Monday, September 15, 2014

Self-Publishing

With me desperately trying to finish the last book of the Domestic Discipline Quartet, Claiming His Wife, this seemed as good a time as any to talk about self-publishing =)

Literotica.com was the first place I started writing, and I learned a lot in the earlier years from the feedback I got on there, as well as comparing myself to other authors on  the site.  Once I got a Kindle, I had even more authors I could compare myself to, judge their writing styles and see what I liked and didn't like about their writing, adapting that mentality to my own stories.

A couple of summers ago, I wrote The Venus School of Sex for Literotica, and I got a HUGE fan reaction.  Not just about whether people wanted Jessica to choose Justin or Chris or both (and I loved the comments about that), but people asking if I published for Kindle and telling me that if I didn't, I should because they would buy it.  I had just recently got a Kindle at the time, and so I could see the appeal.  Having the stories to carry around with you, no need for internet connection, all in one place... so I said okay.  I'll go ahead and try that.

It only took me a little bit of researching using Google and the Amazon site to figure out that it's incredibly easy to publish there.  You have to have an account, and then you go to kdp.amazon.com and it basically gives you step by step directions in there to publish the book.  The hardest part is actually formatting the book, and they have this awesome free e-book called "Building Your Book for Kindle" available.  I read through it, and then the first ten or so times that I published a book, I went step by step through the directions.  Now I've basically got them down and I only need to re-check them once in a while.

I said "the hardest part."  I lied.  That's just the hardest part of making the book available.  The hardest part is getting people to read it.  I've talked to other authors who are self-published and we pretty much all agree - marketing is a bitch.  I'm lucky.  I'm not trying to make this my main source of income and I came with a built-in fan base, thanks to all of you lovely people from Literotica who kept encouraging me to publish.  That meant that people bought my book AND wrote reviews for it from the very beginning.  That's HUGE in the self-publishing world, reviews are incredibly important, even if you're not trying to make this your MAIN source of income.  If you want any modicum of success, you need reviews and you need them to be positive.

When I say I'm lucky, I mean that.  I've had wonderful luck with beta readers who are happy with being rewarded with free copies of the book and who give me fantastic feedback.  I've had several offers for editing that have come and gone, but I seem to have finally picked one up that's around to stay, and so I'm hoping Claiming His Wife is going to be as close to error free as I've ever gotten on a first go-round.  She's also been helping me with editing the Venus Rising Quartet so that I can re-release them, with new covers by RaineyCloud9.  Also super lucky that she found me and wanted to help to covers, because I have NO IDEA how I would have found someone as talented as her if I'd been left to my own devices.  I probably would have continued putting out the same kind of covers I always had.  During this past year, I was also contacted by Yellow Silk Dreams, which is an author-based publishing company, and they've been wonderful about helping me get into new markets, and about doing the print books for me.  As soon as I'm done revising the Venus Rising Quartet and have the new covers and everything, I'm going to release the whole quartet in print.  YAY!

But when I started off, I didn't have any of those things (except an awesome beta reader, Queenie, who has been with me from the beginning), so it was really thanks to the supportive fans who wrote the initial reviews that things went well for me.  Now I also publish on Smashwords and for the Nook, both of which require different formats from the Kindle.  It's a bit of a pain in the butt, and neither of those have been as successful as Amazon, but that's okay.  I have had some experience with publishers wanting to publish my stuff, and then getting screwed over in one way or another.  It's made me very cautious.  Yellow Silk Dreams has been great so far, which is awesome, because my first experiences made me pretty sketched out.  There are a LOT of small publishers out there.  I was thinking about submitting some stuff through Blushing Books or Ellora's Cave, but so far I've been happy just doing my own thing, and those initial publishers made me leery enough that I haven't got around to it.  I'm not sure I would do any better going through one of them anyway.

One day, if I could make this my primary source of income, that would be AMAZING.  Until then... it's a lot of fun.  Some months are better than others.  And I love the feedback and attention that the books get.  It's extremely gratifying in a way that I don't get to experience otherwise.  I'm a bit of an attention whore, so this feeds a need for me =P

So yeah.  If you're wondering how the writing's going with Claiming His Wife... I'm almost done with the last chapter and then I just have the epilogue and then a crap-ton of editing.  I'm aiming to have the writing portion done by the end of this week and the editing done by the end of next week... I'll keep you all updated =)

4 comments :

  1. Have you seen the implosion of Ellora's Cave? Check out Dear Author - she posted something on it this past weekend. Suffice to say, it's sad to see what's going on to a publisher that's brought a lot of legitimacy to erotic romance and erotica. You're smart to avoid them - some are speculating they may not be in business much longer. Yeah, that's how bad it's gotten.

    Honestly, most of the erotic romance authors I've been reading lately have been self-published, because they're not confined by traditional publishing boxes and can take chances (Lili St Germain comes to mind with her Gypsy Brothers serialized novella). There are plenty of places to pick up marketing tips - just ask the authors for suggestions. That's what I've been doing :)

    Oh, and if you're interested, you might want to check out the Yahoo! loop IndieRomanceInk. You have to get permission to join, but there are a TON of authors on there with lots of great advice.

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    1. Thank you!!!! I had no idea about Ellora's Cave... glad I stayed away from that! And thanks for the extra advice, definitely good to know!!!

      By the way, readers, if you didn't know, Amanda is a WONDERFUL writer and she has a super informative blog about a whole bunch of things, so you should check her out =)

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  2. thanks for taking my suggestion on self publishing blog. I actually found you first on kindle with the first Venus book, after the first one I got the rest of the series. I am thankful I came late to the party so I could read it all at once and not suffer waiting. haha then I started reading your blog and through there I found literotica. yours is the first blog I ever commented on and I like how you always respond to comments.
    I also just started the poker looser trilogy while waiting for the last domestic discipline and Todd is a little naughty and very imaginative.
    Stronghold / Venus is still my favorite. Can 't wait for Lexie's story
    Kat

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    1. Thanks for making it!!! Haha, and I know what you mean about being glad you find it AFTER it's done. I'm always like oh noooo when I fall in love with a series and then realize that only the first book or first couple books are out! At the moment, I'm glad I can respond to comments =) I have the time and I feel like I should always respond to the readers who take the time to leave them! I appreciate all the support I get, so yeah. It helps that I'm not getting hundreds of them or anything =P

      Hope you enjoy Poker Loser! I have it on both Literotica and Kindle, but they're VERY different stories LOL. It was fun transposing it to Kindle and getting to "fix" the things that I thought were wrong with it (since I wrote the original almost a decade ago!).

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