Aug 292013
 
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Hello longtime readers and supporters!

In the previous few months we’ve been trying to hold onto a semblance of normalcy at WriteSEX, I’ve sold a novel to Red Sage (and possibly a series) had one book come out from Sizzler Editions and be listed by USA TODAY as a Recommended Read, and then sold a six book series to Secret Cravings Publishing.  All those covers are featured here by the way.  The thing about the six book series is that the first three books are written.  The last three….well… I have to make a ton of time for all that.  The second book I’m pitching to Red Sage is also written and under consideration and the third book will be on their desk before year’s end.

The folks at Decadent publishing are asking me to promote more, which means spending more time blogging at other sites to get covers and blurbs out to more readers.  Expansion is key in any business if you want to make money, which I do.  This has always been a business labor of love for me, meaning I’m doing this because I love it and can make a decent living from it.  Yet it’s not easy and it IS time consuming.  Requires a lot of dedication, which we’ve talked about in previous posts.

This has left me with little time to do much else other than promote myself, which brings me to the bit of sadness here at WriteSEX.

With great regret, I’m leaving the site and handing it over to the capable hands of Jean Marie Stine, publisher at Sizzler Editions who has contributed frequently over the last three years.  The main reason this change is occurring has to do with my hectic writing schedule and lack of time to maintain the site, let alone get content updated as often as we once were.

The biggest change you’ll probably notice will be some new faces to the site who contribute twice a week.  Yes, we’ll still be the premier site for the business of Erotica but WriteSEX has outlived the purpose it served me initially in that it was part of an author platform.  My own career is shifting away from definite erotica and into more mainstream media (romance) and while I don’t mind being tied to the erotica world, I’ve never been exclusively an erotica author.  My dreams have always gone toward romance in a variety of genres, as that makes me happy.

Yes, I will still contribute here but turning the reigns over to someone with as much experience as Jean Marie Stine makes sense as it will allow the site to grow, the reader base to grow and for those of you who have chosen this path as your career, this site will remain a large part hopefully in your toolbox of writer tricks and tips.  After serious consideration, Stine was the only choice I could have made when it came to letting my baby (and a part of my author platform) go so I could free up more time for writing and the personal changes I’m about to make.

There will be classes taught and of course you can find our panels often at DragonCON and Frolicon, among other conventions I’ll be at next year.  (In fact, this post went live the day I left for Atlanta, so be sure to stop by our WriteSEX panel, Saturday 10 PM Hilton 201!)

RE: those personal changes include moving across the country to live with my mentor, Morgan Hawke for a few months while we fill up my writer’s imagination and I dive angry.

It’s been a definite pleasure to share my experiences with you, loyal readers.

 

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Jan 102013
 
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Hello and happy new year, readers.

We at the WriteSEX blog have been excited to continue bringing you viable information on the ever so relevant topic of publishing erotica.  As experts we strive for perfection in our art, knowing that all we can truly do is improve upon the previous day’s work.

There will be a few new updates to the site overall, I have only to make the time!

What I’m going to cover today has more to do with reflections and advice for the erotic author.  Yes, I know I gave some advice some time back and it was well read but talking to a few other authors has prompted me to reiterate and add to the previous sage wisdom I’ve posted.

Starting out as an author 13 years ago, I was young, naive, foul mouthed and strongly opinionated.  About everything.

And when I took flack for my writing choice, I had an opinion too.

When I took rejections (yeah, they did happen from time to time) I took them gracefully to the person rejecting me, but I had a tendency to blast the party in question on public loops.

Or worse, I’d whine.  Not like, inner pain, demons tormenting me, whining. That’s valid :P

But “woe is me, the publishing industry sucks…yadda yadda.”

It’s never that an author is unjustified in their feelings (well, sort of) but rather, the feelings need not be displayed because of appearances. There was a story I used to tell about my daily drinking habit vs. those of a lot of the others in publishing and it goes like this:

I drink daily.  Usually 4 a day and it’s mostly wine and whiskey and no more.  Yeah, I spread it out and have food and if I miss a drink big deal.  But I’m consistent.  At conventions, this is obviously not always the case, but the difference is in how my peers act after two or three.  I’ve learned to keep my mouth shut and not get drunk and say stupid things while some of my peers run their mouths and speak things we’re all thinking.

Being drunk isn’t bad, the appearance of unprofessionalism and the inability to remain a publishing professional is.  I’m not advocating a drinking hobby, mind you.  I AM suggesting you as an author remain in control at all times.

Getting negative reviews is similar, as the new author is prone to not having a thick enough skin to let things roll off their shoulders. We all get bad reviews.  Some of us know to let those reviews fuel our career to a new place where our writing grows.

Others know how to blast the big magazines whose competition for quality reviews is enormous and may often be chosen by advertising dollars small press might not have access to.

What Oceania, Christian, Thomas, Jean Marie, Debbie and I have been stressing overall is that you press on if you want this to be a lucrative business.

 

 

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Dec 242012
 
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It’s been a pretty productive year so far.

Have you made any of your goals?  I have learned a new level of patience thanks to both my agents.  DragonCON, Frolicon, teaching Male POV LIVE, hanging with writer friends, getting out new releases and re-covering old ones…it’s been a long year but a prosperous one.

Hopefully we’ll get more of the last few months worth of posts put up in audio once I revamp the blog a little.  There will be some changes but only beneficial ones as we practice the art of Kai Zen–continuous self improvement, in the desire to bring you the best content we can.

Fr0m all of us at WriteSEX, we wish you a happy and joyous season followed by a prosperous new year.

We’ll be on hiatus from December 17th-Jan 10th.  We’ll be back strong with my first post of the year, followed by M. Christian, Jean Marie Stine, Thomas Roche, then finishing up with Deborah Riley Magnus before starting all over again.

 

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Nov 082012
 
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Promotion is the activity around which you sell your book.

There are literally hundreds of book promotion opportunities on the internet and all around you in the real world.  Some cost hundreds or thousands of dollars, some are free. Here’s the problem … BOOK PROMOTIONS lump many authors together in one place (creating a competitive environment) or they try to create urgency sales by giving away free, 99 cent books or discounted books within a limited time period. Many of these are silly games or puzzles which in and of themselves aren’t bad ideas, except for the fact that so many authors are doing the same thing at the same time, and almost none of these promotional ideas focus on the elements that make your book special. Being herded into a tight environment with other authors is less successful than you think. Now keep in mind, I’m not telling you NOT to do any of these things … I’m simply explaining that using such promotions alone will not gain you the book sales above and beyond other authors. You have got to go further and move into areas other authors haven’t approached with your promotions.

Yay, it’s finally time to promote that book you’ve been writing, talking, blogging, Facebooking and Twittering about. Time to promote the book to all those prospective readers you’ve been reaching out to. Remember all those goals listed under Tool #1? Now you can make them happen.

The question is, how to promote? Again, it’s all inside your manuscript. Create promotions and events that are so tightly related to your story and characters you can hear it squeak. If the murder in your mystery takes place in a museum, hold your book launch events and speaking engagements in museums or museum gift stores. Find the hook and twist it tightly to make it your promotional key.  Is your main character a coffee expert, (cognac lover, cigar connoisseur)? Have your events in a coffee shop (liquor store or cigar shop), use the store’s discount coupons as bookmarks, campaign to have a coffee drink at the coffee shop named after your book. Does you story involve a corrupt lawyer poaching wild animals in Africa? Hold your events at the zoo and have tee shirts that say “So Zoo Me!”

Promotion is about making a splash but you can’t make a splash without any water, a whole sea of unique hooks you’ve already written into your book. The water’s there, all that marketing and publicity is just waiting for your activity.

E-published? Again, there are perfect venues for your promotions. The Zoo has a website. So does the museum and the coffee shop. They might be thrilled to let you show your book on that website, perhaps sell your book with a link on that website, especially if you’re donating a portion of your profits to support the zoo or museum or a charity near and dear to the coffee shop’s heart.

Get creative. Seek every opportunity and promote! And by the way, don’t forget the simplest and most effective way to promote. JUST TELL PEOPLE! Tell all those friends on Facebook and Twitter that your book is now available and where they can buy it. Let all your associates in those “hook” interest online and live groups that the book is out, and remember to get the news out to your email groups too.

Next time we’ll cover Author Success Tool #9, Resources Required.

Feel free to contact me at writerchef@sbcglobal.net with any questions or to share your success stories! If you’d like to know more, let me know and I’ll put you on the mailing list for online workshops and information about my book, Finding Author Success: Discovering and Uncovering the Hidden Power within you Manuscript, “Finding Author Success” available in print and ebook on Amazon, B&N, Apple and Sony

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Jul 262012
 
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Recently, I’ve become really irritated over the disrespect some people show others on social media. For the sake of this post, let’s agree that social media is any tool on the Internet one can use to get and share information. As an author, and one who is a self-proclaimed expert idiot, I need my connections and groups on social media to learn. From my current headache of learning about owning/riding/caring for a horse, to what a poly-amorous relationship is really about, these groups save me tons of time. Can I go to the virtual library and rummage around to learn what experts have to say on human sexuality and current trends? Sure. But will I get as vibrant an answer as what I can get in one of my private conversations on Facebook or FetLife? No. Can I ask a book a stupid question and get an honest answer? No. But somebody is going to describe exactly what that blue wand feels like when it’s pressed against certain sensitive body parts.

So what’s my beef? There are plenty of people who are posers. They pretend they’re interested in the subject matter or social positioning of a private or secret group to get invited. Then they spend time trolling for dates, play partners, or ways to make trouble for the group members. Besides being totally inappropriate, it destroys trust and ruins a safe place for other members to share intimate information about themselves and their lives.

You’ve probably seen this note a thousand times on Facebook: If you don’t like what you see on my wall, please just leave.

Now, why people can’t actually do that is the million-dollar question. Usually authors don’t keep their purpose a secret. We are out here blasting away about our titles, characters, covers, and buy links. Our playful attitudes attract friends and fans. That is my goal. But the social media rules are not in favor of us. Another author gets pissy about your sales and decides to randomly report you to Facebook and your privileges get suspended temporarily or permanently. There’s no recourse but to wait it out or find another door in. A person joins a private group and goes along until they see a photo and commentary that they don’t like – and presses report. A bunch of readers decides to target an author for some other random reason and you get to spend the next few days or weeks wondering if that teeny-tiny hole you’ve punched into the publishing universe is going to shut because of this gang mentality. The owner of the private group is booted off Facebook by a group member. You pick up a stalker in a private group. The stalker calls your house. Um yeah. Explain that one to your spouse.

For me, studying pictures of naked people and watching porn is not usually for my personal pleasure. Last time I checked, I was a straight, white, married woman. So, what’s play like with a Domme? How does a butt plug feel to a man? What does that taste like? What’s the procedure here? It’s called a what? These things have I DON’T KNOW plastered all over them. I use these groups, as do so many of my friends, not to get my visual jollies, but to learn. I might study a photo to observe a skin texture, a tattoo, a body shape, color, or skin tone, or to get new ideas about what other men and women sound and look like in intimate settings.

I’ve admired the tenacity of some of my author friends. They keep finding ways to get into the game, time and again. But it’s time consuming and it’s frustrating. Research to provide those nuances and flavors that bring your story to life isn’t an easy task. Those of us on the hunt for information are usually forthcoming. Read any of my profiles and it’s clear who I am, what I’m about, and what I want.

So, I’m asking for some respect-for myself and for my colleagues. Please stop reporting us and bothering us with your drama. We’re not here as a dating service or to turn you on. We’re here to work and have a little fun along the way. And if you can’t respect that, then please leave us alone. Stop exposing us to your nastiness and go away. What’s considered private should remain private.

Margie Church writes erotic romance novels with a strong suspense element, in keeping with her moniker: Romance with SASS (Suspense Angst Seductive Sizzle). She has a degree in writing and editing and has been a professional writer, editor, and journalist for over 25 years. If you enjoy books you can’t put down, read one of hers.

Margie lives in Minnesota, is married, and has two children. Some of her passions are music, flower gardening, biking, walking on moonlit nights, nature, and making people laugh. She also writes children’s books under the pen name, Margaret Rose.

 

Keep up with Margie:

Margie’s website: Romance with SASS

Margie’s blog: http://blog.RomanceWithSASS.com

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/MargaretRChurch

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/MargieChurch

Margie’s Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/Margie-Church/e/B008H7HO4I/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

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Jun 222012
 
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As you know, I edit for Sizzler Editions, primarily for our Intoxication line.  While our audience is heavily into BDSM, I’m grooming authors and building an erotic romance line, kinky or otherwise.  You can see our guidelines here.  Anyway, I was talking with one of our authors about her next BDSM book and the discussion of plot came into play.  While she asked questions about how a particular scene should go and what details should be included, I spouted off the answers from memory (and recent events) as though it were nothing and I play with partners all day every day.

I wish.

She seemed surprised I felt at how I rattled off the information and could back it up with personal experiences, and then I remembered something.  She’s a new writer but that’s not really an issue.  Her experiences in the Lifestyle are non existent and research can only help a little if this is a new genre for you.

In fact, she had questions I didn’t’ even expect because when writing the same material these things seem like normalcy to me.  I know how each character is going to react to a singletailing session, or how they get turned on and what cranks their motor when my Dom hits that sweet spot on the ass.  It requires only enough thought to form and create the character.  For my author, it takes research, interviews and her doing the legwork (which in turn makes her a better author.)

I’m not sure but I’d take a stab and suggest that for people who write from their knowledge base and experiences, and can translate those experiences into marketable writing, the legwork is already done.  If you’re a crime solving detective in your daily life, and you want to be the next N. T. Morley, you simply take your daily life and apply it to your story, thus potentially working demons out, without having to break a sweat.

I’m mentioning this not as a deterrent, but one of the questions I get asked a lot is how do you write what you love and make it sell?  Well, the answer is going to be found mostly in Deborah Riley Magnus‘s posts on Author Success, but pulling from your hard earned experience and finding a way to relate those stories to a wider audience is a great place to start.  With BDSM being so huge (thanks to that trite known as 50 Shades of Grey) it only makes sense that our authors would stick around in this genre.

Erotica is a large field and there is room for everyone dedicated to the pursuit of understanding the business thereof.

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May 032012
 
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One of the things I’m hearing from authors is the waiting time between submission and the actual time for publication.  E-pubs are taking far longer than they used to and some authors, especially the newer ones or the ones with more of a following are having a hard time dealing with it.  Even in erotica, release dates can be up to six months long, as can acceptances of stories submitted.

The reason?  Let’s look at some numbers.

For a company like Sizzler Editions with 200+ authors, let’s assume 30% of those authors are regulars who contribute frequently, sub to us on a regular basis of once every few months.  Each book goes through the same process by a SMALL editing/approval team, starting with the initial submissions editor and finally leading up to the publisher for final approval.  Based on that figure, that’s 60 authors who write regularly, submitting stories ranging from 30k to 100k.  If I as an editor of the Intoxication line have a portion of those stories sent to me, say half, that’s roughly 30 stories over the course of a few months.  Not a large number BUT, editors aren’t just editors, they’re people.  They have to evaluate the stories, see if they can be worked with and molded, then forward the stories up the chain o command.  This can take a few minutes, a few hours or a day or more depending on backlog.

The editing itself on ONE book may range from simple mistakes to the  more complex.  I as an editor don’t edit for plot, unless the plot is majorly screwy and it’s going to prevent a good review.  At another publisher I write for, they have three editors, a line editor, a copy editor and a final line editor to catch as many mistakes as possible.  Right now, I do all that for my Sizzler Authors.

Imagine now piling up several books on one editor and then the continuous flow of creativity writers have, combined with the rest of the process.

Book gets edited, then there are the final edits and last minute changes/fixes, then there’s cover art design, formatting and finally turning the MS in to the publisher.

Even the larger e-publishers are still small in manpower, and at the end of the (usually long) work day, there is still much to do.  As e-publishing has grown, so have the demands on the people at the companies to churn out quality fiction.  Erotica is no different.

That by the way ignores the emails to authors, emails to publishers and oh yeah, did I mention I’m a writer first?

The BEST way to capture an editor’s attention in erotica is simply to write a damn good, clean, tight story.  The more stories that come across my desk requiring less work make it easier for all of us to do our job and release quality e-books to the voracious reading public.  Study the guidelines by each publisher and make sure you understand the sorts of stories they’re looking for before submitting.  If you don’t understand something, feel free to email us.  Yeah, it slows things down but we’d rather deal with an issue up front than have to slow down everything in the middle of the cycle.

Sizzler Intoxication Guidelines can be found here

In the end, we’ll both be happy, albeit the patience game sucks.  As relations develop with your editor, things can be moved around depending on a number of factors such as sales, enthusiasm for marketing the book, and of course, time spent editing.

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Apr 202012
 
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I’m wearing my editor hat for this post.

When an author starts to acquire publishing credits, the first thing an agent, new editor or someone with power will do is look for the author’s press kit.  We need to know what you’ve done, how you’ve done it and what that’s done for your career.  It m ay seem a little old fashioned, but the importance of an author press kit cannot be emphasized enough.

Let’s break down the press kit.

For any author, the following documents should be present:

  • 1Page – the one page that you hand out at conventions and send to organizations you approach for teaching/speaking engagements
  • Backlist – Your complete, up to date back list of publishing credits, books released
  • A professional photo – No stupid shit poses please. You’re putting your best face forward
  • Covers of last three releases
  • 3rd person author bio

That’s it!  It should also be zipped in .zip or .rar format and easily found on your website.

Yes, social media and web 2.0 make it easier for any editor to google you and find your results but you’re not doing this for me, the editor.  Not entirely.  You’re doing this because even as a smut writer, you’re still a professional.  You’re still looking at this from a career standpoint and coming off as someone who takes their career seriously will differentiate you from the others in your field who don’t do these simple things.

The 1 Page and back list come in handy often when you’re doing promotions by the way.  The back list comes in handy when your readers ask what else you’ve done or where you’ve been published and.  Giving you a quick reference makes it easier to make a quick sale when you can pull up a file, copy and paste a link or send in an email.

The author bio is obvious, a short, 100 word or less bio of who you are that includes recent publishing credits and facts about you.  Mine is up at Sascha’s Secrets.

The 1Page is a document that shows overall accomplishments in your career.  WriteSEX contributor M. Christian and I use a dual column layout that details basics such as the facts.  I’m an author of X amount of stories (btw 39 for me!) and beneath it, editing credits, WriteSEX credits, teaching gigs, what I can do for you and finally, some reader accolades.

What if you’re lacking in credits? Look, really look, at your career and what you’ve done.  Have you freelance edited for someone else?  That counts.  Do you have anything in your author platform you can utilize? Put that down.

The Press Kit is the one staple that helps you more than you think.

Oceania will hopefully return soon to WriteSEX but in the meantime, we have exciting changes coming up on the blog. 

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Jan 122012
 
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Hi Folks,

How has your new year started off? Have you made writer resolutions for more sales, more releases, more books to be read?  Or are you swamped like I am even though it’s only the first week of the year?  LOL!

My biggest news right now is that The Playground is released through Decadent Publishing!  The 1Night Stand series is apparently very popular and when I met Kate Richards and Valerie Mann at Erotic Authors Association Con in Vegas last year, they convinced me to write something for them.

One of the biggest factors writers need to realize when they start writing a new book is the time commitment to it . Usually I cover craft on WriteSEX but I think we should talk a little on the business side of things too for this article.  In a previous Authors Promoting Authors blog post I had talked about research and looking at things from the standpoint of ROI on TIME invested in a book.  Being efficient is key when writing because as we’ve covered before, true wealth can be had by a writer but it takes a LOT of work and so few writers actually amount massive wealth. I pointed out eh importance of education on topics such as BDSM or psychology in the APA blog so that once you sit down to write a story, you don’t have to stop and research, thus breaking your train of thought.

After all, train of thought in writing gets the words on the paper.  But if you have to stop and look up the term SAM, maybe you don’t know what it is and have no sense of which websites are reliable, so more time spent on research, which affects plotting and character development in the long run.  Everything as a writer that you do should be measured in terms of return on investment.

You are a writer, an artist yes.  but the truth of the matter is, many of you have this goal and desire to be a decently paid if not well paid author and the only way to truly meet that goal is with proper planning, self discipline and keeping your ass in the chair and pounding out the words.  Oceania, our Audio Goddess, did a post last year on deadlines and writer’s block that I think will help from time to time. Continue with your education to learn what works and what doesn’t.

So, set your goals, write them down!  Put them someplace where you’ll find them a year from now.

Sascha Illyvich

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Dec 232011
 
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This year has flown by hasn’t it? And in a week or so it’ll all be over and we’ll be on our way in 2012!  What are you looking forward to as a writer of erotica in the coming year?  What sales techniques will you use or have you learned from WriteSEX that have or will help you sell more books?  And lastly, looking back, are you a stronger writer now than you were at the first of 2011?

The answer is probably a resounding YES!  That being said, we’ve had a long year despite how fast it flew by.

Publicist Deborah Riley Magnus launched The Author Success Coach

Jean Marie Stine of Sizzler Editions gained 14 new authors for our Intoxication line

M. Christian and I attended the very first Erotic Authors Association Conference in Las Vegas on behalf of Sizzler Editions as editors of quality erotica. And back at the beginning of the year, WriteSEX taught for Savvy Authors.

We’re teaching again only this time it’s for Lowcounty Romance Writers of America.  January 5th-29th, M. Christian, Oceania, Debbie Riley Magnus and I will be online teaching the business, tricks and techniques to a successful career in writing erotica.  Details can be found here.  Those are just a few of the accomplishments we’ve had overall from the WriteSEX group.

Lots going on and a lot more planned for 2012.  I would like to be the first, on behalf of all of WriteSEX to wish you a happy holiday season and blessings for the New Year!

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