of the blog post... should you add DRM to your books? In theory, DRM or Digital Rights Management is supposed to protect your books from pirates. In practice... not so much. There's a lot of guides online on how to remove DRM from any ebook using Calibur... which yeah. I have that program because I use it to convert my .odf files to .mobi for uploads. If you get a certain plug in, you can strip DRM from ebooks for use on any device. 

Now, one thing you may not know about buying an ebook from Amazon... you're not actually "buying" it, but rather "leasing" it. There's been instances where Amazon has went into user's kindles and erased things they legitimately bought. A quick Google search on your part will come up with a couple stories on this (cause I'm lazy and not doing link-search-posting here). Since you're "leasing" it, they can wipe it at any time, and you have no legal recourse. Now, if you're like me and you enjoy rereading things... to go back and find a favorite book gone would be terrible. However, if you converted it to a .pdf file and downloaded onto your computer, you'd have it for all time. Putting DRM on books makes it hard to do that. Not impossible by any means, but hard... er. Or at least bothersome.

Any DRM on anything doesn't detract pirates. It doesn't. All it does it bother legitimate users who purchased the right to use the product how they see fit, and if they're unable to convert it, they may be unhappy. To this end, I've decided never to use DRM on any of my books from here on out. Now, my old ones do because I wasn't thinking about it, but any future ones won't for the convenience of my customers. 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Communication is Key

I'm awake here when I should be sleeping. It's my day off of work and I get off schedule, but tonight I've a pain that just won't let me rest, so while I wait for painkillers to kick in, I got to thinking... what is about words that translate into hotness?

Let me back up a bit. I was reading a bit about The Claiming of Persephone and why the author wrote it, why it was hot, and there was an excerpt. Read the excerpt and granted, right now I'm like "fuck sex, I want sleep" so I didn't find it arousing... but it's not because it wasn't hot (told you, paaaaaaain), so don't get me wrong there. However, it got me to thinking about why things, why words, are "hot" or not. This is a bit rambly, so bear with me. (Paaaaaain. :P)

All these words we use convey an image, or an idea. Communication is the key to understanding, and the vehicle we have for that is words. If you sit and consider each word individually, you'll get many different meanings for each word, and every person's interpretation of them is different. Yes, mostly the same, but we all add our own experiences to flavor it for us personally. When you put a single word in with a bunch of other words, it conveys a different context. We'll use hot for example... "The kettle was scorching hot." What does that say? Says don't fucking touch it, mother fucker! Now if we say "Her pussy was scorching hot." What does that say? Well, you're not going to burn your hand on her pussy, lol. Words and context. Communication. Conveying ideas.

What does all this mean for a writer? Well, first, you have to keep in mind that you are not your audience, and your audience is not you. The average person doesn't know what "loquacious" is, or "vacuous", "extrapolate", or (one of my favorites) "sesquipedalian". Mind you, that word is used so not often, the spellchecker thinks it's spelled wrong. I was reading at college level in the third or fourth grade... and I used such big words all the time my mother had no idea what I was talking about most of the time. Over time, I learned to modify how I spoke so that I could communicate clearly, even if it felt odd to me, and sometimes still does. I had to modify my speech for my audience so that I could communicate my ideas clearly.

Second, keep to your genre. If you're writing erotica, yeah, you want your throbbing, pulsating, warm, wet, hot, scorching, hard, rock hard, etc etc etc. to describe things. If you're writing horror (depending on the kind), you want your gore, blood soaked, creepy, noxious, sliced, crimson, hot coppery, and so on. Writing action, you want action packed stuff, like riveted, whirled, brandished, snarled, shouted, fiery, etc etc. Keep your vocabulary in line with your genre.

Third, keep to the basics. Don't fucking used murmured or whispered all the time for say tags. Use said. People's eyes just skip over said. It's tried and true. Only when you want to stress something use another say tag. Alter the flow of your sentences to match the scene. If it's frantic, use shorter sentences. If it's something surreal, use longer. Keep in mind the rhythm of the words as you're writing. Read it back to yourself. Does it feel right? Are you using too many fancy descriptors when a simple word would just do? Are you not using enough?

Last, if you can't connect to your audience, it isn't your audience's fault. I read a book not so long ago where there was a whole scene I had no idea what the fuck was happening. The writer jumped around, and didn't describe what was happening clearly, and as a result, it was a mess. I can read just fine and put words together just fine as well. So, it was the author's fault. They didn't go back and view their prose as a reader would and their message got lost. They knew what they meant, but they couldn't convey it clearly to me. It might have been the best fight scene ever, but I would have no way of knowing because their message got lost due to unclear communication. I've seen writers on the eroticauthors subreddit who are just like, "MY porn is the BEST porn... but it's not selling. People are stupid!" Well, no. You're not communicating your porn clearly, sorry. I won't admit I'm selling the most, or writing the best, or anything at all like any other erotica writer is doing... cause I'm not. I'm not just selling sex. I'm selling a story with the sex. If people like it, great. If they don't, that's great too. However, I communicate clearly that's what it's about... that there's a story there. Generally, for erotica, people want to just get off, or get to the sex right away. Plot is like window dressing. For me, it's the opposite. The sex is the window dressing. Hence, I'll never be super popular.

Well, not unless I go into more traditional erotica routes. My femdom series has come with some success, and that's kinda traditional. And that's cool... I enjoyed writing them, so I'll write a couple more, and keep that going... but they're short, and I just... I don't like shorts. I don't get into them. I much prefer my JKC because of the story. A friend of mine read them, and said, "I'm surprised how much characterization you got into your porn." It's because the characterization is a priority to me... and I don't expect to sell because of that, I expect to sell despite it in this genre.

I'm ok with that. If I wasn't, I'd change my style. These new authors, though... I don't know. They just aren't communicating clearly... because the last part of communication is listening, and that's on your readers. You have to speak your message clearly, but readers have to listen. That you can't control, but it is what it is. C'est la vie. Not that I've gotten any reviews yet, but when I do, I will listen to reader feedback and see what they thought. That's about the only way it applies to authors, I guess.

Yes, rambly. I think the painkillers are kicking in now though.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

The Adult Dungeon... It's Not Just for Whips and Chains Anymore!

So, I've mentioned that I got a couple books "adult dungeoned", but what is that exactly? Since I mostly publish on Amazon, I mostly obey their rules and restrictions on erotica. However, when you happen to step over the line, they'll put an "Adult" filter on you which means when people search for your book, it's not in the general population of books... it's in a special section, which people have to click a button to turn on to search IN it. Needless to say, the button is sometimes hard to find, and people don't really bother with it. Being in the adult dungeon can be the death of a book, and usually is. There are exceptions for this rule, but not many that I've found.

What gets you landed in the adult dungeon? As far as I can tell, here's an incomplete list... and I'm sure there are more things, these are just the ones I know about:

  • Nudity on the cover. Definite no-no.
  • Implied nudity on the cover... such as not wearing panties, lol, but also "hand bras". This seems to be more lax with bare chested men though.
  • Certain words or phrases in the title or blurb. Anything vulgar like cock, pussy, dick, etc, is a definite, but there are some other phrases which aren't as well known, like BANGED (hehe), anything to do with 'school' girl or boy, probably anything to do with implied underage (girl, boy) sex, definitely anything noncon and possibly dubcon as well (forced, raped, etc, but "taken" is ok, at least so far), anything to do with incest (ie, mommy, daddy, sister, brother) and some to do with PI (psuedo incest), but a lot of people seem to be getting away with certain phrases like "brat" or "man of the house"... also "step" stuff, though I still wouldn't put brother or sister on there.
  • Images which depict a woman being bound. It's unclear if men are under the same restriction, but I would assume so. Because, you know, BDSM is just SO FUCKING HORRIBLE and people can't possibly be bound with their consent.
  • Anything on the cover actually depicting a sexual act.
There are others, but those are the big ones off the top of my head. Basically, think of like a ten year old who might come across it... if it's anything that you'd really be embarrassed about them seeing, then don't. Make sure your models all have their clothes on and are enjoying things in a consensual manner. Write teasers... but don't spell everything out. I've found in my personal experience that writing short descriptions of what's IN the books are ok though... like putting in "oral, anal, group sex, mmf" and so on doesn't get you filtered, but some people insist that putting anal in there will. Well, I've gotten a couple of books adult dungeoned now, and not one of them have been for putting anal in the blurb, so I'm calling bullshit on that one right now. If someone DID get blocked for that, odds are it was actually for something else. Or Amazon's fucking with them.