Archive for Ebooks

Happy Get Fucked Day

This post is similar to my last one, Happy Fuck With People Day, only different. Funny how I got both April Fool’s Day and Tax Day- on April Fool’s you fuck with people and on tax day you get fucked by people. To me, neither day is any fun.

So I’m saying fuck that to both days, and am going to write about fucking yourself. So much more fun.

Some erotica readers share with others, reading with or to someone else, hopefully resulting in a fucking good time. Wow, there is a lot of the word fuck in this post.

But some erotica readers keep their stories to themselves, for a quick, alone, personal read that hopefully, if the author has done their job correctly, leads to the reader reading one-handed. As a writer of such one-handed reads, I definitely want to encourage the practice, so today I am writing about the pros and cons of fucking yourself.

For the men- frequent sessions flush out your pipes, so to speak. It is rumored to help prevent prostate issues, including cancer. So for the health of all men, ’cause we love you guys- flush early and flush often. If your significant other catches ya, just say it’s better for you than flossing, and you are keeping yourself up as a well oiled machine for years of future stress free maintenance.

Actually that goes for everyone- the old adage holds true, use it or lose it. Keep the machinery well maintained and in proper working order. Your muscles, your fluids, all moving and non moving parts need to be maintained. Consider it preventative maintenance- like an oil change, but fun.

Practice makes perfect. How do you get good at anything? Try it. And try again. Especially the women out there. Orgasms feel different with fingers than with toys. They feel different depending on the toy. Or riding in the car with a tight jean seam vibrating just right. Or riding the, umm, arm of the couch. What? I don’t know what you’re talking about, I didn’t say that! Well, I can’t speak for everyone, but ahem, I can speak for myself. So try, see if the same holds true for you. Or prove me wrong, either way. Only one way to find out :)

Orgasms release feel-good hormones, making you healthier. And making you, well…feel good.

Can’t get pregnant or STD’s either, it relieves stress and can help you sleep better. It’s been known to help with menstrual cramps and sometimes if you have a headache, it helps with that too. Except migraines. Nothing helps those bitches.

No waking up the next morning thinking “Oh my God, who are you?” No beer goggle effect, and hey- with masturbation hopefully you like the one you’re with.

And damn it, it’s just fun.

Cons- there aren’t any!

Well except my personal cons, you can pull something. Just see my earlier masturbation injury post. Or not, that’s just embarrassing. And every damn once in a while, it actually gives headaches. So treat it like exercise- don’t hold your breath, maybe do a few stretches first? Warm things up a bit before trying multiple toys in multiple places while hanging from the ceiling? Not that I’ve tried that one, alone. Just saying.

So when tax day gets you all stressed and sleepless… Or when someone tells you to go fuck yourself…Go ahead! And thank them for the suggestion, that will really freak them out.

Any other benefits you can think of? Or masturbation horror stories? I love horror stories!

Oh, to those who like the taboo PI stuff, sampling new authors, great deals and lots of sex really, really cheap-

There is a new box set out you should totally check out. Shameless plug, ’cause it is also the first multi-author set that I’ve personally had the honor to be a part of. But, it is only the first of many, we have another in the works for next month, too.

Twelve authors writing hot, cheap taboo shorts. Find it here:

Clicking should take you to it's Amazon page.

Clicking should take you to it’s Amazon page.

Happy Fuck With People Day!

Hi, my name is Jamie Klaire, and I am a buzz kill.

Welcome to my least favorite ‘holiday.’ I hate April Fool’s Day, with a passion. I hated it as a kid, when my mom would get me good. I hated it as a teen, when she made my sister cry- all I remember is that it had to do with cats. I hated it as a mom, when my then 6-8 ish year old would spend the day saying things like, “Hey mom, the sky is green. April Fool’s! Hey mom, my arm fell off. April Fools!” She is older now, and has a more mature brain, but I still hate it.

It just seems so mean. Someone posted a five-minute video on Facebook this winter. A guy arrived early to his kid’s school for pick up. It was in a snowy town and where he was parked had a perfect view of an icy spot on the sidewalk, so every single kid who walked over it slid and fell down. He videoed it. image

I watched all of 60 seconds before I turned it off. I wanted to go warn these kids, some of whom looked like they hit their heads on the sidewalk. His commentary could be heard- “Here comes another unsuspecting kid, let’s watch…Oh down he goes!” I’ve slipped on ice, that shit hurts. I’ve comforted my child when she ran inside after busting her ass on the driveway. I get that some people think it’s hilarious, but I couldn’t watch it.

I’m trying to remember the cat one that made my sister cry. All I can think of is both extremes- either telling her that her cat died, April Fools! Or maybe it’s that she could finally have one? Oh wait, April Fools! So mean.

I lack the fuck with people gene that my mom and my daughter have. My daughter loves to fuck with people. Her greatest desire right now is to be an actress on the “What Would You Do?” TV show. And she would be great!

She loves it when the whole family gets together for dinner out, because after we eat she gets to take her toddler cousin outside so his parents can at least finish a meal in peace. She loves, and I mean LOVES IN ALL CAPS to pretend he is hers. She’s 12.

I was behind her once as she handed the baby to his dad saying, “There’s your daddy.” It didn’t register until after I had walked away but I heard the table we were passing mumble, “Well, his mommy doesn’t even look old enough to count!”

I’ve asked her, “Don’t you mind knowing everyone in here thinks you had a baby at 12?” Her answer, “I’ve been told I look 15.” And that’s better? “Why don’t you say, ‘He’s my cousin, you perv?’” “Because I like to mess with people.”

My mom and my sister totally get it, and find it quite funny. I would be yelling as I walked by, “I’m taking MY COUSIN outside now, take your time eating I want to play with him.”

When I was younger my mom was a foster parent, and she specialized in hard to place, special needs babies. 99% were black babies from drug addicts and prostitutes who said they made the most money when hugely pregnant. We are about as white/Polish as you can get. We’d all be at a store and she would be obviously watched by security. When the guy would come over and ask ,”Where’d you get that baby?” I’d think, please mom, just say he’s a foster baby. She’d say instead, “Where do you think? Didn’t your parents ever teach you about sex?”

I get now that it was a funny reaction to rude people, but as a child I was mortified.

So I hate practical jokes, and I hate April Fools Day. But I’m writing a character right now who pulled one on her boyfriend. It’s not out yet, but her boyfriend is trying his hand at growing vegetables in the back yard, and he sprinkled “Miracle Grow” on his garden. So my character went to the grocery store, bought full size versions of all the veggies he had just planted, and she stuck them in the dirt that night.

The next morning, 24 hours after the Miracle Grow application, he looks out back and sees a full, lush garden from the window and rushes out. She laughingly follows behind him and watches as he sees all the grocery store stickers she forgot to take off. She throws her arms out, laughing and saying, “It’s a miracle!” He laughs and they do it right there in the grass.

Where did I get the idea? My mom did that to my dad when he was going through a phase where he would come home from work and go check on the garden before even saying hello to her. There’s another one in the book too, based on real life, but I’m only giving you one right here.

I hate April Fool’s but I adore Halloween, no one really believes you are who you dress up as. I guess that’s the difference? You aren’t really fooling anyone?

One of the things I like about the pen name Jamie Klaire is that the initials are JK. Just Kidding! Fooled you! Jamie Klaire isn’t my really name hahaha!

So maybe I have a little of the fuck with people gene? Just not a mean gene? I can write practical jokes into my character’s personality but not be a joker myself? Makes sense, I write PI and I don’t do my relatives. I write all kinds of stuff I don’t really do. Some things I’ve written I have done though, I’ll leave it up to you to decide which, reader’s choice.

So how about you? Love April Fool’s or hate it? Did the absolute worse author to get April Fool’s day for their blog post day ruin it for you? Or hopefully at least make you laugh a little?

 

Thinking About Pricing

The past few days I’ve been listening to the Self Publishing Round Table podcasts. They have some really great, successful self published authors like Courtney Milan, Cristin Harber, etc, and chat about what they do. One of the questions they inevitably ask is about pricing. How did you come up with your pricing, how did that change over time, how do you handle sales and promotions?

The thing that really stuck out for me was that everyone did it differently. Some, like Brenna Aubrey, decided to price at $2.99–significantly lower than what her book would have been priced if she’d signed one of the NY deals she was offered. But still not 99 cents.

I also listened to a Rocking Self Publishing podcast with author Denise Grover-Swank, who decided to start her books at 99 cents.

Then in contrast there are powerhouse authors like Theresa Ragan, whose mysteries sell for a bit higher ($3.99 and $4.99) and has not yet done free or loss-leader pricing in a series. So, still lower than NY prices but not the 99 cents that you might use to draw readers into a series. However, she does use KDP Select at the beginning, which is a form of lower cost since readers can use lending.

For myself, in 2011 and 2012, the highest price I had put anything for was $2.99. I played around within that but never went above. Partly that was due to word count. My longest work to that point was 35K and I still felt like $2.99 was a good price for it. It *could* have been $3.99 but I liked the way it was selling and didn’t feel the need to change it.

Then when I did my first novel, I knew it couldn’t be priced the same as novellas, but at the same time, I worried that $3.99 would put off the price conscious readers.

However, Wanderlust was my bestselling release to date.

So, I stopped stressing over that. I’m comfortable with my current pricing because I’d easily spend that as a reader. I buy a lot of books, so I know if there’s a price that makes me do a double-take. I want my book to be a good deal, too. Yeah, quality is hugely important. I write the best story I can and pay for lots of editors, but I don’t think that means they can’t also be sold for a good price.

But then again, I don’t know. If I knew for sure I would come out on top, ie. with more profit at the end of the day, if I raised all my prices a dollar, would I do it?

Maybe, maybe not.

But that kind of price experiment can be tough. From a logistical standpoint, propagating prices through Smashwords is a PITA. But more importantly, my sales have never been all that steady, month to month. It’s pretty dependent on what else is going on. So even if I managed to change everything over in a given month, and it did better or worse, I’m not sure that would give me the info I need.

What about you? How do you determine what pricing is fair, as a reader or as an author? If you’re an author, do you experiment with pricing?

Moderation, What a Charming Idea

As a relatively new (erotica) writer, I struggle with knowing how much time to spend “marketing” vs. how much time to spend “writing.” I’m the first to admit that my math skills are poor — I was an English major. (Useless, BTW. Don’t do it! Save yourselves! Let my life be an example!)

But even I have finally figured out that if I don’t write more books and a lot faster, I won’t sell any books, period. Pro-tip: must have books in order to sell books. Ooga-booga. That’s me in cave-woman mode, figuring out that fire is hot, a wooly mammoth isn’t charging me to say ‘hello’, and — alert the media! — I need to HAVE books in order to SELL books. Bingo. Pit-tooey.

So what’s on my mind now … are questions about how much time to allot, if any, to marketing and networking and social interactions with other authors and whatnot. I mean, do I go all Howard Hughes and cave up and let my toenails grow to a disgusting curl, and have take-out delivered, until I pound out 50,000 words at least ten times and get ten books up for sale? Or do I work on “branding” and getting my name out there and write when I can? Or is there something in-between?

If it’s that last thing, shit, I’m in serious trouble. Because I’ve never been one for “moderation.” What a charming notion! No. I’m either completely obsessed or utterly disinterested. Not much in-between for me. I think it explains why I’m into kink in the first place. Need MOAR of everything. More sensation. More intensity. More more more.

Here are some examples of Sheri Savill, author, using the concept of moderation in all things in her daily life:

1. My default Starbucks order is a “grande triple extra-hot latte.” Often, I go “quad” (four shots). And I will have this drink twice. That’s eight shots of espresso, the same amount they use to revive heart attack victims when the paddles aren’t handy. I specify “extra hot” because 140-160 degrees isn’t going to cut it. I ask for “180 degrees” and they give me a verbal warning as they hand it over: “That’s VERY hot. Be careful.” Telling someone who can do eight shots of espresso to “be careful”? Hullo? Wheel is spinning, hamster is dead. Crikey, if I’m not having an out-of-body experience on caffeine, I’d just as soon go to (gasp) decaf.

2. I like to schedule tweets using Buffer. I schedule them for an entire week. I’m not saying the tweets are high quality or even remotely interesting, but damn, long as I’m in the mood to write some tweets, I’m sending those fuckers out in bulk. Nooooow how much would you pay? (Long as I’m distracted here, would you be interested in a post sometime on cool web tools I use? I do web development when I’m not writing smut.)

3. Blog posts. A while back I got on this kick where I was doing infographics and Venn diagrams on my blog. “What, pray tell, could an erotica author possibly make pie charts and infographics about?” you ask. I have no answers. But non-answers in a spiffy graphic seem much more authoritative. If they don’t kick me off One Handed Writers soon enough, I might make a chart or something and upload it here, too. “Five Ways to Avoid Writing.” “Infographics, The Viral Way To Say Nothing.”

I guess I have a point here and I should get on with making it. It’s not just my issues with moderation. It’s also about my attention span. It’s a problem. And not just a case of “Oooh something shiny!” with me, either. It’s more like, “Oooh, anything … else.”

tape2

Right now, for example, I have a BDSM erotica book in progress. It’s over on the other side of the room, on my laptop, mocking me. I want it to be novel length, though I only have 16,000 words on it so far. I’m determined to publish this thing before the year 2019. So committed, in fact, that I already commissioned, and paid for, a beautiful cover for this book. I figured buying the cover in advance would force me to write it, publish it. But if I don’t finish it, I’ll have to figure out a way to use the cover for an infographic, the Top 10 Distractions for Writers. Or, I might be able to use the cover for a book in another genre entirely. Because nothing sells a book on the evolution of larval stages of marine invertebrates like a cover with a half-naked woman looking apprehensively over her shoulder into blackness. WTF?

My latest “all in” decision is to focus focus focus. On my writing (erotica? oh yes, that). And I announced, dramatically, that I am holing up until the damned erotica book is finished and uploaded. Note how the book has morphed just in the space of time it took me to write this. It was “the book,” and now it’s “that damned book.” So I announced that I’m unavailable, to put the world on notice that I was flipped over into “obsessed” mode. So the world would realize I have Important Work to do and let me do it. And things got very quiet. Someone interrupt me, OK? I’m on Twitter and Google Plus and Facebook.

How do you handle your time? Are you distracted easily? Do you have a time management strategy? Are you a “hole up” writer or a multi-tasker? Can you do eight shots of espresso? Is “moderation” another word for “flatlined”? Do non sequiturs confuse you? Or can you switch from one random thing to another? Would an infographic help you sort things out? I have time to make one.

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Visit Sheri Savill’s distracting website, or find her on Twitter or Google Plus or Facebook or watch her distracting animated videos on YouTube or sign up for her distracting Dungeon Crawl. Or something else. Read still more distracting things about her here. Wait, this too.

Snow, Fireplaces and Vacation Sex

I’m back, fresh from a beautiful, relaxing vacation. The husband and I just spent a week road-tripping, the middle of which was spent high up in the mountains in a private, secluded cabin for days.

There is something refreshing about vacations, something that frees the mind from the everyday. And of course vacation sex is always a big perk. We broke in the couch in front of the fireplace, got a bit down and dirty outside on the porch, and definitely spent some time in the hot tub- the jets pointed in perfectly naughty places.

I had to laugh, though. As an erotica writer, I’m not sure if I see sex everywhere because of what I write, or if I write erotica because I’m someone who naturally sees sex everywhere.image

In the small bathroom, I saw boobs in the acorns on the cabin-themed shower curtain. A cluster of three boobs, very Total Recall, but whatever. And the first night, when we laid down to sleep, I made my husband turn the lights back on real quick so I could point out the erect penis I saw in the wood knots on the ceiling. No worries friends- I took pictures.

imageI think my favorite though, was having days and days to do whatever we wanted, with no kiddo and nowhere to be. Our original plan was to spend one night in the cabin, and keep road-tripping until we got to the ocean, since we hadn’t seen it in a couple of years. The first night in the cabin, we drove around and played tourist with the crowds in the beautiful 70 degree night, having dinner, sampling and then buying multiple locally distilled bottles of whiskey, and generally just goofing off, planning to head back out again in the morning.

We found though that come morning, we didn’t want to leave. So we didn’t. We spent the next two days and nights that were originally meant for driving toward the ocean in our PJ’s instead, never once leaving the cabin.

I did some editing, a lot of reading, and just enjoyed the nowhere to be/nothing to do downtime with my husband. We played some tipsy pool, cooked, made love, and generally just hung out, all with the beautiful, majestic mountains just outside our large windows. We spent one entire day outside on the porch in the rocking chairs, sipping our coffee in the morning and our whiskey in the evening.

The last evening we were there, it snowed. We sat outside in the covered hot tub, watching big, fat snowflakes fall silently in the dark night all around us, and kind of hoped we would wake up the next morning snowed in for just one more day. But no, instead we got to watch it all melt as the temperatures climbed once again, grateful for the odd bit of snow that seemed to fall just for us.

During the long, slow drive back home I let the next book unravel itself in my mind, and came back refreshed, relaxed and ready to jump right back into the world of writing down and sharing the stories in my head with anyone who wanted to read them.

We never did see the ocean this trip, but there is always next year.

Excitica – New Erotica and Erotic Romance Distributor!

Erikas New Avatar

2013 was a hella year for erotica. And not always in such a good way. While it gave us some amazing new authors contributing to the genre, it brought a storm of corporate censorship along with it.

The floodgates to erotica and erotic romance really opened in 2011 with the publication of the previously-published-as Twilight fanfiction instant phenom Fifty Shades of Grey. Suddenly the whole world was reading erotica – and every author was clamoring to write it. The market, already bursting with writers who heard they could make more money writing erotica than any other genre, was quickly flooded.

And the race to the bottom (or the top?) continued through last year. While many of us had learned the lessons distributors were teaching – tamer covers, less obvious titles, descriptions that left more to the imagination – there were far too many new authors who didn’t know the unwritten new rules who were vying for visibility in a morass of new work.

And so the perfect storm developed. The Kernel posted their click-bait, Kobo capitulated, and distributors everywhere started to ban erotica. Again. Still. More. *sigh*

As a business owner, I understood their quandry – there was suddenly a great deal of erotica that readers clearly wanted to read on one hand, but on the other, there were other people perusing their site who didn’t want to read it or see it or even know it existed.

What to do?

Each distributor made a decision. None of them had ever allowed underage sex of course, but there were other niches they had to make a call about, like incest, pseudo incest, bestiality and nonconsent.

THE BIG BOYS

Amazon: Most authors’ largest source of income. They decided they’d already drawn their line in the sand. Incest, bestiality and nonconsent was still banned. Pseudo incest was still allowed, but no reference to family relations could be mentioned in the description. And erotica could no longer include explicit excerpts in the description field. Cover restrictions also tightened – no more nudity or even non-nude implied sexual acts or touching was allowed on erotica covers.

Kobo: They banned incest, pseudo incest, bestiality and nonconsent and yet they are the only large distributor who still has a “taboo” category – which is now like a ghost town and the moment an author puts their work there, it’s usually removed.

Apple: They banned incest, pseudo incest, bestiality and nonconsent. Covers with nudity had always been a no-no.

Barnes and Noble: No corporate censorship. Everything is allowed. Although rumors still run rampant that they “anchor” certain books if they break the top 100, to keep them from the bestseller lists.

Google Play: A little late to the party, they’ve just begun banning incest, pseudo incest, bestiality and nonconsent.

SMALLER DISTRIBUTORS & AGGREGATORS

Smashwords: They have to follow the rules for all of their distributors, so they take the lowest common denominator and apply that across the board. No incest, pseudo incest, bestiality, nonconsent or covers with nudity.

Digital 2 Draft: Like Smashwords, they have disallowed those things that displease most of the distributors.

All Romance Ebooks: Since the Paypal fiasco, they have disallowed not only incest, pseudo incest, bestiality and nonconsent, but anything that is “barely legal” (whatever that means?)

Bookstrand: The same as All Romance EBooks - no incest, pseudoincest, bestiality, nonconsent or anything “barely legal.”

So you can see, if you write anything that leans toward the more “taboo” it’s hard to find an audience for it anymore. And before you start in about how “sick” or “twisted” or “crazy” such fiction and people who read such fiction must be, I’d like to remind you that we are talking about FICTION here. It’s fantasy. There are people out there who like to write it and people who out there who like to read it – it’s common and, on a psychological level, doesn’t border on “crazy” any more than fantasies about threesomes or BDSM.

So what is a writer – or a reader – to do?

EXCITICA

exciticalogo

Oops, I forgot one distributor. EXCITICA.

EXCITICA is run by Selena Kitt (that’s me!) New York Times and USA Bestselling author of erotica and erotic romance fiction with over one million authored books sold. She has run her own publishing company at eXcessica for five years and has been one of the most vocal authors against the corporate censorship of erotica. She has developed eXcitica as a subsidiary of eXcessica to create a home for erotic works of all flavors.

EXCITICA like the rest of the distributors, still doesn’t allow underage sex, bestiality (although shifters are fine, even sex in shifter form!) or necrophilia (vampires excepted!) but we do allow many of the things the other distributors don’t, like incest, pseudoincest and nonconsent.

What does EXCITICA do for erotica and erotic romance authors?

First and foremost, we give you 60% of your profits! W00T! Cha-Ching! Secondly, with Selena Kitt’s brand and name behind it, EXCITICA will soon be known far and wide as the place to go for HOT reading!

Small Publishers: You are welcome! We have room for your entire catalog and the uploading interface is simple!

Taboo writers: EXCITICA is home for you! EXCITICA will be known among readers as the place to go for the books they can’t find anywhere else. Like yours!

Erotica writers: Even if you publish “just vanilla” erotica (and we all know that’s still HOT!) EXCITICA will be your home too! Readers who read taboo don’t JUST read taboo erotica and your books will be there to discover when they want something a little bit different!

Erotic romance writers: No one can live on taboo alone – and if you are an author paying attention to the market, you know that dark erotica readers don’t just read taboo and dark erotica – they read romance too. A lot of it! And they’re going to like yours! And if you write dark erotic romance? (And we all know how hot that genre is right now!) You’ve found your real home with EXCITICA!

What does EXCITICA do for readers?

One of the biggest problems with erotica at the big distributors is categorization. Some have none at all. Amazon, the largest distributor of ebooks, has just added a few token categories to erotica – two years after Fifty Shades of Grey was first published! It’s hard to find the erotica you want on the big distributors (especially since places like Amazon often go out of their way to actually hide it from you, using the ADULT filter on certain titles!) and it’s even harder if you’re looking for anything out of the ordinary or taboo.

That’s one of the things EXCITICA has strived to do – categorize things for readers (and writers) so that every fetish, every niche, has a place and can be found. The better a writer categorizes their work, the easier time a reader will have of finding it. From incest to pseudo incest, to cuckold to dubcon, to gangbang, pregnant, or creatures, EXCITICA has categorized it ALL! And if you write it or read it and you don’t see it? Contact us, we’ll add it!

Am I worried about EXCITICA being censored or shut down?

Only mildly. Of course, writing in the genre has its risks. I think we all know that, and it’s been proven over and over as the corporate jackboot of censorship has come down harder and harder on our necks.

But my goal in creating EXCITICA was to give all erotica, in all its different flavors, a real home. A SAFE home. A place where almost everything was welcome, and readers nor writers would feel ashamed about it. To do that, I had to be sure that we wouldn’t go through any more drama like we did during the Paypal fiasco.

But the good news is that, since Visa clarified its position about paying for the WRITTEN WORD when it comes to erotica (and Paypal reversed its decision not to pay for “certain” type of fiction) Paypal has nothing to fear, and neither do we. EXCITICA will accept Paypal – and Paypal has publicly stated they are fine paying for any and all erotica that doesn’t have nudity inside the ebook.

That means EXCITICA does have a few tiny rules:

  • We do not publish picture books of erotica. Graphic novels and comics are welcome, but photographic stories inside ebooks are not.
  • We do not publish bestiality (shapeshifters are fine) necrophilia (unless you count vampires) or underage sex.
  • No sexually active characters under the age of 18. References to past relationships and sex before the age of 18 is fine, but no detailed sexual content with characters under the age of consent in the U.S, is allowed. We require that your work have an legal age disclaimer stating that all characters are above the age of 18.

What do I need to do to get my book on EXCITICA?

Sign up HERE for a SELLER ACCOUNT!

You should be approved right away and you can start uploading your books!

If you have any questions, check out our FAQ.

NOTE: We are in “beta” mode right now – we’re still working out a few bugs here and there, taking feedback from authors and readers alike. We won’t fully launch (with big time advertising, contests and all that exciting stuff!) until later this year. But we DO want to hear from you, so please contact us if you have any feedback for us!

And we would LOVE it if you’d check out all our social media profiles, “like” us and spread the word! And if you want to keep up with what we’re doing?

JOIN OUR MAILING LIST!

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

Taboo Erotica- You Are What You Read??

Every time I read in the paper about some teacher getting caught with a student, a parent sexually abusing their child or someone getting caught drugging, videoing or peeping on someone else for their sexual enjoyment, I feel a twinge.

Did I do that? Did my writing Hot For Teacher contribute to that? Did my writing about stepbrother/stepsister relations help push anyone over an edge? Every time my PI (pseudo-incest for the average reader out there) gets pulled from a retailer I wonder if I should stop writing it at all.

It is a small part of my catalog, but it sells oh so well. I have found a nice formula- I write whatever I want, say like Deflowered At The Marine Masquerade Ball, and I publish it everywhere. defloweredstepgooglepict Then I go back and make a few alterations, resulting in something like Deflowered By My Stepbrother At The Marine Masquerade Ball, and I upload it where it is allowed. Two titles for the price of one, plus a choice for my readers. Do you want to read your erotica with or without step relations? Something for everyone.

On Google Play last month, 80% of my sales were PI, which are only 1/3 of my titles. (Google Play is new to me, I just started publishing there last month. All titles were up a month before I woke up to an email informing me that my PI titles are not allowed and are now removed, so that income will dry up to a trickle now since PI was 80% of my sales. Amazon says they don’t allow it, since the Pornocalypse, but they do if you dress it up pretty, use the word ‘taboo’ as code, and you have to ‘peek inside’ the book to get a real description. Nook and Smashwords allow it openly raunchy, and others like apple and kobo don’t allow it at all. That is fine, I abide by the rules, and had been told Google Play was anything goes.)

Here in the states incest is illegal. But pseudo-incestuous, non-blood related sex is not. Meaning sex with your hot stepbrother is technically OK, as long as every other requirement is met, like both are over 18, consenting etc. But it is frowned upon, of course. And everyone who writes PI finds their own limits. I can’t write step dad/ daughter stuff, mainly because I not only have a step child, but my daughter also has a step dad and a step mom.

But for some reason step siblings don’t bother me at all. Maybe because if my daughter ended up in a relationship years from now with one of her step brothers I would be fine with it. They’ve never lived together and they are not related. I wouldn’t recommend her making a grand announcement about how they met, but I wouldn’t lose any sleep over it. Ok, not much anyway, and what sleep I would lose would be more about how they are treated in the world, same as if she told me she was gay. I’d worry about how others treat my baby, not about the person she was with, as long as she was happy.

And did I mention this stuff sells? Like OMG sells. But the tinge of guilt remains. My husband doesn’t even know I write it. But, to be fair, although he does know I write erotica, he has never read a single story of mine, and swears he never will. He says he doesn’t want to know. It’s not a western or a James Patterson novel, so he isn’t interested and prefers to get his porn visually. Plus he is afraid that he won’t like my writing, and prefers to answer with an honest, “I don’t know if she’s any good, I’ve never read her.” The man can not lie, and this keeps him from stating, ‘it’s crap’ if he doesn’t like it, so as odd as it sounds that he has no idea what I’m up to, it is very sweet of him, and it gives my imagination free rein. Whatever, it is what it is.

One of the things that keeps me from leaking this pen name to my family, massagedstep2googlepictbesides the raunch factor, is the fact that they would see titles like Massaged And Shaved By My Stepbrother 1 & 2. Just too weird.

So, if it is too weird for me to share with family, and it is so frowned upon by society, why am I comfortable writing it? I’m not normally one who would sell her soul for the money. And in all honesty, I have prayed about it and am fine where I stand with my God. Why is that?

Maybe because I don’t believe reading or writing about murders makes people murder any more than reading or writing about vampires or trolls makes one a vampire or a troll. I believe books and the imagination are safe places to explore many, many things, and I don’t believe people’s thoughts or reading material should be censored.

My books were never censored when I was growing up, and I read some doozies. Library and bookstore clerks would raise a questioning eyebrow to my mother over my shoulder as they scanned my titles, and she always defended my right to read whatever pleased me. I do the same with my child. We have discussions about why ideas in books, TV or on the radio may be fun to explore in the safety of her bedroom but would be unacceptable acted out in the real world.

Plus, the forbidden is hot. There is something about doing things you’re not supposed to be doing, much less enjoying, that just makes doing it hotter. So do I really believe that my writing about over-aged, consenting, umm…FICTIONAL, made up, not real, imaginary characters doing naughty things with their equally fictional not related hot step siblings are going to be the trigger for someone to act on these taboo thoughts?

No, I don’t. I do think there is a connection, but I think we have it backwards. I don’t think normal law-abiding citizens are going to start shooting people because of a video game, having sex with their students because of a book or doing their relatives because of a short story. BUT, I do believe those already inclined to go nuts and shoot people do gravitate toward those games, adults who like kids way too much do seek out jobs as scout leaders or houses near elementary school playgrounds or parks.

There is good and bad everywhere and in every occupation. There are honest and dirty cops, priests and everything else. Those with the need and/or intent to do wrong will find a way, no matter the song, game or book currently out there, and they have since the dawn of time.

So enjoy your naughty books, secure in the knowledge that the enjoyment of kinks is normal, the pushing of boundaries is human, and the range of things that turn a person on are infinite. Thoughts are hidden and private for a reason. Who hasn’t wished ill of another but would be horrified if something really happened?

Who hasn’t had the occasional naughty thoughts or fantasies we would never act on? There is a difference between thought and action. My daughter has a teacher at school whom I drool over. I would totally understand if she ever mentions a crush. Those are safe, normal thoughts. But actions- if he ever touches her it is a completely different story. I’m really, really good at those shooting games.

 

imageOther things- There is still time to take part in Smashword’s Annual Read An Ebook week. It is a massive, week-long sale on Smashwords.com from March 2 through March 8, and every single one of my titles are on sale over there, most 50% off, some 75% off and a couple freebies. Go check it out.

Also, those of you who read my last post two weeks ago about how I got my idea for a kitchen product- based erotic short- it is out. You can buy it full priced everywhere, half-priced on the above mentioned Smashimage sale, or even better, it is free with the special code I’m giving you right here on OHW. It’s a fun, quick little read called Kitchen Capers by Jamie Klaire and use code JS57M to get it free on Smashwords until April 1st.

Also again, my first and probably only attempt at a choose-your-own-adventure type story is free today on Amazon. Choices- A Choose Your Own Adventure Story is only available on Amazon, due to formatting issues, and is free from now through Saturday March 8.

Choices is also today’s feature on eBookSoda.com, a new readers site where they’ll send you ebook recommendations tailored to your taste. Thank you eBookSoda!

The Only Thing Constant is Change

I’ve been thinking about doing audiobooks for a while. I already have the core product, the book itself, so it makes sense to maximize all the income streams. Digital. Print. And audio. But of course, audio has significant more production than the previous two, and most likely less returns, thus my hesitation.

Still, I decided to take the plunge and put my book on ACX to find a narrator. Literally the next day, I got the email all Audible authors did, that royalty rates on audiobooks were being reduced. When I’d researched it, there was a sliding scale royalty between 50% and 90%. Now, if I understand it correctly, there is a flat 40%.

In a way, I’m glad I was able to find this out now. It’s probably worst for someone who’s just shelled out a couple thousand bucks, only to find he might not be able to make back his investment—or at least, it will be harder now. Having just posted a request, I could choose to opt out. I’m still deliberating that…

Because on the other hand, one royalty rate doesn’t necessarily mean that much to someone who’s never published a single audiobook. Of course, more is better. But I don’t know for sure that I could have recouped my investment on the higher sliding scale. And maybe the 40% is still profitable. I just don’t know.

The only thing constant in change. At least, with self-publishing, we have the power to react quickly. We can form partnerships and try out new avenues—and that means failing, at least some of the time.

One of the things I’ve been working on lately is a boxed set with other authors. It’s my first venture like this, and at least so far it’s been more successful than I had hoped and also more time consuming. There have been little “lessons learned” along the way of things I would do differently… and the set hasn’t even been released yet. (Make Me comes out on Monday, if you’re interested in a great deal.)

I think collaborations are a huge part of the value of self-publishing, which is kind of ironic. It’s not really “self” then, except in who retains the rights. Audio book creation is definitely a form of collaboration, says the author who got her first audition in her inbox today J Boxed sets are collaboration, whether they contain backlist books or new, original content. Anthologies and branded series and cross promotion and co-writing…

Then other times I think, maybe I don’t need all that. Maybe I can just write.

I don’t really have the answer.

This was not meant to be a prescriptive blog post. It has to be assumed that when you’re talking about marketing, and about opportunities for collaboration, that you have decent books to work with. And some kind of readership already in place, maybe.

But if you have all that, already, doesn’t it make sense to take advantage of extra opportunities? And just how much time and money is worth it? And even if you figure out the answers to those questions, the landscape is shifting underneath us, royalties changing and distributors merging.

For me, the answer is to keep trying new things. But I know, for sure, that it won’t work out every time. It can’t. I’m not really risking anything if it does. So that also means I need to be okay with failure.

Well…. I’m not really. But I have to be able to move on from failure J

That’s also what we do with books, I think. Each one is a risk. Each one tries new things. Each one might mean failure. From that point of view, I’m not sure you could really be a career author and be risk-averse. The act of creation is a risk.

What do you think? How do you cope with changes in the publishing ecosystem? How do you view the risks inherent in them?

The Joy Of (Writing) Sex- Turning My Masturbation Injury Into A Story Idea

Ya’ll don’t know me very well yet, (although now you know I’m from somewhere they say ya’ll) but my middle name is ‘Gee, we’ve never seen THAT happen before.’ So, when I found myself with a pinched nerve or something similar from a recent round of ‘entertaining myself,’ I had to laugh, which hurt quite a bit. So I took something, grabbed an ice pack, and planted myself in front of the TV for a day or two.canstockphoto5734074

I caught up on everything in my DVR that was ‘mine,’ and when my husband got home, after making fun of my injury,  we started watching the things that are ‘ours.’ One of ‘our’ shows is Treehouse Masters.

Treehouse Masters always follows the same formula: the treehouse master Pete Nelson is somewhere on his land, doing something, when a family member comes out and tells him they have a new client that needs his services. He asks what they need, how much is their budget, etc, so we find out up front for example that a lady in this state has $80,000 set aside for a writer’s retreat she’s always wanted on her land. Or that a nonprofit in this other state has $120,000 set aside for an autistic kid’s space with reading nooks and a classroom. Or a massage therapist over here has $100,000 for a massage suite in the tress. Whatever.

Then we follow Pete out to scout the location, find the perfect spot and draw up the plans. His workers all show up, and everyone gets started. About halfway through the show he always gets a call to go repair another ailing tree house, so in each episode we watch a new one being built and another get repaired- two cool tree houses for the price of one episode.

He comes back, they finish up the first one, call in a decorator, and then the reveal- a holy crap beautiful, unique, amazing tree house.

Now to me this would get boring after a few episodes, even though I love tree houses and would love to have one.  If anyone else made this show, I may or may not record it, then fast forward through the whole thing to see the finished product. But the beauty of this show, and the reason I’m writing about it, is the pure, childlike joy Pete brings to each and every episode.

He is infectious. Yes the whole thing is kind of corny, but I have yet to watch an episode in which I’m not grinning ear to ear, soaking up his joy in his work. The man brings a whole new definition to the word tree hugger. You can tell by watching him select a location and build a tree house, that he was born to do this. His childlike, pure joy comes out of the TV set in waves. This man has turned his joy into a very well-paying career, and yet it never looks like work. Who else could turn building tree houses into an empire?

Most writers I know write because they find joy in it. It makes them happy, they can’t not write. If they make a little cash, great, but that isn’t the point. Then you have your greats. They find the niche they love and they love it so much, it pours from the pages. They are your empire builders, your Selena Kitts, if you will. There is a passion that pours itself out all over the place.

That’s what I want. I want my joy to pour out. Why else write in my off time, finding stolen hours here and there between real world obligations? For the joy of it. I’m not sure my joy pours off the pages yet, but that is my goal for this year- to release my joy all over the damn place. Maybe one day from a tree house. Oh, or maybe I could write a story that takes place in a tree house. The wheels start to turn…

Ok, back to the TV. I’m still nursing an injury remember? And I haven’t gotten to how I got my next story idea yet, I just couldn’t pass up spreading the joy.

It seems my husband and I share a love for do-it-yourself type building shows, because next up is Rehab Addict. The star of Rehab Addict is Nicole Curtis- and although she does beautiful work, my personal opinion is that she is the wet dream of the house flipping genre. She is a lot of fun to watch, and her personality and her joy also shines though, but the fact that she looks so good on camera in her tight little tank-tops has at least a little to do with it.

I swear we were just watching an episode, and the camera had a close-up on her doing something important to the house, and explaining it in great detail. The camera pulled back, they all went on with their work, and I turned to my husband sheepishly and asked, “I know she was just walking us through something in detail, but do you remember what it was? Because the whole entire time she was speaking all I saw was boobs, and all I remember now, two seconds later, are her boobs. What was she talking about?”

My husband started laughing at me, but when he turned to me, a little red-faced, he had to admit he had no idea what she had been saying either.

We spend half of each episode questioning her work and comparing it to what we’ve learned on other shows, and half of each episode thinking, ‘oh yeah, hammer that nail in tight, baby.’

But I don’t mind watching her at all, even as my husband drools, because I enjoy her too. And her work, although very questionable under the surface, (You are really just going to fix the roof and paint the wall? You’re not going to open that wall up and fix all the water damage that’s on the inside? What about the mold?) turns out visually beautiful, and her sheer joy in flipping houses makes her much more than just another set of boobs.

So in my injured state, even though I can’t write, my mind is processing. Maybe I can do a story in a tree house about a house flipper and her contractor? Or all of her contractors? But before an idea fully forms we are off to the next show.

My husband is an equal opportunity kind of guy, so he winks at me and says, “Your turn” as he turns the TV to my do-it-yourself eye-candy, Mike Holmes. Now this guy is everywhere- Holmes on Homes, Holmes Makes It Right, Holmes Inspection. This is the guy we compare Nicole’s work to, and this is the guy that gets my juices flowing.

Like just now, when I googled his shows to make sure I had them right, I took a moment, clicked images and had to remind myself- “You’re just getting over a masturbation injury, back away from the Holmes. Seriously. Now! Stop it before you pull something else.” Damn, I have dreams about what he has under those overalls.

Anyway, we were watching Holmes, (that man can caulk my seams any day) and he struck a pose that immediately made me think of Mr. Clean. You know- the bald cartoon guy with the white eyebrows that is the face of the Mr. Clean cleaning product company.

And boom- there’s my story idea. Mr. Clean sneaks out from under the kitchen cabinet at night when everyone is asleep, finds Mrs. Butterworth, the woman-shaped syrup bottle character, lifts her very willing skirts and starts having his way with her. Then the Pillsbury dough boy comes out to watch, and before you know it- Count Chocula, the lucky charms leprechaun, Aunt Jemima, the Morton’s salt girl and the Keebler elves are all having themselves a grand ole time in a kitchen themed adult-toy-story. I even saw the ending in my head- the frosted flakes character Tony the Tiger finishing with a “That was greeeaaaattt!”

Then reality came in- the Morton’s salt girl would probably get me in trouble since she’s underage, plus there is the whole tiger/bestiality issue.  Add being sued for violating copyrights and my idea crashed and burned.

But it wouldn’t go away. It made me giggle and I thought it would be a hoot to write- so I jumped onto Kboards.com and ran the idea through their collective common sense. I even had an attorney pop in there, gotta love Kboards. To do the story I’d have to change it all up. Parody is allowed but using their copyrighted names/descriptions are not.

So Mrs. Butterworth would instead have to become Mr. Bitterspurts, the cowboy-shaped honey bottle, or something similar. Written like that the story is a go, and I think it would be a lot of fun to do.

So now you know a little more about me, how my warped mind works and how I go about getting ideas for my stories. And no, none of this was written under the influence of any good drugs for my pinched-nerve, just Tylenol, lots and lots of free time and my twisted imagination. Ah yes, the joys of writing sex, and the perils of a masturbation injury. Now, you must excuse me, I have a story to write. Unless of course any one else has a masturbation injury they’d like to discuss?

On Valuing Books

Yesterday I saw a remark made by an author in a private loop, which is why I’m not quoting it. But it basically expressed frustration that she can now read a bundle of books for 99 cents. She can read indefinitely for free, she said, and this was somehow a bad thing.

Huh?

I didn’t understand that. Obviously it’s great for readers’ wallets to be able to do this, but she was speaking as an author and so am I. I have a permanently free erotic romance story that’s been out since 2011—and been downloaded a zillion times. (That’s the scientific number.) Right now, I’m part of a 99 cent multi-author boxed set that’s doing pretty well during the pre-order period.

So clearly, I’m pro-discounts when it comes to my books. And not because I’m inherently generous. If I want to do something nice, I send a check to ASPCA or bake cookies for my neighbor. Giving away books, for free and for cheap, is a proven effective marketing technique. Actually, it’s the best marketing technique I know of.

A few years ago, if you were an author, how did you get the word out about your book? You paid for a $500 ad on an industry magazine and hoped that enough people jotted down the title and author and looked up your book later. How many books do you have to sell to make up the difference? That probably wouldn’t pay for the ad, so then you have to hope that enough of those readers happen to connect with your book enough to not only enjoy it, but recommend it to their friends and buy your next book. You have to make MORE than $500 of pure profit for that ad to be a good investment.

Or maybe you schedule yourself a book launch party or a signing. Maybe you go to a conference and pay for book giveaways. Maybe maybe maybe, but the thing these all have in common is that you outlay money at the start and hope to make it back.

However, making my short story free is… well, free.

The economics are a little more muddled than that since I do pay for editing, etc, but I also made some money when Amazon had it set to 99 cents for a short period. The result is that I’ve been able to reach thousands of readers over the years for free. Way more reach than an ad or a launch party could have had and way more free.

The boxed set is still ongoing, so I can’t comment too much on the effects of that. However, the principle is the same. In fact, since we get royalties on the 99 cent payment, we’ll all be making money off what is essentially a marketing vehicle. Sure, the realities of low cost split among multiple authors means it won’t be much. But have you ever placed in an ad in a magazine that reached thousands of readers but paid you money?? Where instead of paying $500 to get your name advertised to readers, you got paid $500?

It blows my mind, honestly.

And contrary to the sentiment that started this, we aren’t devaluing books. We’re convincing readers that our books have so much value that they should glom us immediately!

Readers could always get books for free (hello, the library). My job as an author is to convince readers that MY book is the one they want. Sometimes I do it well, sometimes not so much. But that’s the goal. The fact that the best tools to do this are free is pretty freaking cool.

PS. If you want to take a look at the Valentine’s Day Gift Hop, there are a few more days left to win a Kindle Paperwhite, books, and a bunch of prizes. The hop starts HERE. Thanks!