Saturday, March 26, 2011
26 mar 11 @ 9:23 pm
Writing can be a lonely business, but for years I kept
myself pretty much to myself because I read posts on networking sites and discovered that writers have very strong views and
seldom keep them to themselves.
I read JA Konrath's blog post: Depression and Writers and was incredibly moved
by Kiana Davenport's story. She is talented writer who has literally found a new lease of life through self
publishing. Her book, House of Skin, went from being #134,555 at the time of Joe's first post to being #182 when I last checked. I found this story
heartwarming and a little scary, because we hear all the time of writers committing suicide and as a writer you hope to never
find yourself in that position.
What shocked me though was the cynicism among a few of my fellow writers.
Some of them accused Joe of having ulterior motives, of deliberately posting this blog on the day that Amanda Hocking's four-book
deal was agreed with St Martin's, of using Kiana's story to make himself look good and a whole host of other things.
Some have even said that Kiana would have committed suicide if she really wanted to and seem to have no sympathy
for her. I suspect some of them are peeved that she is obviously a great writer and now that she has been made visible,
she will no doubt be able to hold her own easily.
I'm absolutely thrilled for Amanda. She has always said
that she wanted a traditional publishing deal and I'm sure she was able to negotiate the terms she wanted. Joe has been
an advocate of self publishing and a lot of people seem to think that he will be upset with Amanda. I don't know
why because, unless I missed it, he has never said that a writer should not take a publishing deal. It has
alway been about the size of the deal and if it is the right one for you. Amanda is keeping the rights to all her current
books which will continue to make her bundles of money. Yes, she is taking a risk, but it is a carefully calculated
risk. I have no doubt that she will come up smelling of roses.
So, all I can say is,
Stephenie and JK make way, Amanda is coming to join you at the top!
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
THIRD POST IN THREE WEEKS ABOUT REVIEWS.
23 mar 11 @ 6:14 am
I always comment about the
lack of reader reviews for my books, but for the third week running I've had a review and they were all for different
books. I was very pleased with the 4-star review for Soca Nights. The 1-star review for Naughty Professor was
undeserved, I thought, but as I said in my previous post: 'a bad review can be a good thing'. Naughty Professor has
been selling much better since that bad review because readers love a bit of sleaze.
for Freaks (like me) received its fourth consecutive 5-star review this week, but the reviewer then deleted
it because I inadvertently pissed him off afterwards. He had sent me an email saying that he had enjoyed the
book and I asked him to leave a review. I get dozens of similar emails for readers who buy my books,
visit my website or read my stories on Literotica and I never ask for reviews, but this reader was one of the few people
who 'got' the concept of the book - straight sex, no fancy frills.
He had written an excellent review,
so I wasn't thrilled when it was removed, but it was good to be reminded that I had vowed to never actively
seek endorsement from readers or fellow writers.
When I first published my books I had the opportunity to have bestselling
authors write reviews of my books for an agreed sum and I declined. There are also lots of writers who exchange
reviews, but I have never participated because, if I read another writer's work and didn't like it, I would hate
to have to lie in a review. Similarly, I would hate to make a fellow writer lie in a review of my book. If
I was really desperate I could have had dozens of friends and family write 5-star reviews, but I would never stoop that
Reviews are good at giving potential readers different perspectives of a book, but don't necessarily
guarantee sales. Personally, I never take any review to heart because I've done a few creative writing
courses and read enough literary works to be aware of my strengths and weaknesses as a writer. I
deliberately choose to write in a style that's uniquely mine; readers either love it or they don't.
Hopefully this be my last post on reviews, but let's see what next week brings.
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
A BAD REVIEW CAN BE A GOOD THING!
15 mar 11 @ 12:27 pm
Two days ago a reader gave
me a 1-star review for Naughty Professor which is currently priced at $0.99/£0.62 and it confirmed
my thoughts on low-priced eBooks. It seems that readers rarely take the time to read descriptions or download samples
of cheap eBooks before purchasing, simply because they are so cheap.
There is enough information
in the Book Description for readers to see what they are getting beforehand. A professor seducing his students
is morally wrong and I don't agree with it in real life, though it happens! But, this is fantasy and pretty much
anything goes, as long as everyone is over the age of consent.
But it seems as though people rather like the idea of young women and a young man being being
seduced by a dirty older man; Naughty Professor had its best days of sales in the days following the review.
However, I've never been one to run from a challenge, so I'm giving readers who like this sort of kinky story
a chance to read it for free here on my website. Please just do me a favour and email me a comment, good or bad,
if you read Naughty Professor.
Sunday, March 6, 2011
6 mar 11 @ 5:22 pm
I love paperbacks and worry about their future, but having looked at my paperback sales over the last
five years, I have come to the painful decision that I cannot publish any new paperbacks until I see a drastic improvement
in these figures.
Formatting a book for paperback publishing takes precision and a lot of patience.
It’s also not a cheap process, especially if it requires correcting proofs and tweaking covers until you get
the desired effect. I have currently reduced all three of my paperbacks to the very minimum price I can
offer them, and still they are not flying off the shelves. In contrast, my Kindle book sales are going
from strength to strength and will soon eclipse my total paperback sales of all time.
publishing is so much easier. New or corrected versions of eBooks can be uploaded overnight at no extra
cost. Purchased eBooks can be downloaded in seconds, so readers get instant gratification.
If the book is not as gratifying as hoped then readers can just as easily claim refunds.
I hate to leave my hard-line, dead-tree-reading friends and colleagues to join the high-tech,
electronic-reading brigade, but I have to say the more Kindle books I read, the more I embrace the concept. Although
I worry vaguely that surely this can’t be good for the eyes!
6 mar 11 @ 4:26 pm
I received the first, and rather sweet, review of Soca Nights last week and it had quite an effect on
me. I had lowered the price mainly for Valentine’s Day, but partly also to see if there was enough
interest in the book to justify publishing it in paperback.
The lower price prompted a flurry of purchases which
thrilled me, but now I’m must choose between reverting the eBook to its original price, selling less
copies but earning more royalties, or leaving it at the lowered price and tempting new readers who would not perhaps try my
work otherwise. I’ve decided to leave it at the lowered price because, although every cent/penny
I earn takes me nearer to my dream of being a full-time writer, I write primarily for readers to enjoy. So,
if I can entice more of them at the lower price then I want to continue doing so for the foreseeable future.
However, my erotica will stay at the higher price. Readers generally buy cheap
eBooks without downloading samples first. This is perfect for Soca Nights as I know they will be very
satisfied. My erotica, on the other hand, is not for everyone. I want potential buyers
to put much more thought into the purchasing of these books. I want them to download samples or visit my
website to read more of my writing before making their decisions. As I’ve always said, I would much rather lose a potential
sale than gain a dissatisfied customer.
Saturday, March 5, 2011
COMBINED BEDTIME EROTICA
5 mar 11 @ 3:38 am
I’ve been toying with the idea of combining all three books in the Bedtime Erotica series into a
massive Kindle book titled The Bedtime Erotica Trilogy.
Or, selecting my favourite stories from the three
collections (a tough choice because they are my babies and I love them all) and compiling them into one volume titled The
Best of Bedtime Erotica. Singers do this all the time, why not writers?
even re-editing all the stories and publishing cleaner versions of the books for Kindle, if not in paperback.
I wrote these stories five years ago when I was new to writing erotica and thought the more graphic the sex, the better.
I’m older and wiser now and though I still love the stories and re-read them often (I hope I’m not the
only writer who does this!) I can see that perhaps a more subtle approach could be applied. It’s
a tough decision because many of my fans love the books just the way they are and I still laugh my head off at the
funny parts and get turned on by the sex scenes. But as I edit the second of my eight romance manuscripts,
I’m beginning to see ways of enhancing my erotica.
Of course, any reader purchasing a book with a title Bedtime Erotica for Freaks (like me) will not necessarily
be expecting subtlety! So I’m caught on the horns of a dilemma: do I leave well alone or do I fix
what doesn’t appear to be broken?