Mea Culpa, or, How Not to Do Twitter

Yesterday, in a poorly thought-out attempt to renew interest in this blog, I decided to tweet links to all the posts in my “Erotica That Sucks” series. What I didn’t stop to think was how a steady stream of “Erotica that Sucks” tweets would come across to people unfamiliar with the posts.

Not surprisingly, more than one person thought it was some sort of diatribe against erotica. Worse, not content with reaching my own following, I appended all the tweets with several retweet group hashtags, most notably the Erotic Author Retweet Group. Anthony Quill, who runs the EARTG (which you really should be following) finally called me out on it early this morning.

So, after apologizing to Anthony (and I apologize to anyone else who was annoyed or offended by it), I set about considering what might need to be changed. “Erotica that Sucks” was one of those things that you do simply because you’ve been doing it a while and have just stopped thinking about it. I realize now it sends a message I didn’t really intend. Those of you who have been reading the series know (I hope) that my intent was just to offer writing advice.

I’ve decided to rename the series to something more positive, and have retitled/edited all the posts accordingly. I can’t, unfortunately, change the URLs without breaking all sorts of links across the blog; I may fix that at a later date when I have more time.

I intend to continue the series, but we will be concentrating on things that suck in a good way going forward.

And Now, the Newsletter

At the suggestion of a reader, I’m starting a newsletter for anyone who wants advance notice of new books and coming attractions. You’ll find the sign-up link by following the Newsletter tab at the top. This won’t include blog posts since you can already sign up to follow those with the WP link at the top.

Another Week, Another New Book

I’ve been teasing this one for a while, and it’s finally ready to go. The Wisdom of Dogs is a collection of seven short stories I wrote during my first foray into fiction writing in the late 1990s. I’ve revised and updated some of them as needed, though I left a couple alone because they were too tied to the period when they were written.

These stories range from tender-to-bittersweet romances all the way to erotic horror, spanning a thriller and BDSM piece in between. There should be something for everyone.

I’m uploading the ebook to Amazon later today, and will load it in Smashwords tonight.

The eGirl is Online and Waiting for Your Commands

I’ve been on something of a writing binge of late, and I just published another novella, The eGirl, to Smashwords and Amazon this afternoon (Amazon, as usual, will go live in a few hours). As the title and cover should suggest, this is a fembot story, but an unusual one. I tried to imagine what would happen if you dropped a robot like this into an existing family—what kind of emotions would it generate? While this is as erotic as my other stuff, it’s an unusual piece of erotica in that respect. I hope you enjoy it.

We’re Moving on Up

When I started doing book reviews a little more than a week ago, my only goal was to support the indie author community and hopefully get some review-backs for my own books. What I got was something a bit more than that.

After I reviewed her wonderfully deranged naughty-Catholic-schoolgirl story Under the Gargoyle, Christina Harding reached out to me asking if I might be interested in reviewing with her. She’s been doing this quite a bit longer (well, since March anyway), and indie author reviewing being what it is, she’s been inundated with review requests such that she’s booked a full two years in advance. So she needed some help.

Starting next week, I’m going to be posting my reviews on her blog, probably one to two a week. I’m leaving the reviews I posted already where they are, but that will be it.

Writing Good Erotica, Part 10: Hobby vs. Business

So, about a month into my self-publishing experiment, I would say I haven’t sold as many books as I would have liked, but I’ve sold enough to feel like it hasn’t been a complete waste of time. I’m not yet into the black on this project based on what I’ve spent on covers and other stuff, but with the lion’s share of the start-up costs behind me, I feel like I should start turning a profit within another month or so. At the very least, I should have a nice tax deduction at the end of the year. My marketing plan hasn’t panned out quite the way I expected, but I’m starting to feel like I see how things should work and what the best approaches should be going forward.

If any of you are thinking “start-up costs?” “tax deduction?” “marketing plan?” that may be your problem.

There are two ways of looking at writing: As a hobby, or a business. If you look at writing as a hobby, you should stop worrying about what you’re selling or what you’re making, because in all likelihood, it will never be anything worth mentioning.

These are all signs you’re treating writing as a hobby instead of a business, regardless of what you think you’re doing:

  • Not keeping careful track of your expenses
  • Not having a plan for what you’re spending
  • Throwing your work out there and hoping for the best
  • Not thinking about how you’re presenting yourself to your readers
  • Not doing anything to boost your profile
  • Just writing one book or story and then sitting back to see what happens
  • Not doing a lot of reading to see what’s working for successful writers and adjusting your plan accordingly

To give you an idea of how seriously I’m taking this, I’m planning to deduct the $12 or so I’ve spent so far on the stories I’ve reviewed, because I view these as marketing expenses. If the IRS has a problem with that, then they can take it up with me next year.

If that sounds like overkill, sorry. Publishing is a brutal, soulless business, and if you want to succeed, you can’t treat it like fun and games. I can testify to that having worked in this field since the mid-1990s and having seen plenty of good people get tossed aside and worthwhile books wither on the vine while unimaginative crap like 50 Shades of Grey hit the bestseller lists.

Making it in this business requires a certain amount of luck, to be sure, but there’s an old proverb that works well here: Luck is what happens when preparation and opportunity meet.