Erotica Authors Pull-Out on Amazon KU – Time to Come To The Dark Side!

releasetherateErotica authors were impatiently waiting for July 1, for a look at the new dashboard and the opportunity for a glimpse into the Bezos crystal ball at what they might be paid for the month of July, when the Kindle Unlimited changes took place.

Looks like the numbers are (kind of) in… and the outlook is rather dismal. Erotica shorts authors knew it was going to be bad. I just don’t think most of them thought it was going to be quite *this* bad. Because it looks as if authors will be making about $0.0057 per page. That’s slightly more than half a penny a page, folks.

This was every erotica shorts author’s face when they heard this news:

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But we’re erotica authors. We are the most versatile, adaptive and scrappy bunch of people I have ever known. And if Amazon thought we were going to take this lying down?

Bwahahahahahahahahahaha. Then they don’t know us very well!


Introducing the #releasetherate campaign

The objective is twofold:

1. Get Amazon to tell us how many people are borrowing our books, without which our page counts are utterly useless

2. Get Amazon to tell us how much they mean to pay us – NOW. IN ADVANCE. No more of this, “Enroll your books, choose to go exclusively with Amazon, and we’ll tell you later how much you’ll make” crap!


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ)

1. Won’t Bezos get mad at us? We might get in trouble!

Look, if we don’t stop this ride now, we may never be able to get off. And this particular ride ends at welfare-ville. So let’s not go there. There are plenty of erotica authors who have made a nice living from writing. And we are satisfying a very voracious readership. Why shouldn’t they have books they want to read, too? And why shouldn’t we get paid for them?

2. Why don’t we just go wide?

That’s part of the message we need to send. If you haven’t already sign up for an Excitica Publisher Account, do that now.

3. You sound mad, calm down.

Yeah, losing 50-70% of my erotica shorts income? I’m mad.

What do I have to do?

SIMPLE!

A. PULL YOUR EROTICA BOOKS FROM KU. Every book you leave in is telling them YES, CONTINUE SCREWING ME OVER.

Wait, what about my romance? I need to eat! Fine, leave it in, but if you have erotica get it OUT.

B. COMMENT, LIKE, SHARE THE FOLLOWING FACEBOOK POST & TWEET:

TWEET

FB POST

C. EMAIL jeff@amazon.com

Be polite, cordial, and clear. Keep it short and sweet and include the following info:

-We want to know how many individual people are actually borrowing our books

-We want to know how much you actually plan to pay us.

-If you followed through on pulling all your short fiction (I know not everyone can do it, seriously. Don’t do something you can’t afford, but remember you’re getting paid like ten cents for a full read now anyway) mention this in the email!

D. ASK YOUR NEWSLETTER/FANS/FRIENDS/RELATIVES/PETS to email Bezos, too. The more emails they get the more likely they are to act.


Here’s a form email you can give to your readers:


Hello, Mr. Bezos

I am an avid reader, and I am contacting you today on behalf of my favorite authors who participate in your Kindle Unlimited book subscription program.

Under the new reporting system, authors have no idea how many individual people are borrowing their books through KU. This is vital information and authors NEED to have it. Please amend the KDP reporting system to share this information, which you are already collecting anyway and shared up until July 1, with authors.

Also, authors have no idea how much to expect to be paid. The email they received today suggests the payout could be as low as $.0057 per page. As a reader, I want as many authors to keep as many books in the KU program as possible, and it would help if Amazon would tell authors how much they’re going to be paid. It’s not fair that they have to guess and hope for the best when they sign up for KU and give up the fixed royalty rates they receive outside the program.


TEXT YOU CAN USE TO SHARE WITH YOUR READERS

(and feel free to right-click and use the graphic at the top of this page).

Thanks go to Natalie Deschain and Cassandra Zara for spearheading this campaign!


Help Authors Spread the Word – PLEASE SHARE!

Many of you know that I’ve been a HUGE proponent of the Kindle Unlimited program. It’s allowed me to gain a broader readership and new fans who would have never discovered me without being able to borrow my books and take a chance on them through KU.

That said, you may not be aware that Amazon made massive, sweeping changes to the KU program starting today. Beginning today, they will only be paying based on pages read, rather than books borrowed.

This change has left authors in the dark regarding royalties since Amazon isn’t telling us how many readers are borrowing our books or how much we’ll earn for each page read.

How can authors make good business decisions without knowing how much money they are earning? The short answer is, we can’t. And that makes many of us question whether we should remain part of the Kindle Unlimited program at all.

That’s why I’ve joined #releasetherate, an author-led initiative with a simple goal: getting Amazon to release more information to authors. We’re not asking for much. We’re asking for two small pieces of data that Amazon can easily produce that will help self-published authors make informed business decisions.

1.) Number of units borrowed per book — Amazon has this data; they have been providing it to us since the Select program began. Why withhold that number now? The only reason is to confuse authors. Give us the total number of customers who have clicked the “Read for Free” button on our book’s sales page. Or, at the very least, give us the total number of customers who have read a minimum of one page of our book.

2.) #releasetherate – Authors are aware that Amazon has a ballpark rate-per-page-read that they are expecting to pay for Select and KU pages read in July 2015. We hope it’s not the .0057 cents per page based on the June 2015 Select Fund and pages read, a rate that would decimate the income of many authors and make it impossible for us to remain part of the Kindle Unlimited program.

If you’re an author or reader who feels that Amazon should #releasetherate, please help us spread the word by sharing this post.

And if you’re as angry and frustrated about the lack of information being provided to authors, as I am, please let Amazon know by sending an email to jeff@amazon.com and letting him know that withholding basic business information from authors is making many of your favorite authors wonder if Kindle Unlimited is really the right program for them after all.



Selena Kitt
Erotic Fiction You Won’t Forget
www.selenakitt.com
LATEST RELEASE: Highland Wolf Pact: Blood Reign

highlandwolfpactbloodreignMED

The New Kindle Unlimited – What It Means for Authors & Readers

Well, authors and readers, the heyday of erotica shorts filling Kink Kindle Unlimited may be coming to an end. I hope you made hay while the sun was shining, authors. And readers, I hope you got your fill of the all-you-can-eat buffet that was Kink Kindle Unlimited while it lasted, because many of the erotic shorts that glutted the program may be going back to sales-only and being distributed wide, if the rumblings of authors about this new “pay-per-page” system is any indication. I know some (non-erotica) authors who think this is a great thing!

It’s not.

For erotic or non-erotic authors, this is a slide toward being paid by the word. And not words SOLD, like our old friend Charles Dickens, but words READ. If I go into a restaurant and order a steak, but I fill up on drinks and chips and salsa, do I get to send the steak back because I’m no longer hungry? No. If I buy a DVD but never open it (I have Keanu Reeves in “The Day the World Stood Still” AND “Pumpkinhead” on my shelf still in shrinkwrap… sad…) do people not get paid for it? Uhhh no. If I get sick in the middle of a movie and spend 3/4 of it in the bathroom, do I get my money for admission back? No. If I pay for concert tickets and my car breaks down on the way, do I get my money back? No.

So why in the world would an author not get paid for a sale/borrow, based on the initial interest of the consumer to buy/borrow it? Why are authors opting into Kindle Unlimited (the best place for a self-published author to make the most money with the vendor who happens to have the largest share of the ebook market) now going to be paid by “pages read?”

Because Amazon’s been losing money on Kindle Unlimited. And this is a way to “spin” it to make it look as if Amazon is actually listening to authors, while screwing both short and long writers. Yay! Oh wait…

Amazon said:

One particular piece of feedback we’ve heard consistently from authors is that paying the same for all books regardless of length may not provide a strong enough alignment between the interests of authors and readers. We agree. With this in mind, we’re pleased to announce that beginning on July 1, the KDP Select Global Fund will be paid out based on the number of pages KU and KOLL customers read.

So those of you who were complaining that “short erotic dino porn” was glutting up the Kink Kindle Unlimited program and eating up all your precious borrows in the global fund pot?  Be careful what you wish for. You got it now. I guess we’ll see how many people are actually reading to the end of your 500 page epic fantasy tome. ;)

I predict that many “shorts” authors will opt out. (Poor Chuck Tingle – from $1.30 a borrow to… probably less than a $0.99 buy would net. But I guess we’ll see! Not that I’m dissing Chuck Tingle – if there’s an audience for Sharknado, there’s an audience for anything!) Not that you should, but many may, just out of fear. But shorts are, in our attention deficit world, not necessarily a bad thing. Erotica writers have always written short – and we’ve generally been paid more for it, too. (Much to the chagrin of authors in other genres!) But for those, like this guy, who say that anything under 30 pages is a “scam?” Dude, go tell O’Henry that, eh?

I know there are scammers out there who have been taking advantage of the Kink Kindle Unlimited program – writing (literally) 500 words, throwing it up there with provocative covers and blurbs to make people one-click, and boom! Just opening it is 10%, so they now collect $1.30ish per borrow. And that sucks. There are always a few bad apples, right? But let’s not lump shorts writers in with scammers, okay? To each their own. If my readers want to read a hot little short about an illicit relationship between stepsiblings, why not? That’s not a scam. Nor is it or should it be penalized, simply because it’s short.

The SkyJump in Vegas costs you $119 and lasts a few minutes. I rest my case. :P

I predict that mystery, thriller/suspense and horror writers will make a killing. People read those books to the end to find what happens! I predict short chapters with “cliffhanger” endings. I know people have been complaining about serials and cliffhangers – but I think we’ll see more of them. Because cliffhangers! I predict the sweet spot will be 25-35K. 50K at most. I predict pages of short, snappy, untagged dialogue! ;) Oh the places authors will go…

As a publisher (and self-published author) I had some questions for Amazon about the new system. Below is a summary of what I was told. I’m providing it to you as information. Do with it what you will!

  • Borrows will be displayed as PAGES now instead of BORROWS. So TOTAL number of PAGES (not broken down by number of borrowers) will appear on the report where the “borrow” appears now. We’ll be getting no other information besides this. We won’t know the number of people who borrowed each book – will will JUST know the TOTAL number of pages read in each book.
  • Pages will display and count in the report as they’re read by the reader. This will be when a user syncs up. Whether that’s hourly or monthly. Pages will appear as they’re read/synced, and you’ll get paid for those during the next payment period.
  • The 10% rule applies no longer. Pages are pages. They click into it and back out? One page. Click in and swipe left? Two pages. Swipe all the way through the backmatter? You get paid for all the pages.
  • There will be an SRL (Starting Read Location) determined by Amazon (start of Chapter 1). The ERL (end read location) defaults to the end of the Amazon book. If someone flips all the way to the end, you’ll get paid for backmatter pages. However, linking from the TOC to the end of the book? That would be two pages, no matter how many there were in between.
  • They do not have “average number of pages read” information up to this point (yeah, sure) and cannot provide that information currently.
  • Page averages will be done using the new “KENPC” system. The current page estimation system will change to the new (KENPC) one once the new KU rolls out in July.
  • You only get paid for pages once. If they read the page again, it doesn’t count.
  • Rank – ghost borrows for rank will still have the same effect. A person borrows, rank goes up, but they may never open or read the book, meaning you may never get paid for it. But authors will still get the same rank boost for being in Select.
  • For the first 90 days, everyone enrolled in KU will be able to opt out AT ANY TIME. You are NOT TIED TO THE 90 DAY PERIOD. This is the best and most important news (which is why I saved it for last? heh) This will apply for at least the first 90 day period of the new system.

So authors, if you’re thinking of jumping ship, Amazon wants you to stay. They’ll let you opt out as you wish for the first ninety days. Clearly, they’re trying to prevent a mass exodus here. That, of course, will depend on how much a “page” ends up being worth. And we’ll have to wait until mid-August to find that out…

Ooooo a cliffhanger! I see what you did there, Bezos…! Curses!

Selena Kitt
Erotic Fiction You Won’t Forget
www.selenakitt.com
LATEST RELEASE: Highland Wolf Pact: Compromising Positions

‘C’ is for condoms, consent, coercion and conflict…

Over on my site, Tamsin’s Superotica, I’m doing the A to Z blogging challenge at the moment – which means a post per day through April, with time off for good behaviour on Sundays! So far, I’ve reached ‘C’, so I’m sharing it here.

One of the fun things about taking on the Blogging from A to Z Challenge is deciding each day what the particular letter will stand for. ‘C’ is day that positively spoils the erotica writer for choice – I could have chosen cock, cunt, clit, cunnilingus, clamps, cuckolding, cum, climax…there’s an endless list of dirty ‘C’ words and I could have written a post or found a story excerpt based on any of them. But instead, I’ve chose to return to one of my pet themes – the expectation that some, not all, readers have that erotica writers should write ‘responsibly.’ By which I mean, my characters should always use condoms and practice safe sex. That they should always secure consent for any sexual act. Coercion – not allowed. Cheating – another big no-no. In short, anything that might create conflict in stories that are by their nature highly sexual should be avoided or at the very least, come with a warning and a major comeuppance for the perpetrator.

Fuck that!

You may have read my previous posts on this issue. So why do I feel the need to revisit it?

Before I started writing erotica, some four or so years ago, I hadn’t really read any erotica. And even now, I don’t read a lot of it – too much like a busman’s holiday. But naturally, I read some, for research purposes and to see what writers I adore have been writing. Last week, for the first time ever, I stumbled across what I can only describe as a ‘safe sex disclaimer’ at the front of a book I was reading for research. Seriously? This is what it said:

This is a work of erotic fantasy. In real life, please protect yourself and your lover by always practising safe sex.

I’m still open-mouthed today as I look at it on the first page. It was accompanied by another disclaimer stating that all the characters were over 18 and every act was consensual. To me, these warnings and disclaimers are unnecessary and strange on so many levels.

  • Who needs a health warning on a work of fiction? Could someone mistake it for a ‘how-to’ guide? I’m afraid if a reader is still at the level of being unable to distinguish fact from fiction that means they’re a child – and children shouldn’t be reading these books. This is, after all, the most adult of genres.
  • Why a disclaimer stating that all the acts are consensual? Isn’t the writing clear enough for the reader to able to discern this for themselves? Or could this be a disingenuous attempt by the writer to position the work as some sort of pseudo-non-con?
  • I assume my readers don’t need this sort of mollycoddling – in which case, a disclaimer of this nature is horribly patronising. And frankly, if a reader wants to practise unsafe sex, that’s their choice and as an erotica writer, I don’t feel myself in a position to lecture them about it. Furthermore, if I wrote a scene in which my characters behaved in a dubious manner, it would not make me in anyway responsible for anything dubious a reader might do. After all, we don’t feel it necessary to exhort the readers of crime fiction not to go out and rob, torture or murder people.

So why did the writer feel that they needed to include such disclaimers? To cover themselves in the face of reader criticism, perhaps? I’ve been called out for having characters not use condoms, for being coercive, for smoking cigarettes (though amazingly not yet for alcohol consumption), and strangest of all, one reviewer complained about a character giving another character Advil – because it has some very dangerous side effects!

6813717_sPerhaps I should include disclaimers to keep my readers totally safe – if you read Alchemy xii, you will come across characters who go outside in the snow in February stark naked (don’t try this at home, you might catch pneumonia), travel in cars without seatbelts (don’t do this in case you’re involved in an accident), carry a penknife (just don’t!), eat steak tartare (please don’t eat raw meat after reading this), have multiple piercings (don’t try to do these yourself – if you want a piercing make sure you go to someone licensed), drink alcohol (please drink responsibly within the recommended limits), go hiking without a map (oh no!), bare knuckle box (you could sustain a nasty injury), practise shibari (don’t tie ropes around anyone’s neck, don’t tie the ropes too tight, and actually get some instruction before even attempting it), swear (that’s not nice), lie (also not nice)…I could go on, but you get the picture.

I could write a story in which no disclaimers were necessary. A woman could meet a man (both above the age of consent, naturally) and they could fall in love and have safe sex. End of story. Nothing dangerous, no conflict, no bad behaviour by any character. Everything would be wonderful.

But I won’t write that story – no conflict equates with not plot. (And most of my stories are heavily plot driven.) In fact, the more often I’m confronted with this issue, the more indignant I become. And the more inclined I am to have my characters do anything I want them to do without censure. As I said earlier, this is a grown up genre and I want to write adult stories with adult themes and flawed characters. And I will.

(Though please don’t think I’m suggesting that readers should be thrown unaware into scenarios that may be triggers for them. It’s just that the book blurb should do it’s job and make the nature of the story perfectly clear without the need for warnings and disclaimers inside.)

For other genres, none of this is an issue. So it shouldn’t be for erotica. Fiction is fiction and we should be able to write whatever the hell we like. If you want safe, go back to reading children’s literature – may I suggest the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen?

Ready for a little hotwife/cuckoldry?

Cuckold
noun: a man whose wife has committed adultery, often regarded as an object of scorn

More specifically, in erotic fiction, cuckoldry stories are a sub-genre of BDSM fiction. The wife is the dominant partner, exploring her sexuality; her husband is sexually inadequate, humiliated by his wife’s adulterous adventures with far better able and equipped partners.

And he likes it ;)

A variation on this is the hotwife story, where the sexual humiliation angle is far less prominent: the wife explores, and the husband gets off on her adventures rather than his own humiliation.

So what’s so hot about your partner screwing around? For the cuckold it’s a very psychological thing: it really is a form of BDSM where the wife’s exploits take the place of the paddle and handcuffs.

And for the husband of the hotwife, well, in some cases it can actually be a sub-genre of romance: a woman is liberated, while a man puts his partner and her happiness at the center of his sexual fantasies, made all the more intense by the fact that these fantasies are being acted out.

Or maybe there are other reasons.

But at the bottom line, these stories are hot, and here are some recent examples.

Cuckolded in Space by Victoria Kasari
They demanded my wife get pregnant…by any means necessary! I was prepared to do anything to get myself and my gorgeous blonde wife off the overcrowded Earth and to the colony on Mars–even lie about the fact I was infertile. But when my lies were uncovered, we were told we’d have to return home…or agree to my wife getting pregnant by another man. And not just any man. Leon, the muscled black hunk she’d been flirting with. He’d take her hard, without protection…and right in front of me. He’d give her the children I couldn’t…and I could do was watch.
Amazon USAmazon UK

Wide Load Coming: Bareback with the Trucker by Katie Cramer
“It’s not cheating if my husband wants it, too.” Every three weeks, Alec makes the long and dangerous trip to Lightpoint Research Facility to drop off essential supplies for Professor John Coleman and his devastatingly beautiful wife, Tanya. But this time is different. This time, Alec’s services are needed for a different reason… The gorgeous Tanya wants Alec inside her, bareback and unprotected. Her husband, ready to become a cuckold, will be watching on CCTV the whole time…as long as Alec agrees to satisfy his wife in ways the Professor can’t. Asked to become their bull, Alec faces a moral dilemma. But Tanya knows exactly what she wants and is almost impossible to resist…
Amazon USAmazon UK

Wide Load Reversing: Bareback with the Trucker 2 by Katie Cramer
Tanya has been changed forever after letting her husband watch her with another man. Eager to repeat the experience, she prepares for Alec’s return. But this time he’s bringing someone else with him… “His need to see me satisfied, to be so jealous of what he can’t achieve, is so degrading…so humiliating.” Both Alec and his colleague Joe make the dangerous trip to Lightpoint to deliver essential supplies. When they get there, they realize their truck is carrying precious cargo…something Tanya has arranged to ensure the three of them will experience something her husband could never hope to compete with… “Our marriage will never be like it was. Never.” An erotic romance featuring an alternative but loving relationship, this short story features two alpha males and a married couple experimenting in mature fantasies, lifestyles and situations.
Amazon USAmazon UK

My Nearly Man: Confessions of a BBW Hotwife #1My Nearly Man: Confessions of a BBW Hotwife #1 by Sadie Somerton
I’ve often talked with my husband about me sleeping with other men. It turns him on, and that turns me on. But I’d never converted that fantasy into reality. Not until last night… Last night I hooked up with my nearly man, Bradley. Way back we’d kissed, we’d flirted, but we’d never gone beyond that. But last night? Last night it all became very real… A steamy and very explicit story of cuckoldry, exploration and rekindling old flames.
Amazon USAmazon UK

 

STEPping Out: Amazon’s Familiar Double Standard. Again. Still.

Five months ago, I did a blog post about Stepbrother Dearest – the first stepbrother book that broke the pseudoincest barrier, pushing into romance. At the time, I lamented the fact that as an erotica author, Amazon wouldn’t allow me to use the word “stepbrother.” Not in my title, not in my blurb, not anywhere (except maybe inside the book, where it wasn’t searchable) that might warn a reader that they were about to read something about “pseudoincest” (i.e. a relationship between non-biological family members). But Penelope Ward was allowed to use the word “STEPBROTHER” in her mainstream, new adult romance novel about (wait for it) pseudoincest. With that decision, Amazon took its double standard to a whole new level.

Since Ms. Ward’s use of STEPBROTHER in her title, Amazon has seen a huge influx of Stepbrother titles in romance. Here’s the interesting thing–Amazon still won’t let erotica authors use any reference to relationships in their titles. We are still calling daughters “little brats” and fathers “the man of the house.” Granted, they seem to have backed off a little on some terms. We can use the word babysitter now, although the word “virgin” can still get you in trouble. Erotica authors are using the “first time” euphemism instead.

If nothing else, Amazon has forced erotica authors to adapt.

Well, they’ve adapted again. There has been a large rash of STEPBROTHER titles appearing on Amazon written by erotica writers. But they’re not appearing in erotica. They’re showing up in romance. Some of them belong there–no reason an erotica author can’t write a romance, right? Of course not. As long as it’s a romance, I see no problem with it. It’s a current loophole, and if Amazon’s going to leave one, authors are going to walk through it until a wall is put up. That’s been proven in this business over and over again.

The problem is, there have been a few cases where a “stepbrother” title has been banned/blocked. If an author misjudges the market and accidentally puts their book into the “erotica” category instead of romance, they risk getting the book blocked. In erotica, STEPBROTHER or ANY family reference is still taboo. (Ironically, the word “taboo” is just fine though!) But you can put it in ROMANCE with the words STEP, STEPBROTHER or STEPSISTER. So far, Daddies and Mommies or variations thereof, are still out. But, authors can get away with a lot more in romance in general. If an erotica author tried to publish a book called PRICK it would get ADULT filtered faster than you could say “Put a condom on that!” But in Romance? It hit Amazon’s top ten.

Isn’t it ironic? The place where you’d expect all the dirty words, we’re not allowed to use them. At least, on the outside. While the romance authors get to write about cocks in their blurbs and put half-naked people on their covers and write about pseudoincest all they like – as long as they give their characters a happy ever after, of course.

I realize a lot of authors are jumping through this loophole, hoping to cash in on the “pseudoincest-romance” craze, like they jumped on the motorcycle club bandwagon, the shifter bandwagon, the billionaire bandwagon, etc. And I don’t blame them. Amazon opened the door and practically invited them in to this one.

The problem is, Amazon can slam that door too. So while I’m not above jumping through this loophole myself–I’ve just started a series of books called “Stepbrother Studs”–I want to caution writers. Especially erotica writers, who are jumping on this trend. Tread carefully. Watch your blurbs, watch your covers, watch your titles, and pay attention to the market. If you’re putting books in romance, please make sure they fit the genre.

Otherwise, you may find out just how hard Amazon can slam a door that was previously wide open. And how much that hurts. Right in the pocketbook. Ouch!

Believe me, I’ve been there and done that, and it’s not fun. So make hay while the sun shines, why not? But let’s not keep pushing the boundaries until Jeff Bozos decides to stop clowning around and pick up the whip again to force authors back in line. That’s only gonna hurt everyone, in the long run.

So, to sum up, if you’re writing step-romance:

1. Make sure it’s a romance.

2. Put it in ROMANCE, not erotica, if it has a “Step” in title. (and see rule 1)

3. If it’s not a romance – if your characters aren’t falling in love (and no, adding ‘and they lived happily ever after’ at the end doesn’t make it a romance) don’t put it in romance. Readers are going to be pissed and you’re going to risk your account when the book gets blocked. If you want to see what an stepsibling pseudoincest erotic romance reads like, there are three listed below that will be free for 24 hours (and available to be borrowed on Kindle Unlimited). Are they hot? Yep. Are they short? Relatively. Are they romances? I think so. Read them and judge for yoruself.

4. Watch your blurb, title and cover. Remember your audience. Romance readers like it dirty too, sometimes, and that’s fine, but pushing the boundaries too far may end up coming back to bite you. So just be smart.

I’ve got the first three in my new series out now. Free. If you want to take a look at them for what to do, go ahead. Covers are sexy guys (fits the genre), titles have “stepbrother” but they’re in romance. And while they’re not novels, they’re a good 8-10K in length, and they all have couples who are fighting their taboo attraction to one another, but ultimately give into it–and fall in love. In other words, they’re romances.

Check them out. Judge for yourself.

stepbrotherstudsaaronLARGE

FREE through 3/12/2015

STEPBROTHER STUDS: AARON

Melinda loves winning, especially when it means trouncing her arrogant stepbrother, Aaron.

He thinks he’s all that and a bag of chips, but the nineties called and it wants its catch phrase back, because as far as Melinda is concerned, he’s more like all that and a bag of dicks–at least, he is lately..

All her friends think he’s hot, but they don’t have to deal with his smug smirk or his giant ego. All they can talk about is his rumored, giant… something else.

So on their long train ride home for winter break through the Canadian mountains to Upper State New York, she decides to make a wager with her big-headed stepbrother, one she hopes that will settle the score between them, once and for all.

stepbrotherstudsbrianLARGE

STEPBROTHER STUDS: BRIAN

FREE through 3/12/2015

Jill’s parents aren’t home, it’s the middle of the hottest summer on record, and there’s a huge built-in swimming pool in the backyard.

Well, what would you do?

The only thing standing between her and the best party of the summer is her jerky older stepbrother, Brian. He says he’s trying “protect” her but he never lets her do anything fun! It looks like he’s going to be a party-pooper this time too, until the perv decides to give her what she wants—with one caveat.

Everyone who comes to the party, has to come naked.

Now the hottest party of the summer just got hotter, and Jill’s about to find out that she’s not too keen on the way all the other girls look at her sexy stepbrother. In fact, she’s starting to look at him in an entirely different light herself…

stepbrotherstudscameronLARGE

STEPBROTHER STUDS: CAMERON

FREE through 3/12/2015

Virginia hates him. Her stepbrother, Cameron is older, annoying, listens to crap music, borrows her stuff without asking, and teases the ever-loving life out of her.

She hates him when she finds out he’s taken her iPod again. She hates him even more when she finds out he’s been spying on her, and not only that, he’s been “sharing” his sexy discovery. And charging his friends admission!

She hates him while she’s plotting her revenge.

She hates him all the way up to the point that she can’t anymore. Because now, she’s falling for him–the one guy she knows she can’t have.

Selena Kitt
Erotic Fiction You Won’t Forget
www.selenakitt.com

Pow! It’s Shibari Girl!

A few days ago, I saw on Facebook that the wonderful Rose Caraway was going to be doing a reading at Writers with Drinks in San Francisco on Valentine’s night – and as always when there’s an event involving any of my erotica writing friends, I wished fervently that I could have been there too. What I didn’t realise at the time was that Rose was going to be reading from my story “Pow! It’s Shibari Girl!”, which appears in her anthology, The Sexy Librarian’s Big Book of Erotica.

After the event, I was delighted to see that Rose’s husband, Big Daddy, had videoed her reading and had posted it on You Tube. Hooray! I would get my chance to see Rose read, even if I couldn’t be there in person. So just imagine my absolute delight when I clicked play and discovered that it was actually my story Rose had chosen to read.

Have a listen – she reads it brilliantly! Absolutely slays it!

I don’t do readings myself – or at least I haven’t done one yet. So this was the first time I’d heard anyone reading one of my stories out loud in front of an audience. Of course, this means that I haven’t heard an audience reacting to one of my stories before – and I now know what a very special experience that is. “Pow! It’s Shibari Girl!” is a comic piece about a female superhero who captures villains and ties them up shibari-style. Rose read it amazingly and the audience laughed, sometimes uproariously, in all the right places.

It’s often pointed out that writing is a solitary business. I sit alone and agonise over my words – and then eventually I send them out into the world. I don’t get to see people reading them, so I never have any idea how they might be reacting, sentence by sentence. But this time, for the first time, I was privy to the audience’s response. And it was a great response – all that I could have wished for.

For me, that was pretty damn cool. So thanks, Rose. You rocked it!

 

 

Cliffhangers and romance

Earlier this month Tamsin wrote about serials with cliffhangers: TV serials often end an episode on a cliffhanger, but when it comes to books many readers dislike them. The commonest reason seems to be that the cliffhanger wasn’t expected, and you get to the “end” only to realize you might have several months or longer to wait until you can resume the story.

But as one commenter pointed out, if it’s clear you’re reading a serial from the outset, then perhaps things are different. I recently joined a Facebook group dedicated to fans of cliffhanger fiction, at least partly because I was about to publish a four-part serial, the first three installments of which end on cliffhangers.

My approach was to be clear from the outset: this is serial fiction, aimed at Kindle Unlimited (so readers signed up to KU can get each part for free), and while each part is a complete episode (just like those TV series), it’s part of a bigger story and may end on a cliffhanger.

It’s a difficult balance to strike. I don’t want to get too defensive about using a long-established storytelling technique, but at the same time I don’t want readers to be surprised by the approach.

Anyway… all four parts of the serial are out now, and the first one is picking up some great reviews, so I’m hoping I’ve got it right! It’s certainly been fun to work with a structure that is a bit different to my normal stories.


Published under my paranormal romance pen-name:

Dreamcaster by Ruby Fielding

Dreamcaster (A Fantasy Romance), Part one by Ruby FieldingI live in the ruins, my home city occupied by invaders from the north and my memory full of gaps.

I had thought I could survive out here beyond the city walls, but now the soldiers are hunting me down. My only escape is the man who comes to me in my dreams, Malachi. He seems to be looking out for me, protecting me. When I’m with him my heart lifts and I know that I am his.

But he’s not real… is he?

With his help, I’m starting to remember my past… but the secrets locked away there could get us both killed. Malachi tells me I’m special, that I have powers. But will that be enough to save us?

Dreamcaster: A story of romance, magic and brutality in a war-torn world where love lies in tatters and one woman may hold the key.

**Dreamcaster is published in the short serial format, with each of the four instalments available free via Kindle Unlimited and Kindle Select**

Available from:

Cliffhangers – are they…

Cliffhangers – are they…

Did you click through to here to find out how that sentence ended? It is a bit of a cliffhanger… The full title of this post should read Cliffhangers – are they acceptable in book serials? As I’m in the throes of writing a 13-part serial, they’re something I’ve been giving a bit of thought to in recent weeks. Should I end each episode with a cliffhanger to tempt my readers back or should each month end with a degree of resolution?

18838131_sWhat exactly is a cliffhanger? According to Merriam-Webster Online, a cliff-hanger (they hyphenate it, while Wikipedia doesn’t!) is: a story, contest, or situation that is very exciting because what is going to happen next is not known. Wikipedia, meanwhile, identifies a cliffhanger as a plot device which leaves the protagonist in danger or confronted with a shocking revelation at the end of an episode. The purpose of the cliffhanger is, of course, to draw the reader or viewer (they’re richly utilised by television series) back for the next chunk of the story.

As far as I’m concerned, cliffhangers frustrate and delight in equal measure. Shock revelations and impending danger certainly excite. But then just as the hairs are rising on the back of one’s neck, the closing credits flash up on the screen or the reader’s confronted by the hideous little legend

To be continued…

What? I need to know what happens. I need to know now! Will she survive? Is he really going to confront his wife/mother/boss? WTF – she can’t be their lovechild!!!! And then the faithful reader/viewer is left high and dry for a week or a month or two with questions swirling through their mind and, if they really care about the character, a desperate need to find out…What. Happens. Next.

Personally, I think they’re harmless fun. But over the course of my not particularly long writing career, I’ve come to notice that the readers of serials seem to hate them. Passionately. Yes, they feel that strongly – I’ve even seen reviews in which readers vow not to read any more of a series simply because the writer’s had the audacity to wind up Book 1 or Book 2 on a cliffhanger. How very dare they?

But I have a little sympathy here, more so in the case of books than for TV serials. After all, with a TV series, you only have to wait a week. But with a book? You could left in limbo for six months or more. And that’s a hell of a time for some poor woman to teetering at the edge of the abyss. (Oh, but she’s the main character – we know she’s not going to die or the series couldn’t continue.) However, reading a full-length book or a novella that doesn’t end with some sort of satisfactory resolution – well, no one likes that.

subscription pack-page0001So what have I done with Alchemy xii? I’ve decided not to employ shameless cliffhangers at the end of each episode. I can’t see the point in frustrating and infuriating my readers, so most episodes finish whatever the episode has started in terms of current action. Of course, there’s an over-reaching arc – the relationship between Harry and Olivia and the question of will-she/won’t-she submit to him, will-she/won’t-she make it through training – but I don’t tend to leave her jeopardy. My hope is that the characters and the main story are compelling enough in themselves to bring readers back, month after month, for more – and I’m assuming that this will be a much more successful strategy than resorting to cheap tricks and leaving my heroine tied up and vulnerable at the end of each chapter.

What do you think? And if, as a writer, you have finished a book on a cliffhanger, how did your readers react?

 

 

 

Without a “Fantasy” Category, Erotic Ebooks Go All Over the Place

Categorization is a tricky business. It’s one of the reasons library science degrees exist. Anyone want to take bets on how many library science graduates Amazon employs right now?

There are probably a few tucked away in the corporate structure somewhere, actually, but they sure as heck aren’t working on the ebook erotica neck of the woods.

It’s not something I see as a huge obstacle to my sales, although ease of browsing certainly helps customers and sellers alike. But it’s a phenomenon I watch with no small amount of amusement as, for lack of an a dedicated “Fantasy” category, erotica ebooks with any trace of fantasy or supernatural themes go everywhere.

Pick a category and you’ll see some werewolves or dragons or vampires in there somewhere. “Action & Adventure” category? Alpha-shifters on the front page. BDSM? Several fantasy creatures in the Top 10, on both sides of the controlling/controlled coin. “Historical,” check (shifters again). “Humorous,” check (Werewolves, dinosaurs, tentacles, you name it.).

Interracial, heh, of course — probably not what the closet fans of “Made it with Mandingo” and “Ghetto Booty IV” were looking for, but you can’t deny that dragon-on-elf action fits the bill. Even the separate “African American” erotica category has its share of swashbuckling black swordsmen in fantasy worlds, the made-up geographies of which really call both the “African” and “American” descriptors into question.

This is not so much a cri de cooter for a dedicated Fantasy category in Amazon’s ebook erotica section as it is an amused observation — and a reason to bookmark your favorite authors’ webpages, subscribe to their newsletters, and otherwise stay up on what they’re publishing, rather than hoping to stumble across it as you browse your favorite genres, because you never know where stuff is going to end up. Often we don’t even know.

So yeah, I went there. Get on some mailing lists! We gotta make it easy for you, because Amazon won’t, and we all know how much you like those easy boys and girls.

How to Get Goodreads Reviews

Hey everyone,

So I was going to write today about the cost of sleep deprivation and how it hinders your ability to think or do anything creative, and further complain about the fact that I haven’t had a decent night sleep in months due to some coke addicts living above us, but then I read Tamsin’s great blog post on how to write a book review, and figured I’d do it from the other side as well.

How to get goodreads / amazon reviews.

This works best for Goodreads, as Goodreads gives you more avenues to reach the type of reviewers you want.

I started up a spreadsheet with the following info along the top:

  • Book
  • Goodreads Link
  • Reviews #

I was looking for books that had a lot of reviews, similar to mine.

After that, I gathered 10 book names that I thought were similar to mine.

You want to have an idea of what type of people you want to contact. Generally you want people who give good, interesting and thoughtful reviews, especially if they loved the book similar to yours.

Remember, you’re asking for honest reviews from strangers, so you want to try to ensure the best match for your book and not simply contact everyone who has reviewed the books you’ve chosen.

I then copy / paste the user’s URL to my spreadsheet.

You can only send a limited amount of new PMs in a 24 hour period, so using urlopener.com, I opened up the first 20 (I’m only able to send to 15, I don’t know if you get more for more established accounts).

Here’s a script you can use.

Subject: Free ARC: *Brief Description / Genre*

Body:

Hi there!

I’m Name, the author of a book I think you might like. I’m hoping you’d live to review with a free advanced review copy.

Elevator pitch of book.

I’m offering the book to you for free in exchange for an honest review on Goodreads and Amazon.

You can read more about the book here:

Cover Link

If you’re interested, please let me know your email address and what format you need (Formats)

Thank you so much,

Author Name

I then tracked it on another spreadsheet with:

  • Goodreads URL [With the URL I copied earlier]
  • Email [They provide]
  • Format [They provide]
  • Sent [Yes/No]
  • Reviewed [Yes/No]
  • Rating [Star Rating]

I colour coded the lines. Red means I sent the initial goodreads PM, yellow means they responded and wanted a review copy, black means they declined, and green means their review is posted.

I’d then send out the book to everyone that requested it via email.

Subject: Review Copy: Book Name [format (i.e. mobi)]

Hi there,

Thank you for offering to review a copy of Book. I will give you a quick email upon its release so you can post your review on Amazon if you like.

You can leave your review on Goodreads whenever you are finished.

Link to book on Goodreads.

Thank you for taking the time to read and review the copy of this book.

Author Name

I then follow that up with another PM to make sure they have received it and basically tried to be friendly and open up a more information and friendly dialogue. Just something personalize like:

“Hi Name!

Just wanted to make sure you received the book okay :)

Author Name.”

Using this process, I got about a 50% response rate! I’ve started this 2 weeks ago, and already 20% of the people I’ve contacted (42% of the people who responded) have left their review!

I also did posts in a couple groups (in the appropriate section for authors promotions, or ARCS), but only received 2 responses total which isn’t great considering I posted in 4 groups.

How about you guys? Readers, would you be flattered to be chosen? Authors, have you had success in this way?

Also! A bunch of friends have a new boxed set out this week if you want to check it out! Candy Quinn is one of the illustrious fifty authors, in the boxed set coming out in March :)

Shades of Domination

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