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2006 Authors Insider Tips

Beyond the Basics
With Tulsa Brown
The 30-Second Solution
Backstory vs. Flashback
Intimacy Begins With "I"
Hit the Ground Running
Make the Reader Leap
Meaningful Dialogue
Pulling the String
Central Image
Elegant Smut
Better Plots
Bitch Power


The Write Stuff
From Ashley Lister
Predefined Your Goals
Spell Ink Miss Takes
Plotting & Planning
Character Building
Speech Therapy
Talking Sense


Two Girls Kissing
With Amie M. Evans
Intro to Lesbian Erotica
3-Dimensional Characters
Submitting for Publication
Five Year Writing Plan
Setting Up Your Plan...
The Power of Naming
Language of Lesbian...
Sexual Description
What Can I say?


Hard Business
From Greg Herren
What Are Your Priorities?
How to Edit an Anthology
Follow the Guidelines...
A Cock is Just a Cock
But is it Still a Story?
Who Am I Fucking?
Potential Material
Rejection ...


The Business End
By Kate Dominic
Effective Cover Letters
How to Lose Contracts
Contracts: Agent Issues
Contracts: Read It!
Double Duty Bios
What's Sex?


Literary Streetwalker
By M. Christian
Ground Rules for Writers
No Muse is Good News
Effective Cover Letters
Location, Location
Say Something!
Dirty Words


The Erotic Book Docter
By Susie Bright
Marketing Your Book
Submission Concerns
Promotion Strategies


2006 Smutters Lounge

Pondering Porn
With Ann Regentin
Babes & Hunks of Erotica
Fantasy, Reality & Rape
Selling Ourselves Short
Selling Smut in Motown
The Frankenstein Bride
Frankenstein Revisited
Porn and Perfect Shoes
Porn's Passionate Pull
Instruments of Joy


Get All Worked Up
With J.T. Benjamin
Orwell's Eerie Parallels
Redefining Marriage
The Porn Menace
High-Quality Porn
About Profanity
Dirty Laundry
Big Brother
Sluts


Editorials

Wrong Reasons to do SM
by Midori

The Erotic Book Doctor
by Susie Bright

Book Promotion Strategies


Dear Susie:  This is a vague and fuzzy question that can be boiled down into "Help!!" I have a book that's going nowhere rather slowly, and I would like to get it there a little faster.  The erotica community has been amazingly generous with reviews and so forth (with the notable exception of Nerve Magazine, who told me they threw their copy away unread because it was self-published), and in e-book format it costs about the same as a dog turd.  The book has a beautiful site with plenty of traffic, jaw-dropping comments at amazon, but it sells about one copy per planetary alignment.  So my question is—what more can I possibly doooh??   —Simon Lowrie, author of A Journey Round A Darker Sun


Dear Simon,

Time for a serious new-author reality check- You are going SOMEWHERE, slowly, If the pace bothers you, you need to re-read your Aesop's Fables about how the race is won.  There is really no overnight success in the celebrity business, except by virtue of fucking, or being related to the right person, and even then, you either live up to your reputation or die by it.

You have some extraordinary things on your side:

You have excellent reviews.  Most authors have none.

You have a beautiful web site.  Most authors don't exist on the Internet.

You actually get lots of traffic to this web site.  Most authors see little.

You have both an e-book and print edition of your book.  Most authors are terrified of new technology.

You have reader comment (and positive at that!) on Amazon.  Need I say more?

What you need at this point is a marketing campaign which exploits your good fortune so far.

Approach your admirers in the erotica community and offer something a little creative.  Do they do public events or readings? Offer to be a part of them.  Ask them if you could do an interview or some spin-off from the subject of your work.

Make a one-sheet flyer that has the best bits of their reviews in it.  This is going to be the basis for your press kit.  Editors who might have thrown your book away will stop when they see a flyer taped to it that hails you with compliments.

Your press kit should include a page of your raves, a short press release, a page of some behind the scenes author comment, and a bio.  Make it as an electronic file and use that to send to prospective reviewers whenever you can, so you can save money and time on paper version.

You need to capture as many names and email addresses as you can from your web site.  Do you have an email list they can sign up on? Offer a contest, free autographed books, the next chapter from your upcoming sequel.  SOMETHING to get them excited enough to send you their email address.

Now here's where it gets serious.  Your personal mailing list is what you live and die by as a self published author.

You should send out your most charming, friendly and seductive letter to EVERYONE you personally know, from your dentist to your great grandmother, to let them know you've written this book and how they can get a copy.  Don't waste time sending these letters to media people you've never met who work for huge mainstream corporations.  In other words, it's highly unlikely that the editor of Newsweek is going to read your letter and book, but if you can generate enough attention among ordinary people, this IS going to get the big boy's attention.

You may need to write variations on a theme.  When I have a new book, I write one main "form" letter, and then I tweak it depending on who it's going to, from personal friends, colleagues, former bosses, my conservative relatives, old fuck buddies, WHATEVER.  You need to think about how they like to hear from you, and create some genuine warmth and connection.

Send out letters periodically...  not every week, not even necessarily every month unless you've got a lot going on, but do stay in touch.  People who love your characters, Paul and Claire, want to know what they're doing now.  Can you tease them with some upcoming stuff? Announce where you'll be reading next? Invite them to make up their own Paul and Claire scene? You can even dish to them about where you're being reviewed or rejected, fans like to know that.

I wish your site offered a whole chapter to read instead of selected paragraphs...that's personally what would make me say, "oh yes, I like this, I'll buy it." On your home page, instead of the mysterious button for "Words and Images," replace that with a button that says "Read a Chapter."

I am confused about your ebook disdain.  Do you need to raise your retail price? I am thrilled with my ebook sales, because I make dollars instead of mere cents on every book.  Your paperback is $17-- that is not expensive.  You apologize about the price on your web site! Naughty, naughty! Take that out!

I see you're in an Internet ring of erotic authors.  Have you all thought about doing a reading series, a book tour? Find a group of authors you have something in common with that would work as a touring theme.  It's not a cakewalk, but honestly, touring through this country, by car or train, doing stops and readings everywhere you go, is the fundamental way you build an audience.  Think Woody Guthrie.

I see from looking at your site, just briefly, that your book appears to be not only erotic, but also very romantic, British, and in that English Victorian tradition of domination and submission.  These are the genres you need to exploit further.  There are thousands of romance readers who would EAT YOUR STUFF UP.  Find out who is publishing the most explicit sexy romance novels around and get your work and reviews in their hands.  Honestly, what you want is for a bigger publisher to find you and offer you a deal to take over distribution and printing.

About your rejection...of course, we all have them, and you always remember the one negative even if you've been showered with praise by others.  Please take the odd criticisms with a grain of salt.  The people who are rejecting you in all likelihood can't get their fiction published either.  Nerve, in particular is not the best place for you because they are interested in a very contemporary, post modern, American sensibility.  They never publish ANYTHING the slightest bit "Story of Oish" on their site.  Know your reviewer!

Simon, I hope this is helpful.  You have a lot going for you, and it's just frustrating, I know, that sales are not picking up faster.  No one gets that kind of attention besides New York Times bestsellers—Bridget Jones and Harry Potter are fantastic exceptions to the grueling rule.  I'm impressed with how far you've come, and I know it will just get better.

_______
© 2002 Susie Bright.  All rights reserved.

About Susie Bright: Susie Bright is the author/editor of 18 books of sex, sexual politics and erotica, including How to Write a Dirty Story [Available at Amazon.com  &  Amazon UK], Full Exposure, and The Best American Erotica series.



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