Tuesday, December 22, 2015
REFLECTIONS ON MY 10-YEAR CAREER AS AN AUTHOR
22 dec 15 @ 2:48 pm
always been a writer at heart - I wrote long before I published my first book on December 12, 2005.
There have been many
highs and lows during my publishing journey. Readers have emailed me or written reviews that assured me my words had affected
them in the way I’d hoped. A few of them have even become long-term online friends. There are others, though, who have given
a book of mine a low-rated review, stating that they didn’t enjoy it as much as some of my other works, but never took
the time to post reviews for the ones they did enjoy. For those people is obviously easier to criticize than to give praise.
never let this trouble me; I appreciate feedback, whether positive or negative. My reading choices are diverse, and so
is my writing. I enjoy every story I’ve ever written—I’m one of those writers who first write for themselves
and then hope to find others out there with similar tastes.
I don’t expect everyone to like everything I’ve written,
although I write every story with the same passion and commitment.
What I hope for is for them to take a minute to read the book’s
blurb to see if the story is for them before purchasing it, or downloading it for free.
Fellow writers, however,
are the ones who have surprised me the most. I’ve met some incredibly generous authors who have willingly shared their
secrets of success and helped in many other ways. But, there have been others who deliberately tried to sabotage my books because
they weren’t doing as well themselves or saw me as a threat.
This is the most baffling thing of all. As a writer
I know how many tireless, lonely hours I spend at the keyboard trying to breathe life into my story ideas. The very last thing I would
ever do is shoot another writer down.
Not everyone is cut out to be a writer. There are some people who are capable
of penning masterpieces who simply lack the desire or patience to write them. There are others who have the tenacity but lack the
talent. I don’t believe that the internet should be flooded with interior writing, but I do believe that anyone who’s
made their very best effort by putting their heart and soul into a story deserves a chance for it to be read.
to certain constraints in my personal life, I haven’t been able to write or publish as I would have wished in the last
two years. Now that I’m able to devote more time to writing again, I’ve found that self publishing has changed beyond
recognition. It’s no longer simply a matter of writing a good book and letting readers find it organically. To be successful,
most writers now spend countless hours on social networks cultivating fans, and thousands on dollars on advertising. There are
a lucky few who built their fan bases years ago and now can afford to do less.
I’m not one for socializing
on the internet. For me, it was enough to write and price my books cheaply so that they reached as wide an audience as possible. For years
this approach worked—and more successfully than I could have ever dreamed—but now my books are no longer able
to compete, especially on Amazon, due to lack of visibility.
The books I write are geared for a niche market. I enjoyed
giving readers something a little different, but as a full-time writer I have to make some tough decisions if I want to be
able to support myself from my royalties. The choice is now to continue using this pen name, but publish more commercial books, or create
another which will give me that freedom. It will be hard to abandon Lexy, she’s been so good to me, but it may be time to spread my
wings and fly, taking the good memories I have of her with me.
I will make my decision on the first day of
2016 and see where it takes me.
Lastly, Coming Home for Christmas has now been updated and is available on all major online retailers. It’s
gone from a measly 12K words to 50K words in length and encapsulates the follow-up I’d planned. And in true Lexy fashion I believe
that length is important and promise that you’ll find it even more satisfying.
Please, please, post reviews on
Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads, iTunes or Kobo, and anywhere else you’re able, for this and any of my books. Thank you.
MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY 2016!
Wednesday, June 24, 2015
24 jun 15 @ 6:09 pm
It’s been a while since
I last published anything, but this isn’t a new project.
Turned Out! was a 4000 word BBW erotica short I previously published on 27th November, 2013. It was meant to be kinky
and funny, but some readers didn’t appreciate my warped sense of humour. 4 out of 6 reviews were
positive, but two readers gave the book 1-star reviews. I could have gone with the majority vote, but after
some consideration I realized that it might not be a true reflection of the book. I don’t give bad
reviews. If I don’t enjoy a book, I simply think that it wasn’t written for me and leave it
alone. That got me to thinking - perhaps there are readers out there who do the same. With that in mind,
I looked for ways to improve the story. It’s now a 12000 word slightly less erotic story which I
hope you will enjoy.
It’s available for FREE download from 24th - 28th June, 2015. Or FREE for Prime members
until 20th August, 2015.
PS. I’ve asked Amazon to update previous book files, but while it’s FREE you
can delete it from your devices and grab it again at no extra cost.
Saturday, November 23, 2013
MY BILLIONAIRE SERIES
23 nov 13 @ 7:11 pm
2013 has been a terrible year in terms of writing. When I’m feeling a little down, writing is my refuge. I create a make-believe world and happily inhabit
it with my characters, but when I’m full blown depressed, writing is the last thing I can do. I miss it and think about it
all the time, but I cannot make myself sit down and do it.
I started my Seduding the
Billoinaire series at the end of January and promised to finish it by the end of February—I never would have published
the first part if I felt that I couldn’t deliver on that promise. Then I received some devastating
news that sent me reeling.
I’ve fought with the series since then and finally I finished writing
and editing it yesterday, almost nine months late.
I’m taking a break and hope to come back
with a bang in 2014.
The writing muse is fickle, though, and I may find that I write up a storm
now that I have no obligations to do so.
Thursday, January 24, 2013
SEDUCING THE BILLIONAIRE
24 jan 13 @ 9:08 am
My latest release,
Seducing the Billionaire, is a 4-part erotica series which will be fully released by the end of February. The
books will not be standalones and should be read in order. Each part will be 8-12K words long and will
sell for $0.99/£0.77. Once the series is complete, the books will be bundled into one volume and
priced at $2.99/£2.31. So, buying the four books separately will cost readers $0.99/£0.77 more.
However, they would have had the chance to meet the characters long before the readers who will eventually buy the
bundle. They would have also had the thrill of anticipating each instalment and watching the series develop
and unfold. Some readers enjoy that sort of thing and will think it worth the extra cost. The
way Amazon’s royalty system works I actually make a little more money if readers buy the bundle, hence the added incentive
for them to do so. By the end of the series I hope there are enough reviews posted to enable readers to
make a decision either way - confidently buy the bundle, or make a smaller investment at the beginning which in turn will
be a bigger cost if they enjoy it and want to read the other books.
I hope that by stating
things clearly at the start of this series I will avoid having readers complain about the length of the books or feel cheated
by buying the books singly.
Thursday, December 27, 2012
27 dec 12 @ 3:34 pm
I took a mini break in November and feel so much better now. It wasn't so much a month filled with fun and frolics, but rather
a month of renewing the spirit, being with family and reminding myself not to take things too seriously.
Due to a combination of factors and a lack of recent releases, my
sales have taken an alarming nosedive and it made me less inclined to write. However, the time away made
me remember why it is I write - not to be a bestselling author or make millions - simply to entertain readers who have a similar
sense of humour and sensibility.
Internet and the upsurgence of networking sites have spawned a new breed of people: ones who make vicious comments from the
safety of Cyberspace, often using assumed identities and saying things that they would not have the courage to say in public.
There have been Facebook battles which have spilled over and resulted in the loss of life in the real world, and Twitter
arguments which involved thousands of users sending furious tweets back and forth. Book reviews are the
latest weapons of choice for these hate-filled people. Some of them seem to think it acceptable to give
1-star reviews and leave the nastiest possible comments. What they don't realize is that intelligent readers
realize their words are symptoms of the issues in their personal lives and little to do with the books they are reviewing.
I never buy a book, whether it has good or bad reviews, unless I
try a sample first to see if the writer's style and voice appeal to me. Most retailers give readers the
option to do this and yet some reviewers make stupid comments like, "I couldn't get past the first page!"
As I mentioned before - reviews often reveal more about the reviewers than the books they review. Which
fool spends money on a book they haven't taken the time to sample?
With all the bad press reviews have received lately, it's surprising that many readers still buy books
based on them. Therefore, all I ask of you is, please take the time to leave a review if you read my work.
Be honest and let me know what you liked or didn't like.
Wednesday, August 8, 2012
8 aug 12 @ 12:01 am
wish I was one of those people who are able to do several things at once and do them all well. Sadly, I’m not.
Most of the stories I have available for sale at the moment were written in 2005 and 2007, both times when I took career breaks
and wrote full time. I have five romance novellas/novels sitting unedited on my PC since 2005 and about twenty short stories
in various stages of development which I’ve started since then.
The weekends are usually over by the
time I get into my writing zone and going part time is not an option. But writing fulfils me in a way that nothing else does, so I have decided to find the time to indulge this passion
of mine. I plan to make September a month to remember!
And if I can get my royalties up to an acceptable level, I may even be able to take yet another career break in 2013!
Saturday, November 19, 2011
WHY I WILL REMAIN AN INDIE WRITER
19 nov 11 @ 1:29 pm
First, let me admit that no one has ever offered me a publishing contract and probably never
will! However, I’ve been catching up with my reading, especially of my favourite romance authors and logged on
to Mary Balogh’s website to see what’s new. The last time I visited, aeons ago, the author had mentioned
that she intended to write a book about Gwendoline, Lady Muir, a secondary character in the books of the Bedwyn series.
I was thrilled to learn that the manuscript was almost complete, but was totally flabbergasted when I read that the hardback
would be available August, 2012! It’s probably because I want to read the story so much, but for the first time
the incredible length of time between the completion of a manuscript by the author and the time it takes to appear in print
was brought home forcibly to me.
Mary’s books are flawlessly edited. I can only recall just one tiny error, ‘blues eyes’, in the twenty or so books of hers which I’ve
read; if there were more I was too engrossed to notice. I
know great care is taken in ensuring that her books are perfect, so I appreciate that the book can’t be available the
day after she finishes writing it.
But surely by writing the book
she’s done the hard part of the publishing process? Why
does the rest of it take so long?
It may be that there is a need
to space the publication of her books—there are several planned in the interim—but call me impatient, I want to
read that book now!
Mary also mentions on her website that one of my favourite books by
her, A Summer to Remember, was almost not written because a previous editor didn’t like
the heroine of the book.
I’m even more flabbergasted
by this fact! An editor deciding
what I can and can’t write!
We would have come to blows for
that. Another favourite of mine, A Precious Jewel, almost didn’t get written, but this time because it was unlike the traditional Regency romances being written
at the time. Luckily, the story compelled Mary to write
it and thank God she gave in to that inner voice because it’s a wonderful book.
So, I will remain an independent author. Traditional publishing is too long-winded a process for an impatient person like
me. I was a disobedient child
and I’m no better as an adult—I could not have anyone tell me what to write. I
go with my instincts and never worry about how unpopular my choices are. None of these attributes makes me a good candidate for a three- or five-book deal
from a traditional publisher, so it’s safe to say that we will avoid each other like the plague.
Monday, November 14, 2011
THE HIGHS AND LOWS OF A WRITING CAREER
14 nov 11 @ 11:15 am
of this morning I’ve sold 30,627 Kindle books since 29th August, 2010. My Bedtime Erotica collections
make up eighty-eight percent of those sales with 26,877 copies sold, while my first romance novel, Soca Nights, makes up five
percent with 1584 copies sold. These figures are far beyond my expectations and I still have to pinch myself to ensure
that I’m not dreaming.
But I’ve learned some surprising lessons this past year—the
most surprising is the realization that many writers of other genres don’t consider writers of erotica to be ‘real’
writers. Writers’ forums are great places to gather information, but they
are not places to air your views unless you’re one of the popular people. It’s a bizarre experience posting a response in a thread, only to have the next person ignore your post completely
and respond to, or quote, the person above you. I’m an introvert
and have made lurking an art form since I published my first book in 2005. This year I made an effort to join debates and to share the knowledge I’ve gained on my six-year publishing journey. The reception I received in forums was lacklustre at best, so in future
I plan to lurk to my heart’s content and only offer congratulations and commiserations when due since there are
enough writers willing to voice their opinions for me ever to feel the need to voice mine.
This year’s reviews have been eye-openers, too. Some clearly
showed that I had made the desired connection with the readers while others forced me to look at my work more critically from
a reader’s point of view.
Though most were informative there
were a few which seemed placed on my books’ pages to thrash them while promoting other books. I ignored these because I can tell when a reviewer has read my book, so if he/she is simply quoting from
another review then the expressed opinion is irrelevant and of no use to me.
creative writing class I’ve taken has focussed on character development and the importance of creating characters who
are dissimilar to you as a writer.
I try to portray real characters
whose thoughts and actions rarely reflect mine. Yet, one reviewer
seemed to think that she knew me intimately just from reading one of my books. She has absolutely no idea who the hell I am, or what I do or don’t do in bed and with whom! My relatives and close friends found her review ridiculous and most felt that I should have written a rebuttal,
but if the thoughts expressed are genuine reflections of what she felt after reading my book then perhaps I’m a better
writer than I give myself credit for.
Another reviewer was less than complimentary
about my short story, Perfect Score, in which the heroine gets her own back eventually. The reviewer didn’t finish reading the story and accused me of calling the fuller-figured heroine ‘fat
and ugly’, but anyone who reads and understands the story knows that it’s first told from the male protagonist’s
point of view and then switches to the female’s. The contrasting
points of view are the main feature of the story, so unless the story is read in its entirety the essence is lost to the reader. In the planned revisions of my collections I may rework this story.
Great sales, good and bad reviews, and personal attacks—part and parcel of the joys
of being a writer. As the saying goes, ‘What doesn’t
kill you makes you stronger.’
Saturday, September 17, 2011
MY WHOHUB INTERVIEW
17 sep 11 @ 9:31 am
I was thinking of doing a ‘super’ blog post, but this interview with Whohub pretty much sums up everything
about me in a nutshell.
What did you first read? How did you begin to write?
Who were the first to read what you wrote?
I don’t recall reading
my first book, but I have fond memories of reading the entire series of Famous Five, Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys when I was
little. Then I discovered Mills & Boon at about the age of nine and literally fell in love with them. I still read M&B
romances occasionally but only Historical Romance, since Tender Romance has now become like Modern Romance – all about
arrogant, foreign billionaires, beautiful English virgins and storylines so similar that I once read four new Modern Romances
one after the other and couldn’t remember a single story when I’d finished them.
While at school I loved English Literature but
didn’t particularly like English Language. I managed to get good grades, especially for my short stories, but had no
aspirations of being a writer. Then about five years ago my older sister told me about a publisher who was looking for short
stories of erotica by women of colour. The only erotic story I had written up until then was one page long and written purely
for my own gratification. I decided to try writing another story and it was like a dam bursting open. In no time I had written
seven stories and was thinking more in terms of publishing my own book rather than have my stories included in an anthology.
My younger sister was
the first to read my writing. She read a few paragraphs aloud in a heavily-accented voice and had me rolling on the floor,
dying of laughter. But eventually she read it objectively and gave me her opinion. I love the fact that we are close enough
for her to be brutally frank with me.
What is your favourite genre? Can you provide a link to a site where we can read
some of your work or learn something about it?
Romance is my favourite genre, but I find it harder to write than erotica. I
immediately pulled my romance novel Soca Nights off the shelves when I published it in Aug’08 because I wasn’t
happy when I read it in print. It is yet to be re-released. Some lucky (or perhaps unlucky) reader managed to buy one copy
before I pulled it, so she (it’s unlikely to have been a man) will have one of only five printed copied of that edition
of the book. I had no such problems with my erotica. Though they have been re-edited and are all due for future editing, I
am quite happy for them to be sold as they are.
free to visit my website to read complete stories from each of my three books of erotica at www.lexyharper.com/
What is your creative process like? What happens before sitting down to write?
I dream up stories in
my head on my way to work, at the office, during my lunch break and on my way home and then type them up as complete stories
or as bullet points depending on my mood.
Nothing specific has to happen before I start, but I prefer to have everything in order so that
there are no distractions. Once my computer is booted up I usually play several games of Spider Solitaire before I begin typing.
voice do you find most to your liking: first person or third person?
I find books written in third person generally more palatable,
but good writing in first person can be more compelling. I wouldn’t write an entire novel in first person, but occasionally
a character will insist on writing her own story like my character, Honey, in Telephone Sex. Like Marmite, you either love
her or hate her.
What well known writers do you admire most?
I am in awe of Toni Morrison, Arundhati Roy and Zora
Neale Hurston. I like happy endings so I don’t read many literary books, but Beloved is my favourite book of all time,
followed very closely by both God of Small Things and Their Eyes Were Watching God.
Deep down inside, who do you write for?
Ultimately I write for myself. I write books
that I want to read and hope that I will always stay true to this simple philosophy.
Does reader feed-back help
The first person to read my book and give me feedback is someone who has become very dear to me, my friend Tania
Leigh. She bought and read the first badly-edited edition of my book and sent me an email telling me that she had enjoyed
it. I’m still astonished that she was able to finish it because she is a gifted poet and a budding writer herself. For
her to have been able to see past the errors to the essence of what I was trying to say is truly remarkable. Kisses, Tania!
if feedback is constructive I take it on board, but I never take criticism to heart. For example, readers complained that
I used Italics too liberally in the black and white editions of my books. Fair point – when I published the colour editions
I edited the majority of them out. On the other hand, I ignored comments about the books being too raw, though there are days
when even I think they are. I have no doubt that the next editions will be tamer, but for now I will leave them as they are.
Do you participate in competitions? Have you received any awards?
I entered one competition
and didn't win. On re-reading the story months later I realized that I had rushed the ending after spending weeks creating
a dramatic opening.
Do you share rough drafts of your writings with someone whose opinion you trust?
I once showed a rough
draft of an erotic short story to two of my friends. One was scandalized and the other not scandalized enough; neither gave
me feedback that I could use. My sister categorically refuses to read an incomplete story, so I finish my manuscripts before
she reads them and make changes where necessary.
What discipline do you impose on yourself regarding schedules,
I don't have an agent or publisher to satisfy, so I try to write only when I'm in the mood.
is your process?
I’m lazy, so I lie in bed and write on my laptop. I no longer print my work. I do all corrections on the screen,
proofing with text-to-speech software. This method is by no means foolproof, but it’s cheaper than paying for professional
editing and I’m reasonably satisfied with the results.
What sites do you frequent on-line to share experiences
I have a full-time job, so I don’t have as much time as I would like for networking. I update my website periodically
and occasionally send snippets to my Twitter account. I seldom log on to my MySpace page and even less rarely to Facebook.
But networking is essential and I find that my sales dip significantly when I haven’t networked for several months.
What has been your experience with publishers?
I did extensive research and decided to self-publish
my books because I wanted to remain anonymous, but largely because I suspected that no publisher would have me!
I received 50 free books
delivered to my address in the UK free of cost as part of the US$499 self-publishing deal for my first book Bedtime Erotica.
This was not the cheapest deal on the market at the time but I reasoned that I could sell the books and recoup some of the
money invested, or give them to friends and family instead of buying birthday and Christmas gifts for the next ten years or
the time the book was published and ready for the market I had already written the seven stories that would make up my next
book. Though Bedtime Erotica was selling faster than I had imagined (research showed many self-published books sell less than
100 copies), I waited until the royalties surpassed my initial outlay before publishing the second. I then re-released my
first book, giving it a cover more appropriate to the content and correcting a few embarrassing spelling and grammatical errors.
often confused with vanity publishing, but though they share traits they are quite distinct things. Yes, I had to pay upfront
and stood to lose the entire sum if I had never sold a copy. But having the 50 free copies made the deal worth while for me
since it wasn’t a sum beyond my means as I had a full-time job. And the joy I felt when I held the first copy of my
book in my hand is indescribable - a moment I will always treasure.
The cheapest vanity publishing deal I found in the UK
at the time was for the equivalent of USD$3000 - $7500 (GBP£2000 - £5000) to print between 1000 – 2500 copies
of my book. This sum was more than I was prepared to pay and I had no way of offloading the books other than lugging them
from bookstore to bookstore begging the owners to take a few copies. In contrast, my self-published books were sold by Amazon.com (but sadly not by Amazon.co.uk) and printed only on demand.
There was even a scheme called Talent Acquisition (or something similar), run by the publishers
which was a way for self-published writers to gain the attention of mainstream publishers. I enrolled in the scheme, but opted
out soon afterwards when there were no calls from eager publishers offering me that magic six-figure deal.
To date I have not been
'acquisitioned' or offered even a two-figure deal, but I have made a tidy little sum and have kept the rights to my work.
So, if you have a real burning desire to be published and feel that you have something you want to share with the world, potentially
at your own cost, self-publishing is an option you should consider.
What are you working on now?
I’m working on
my romance novels at the moment. I plan to publish seven romance novels by the end of 2010…if I could just get started!
PS. As you can
see I’m really, really lazy! I should have had seven romance novels out by the end of last year –
in reality I’m yet to publish the second one. Bad Lexy!
Saturday, September 3, 2011
I HAVE GROWN A THICKER SKIN!
3 sep 11 @ 6:21 pm
the first edition of Bedtime Erotica on 12th December, 2005. A lifetime ago, and yet in some ways it feels like it was
yesterday. I still remember the excitement of holding the advance copy of my book in my hand and the feeling of
satisfaction that swept through me. I was finally a writer. A self-published writer, but a writer
A few bad reviews soon burst my
bubble of euphoria. I found myself focussing on them, instead of the larger number of positive reviews. I knew
the book had flaws; I was already working on an updated version, but it was tough to receive reviews which
gave no credit for my storytelling.
Today I'm so much stronger! I embrace all reviews, accepting
whatever praise or criticism they offer. I've learned the most from some of my bad reviews, but I simply
ignore the ones which seem written of out sheer spite. I know my value as a writer and I know that there are fans
out there who get my particular style of writing. I don't ever expect to appear on a bestseller list, but I've sold
24859 Kindle books since Sep'10 and 8086 paperbacks to date. I'm not about to stop writing because
of a bad review or three.
Thursday, September 1, 2011
MILLS & BOON ROMANCE
1 sep 11 @ 10:55 pm
Romance is truly my first love. When I was a teenager I regularly used to read two Mills &
Boon romances a day, and three on occasion. I still occasionally read M & B Historical Romance now,
but I gave up on their Modern Romance a long time ago – women who managed to save their virginities, sometimes well
into their twenties, only to surrender them to cocky billionaires just doesn’t do it for me...there is a word for that
kind of thing. My favourite of their subgenres used to be Tender Romance with realistic storylines and
little or no sex, until the billionaires started creeping into them too and spoiled them for me.
These are some of the unforgettable Mills & Boon Historical
and Tender Romances I've read: Saving
Sarah by Gail Ranstrom; The Unruly Chaperon by Elizabeth Rolls; A Scandalous Situation by Patricia
Frances Rowell; The Mysterious Miss M by Diane Gaston; The Italian’s
Rightful Bride by Lucy Gordon; For Our Children’s Sake & A Family to Belong To, both by Natasha
Monday, August 15, 2011
WHAT'S IN A NAME?
15 aug 11 @ 6:51 pm
It seems everything.
I read this post: What’s in a Name? by the lovely Liane Spicer months ago and it seems that indeed there is more in a name than I’d thought.
My sexy, intelligent, too-good-looking-for-his-own-good first love, Oliver, died tragically young. I
don't write fiction about my life or anyone else’s because it inhibits my writing, but I thought I would name the male
protagonist in Envy after him, in remembrance.
The story is not autobiographical (I would have beaten
any bitch who messed with him...just kidding!), but perhaps using his name is inhibiting me in some way. Maybe
because I know that he was the bees' knees and so hot he sizzled, I’m not doing enough to convey this character's stellar
qualities to reader—his gentleness, his drop-dead gorgeousness, his to-kill-for hotness. Maybe I
should rewrite the story and call him Paul or Simon. Maybe.
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
ENVY - REVISED
10 aug 11 @ 5:17 pm
I have revised Envy and it is once again available for sale in Kindle format. If you had bought the previous version and would
like it replaced by the new version, please log on to your Amazon account and go to the ‘Manage Your Kindle’ page.
From ‘Actions’ select ‘Deliver To’ and the new version will be sent to your device, replacing
the old version at no extra cost to you.
I hope I have made the story clearer and given the characters a little more depth.
The novella is meant to be slightly improbable and totally wacky – a warning to any woman who covets another’s
man and is prepared to steal him at any cost. Some readers may find it too far fetched and others may seek
to pin it to a particular genre. It does not quite conform to any one writing form – it is a ghostly,
but not scary, erotic romance – a crazy idea I had which I put down on paper, or more precisely typed on my laptop.
I want to thank everyone
who read the previous version and gave feedback. It made me realize that although I did not want the story
to turn into a full-length novel, I needed to give a bit more backstory to enable readers to understand each character’s
motivation. I hope I have done enough to engage their interest and would love to hear any further thoughts
and comments. Happy reading!
Monday, July 11, 2011
11 jul 11 @ 5:02 pm
Sometimes as a writer you have a story written in your head and you forget that
readers are not psychic and therefore can’t read your thoughts. This was the case with my latest
release Envy. Usually, I run the finished manuscript pass my younger sister and she tells me what works and what doesn’t.
We don’t always agree on all aspects of the story, but she is usually able to pinpoints areas when my writing
is not clear or simple errors e.g. when I’ve used the wrong character’s name.
We have both been busy recently,
so I published Envy without her input. This weekend she was finally able to read it and basically told me that the story didn’t
convince her. She liked the concept but thought the execution was poor. Another friend
also liked the story but pointed out areas where it could be improved. The story got 2 three-star reviews
on Goodreads, which is quite generous now when I look at the story with fresh eyes.
All writers love 5-star reviews
and I’m no exception, but I have found that my biggest growth as a writer has come from less flattering, honest reviews.
I’m going to re-work the story and I hope that anyone who bought the Kindle eBook previously will take the time to download
the new version and let me know if the new version is an improvement. In the meanwhile, feel free to download
a PDF copy of the old version from my website and let me know what you think. I will take all comments
into consideration because my role as a writer is to entertain readers, to transport them to another world while they read
appreciate feedback, good and bad, thanks.
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?