So, have you ever thought about being a writer? I am lucky enough to be a published author with multiple in releases with Rebel Ink Press and several more under contract. I also have several with Naughty Nights Press. In addition, I am working with multiple publications including Naughty Nights Press, Queer Magazine Online, Erotic Diaries, Masters of Passion and Kinke Magazine providing articles about writing, general articles about the market, reviews on sex toys and other aspects of passion and issues dealing with not only the gay community but writers penning same sex stories. I pen at least one article a month, generally more. I have the joy of also being in a secret room on Facebook of Naughty Writers – over 200 of us strong now and – and we share in the good, the bad and the ugly about the business. It’s certainly not like what I thought it would be. Why do I say that? It’s called marketing and understanding that there is still a stigma attached to the erotic romance genre.
And before you say it, it is one of the hottest genres being read and continues to be an up and coming market, BUT…there are certain aspects of our society that continue to assume that erotic writing equals porn. I’ve written several articles about the issue in trying to educate certain portions of my friends and family into understanding that there is a difference. I certainly don’t need to tell a group of talented writers this, you all know it, but for those of you that write in the genre, do you ever hide behind the word romance instead of coming flat out and telling people you enjoy writing an erotic piece? I have to admit to you that when I get questions about what the type of writing I do includes that I’m mischievous enough to enjoy reddened faces when I mention BDSM, spanking and ménage. Somehow the horror is priceless.
All fun aside, it’s our responsibility as erotic writers to teach about the differences and I receive excellent feedback from writers and readers not only in our country but in others countries as well for tell it like it is. The market is changing every day and we’re seeing a hunger for more and more of the boundaries to be stretched. That’s also why there is such a significant explosion in the same sex market. This being Gay Pride month, I am proud to say that I have my first m/m coming out the end of this month with others following. For any of you writers out there that might have a proclivity or interest in jumping into the same sex market – it is opening up more and more every day.
The business of marketing erotic is not that much different than any other genre with the exception that there are copious amounts of people that actually believe I perform all those wicked little things I write about and that’s simply not true. You don’t have to. The internet is a wonderful creature and you can garner SO much information and stories and articles that range from technical how to’s to down right raunchy pieces. I read them all and I read other writers to learn. Trust me, if you write BDSM and don’t understand the trust relationship that is stronger than some marriages, you will be called on the carpet. I encourage every writer interested in any aspect of kink to find out what you are talking about before you type a word. I get to include sexy pictures in so many of my blogs and that’s kind of fun but just a little snippet of what has to be done.
I’ve gone so far as to talk with practicing Dom’s and societies where women live the lifestyle 24/7 in a non-violent fashion. It’s fascinating to me and I’m grateful that they took the time to tell me secrets and give me realistic insights into their lives. I’ve also had those “plain brown packages” delivered to my door step with naughty toys in every flavor so that I know what I’m talking about when I write about a double headed vibrator or describe the sound nipple clamps make when you open them wide. Don’t blush – they are tools of the trade and again, you have to have the idea correct or people that really do use and enjoy on a daily basis will be turned off and turned away. What you need is a following. So, have fun…search the internet for Spicy clubs that serve up all things kinky and order from Healthy and Active or any of the other reputable on line stores that will send you discrete packages. Not only is it fun and necessary for writing the genre, but you NEVER know how your passion will be kicked up.
My other recommendation is to get involved with reading and writing groups that cater to the genre and offer blog spots etc for you to engage in. You’ll learn a lot about new sites, new ideas and perhaps contacts in whatever areas you’re interested in writing about.
Now for a taste of the grittier side of writing. The majority of publishing companies — whether the traditional or the new e-publishing firms — are no longer providing marketing like they used to. Not only can they not afford to provide it, they don’t have the time. So that leaves writers doing the majority of the work themselves. Rebel actually has a very good regime of marketing that they provide including placing writer’s works out for reviews, setting up accounts with all the major e-pubs stores including All Romance E Books, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Coffee Time Romance and Bookstrand and they set up guest chatting days with places like Long and Short Romance and The Romance Studio. They also provide lists of locations you can request additional reviews and try and guest blog. That’s about where the help ends.
What happens now? If you haven’t set up a website that includes a sexy blog site, you need to do so whether you’re published or not. You don’t want to be behind the eight ball when you do get published. As soon as you hear that you have something contracted – you become a media whore – trust me. You have to. I’m going to list what you need to do not in order of importance and some work better than others, but here’s an idea of what I do on a regular basis every day, every week to try and garner attention, fans and editors and other publishers into my little realm. Here we go:
Website and blog address – to include book covers, trailers and excerpts as well as other links. Have someone make you a sexy banner that can be used on different sites if you don’t know how to do them. They really draw attention. Create a masthead that is gorgeous and vibrant as a starter.
Twitter – set up an account and know you have to tweet several times a day and not just about your books – you need to be a real person
Facebook – not only have your regular personal page but a fan page – FB is changing what and how they are allowing you to provide your information but it’s opening up all kinds of new free software to create a sassy page – remember that you have to post and give your fans something and try and gather more friends. You’ll notice that once you start friending others including other writers, you’ll get more and more requests
YAHOO Groups – I belong to I think at last count 38 – they will allow you to post excerpts and guest blogs, contests you are in and giveaways and while it’s impossible to keep up with all of them and the difference rules, you’ll quickly learn what works for you.
Guest Blogging – can’t tell you how important this is – not only for you to do on others but offer it in return. Trust me, writers read other books and will help promote you – there’s plenty of people to go around so don’t be shy. This doesn’t just mean on other sites either. There are places such as Long and Short/Whipped Cream, The Romance Studio, The Romance Reviews, The Romance Junkies, Talking Two Lips, Manic Readers and many others that REALLY are wonderful to work with. For a few dollars, you can have your book covers and have author pages set up and automatic tweets from the sites (certain portions are free). They have been a godsend to me.
Blogging – on your own site. You have to do it. It’s necessary and don’t just provide excerpts all the time, but…do entice with snippets of your WIP’s now and then. I have done that with Facebook for a year and have readers that buy every one of my little naughties.
Guest Chats – you can do it yourself with several of the places I mentioned before and Night Owl Reviews and Coffee Time Romance and get involved with blogging for other countries. I blog for the Australian Readers Association and have dates through the rest of the year. It’s time, not money and it’s garnered me other guest spots like Queer Online from Sweden.
Before you ask, it takes a lot of time. I honestly think that if you’re going to make any money in the business you need to get out there as often as possible AND write constantly. It seems daunting and it can be overwhelming, but it’s starting to work. Entering contests is also a very good idea. I’m up for the Passionate Plume award later this year for my first publication. Not only is that an honor, but I of course get a snazzy little button to put on my website and I’ll always be a finalist. My last piece of advice is to not be afraid of the up and coming e-pub houses. Rebel is wonderful to work with and for any of you that have seen my covers, I think they’re gorgeous. They have a professional staff of editors and really work with me every day. I could name others that are wonderful including Ellora’s Cave, Carina, Breathless Press, Secret Cravings, Liquid Silver – those are just a few.
I hope I’ve given you a taste of the business – it’s fun and I love every part of it! Feel free anytime to friend me either as Bethany Halle – I do write paranormal under my real name and what I call my wicked girl, Cassandre Dayne – on Facebook and if you’re so inclined, I’ll introduce you to my naughty group of writing friends.
Enjoy and remember that passion about writing means something different to all of us, so just keep writing!