Saturday, May 16, 2015

It Takes So Little to Thrill Me...

I'm an easy date, and by "easy" I mean, "I don't demand much". I really don't. Dinner could be anywhere, could go out for a movie... it doesn't have to be big or special or anything like that. I'm usually just happy going anywhere with the person I want to be with and hanging out.

It translates to online too. I'm absolutely thrilled when someone friends me on Facebook or adds me on Google+, even if it's not a big deal to them. When Reed James reviewed The Shagging Tree, I was on Cloud Nine for the rest of the day. It helped that it was a five star review... but it could have been one star and I would have been like, "Did you SEE that? Someone did actually read it!" Well, duh, woman, no shit people are reading it. It's not like they're just throwing money at starving artists out of the kindness of their hearts! It's just nice to see someone enjoyed it! (and I really appreciate the review--when I finish the latest one since I know you are partial to story driven erotica, Reed, I'll apply for another review)

Now, that latest thing that has me squeeing is that finally someone has showed up on my "Customers Have Also Bought Items By..." list, which it's a name I don't recognize, but I don't care! That means I'm getting connected to people! People have actually bought shit of mine! Holy smokes! Should that thrill me? Probably not. Yet, I'm a rookie, wet behind the ears, a greenhorn, so every little thing is like, "WTF OMG BBQ!!" (Mm. BBQ.) My daily refreshing of my sales page has gone down (though it's still a little obsessive), so that's good, and I'm easing into things, but that doesn't mean I don't get excited when something brand new and shiny happens.

It's a good feeling. Cheap dates are the best!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Backmatter or How I Learned to Love the Ass

Not really. I just really like Dr. Strangelove.

Backmatter! What is it and why does it matter to you, the erotica writer or reader? Well, it's what an author puts at the back of their books, simply put. When I write backmatter, I do so in a very particular fashion:

  • I usually put a fancy page break line in between the backmatter and the story, just so that the reader knows for sure the story is over.
  • First, I put the title and author again, as well as the copyright notice. I do this to bookend the book and title, and of course... you need to put a copyright notice on your stuff, saying it's your work. Why not put it at the front? Good question! When someone shopping on Amazon for e-books clicks the "Look Inside", there's only 10% of the book displayed. If it's a short, say at 4,000 words, then in theory about 400 words will be displayed... but it'll be cut short if you have the copyright at the front. To give the reader as much of a preview as I can, I put the copyright stuff at the back.
  • Any acknowledgments if needed. The Trillionaire story was inspired by a friend of mine, Penguin. He gave me the title, and I used it. He didn't contribute anything else, but I still credited him with the title... he was very amused. If I would thank my husband, my cat, and so on, this is where I would put it. If I needed to credit sites where I got pictures from (and some sites do require this, but not nearly all), I would put them here. If you wished to thank your readers for reading (I don't, but I probably should), I would put any author's notes here as well.
  • Contact information for me including email address, blog, twitter, and now Facebook. If I can, I put it in a clickable link. 
  • After this, I put the same fancy page break line I used before, to bracket this information, highlighting it.
  • Author (and anyone else's) bio. My bio, short as it is, and Jotham's, since I credit him separately as an illustrator. If I had an editor, I would put them in there as well... just a short note to let the reader get to know the author and stuff.
  • I will put a page break here--not a divider line, just a page break in the manuscript, and then put in my adverts. Jotham has made several adverts for me... there will be the examples below for you guys to look at... and these I put in here. Now, I did notice that the "delivery fee" for Amazon on sales has definitely been lowered the more pictures I put in for advertisements, so instead of the three here below, I'm only going to use two, at the most, at one time since it just lowers the royalty so much... about 7-10 cents per picture. Three pictures, that's thirty cents. Many authors just put in a description of other stories--a blurb if you will--complete with a link. I use the adverts and then put a list of links. Either way works really well. I would also recommend that you tailor each 'Also by this author...' blurb to the book you are selling. If it's a femdom book, you wouldn't want to put advertisements for m/m/m menage books in the back. It's been said not to overwhelm the reader, but I do like to at least put a title and link in for the books I have... maybe they'll find something there that interests them by the title. As I get more books, I will probably pick and choose more though.
As promised, here are the sample adverts:

Advert for the Janus Key Chronicles, so there's a whole page just for them. 

Adverts for other series.

Adverts for single books, and a "Coming Soon", which sort of locks into place what I'm writing, hehe.

Anyway, it's important to put that in there as an author so people can find your other works. If you've published on Smashwords or B&N, you can put links directly in there too, or links directly to your "adult filtered" stuff on Amazon for ease of finding them. For readers, well, obviously if you liked the book you just read, you may want to find some more of the same by the same author. It's win-win any way you slice it.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

I Just Wrote a Romance, and Now I Feel Dirty

Well, I just finished up ten thousand words (almost) of Dominating Her Biker... and it's a romance. It's a really character driven romance. It's short, to the point, has a couple of sex scenes in it... but the sex totals probably 3,000 words or less of it. That leaves about 6,500 words of dirty things like "character development" and "plot". Pfft.

The reason why I feel dirty is because it legitimately is a romance... and I'm debating whether or not to put it under the romance category. Everything in me is saying to do it, except for my morals. I don't want people to think I'm a romance writer, cause I'm not, I write smut. This one in particular was a hard story to get out, and I had to get into the main character's head more. Strangely enough, I think it's one of my weaker stories because of it. However painful, I birthed it, and it's there, dirty filthy romance or not. If it wasn't part of a series, I'd make a new pen name for it. But I can't. It's in the femdom series, and well, some of them have romantic overtones, but they're about women dominating men. While this one has a similar theme, there's a reason behind it... and I just... I keep looking at that "romance, general" category, and it's giving me the stink eye, like, "Don't do it, bitch. Don't you dare."

I think I'll compromise here, and go "erotic romance" instead. Yet that doesn't feel right either.

Gah. Ok. I think I'll have to think up a romance pen name if I'm going to keep doing this and waffling all over the place.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Black Hat Tactics

I'm interrupting my writing process because, well, the story is still brewing and I'm procrastinating, but also I was doing a little research. I often look at other erotica writers because it gives me an idea of what sells and what doesn't, how other people are doing, and so on. Now, there's some of them that use some pretty disingenuous tactics in order to get people to read their stuff and to make money. One of them I've sort of covered before, which is mirroring. Amazon is fine with mirroring so long as at least 30% of the book is different. It can be a useful tool to reach more audiences, but if people read different kinds of smut, I can imagine they'd be pretty pissed getting a mirror of something they've already read.

Another "black hat" tactic is excessive bundling. Let's say you have five stories, and you bundle them together, no big, right? Excessive bundling would be making like ten stories (or more) out of those five... which is really disingenuous. Although I plan on bundling some stories together (the Janus Key stuff) in certain configurations, it's going to be up front and honest, and it's actually for my readers benefit. What if they're gay and they don't like Debbie as a protag? Well, then I'm putting together a Dirk bundle. Vice versa with Debbie. Then doing the first five, second five... and then the first ten (when I get there) in a mega bundle. It'll be very honest about what it is, and it's for convenience's sake, not to make extra cash from it (though that will be nice). Out of ten, those excessive bundlers would be able to get like a zillion combinations from them.

The one that's really bothering me though is something quite a few erotica writers use: they don't label them as erotica. There's a huge thread on reddit about that, and I know a few erotica writers that are basically labeling their books, "MILF FUCKING" and putting it under a different category. Another big one is "INCEST HERE" and shit, stuff that would get banned or at least filtered in the erotica category... but it's fine if it's in romance. That's not god damn romance! I feel it's dishonest for a couple reasons. First... well, it's not romance, sorry. It's smut. It's fucking. If it's romantic erotica, there's actually a category for that! Put it there! Second, it opens it up to avoid adult filters people may have at home so that children have access to it. That's just... creepy. And gross. And creepy. Did I mention creepy? Lastly, it devalues the romance category making it harder for readers to find what they actually want.

I'll admit I'm a little jealous sometimes of other people's success, but I won't be successful at the cost of my morals, such as they are. I could go back and relabel all of mine into a different category, but I won't. I am a little stuck on the Rock Harden stuff because I'm not sure that's actually erotica! Heh. We'll see how it turns out in the end, if there's way more story than sex, then I may just try action/adventure or thriller, depending on length. Again, though, it depends. I started writing it to write sex. I have a story around the sex, but it's still sex. I think it would be really dishonest to represent it in a different light to fool people into buying it.

There was this one author, who shall remain nameless, who was putting out erotic fairy tales which sold decently. That's fine, bully for them. However, when I clicked on their stuff, it was all Disney stuff, down to the point where they had the characters on the cover of the books which were directly from the movies. Aghast, I did a little research and made sure of some things... well, Aladdin I knew had no "Jasmine" in the actual story since I'd just read it, but Belle from Beauty & the Beast was actually named "Beauty" in the fairy tale, the original, and so on. So, they were actually stealing from Disney. Unashamedly, I reported them to Amazon and Disney... that kind of shit just makes everyone look bad, and while I might not agree with authors putting their books into non-smut categories when it's obviously smut... evidently Amazon must agree with it since it goes through a vetting process.

Seeing those obvious copyright infringements though makes me wonder how good their vetting process really is.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Social Media

Social media... keeps everyone connected yet apart at the same time in today's age, eh? You just can't do anything without a Facebook page and a Twitter account, and now I have both. Well, I had a Twitter account before, but a FB page has joined it. It looks lonely there, no friends. Le sniffle. It won't stay that way for long, of course, but it looks all weird, and pure, and virginal the way it is.

Is social media needed as a writer? On my Twitter account, I do often get retweets which is nice, and there are rings for retweeting book ads and whatnot. I just ... I don't know. I don't like spamming, although I do want to advertise, and of course this is free. It's just time consuming. The blog here, at least, is more useful as it keeps me writing, even if it's non-fiction, and keeps me focused on what I'm doing exactly, and why I'm doing it. However, just sitting tweeting links and linking shit on FB is just not really my thing.

On the other hand, it does allow people access to those they wouldn't normally. I remember waaaaay back in the days of beginning email when everyone used Netscape (hahah, yea), I found Bruce Campbell's email address, and emailed him! And he emailed back! GASP! That was like the highlight of many of my years (and it's still a top three, honestly), but I didn't spam or bother him. I just asked a question, got an answer, and that was that. However, I will never have a chance to meet him in real life (which is probably a good thing because they'd have to pry me off with a crowbar), so it was really cool having that opportunity to interact with someone whom I admire. It meant nothing to him, but it meant everything to me. That sort of approachableness is commonplace nowadays, and almost downright required.

On the erotica writing boards I frequent, they actually advise against social media. WRITE WRITE WRITE is the chant. However, a certain level of presence is required, I think. It doesn't have to be much, but some place where readers can get in touch with you is good, or where they can hear announcements. A mailing list is recommended, but I'm cheap and I don't want to get a PO box, nor do I want to reveal my real address, so I consign myself to free things... blogs, facebook, twitter, and so on. Maybe it's not as effective, and maybe people don't want to associate themselves with dirty nasty vile smut, but it's there and can be seen, and I think that's what matters.

Besides, it's just odd if a business or person doesn't have a FB account now.