Today was a somewhat successful day of man over machine and software! Last week I promised myself that I would release my latest smut story, which required me to climb several hurdles.
The first was obviously to finish the story, which I did Saturday. My plan is to release it for preorder on Monday at both Amazon and SmashWords. To do that, you have to have two almost identical copies of the stories.
One has the frontmatter and backmatter for Amazon and the other, frontmatter and backmatter for SmashWords. You are not allowed to have links in a story that points to a different publisher. For example, if you have a link to a SmashWords site in your Amazon Kindle copy, then Amazon will throw you under the bus.
Once I had the body completed, then I had to create the frontmatter and backmatter for each publisher. As I’m using Scrivener to write my smut in, I had to translate my existing Word versions to Scrivener. While copy and paste is the obvious solution, trust me, its not that easy, especially when I’ve never published a story out of Scrivener.
I’ve put off digging into the Compile function and trying to figure out how to tell Scrivener to bundle the Amazon version with its files and then create a SmashWords version with its unique files, was a hill I didn’t anticipate having to climb.
Once I got it to work, it started to make sense, but it was a good thing we don’t have any small children as they would have their vocabulary increased with mostly four-letter words!
Scrivener doesn’t use Styles like every other word processing program, and there is apparently a way to do it with version 3 of the software, but I didn’t have time to dig into it. The same with the Table of Contents (TOC), and I did those manually, which meant I had to do them twice. Once for Amazon and once for SmashWords.
I think I’m about 90% of the way there and will try to figure out how to automate the final 10%, so Scrivener will spit out a complete file pretty much on its own. Maybe?
The SmashWords version slipped through their meatgrinder without an error, and I used Calibre to convert the .DOCX file to ePub, and that looked pretty good.
All in all, I’m pretty happy with Scrivener and how my first story in my Cuckold Club series turned out. The story is available for preorder now and will go live next weekend. I haven’t seen a big benefit to releasing a story for preorder, but I always release a new story on Friday as the publishers tend to hipe a story in the first few days, so I want to make sure the story is available on the weekend instead of letting it languish during the week.
Scrivener sells for fifty bucks for PC or Mac, and that, to me, is very reasonable for what it can do. True, they should probably hire a technical writer instead of using programmers. As a programmer, I can attest to the fact we create poor documentation.
In a past life, I did contract programming for several car manufacturers to create computer-based training courses (CBT). I worked with a team that included video crews and technical writers. I learned so much about technical writing from them, which has helped to this day.
Speaking of Amazon and SmashWords, I want to offer my latest thoughts on these two behemoths in the publishing world.
As I understand it, Amazon publishes about 70% of the eReader stories, and SmashWords is somewhere in the 30% balance of the market.
Depending on your story content, you need to utilize both to maximize your sales. Amazon is particularly sensitive to story content, and if your typical story is on one of the fringe topics, they will give you fits.
As we’ve discussed many times at ERWA, if your story is thrown in the dungeon, sales will suffer greatly. Buyers will have to have a link to the story or the exact title. Amazon will not offer up a story from the dungeon, which means the kiss of death in most cases.
SmashWords is extremely tolerant of story content and will often allow stories that violate their liberal limitations. A search of their bestseller list will usually include stories that would give Amazon censors the vapors.
Up to now, what I’ve done is to write a story that will skate through both publishers. This way, I don’t have to create two versions of the story. With SmashWords, there is a catch. If your story includes a fairly short list of no-no’s, then they will not push the story out for you.
If your SmashWord’s story is ranked premium, then they will publish it to Apple iBooks, B&N, Nook, Kobo, and others. Apple is somewhat sensitive to story content and the blurb. They have rejected several of my stories for being too explicit, and I’ve had no success in changing their minds.
Strickly from my personal sales, my SmashWords sales are solid from month to month, while Amazon varies with the length of time since the last release. In the last year, my Amazon sales have varied from 1 to 3 times my SmashWords sales.
SmashWords doesn’t seem to care how old a story is, just how popular it is. I have stories that are several years old and still relatively high on the charts. Amazon, on the other hand, will bounce all over the place.
When I release a story on Amazon, sales will shoot up and stay for several months. Then it will slowly drop until I publish a new story.
Having SmashWords push my stories out to Apple iBooks really helps me. Most months, my income from Apple is around 50% of my SmashWords sales.
Now that I’ve released my first story in the Cuckold Club series, I can go back and finish House Party 2, which is currently approaching 100,000 words. I’m looking to take Lisabet’s suggestion and break it up to two stories, HP2 and HP3.
That will help as I’ve tried to inject some angst into the House Party original story and now have to try and fix the problems I created. The primary characters, Foxy and Larry, in my stories, are fictionalized versions of Wifey and myself. In real life, we’re in the Lifestyle, and writing erotica was a way to talk about some of our adventures. While not trying to promote things we do, it has been a lot of fun for both of us.
In House Party, Foxy left Larry for another guy and moved to California. There was no fight, she just wanted to be on her own. Foxy and I met before she turned 21 and has never actually been on her own.
It’s difficult for me to write in problems as we’ve never had issues before, and my fictional Foxy and Larry are basic extensions of ourselves. They are pretty true to life beyond the fact I don’t have a strip club and more money than God. My wife is a gorgeous creature and exactly as portrayed in the stories, except not quite as far over the edge.
Anyway, I’m starting to ramble. In HP2/HP3, I’m trying to get them back together, while trying to deal with the extra women who have complicated the situation. Foxy now has a girlfriend, who is her love interest. Larry has a new squeeze and a MILF, who is his best friend’s wife.
If that sounds complicated, it really is, and I’m struggling to make everything work out. If I break HP2 in half, then I can publish the next excerpt, which will give me time to figure out how to make everything work out, without resorting to Judge Judy.
Plus, I’m glad that my wife is a Luddite and refuses to read anything that’s not made of paper, else I’m afraid that she’ll be pissed at me. I haven’t shared the details of House Party and the marital breakup yet and am not sure if she’ll be happy with me about it.
At least I’ve got her new iPhone working, and so maybe she’ll cut me some slack if she finds out what our fictional selves have gotten tangled up in.
Until this time next month, I’m off like a prom dress! Catch my blog at: LarryArcher.blog
Larry Archer (and Foxy!)