Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New Year

I'd also like to wish everyone a Happy New Year.
May 2007 be a fabulous year for all of us! :):)
Hugs,
Lara

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Happy New Year!




Just wanted to wish everyone a safe and happy new year!
May it be your best one yet.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

[Market] The Mammoth Book Of Lesbian Erotica

The Mammoth Book Of Lesbian Erotica
Editor: Barbara Cardy
Publisher: Constable and Robinson
Payment: £50 upon publication
Deadline: March 31, 2007


There is to be a brand new collection of stories for the world-famous Mammoth books. This collection will be entitled - THE MAMMOTH BOOK OF LESBIAN EROTICA and will be published by Constable and Robinson. This is a 500 page collection of short stories with, as the title implies, a Lesbian theme.

You do not need to be a lesbian, or indeed female, to make a contribution. Stories should be around 5,000 words. Neither do the stories have to be pink and fluffy. Slave and mistress, bondage, adult baby, group sex, threesomes etc are all very welcome. However, we will not publish any stories that involve rape, blood-letting, bestiality, sex with minors ­ which also includes memories of childhood experiences. We also avoid stories written in the present tense. Most importantly, write about what turns you on.

Previously published material is acceptable, but make sure no other publisher has rights over your work. Overseas contributors will be paid via Paypal in their respective currencies.) This payment will cover the initial printing and any future printings. The author retains full copyright to their work.

Preference is a Word document attached to an email. Please include at the top of that document, your real name, full postal address (including country), your email address and your pseudonym if you write under one. Leave a few lines then enter the title of your story with your pseudonym underneath. If you do not have Word on your computer, then the above format pasted into an email is second preference. Please allow a several weeks before a reply.

Send submissions to: editor@hotspotbooks.co.uk.
http://www.hotspotbooks.co.uk/?hot=Erotic%20Fiction

Monday, December 18, 2006

My new erotic novella



Click the banner for more info and an excerpt.

BLURB:
Skye Kim is a private investigator with a complicated life. At age 29, she might be going through an early mid-life crisis. The life of a P.I. in Orange County isn't that exciting, and she isn't happy with her personal life. Even though she hates the term "friends with benefits," that's the best way to describe her relationship with Sean Reynolds, her ex-boyfriend.

After a routine assignment at a fetish club, Skye meets Andy Chang, a tall, gorgeous man who likes both men and women. When Sean finds out about her attraction to the new man in her life, this adds some fuel to their sex life. Eventually Sean encourages her to invite Andy to their bedroom.

After a night of drunken debauchery, Skye fulfills one of her fantasies: being with two men at the same time. Soon she realizes that fantasy is sometimes better than reality. Juggling two men may be twice the pleasure but also twice the complications. Will she choose one man over the other? Or will she cut all the complications out of her life?

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Author Branding


Nope, I'm not talking about pulling out the cattle prod and having my way with my fellow authors, sorry to disappoint you. What I am talking about are those pithy little sayings authors use to identify themselves and their writing to the public.

A few good ones come to mind as I type this. There's T.A. Chase's, "No Boundaries", or Vivi Anna's "Igniting passion one page a time."

Though whether or not an author needs a good 'brand' remains a matter of opinion, I've decided to use the slogan, "Romance without inhibition." I chose this one because it would fit all the subgenres I write in, (contemporary, paranormal, amd m/m).

What do you think? Do authors need a brand, or are they optional only?

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Is your Blog listed here?

I am trying to build our list of links to relevant blogs. So if you are involved in erotic romance epublishing and have a blog (no websites please) please reply here and let me know:

Are you an EREC blog member (or would like to be invited) YES / NO
What is your blog url? __________________________________
What is your main area MF / MM / FF / Menage / other: _______ (as many as apply) / pansexual (all)

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

How to Conjure a Man



How To Conjure A Man
by Nancy Lindquist

ISBN: 1-59998-242-0
Price: $4.50
Length: Category
Genre: Red Hot/Contemporary
Publication Date: December 12th, 2006




When all else fails, what’s a girl to do? Conjure your own man, of course!

Becky Blake is through with vibrators. Well, to be honest, her vibrator’s through with her. The damn thing actually conked out, mid-fantasy. Time for desperate measures. Armed with thirty pounds of candles and a spell created by her best friend and strip mall witch, she heads into the desert to conjure a man.

It’s freezing, dark and more than a little creepy. On top of that there’s a coyote hanging around howling loud enough to scare her to bits. Please, let this spell work.

Rick Frazier’s done with manipulative women. His ex-wife is bleeding him dry. His wallet is almost as hungry as he is. It’s time to get a second job, as a bartender at ‘The Buckin’ Bronco All Male Review’. At least it will pay the bills until he sells his software program.

Back in the real world of work and lonely routine, Becky has nothing to show for her desert efforts except an erotic dream that leaves her more frustrated than fulfilled. That is until her new employee shows up. It doesn’t take long to put two and two together. Rick, her new bartender, is the man she conjured in the desert.


To purchase:
http://www.samhainpublishing.com/howtoconjureaman.shtml


Already having had the pleasure of reading this book, I can honestly say it's a great one. Full of humor and Nancy's own personal brand of steamy lovin' Conjure is a must read. :)

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Lara Santiago Posts a Blog

In this, my first blog post for Erotic Romance, I want to say something meaningful.
Why? Because I don't want to sound like a doofas.
I'm a shy lurker at heart and one of those people who figures it's better to remain silent and thought a fool than to speak up and remove all doubt. (Can't remember who said that)

I've tried to think of something to say for almost a week now.
Today...I'm plunging in.

I'd like to showcase a book that has been a wonderful help to me as a writer.
It's called: (drum roll please)

The Flip Dictionary.



This is a fabulous resource for looking up words as you write or when you go back to edit.
I'm a panster. This means I write by the seat of my pants without a detailed outline.
I use the Flip Dictionary A LOT when I go back to and edit my work after completing the first draft.

I got my copy from Amazon, but I'm sure it's in bookstores everywhere. :)

For you writers out there...do you have one? Do you love it?
L

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Not Living Without



I've been thinking about this quite a bit lately. I'd love to hear your stories.

When I'm creating my characters, I usually fall back on a few sage bits of advice given to me by my parents when I was a teenager. I remember my mother saying, "don't wait for someone you can live with, wait for someone you can't live without." I don't know if she heard that somewhere or not but I like to think she made it up. It certainly helped in my husband searching, as I found my guy and married him by the time I was 21. I knew what I was looking for. He likes to use that to feed his ego ;) This advice feeds every relationship in my books.
Then there is my father who told me, "all the baubles and sequins in the world can't compete with sheer elegance." How's that for poetic. That came out during a discussion of prom dresses. Needless to say, I went with elegance and didn't spend too much time against the wall. I tend to give my heroines the gift of elegance when I can.
So, who gave you the most memorable bits of advice? How do you use them? Did you follow them?
Jennah

Thursday, November 30, 2006

[Market] Cleis Press

This call for submissions comes to you straight from the ERWA list. There isn't much of anything said about payment, so if you're interested in submitting something to them for this one, I would email asking for more details first.

City Boys
Editor: Richard Labonte
Publisher: Cleis Press
Deadline: April 30, 2007

Not many gay boys are born in the Castro, West Hollywood, or Chelsea - or in Dallas's Oak Lawn, San Diego's Hillcrest, Atlanta's Midtown, St. Louis's Central West End, Seattle's Capitol Hill, or any of America (and the world's) urban gay centers. These queer and queer-friendly neighborhoods are magnets that attract boys just coming out or men who come out late, oases of fag-friendly faces that seduce country boys into city life, suburban kids into the inner city, cyber kids into the real queer world.

Cleis Press is looking for stories - erotic fiction, or erotic autobiography with a strong narrative tone - for an anthology about discovering sex and a sexual community, about the "click" of understanding that there are others like us, about reading (or misreading) the codes that (for better or worse) define queer life. We want sex-charged stories that chart the geographic, the emotional, even the spiritual transition to a centered erotic self.

Original submissions under 7,000 words are preferred, though work that has appeared online will be considered. Queries and stories as .doc files to: Richard Labonte at cleiscityboys@gmail.com. Deadline: April 30, 2007, for Fall 2007 publication.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

[Market] Slash & Burn Anthology

Sybaritic Press invites Slash authors of all Fandoms to submit for:

Slash and Burn
An Erotic Anthology
Deadline: January 15th 2007
Release Date: April 2007

Sybaritic Press is committed to finding the best in undiscovered talent. We have had good luck in publishing talented slash fiction authors. Their books sell well online through Amazon.com and they are sold in prominent gay bookstores. We seek to discover more talent.

We will take short stories (10 to 20 pages as per our submission guidelines). Longer works will be considered if they are exceptional. Any fandom will be considered as long as it does not conflict with submission guidelines. For submission details, click on:

http://www.sybpress.com/submission.htm

Sybaritic Press is offering our standard publishing contract and royalties which could be as much as tens of dollars in your pocket and free copies to impress your friends. We also hope it leads to publication of novels by the participants.

Please, send us your Fraser/RayK, or Mulder/whomever or Jack Sparrow/Aragorn, if that's possible. We will then help you convert the fan based prose into original prose. We will NOT be publishing the anthology with anyone else's copyrighted characters. We want your most sensual, scintillating prose by January 15th 2007.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

What is an e-publisher?

It might seem like an obvious sort of thing but I really need some input. EREC is meant to cover erotic romance epublishers. Is an epublisher....

a) A publisher that produces only ebooks
b) A publisher that started out producing only ebooks but may have expanded into print editions
c) A publisher that focusses on ebooks but may also produce print books
d) Any publisher that produces each of their books in ebook form, even if they focus on print
e) Any publisher that produces at least some their books in ebook form, including major print presses.
f) I'm really confused or prefer an option other than one you list.

Please let me know!

Friday, November 24, 2006

Winter Fantasies


Winter Fantasies Romance Writing Contest
for unpublished writers

Thinking about writing romance? Here's your chance to give it a try. Snuggle up on your couch this winter with your notepad and give your imagination a workout. Send us your best, polished piece for a chance to win ebooks, gift certificates and other goodies from your favourite authors.
This is just for fun. There will be no critiques of work. Send us what you’ve got and have fun with it. Works will be judged on enjoyment level, uniqueness, voice and character development. Each entry will receive their score sheet by email.

Deadline for entries is February 1st. See the website for the ever growing prize list, including ebooks from Ann Cory, Crystal Jordan, Jennah Sharpe and Anisa Damien. Send your entries to contest@jennahsharpe.com·Have fun with this!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

"Bruised" and "Back in the Saddle" live on Amazon Shorts!

Amazon Shorts has released “Bruised” and “Back in the Saddle”, two highly-anticipated stories by gay romance author Vincent Diamond.

“Bruised” and “Back in the Saddle” are part of a series of stories Diamond has written about David Livingston, a veterinary student, and Marcus Denton, the owner of the thoroughbred farm in Ocala.

“Bruised” is David’s story and his realization that he’s falling for Marcus in a big way. After Marcus takes a tumble off a horse, David helps to patch him up and faces his own strong—and--confusing feelings.

“Back in the Saddle” focuses on Marcus’s inner conflict about letting himself feel again, after his previous lover’s death. When he gives in to David, the men share an emotional night, with consequences for both of them.

The two stories are included for the 49 cent download price.

http://www.amazon.com/Bruised-Back-Saddle/dp/B000KHX8RA/sr=1-12/qid=1163785552/ref=sr_1_12/002-9662398-2177665?ie=UTF8&s=books

Amazon Shorts is a new program that allows readers to purchase short works from authors with low risk. They’re available in various e-formats and can be printed by the customer.

Other stories in Diamond’s David and Marcus series are planned. Some that are currently available are:

“Still in the Gate” in the Play Ball anthology from Torquere Press. http://www.torquerepress.com/cart/cart.php?m=product_detail&p=467

“Horsing Around” online at Ruthie’s Club. http://www.ruthiesclub.com/fold.php?pg=gateway

Gobble, gobble

That's what I plan to do today -- gobble down all sorts of tasty stuff.

First, though, I want to send good wishes to everyone who reads or writes this blog, with the hope that you all have lots to be thankful for.

As for me, I'm thankful for the best of friends, an editor who makes me laugh instead of cringe at changes, a publisher (Liquid Silver Books) who buys my stories and hires amazing artists for the covers, and the readers who make it possible for me to keep doing the work I love.

Now, get off your computer, everyone, and go gobble up whatever it is you crave.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

[Market] Iris Print


Iris Print is seeking short stories for a "fairy tale and fantasy" anthology to be published in Summer 2007.

We're looking for stories for our next short fiction anthology! This anthology (currently unnamed) will have a theme of folklore, fairy tales, and fantasy. Stories should be between 3,000 and 12,000 words, and should have a clear element of myth and mysticism. Of course, this is a boys' love anthology, so stories must include an element of male/male romance or eroticism. Some examples of what we'd like to see:

Fairy tales with a twist -- telling the story from another perspective, or perhaps mixing two tales together (ever wonder what would happen if the Beast met the Frog Prince?).

Original stories told in a fairy tale style, or made-up myths using original or existing pantheons and heroes.

Fantasy with grand heroics and mystical, magical backdrops. Less gritty realism and more ethereal otherworldliness.

Modern retellings of fairy tales or myths. Or modern fantasy, showing us the hidden side of the world we know so well.

The deadline for submissions is January 15, 2007. To submit your story, please follow our submissions guidelines for short stories (follow URL below), and mention that the story is for consideration for the "fairy tale and fantasy anthology". You will receive a confirmation email within 1 week, but final selections will not be made until after the January 15 deadline. The anthology is scheduled for publication in Summer 2007.

http://www.boyslovebooks.com/completed-stories/short-stories

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

[NEWS] Romantic Times and M/M


As an occassional reader of Romantic Times Magazine I totally, if grudgingly, accept that they set their own agenda. They will review mainstream fiction, but not gay or lesbian romance. I, and many others in their target demographic, have urged them to reconsider--so far to no avail.

Which is why I was surprised that membership of the Faery Court (a special writer's group at the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention) was open to gay romance writers, this package explicitly includes a book review in RT Magazine. But no, apparently they took the money under that agreement and will now not follow through.

All the buzz

Our ear to the wall, we here at EREC have been hearing some great things about Technorati and its online community of blogs. For those of you who use this service, you can now find us amid your other favorites on their site. Make sure to add us to your favorites list and check back often for new scoops on the erotic romance business. Technorati Profile 1 Technorati Profile 2

Monday, November 20, 2006

bl00bs

Bl00bs, that's like a combo of blog and n00b (newbie, new guys, y'know?)--with some genre-appropriate undertones of 'blue' and, um, 'boobs'.

Oh well. I would like to welcome some new bloggers to the team. Please introduce yourself and commence with posting anything to do with erotic romance. What about this Stuart/Snark/anti-Snarks blood match over dissing your publisher online? Read anything good recently? Feel free to post self-promotion for every second blog post and to mark the subject line [PROMO].

If you are an erotic romance writer (editor, artists, dedicated reader, reviewer etc) you can join the blog by emailing ERECmail @ gmail.com

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Sales Figures?

Erotic Romance Ebook writers, EREC wants to hear from you!

I am interested in developing anonymous information about sales figures for erotic romance books. With this in mind I am inviting authors to let me know how many copies they sell per book in the first month, year and in total--and the publisher that books is with. If you only have first month sales please send that along, you can update the data later.

Results would be posted on the EREC site as publisher averages, starting when I have figure for that publisher based on at least 5 books written by at least 3 different authors. Each contributor would be given a random letter code to identify themself if they want to update the data. But in my records no names would ever be listed, or stored in any place -- even my email inbox.

I know some author's prefer to keep this info totally private but a similar scheme seemed to work here: http://brendahiatt.com/ (see the 'Show me the Money' section). It seemed to me that with the many new and old epublishers in this genre it would be very useful to have estimated sales figures. This is a key piece of information for any writer when they are choosing which presses to submit to.

You can email me directly with questions or sales data -- veinglory AT gmail.com with the subject line 'sales'.

Wicked Escapes Writing Contest

2nd Annual Wicked Escapes Writing Contest
Deadline: December 15, 2006

Alyssa Brooks and Larissa Lyons would like to invite interested authors, both published and aspiring, to enter their annual Wicked Escapes writing contest.This year we are accepting up to two erotic romance short story entries. These stories must be between 2000-5000 words and extremely sexy. Please pay strong attention to editing as we will only award these short story spots to worthy pieces of fiction. The winners of the short story spots will each receive promotion within Wicked Escapes for the month their story is published, as well as a $15 dollar gift certificate to Amazon.com.

For more details please visit the website at: http://www.wickedescapesezine.com/news.htm

Friday, November 17, 2006

Sex and the Planets

So Mercury finally leaves Retrograde today. I'm thrilled, because, while writing anything or accomplishing anything is difficult during a Mercury retrograde, it seems writing sex scenes is basically impossible.

From Astrology on the Web:

In general, Mercury rules thinking and perception, processing and disseminating information and all means of communication, commerce, education and transportation. By extension, Mercury rules people who work in these areas, especially people who work with their minds or their wits: writers and orators, commentators and critics, gossips and spin doctors, teachers, travellers, tricksters and thieves.

Mercury retrograde gives rise to personal misunderstandings; flawed, disrupted, or delayed communications, negotiations and trade; glitches and breakdowns with phones, computers, cars, buses, and trains. And all of these problems usually arise because some crucial piece of information, or component, has gone astray, or awry.

It is therefore not wise to make important decisions while Mercury is retrograde, since it is very likely that these decisions will be clouded by misinformation, poor communication and careless thinking. Mercury is all about mental clarity and the power of the mind, so when Mercury is retrograde, these intellectual characteristics tend to be less acute than usual, as the critical faculties are dimmed. Make sure you pay attention to the small print!


So I guess because I tend to view, rightly or wrongly, my big sex scene as one of the focal points of the book, and because this one has some pretty major consequences to the climax of the book, that might help explain why two characters who a few weeks ago were furious with me because I wouldn't let them fall into bed together right away are now being oddly coy and refusing to play. They keep bantering back and forth--all very amusing stuff, but it's like they're doing things where I can't see and only showing me the rest.

Have my characters had sex without my knowledge? Sneaky buggers.

Seriously, though. I'm of the belief that a sex scene should be wirtten, as much as possible, in one smooth hit. You plant your butt in front of that computer (or notebook, however you do your first drafts) at the first kiss, and you don't get up until everyone is satisfied. Hopefully in the case of the woman more than once.

But I'm constantly interrupted these days. I can't seem to get the scene flowing. I'm stuck in odd little tangents that do nothing for the scene but slow it down, when the last thing you want is slowdowns in a sex scene. A sex scene should, of course, build and build...not make a detour into "his apartment was decorated like..." territory. She can look around in the morning, dammit! Why am I getting stuck?

Because of those damn planets, that's why.

How about all of you? Has the retrograde affected your work? How? How do you write a sex scene--can you piece it out bit by bit, or do you need to do it in one go?

I'm also wondering if anyone here works out their characters' astrological signs and uses that to help determine character. It's not something I've ever consciously done, but I've heard it can be quite helpful.

Or do you think astrology is all a bunch of silly garbage?

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

New E-publisher

I ran up on yet another new e-publisher on myspace this evening. Thought I would share. Below is a bit of info for you.

Twilight Fantasies Publications is a full service, royalty paying epublisher. We are excited to announce our upcoming opening-- scheduled for May 2, 2007. Visit our website for more details!
www.twilightfantasiespublications.com

Anyone heard anything about this company?

Monday, November 13, 2006

E-publishing vs. Mainstream

With all the new erotic imprints popping up everywhere, now seems like a great time for those of us who write erotic romance to take the plunge into mainstream, if we so desire it. What are your thoughts on submitting to a mainstream publisher, is it worth the added headache, or too much of a pain in the backside?

Thursday, November 09, 2006

[MARKET] Samhain Publishing

With permission from my super duper editor over at Samhain publishing, Sasha Knight, I'm forwarding this open call for submissions to you guys and gals. All the details are below and good luck to those of you who submit!

Coming in Summer 2007, A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S STEAM, Samhain's RED HOT summer-themed short stories.

What are the rules of these summer-themed short stories? They must be RED HOT erotic romances. Steamy. Sexy. HOT! I'm looking for M/F, M/M, M/F/M and any other multiple combinations thereof. They MUST be a romance--they have to have a happily ever after. And, they must take place in the summer. I want sun, sand, sex. (Well, not necessarily the sand--use your imagination!)

Any genre will do. If you want to write a futuristic space opera that takes place on a planet with five suns, go for it! Historical? That'll work, too!

We're not limiting the number of submissions we publish. Each book will be judged on its own merits, quality of story and originality.

Our current plan is to publish the stories separately in digital, over the course of several weeks, and then group them accordingly for print. If you are interested in participating in A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S STEAM, this is what you'll need to send:

* A completed story, 12-15k in length, following the above-listed theme requirements.

* A one-page synopsis.

* Only original, never-before-been published stories will be consideredfor A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S STEAM.

Submissions are due by January 31, 2007. Because this is a special project, Sasha Knight will be editing all the stories. Submissions should be sent to Sasha @ Samhainpublishing .com or sashaknightandday @ gmail.com PLEASE put SUMMER SHORT STORY SUBMISSION in the subject line.

For further details on submission formatting and whatnot please visit:
http://samhainpublishing.com/submissions

Monday, November 06, 2006

[MARKET] STARbooks Press

Superheroes Anthology
Edited by Eric Summers

What did Batman and Robin do in that cave? Was Superman really faster than a speeding bullet? Was Aquaman into water sports? Why did Captain Marvel say Shazaam? Sex-starved Superheroes are alive and horny at STARbooks Press.

Did you ever wonder why superheroes wear tights? Is it to make them more aerodynamic? Do they want you to know how excited they are to come to the rescue? Or is a one-piece garment easier to remove? For whatever reason, there is hardly anyone alive who has not fantasized about a superhero coming to the rescue and fulfilling his desires.

Starbooks press is seeking well-written stories that are erotic, not pornographic. They are interested in superheroes who are rewarded for their bravery, talents and skills. Some of them have extraordinary powers such as the ability to fly, run or swim at the speed of light, turn into fire, take on another form, be invisible, shrink or expand. Some have sidekicks, and some have fun with their comrades. Whatever makes them super finds its way into the bedroom.

Well-developed characters, plots, situations, settings, and internal consistency are what they're looking for. Humor is greatly appreciated as these characters are meant to have fun and enjoy themselves. They ask that you do not write about popular, known, or copyrighted comic book or television characters. Your superheroes must be your own, original creation. They also are open to accepting original art work or comics featuring gay superheroes. Feel free to query with questions to eric@starbookspress.com

Guidelines: Submit your query to eric@starbookspress.com in the body of an email - no attachments please. Include a short bio, your name, postal and e-mail addresses and a 5 paragraph excerpt of your story. Indicate whether or not your submission has been previously published and, if so, where and when.

Deadline: December 31 2006

Saturday, November 04, 2006

[MARKET] Love Notes Press

This bit of market news come to you from the Cynthia Sterling newsletter.

Love Notes Press is seeking short stories of up to 25,000 words for its upcoming A Deserted Island anthology. Stories may be historical or contemporary romance, romantic suspense, or fantasy, sci-fi or paranormal romance, but the story must contain a deserted island. A one-time fee of $75 will be paid for each story. Authors must submit a synopsis for consideration prior to submitting their completed story. The deadline for submissions is December 31, 2006. For all the details, visit http://lovenotespress.com/submissions.shtml

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Promoting your work

So you wrote a book. You polished it to within an inch of its life and sent it on its way to the publisher of your choice. It’s accepted and you jump for joy. You’re a published author. Yay!

You then go through all the behind the scenes drama and begin to wait, probably impatiently, for the day you get to see your name on the front of that book (be it online or in your hands).

Now what?

Now, between acceptance and release, is when you should start thinking about how you’re going to promote your baby. What, you ask, doesn’t the publisher do that for you? Well, yes and no. Most publishers will do their part, they’ll secure reviews and/or some advertising, depending on where you’ve chosen to send your book. But if you want to get your name out there more, and hopefully boost your sales, you’re going to have to do your part as well.

As I’m just learning myself, there is a world of options out there for promotion, even if you’re on a shoestring budget. Some of the things you can do are:

Build a website.
This is almost a must have, especially if you’re going with an e-publisher. People will want to visit you’re site and see what you’re up to now. Learn more about you and find out whether or not you have any more books on the way.

Contests:
Who doesn’t like a good contest? Figuring out and implementing a good giveaway of your book, or something related, can be a great way to win over readers who are iffy about whether or not to give a new author a try.

Author interviews:
A lot of the same companies who do book reviews do author interviews as well. They’re free and who doesn’t like free stuff, right?

Conferences:
Attending any of the varied conferences held every year (RT and RWA just to name a couple) is a great way to mingle with fellow authors and attract new readers.

Odds and ends:
Planning to attend a conference? You’ll need things to give away. Random little trinkets for people to take home and remember you by. Bookmarks, pens and pencils, magnets and notepads, pretty much anything you can think up, can have whatever slogan or URL you want imprinted upon it.

I’m sure I’m forgetting a million other things, but this should be enough to get you thinking about all the different tools available to authors for promotion.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

[MARKET] Siren -- Rapture 2

SIREN is looking for four novellas (25K-35K) for our anthology, Rapture 2. Must be erotic romance with a strong story line and well-developed characters. Open to all genres and themes.Rapture is our signature imprint with print runs for wider distribution. Release date will be January 2008. Rapture 2 will be advertised in a full-page ad of Romantic Times the months of December 2007 and January through March 2008. We will pay an advance to each author in this collection, and royalty percentage is competitive. For more information, please visit http://www.sirenpublishing.com/rapture.We are also accepting submissions for erotic romance between 25K-100K in various genres for electronic publications.Diana DeBalko, PublisherSiren Publishing, Inc. http://www.sirenpublishing.com/

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween!


I hope everyone has a fun and safe night!

Monday, October 30, 2006

When you're all sexed out

After several productive weeks, I've hit the wall. I had a good run for a while. I've been co-writing a bunch of erotic short stories for an ongoing project. I've submitted a few stories to a new market and a few anthologies. Now I've hit that wall. I'm burned out. I don't want to write about sex anymore.

Don't get me wrong. I like writing about sex. Writing erotica is a lot more fun than writing business letters or marketing materials. Yet, writing erotica is still work. Sometimes I'm in a creative mood, and it doesn't take long to produce solid short stories. Some days aren't as easy. Some days I get sick of writing about sex. I wonder if all my sex scenes sound the same. I wonder if the story is any good. I wonder if I will run out of ideas.

When I hit the slump, I have several options:

* Take a break - If the words aren't flowing, I take a break from writing. I edit old stories. I research new markets and new calls for submission. I update my submissions chart. I gather and organize my receipts. The break helps me recoup before getting back to the grind.

* Forget sex - I write in other genres, mainly horror and crime fiction. When I'm sick of writing about hot, sweaty sex, I write bloody revenge tales and violent horror stories. Sometimes I'll grab my old notebook and attempt some poetry. Jumping between genres helps me fight the monotony of writing one type of story. When I return to erotica, I have more energy to write new stories.

* A different twist - With my new project, I've been dabbling in stories that blend comedy and erotica. Until recently I've never been into romantic comedies. I don't watch them, and I don't write them. Now I feel that a little humor can add a different twist to an old scenario. I'm also experimenting with new fetishes. I've written a few erotic spanking stories and BDSM stories. Exploring new niches makes the writing process fun.

Right now I'm not feeling the erotic vibe. I've been working on outlines for future stories, but I haven't been writing much. I'm not worried. I know that I'll get back in the mood. Eventually...

Sultry Heat Publications?

Does anyone know if Sultry Heat Publications are just temporarily down from the web, or out for the count? They were formerly at: www.sultryheatpublications.com/index.html

Sunday, October 29, 2006

ManLove Gang Bang



Now you know I just had to share this so that I could use the title of the email I recieved in the inbox this morning. I think I may have set some kind of record for the farthest distance someone can shoot diet pepsi through their nose. :) Below is the invitation to join several talented authors of M/M fiction for a fun chat.

Join us as we have a ManLove Gang Bang chat on November 15, 2006 starting @ 8:00pm ET for 2 hours. We're having authors drop in and you can ask them questions or just come by and say "HI" to everyone! Some of the authors that will be dropping in are Kayelle Allen, Laura Baumbach, Ally Blue, James Buchanan, Anne Cain & Barbara Sheridan, T.A. Chase, Renee George, Jules Jones, Rowan McBride, Sean Michael, Jet Mykles, Kate Steele, Kira Stone, Stephanie Vaughan and who knows who else could pop in!

Make a note on your calendar - this is the "First-Of-It's-Kind" event and it will not be the last! There will be door prizes given away at the author's discretion!

When? Wednesday November 15 from 8:00 pm ET to 10:00 pm ET
Where? http://groups.yahoo.com/group/literarynymphschat/
Why? Why not? It's going to be a fantastic time

Friday, October 27, 2006

[MARKET] Discipline & Desire


Discipline and Desire is a weekly magazine and publisher that specializes in an erotic romance genre that includes mild spanking and domestic discipline. Our readers are varied but all agree on one thing: they like to read about dominant men who know how to take loving but firm care of their women. For authors, we offer free editing services, immediate cash payment upon acceptance of the material, and future royalties upon e-book publication. We publish our stories first on our e-zine website (disciplineanddesire.com), and then as an e-book. We are currently accepting submissions that comply with our guidelines, which can be found at: http://www.disciplineanddesire.com/free_area/WritersGuidelines.htm. We have an affiliate program for other publishers and website owners, which is managed by a third party who pays the commissions weekly. We accept and encourage reciprocal links within the erotic romance genre. You may contact us at disciplineanddesire@hotmail.com.

The Good, Bad and Ugly

Good morning! Thought I would start this dreary Friday morning off with a joke. Hope everyone has a great weekend.

THE GOOD, BAD AND UGLY

Good : Your wife is pregnant.
Bad : It's triplets.
Ugly : You had a vasectomy five years ago.

Good : Your wife's not talking to you.
Bad : She wants a divorce.
Ugly : She's a lawyer.

Good : Your son is finally maturing.
Bad : He's involved with the women next door.
Ugly : So are you.

Good : Your son studies a lot in his room.
Bad : You find several porn movies hidden there.
Ugly : You're in them.

Good : Your hubby and you agree, no more kids.
Bad : You can't find your birth control pills.
Ugly : Your daughter borrowed them.

Good : Your husband understands fashion.
Bad : He's a cross-dresser.
Ugly : He looks better than you.

Good : You give the "birds and bees" talk to your daughter.
Bad : She keeps interrupting.
Ugly : With corrections.

Good : Your son is dating someone new.
Bad : It's another man.
Ugly : He's your best friend.

Good : Your daughter got a new job.
Bad : As a hooker.
Ugly : Your co-workers are her best clients.
Way ugly : She makes more money than you do.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

J.M. Snyder's October Giveaway




Since time is rather of the essence with this contest, you're getting tomorrow's post tonight.


J. M. Snyder is holding a contest for free autographed copies of both Trin and Shorts, the books you see above. To enter, all you have to do is send an e-mail message to contest@jmsnyder.net with your name, state or country (if not in the US), book you'd prefer to win, and the following text

(cut and paste it into the body of the e-mail):
Please enter me in the drawing for an autographed copy of Trin or Shorts. I understand that the book is of a homoerotic nature and I am legally old enough in my locality to receive and read such material.

The October 31st deadline is fast approaching, so enter today. For more information about these books or J.M. Snyder, please visit the authors website, http://jmsnyder.net

Creatures of Darkness Contest


I have a new contest for you all today from StarDust Press.

These are the creatures of mystery, characters that fascinate us with that element of the unknown and the supernatural, be it vampires, werewolves and shifters, ghosts, djinns, demons, etc. Spin us a tale of romance, or mystery. Immerse us in the lore of their ancients, weave us a saga of their exploits/adventures, tell us their story!This contest is open to both erotic and non-erotic stories, in any one of the categories listed in the submissions guidelines page.

Minimum Word Count is 30,000 words.At least one of the main characters must be a creature of darkness.Only full manuscripts are eligible to enter the contest.Exciting prizes await the winners!
Top Prize: $200 + Publishing Contract
2nd Prize: $100 + Publishing Contract
3rd Prize: $50 + Publishing ContractContest
Deadline: December 31, 2006

To read more about this contest, please visit their website at http://stardustpress.com/products/html_template.php?action=submissions_introduction.htm

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Empty Nest Syndrome For The Childless Writer


So I’m sitting at my computer this morning, staring blankly at the screen. I try to get myself booted up, so I can start writing for the day. As usual, I end up wasting half the day playing online instead of working.

Today, I’m supposed to write the ending to my current WIP. I know why I’m stalling. I hate endings. The never seem to be as emotional or satisfying as they should be. I think I just hate leaving behind the characters I’ve written. If there were such as thing as Empty Nest Syndrome for the Childless Writer, I think I would have it.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Amber Heat Contest


The details for the fourth annual Amber Heat Contest are up on their website. All entries should be between 10k and 18k, and erotic in nature. Both published and non-published authors are welcome to submit. The contest begins on January 1st and will close to submissions on the 15th. Winning entries will receive a contract with Amber Quill and be published in electronic format in June 2007.

Good luck and happy writing!

http://amberquill.com/AmberHeat/AH_HeatWave2007.html

Sunday, October 22, 2006

What comes to mind when you see this image?

For me, at the moment, it’s gay marriage and children. Maybe this is because the story I’m immersed in at the moment is about a same sex couple fighting over the love of one child they both think is theirs. In trying to write my story, I’ve been asked numerous times how I was going to deal with the sex scenes in the book, since there’s a kid involved. And I ask myself, why should it be a big deal how I deal with them? I mean if it were a man and a woman with a child, there would be no issue.

Obviously, I’m not going to have my characters have sex near, or in front of the kid. That would be sick. I have written of two responsible adults in love, not two perverts. They are possibly even, in my opinion, more conscientious of keeping their intimate relationship behind closed doors because of the fact that they’re gay. This doesn’t just mean sex. It means any intimacy most straight people take for granted being able to do in public. Simple things, like holding hands and kissing.

Is it just me, or does there seem to be a HUGE stereotype when it comes to homosexuals and children? I’ve found that when you mention gay men (more so than lesbians) and children, there’s an uprising of derogatory comments.

Recently, I read a forum where they were discussing gay marriage and whether or not the individuals in said forum agreed if it should be allowed. Now that’s not an unusual subject lately, but a couple comments in particular made me see red.

One individual said that they didn’t think it was so much that people were against gay marriage, as much as they were against what would happen afterwards, like when the couple decided to start a family. Another said if gay marriage were allowed, it would be akin to allowing relatives to marry one another.

Now, I ask you, is this the society we live in? Where people think same sex couples are all child molesters, and being in a gay relationship is the equivalent of being in an incestuous one?

Frankly, I think this is a load of crap. Why can’t people just live and let live?

Saturday, October 21, 2006

What is your favorite book?



All About Romance is giving people the chance to vote for their top ten (all time) favorite books in the following three categories:
Mainstream Sexy
Erotic romance
E-Book

The e-book category does not have to be romance or erotica. It can be any genre, as long as it isn’t an e-book release of a mainstream title.
Polling is set to end on midnight of October 29th, so scoot on over and cast your votes for your favorites.
http://www.likesbooks.com/minipolls.html#polls

Also, another small tidbit you might want to check out while web surfing: Dear Abby has a post on romance novels. http://www.uexpress.com/dearabby/

Friday, October 20, 2006

New staff for EREC

In the last few days a new group of talented individuals have taken over some of the odd jobs here at EREC. The new team now includes Emily Veinglory (webmaster), Amanda Young (blogmaster), Vincent Diamond (article coordinator), Kis Lee (survey cooridinator) and Ansley Vaughan (email coordinator).

I, Amanda Young (some of you on various loops may know me as Mandi), am the newly appointed blogmaster. I’m a published author of erotic romance, with three books pending release in 2007 with Samhain and Loose ID.

I’m also a huge fan of M/M romance. Since this seems to be such a hot button topic for some people at the moment, there may be several posts about this genre in the near future.

I look forward to sharing some interesting tidbits with you all and hope to start up some interesting discussions on writing and all the various aspects of publishing. If you have articles or something you feel is pertinent to publishing in any way, feel free to give me a shout.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

EREC Wants You!

Until now EREC has been largely a one woman show. However I would like to call for volunteers to create an EREC team to look after the different functions of the site as it develops. None of these jobs should be at all arduous and would be open to change as required. In return the members of the team would get my eternal thanks and a front page cover spot for their books, publisher or other writing activities.

The functions would be:
* Webmaster [Emily Veinglory]
To maintain and update the website, provide web-hosting and oversight
* Blogmaster [open]
To monitor the blog, read comments, delete spam and other inappropriate material and promote activity on the blog. To notify the Article Co-ordinator of blog posts that would make useful articles.
* Email Co-ordinator [open]
To monitor email at our new dedicated address, forward mail to the appropriate person and keep track of whether it has been actioned.
* Article Co-ordinator [open]
To solicite and receive articles of interest to our readers and make sure they are the right length and content before forwarding them to the webmaster.
* Survey Co-ordinator [open]
To receive reports about new erotic romance e-publishers, send out surveys and forward completed surveys to the webmaster.

Once this is all working I hope to finally start the actually publisher comparison site which will discuss different methods for selecting a publisher and relevant information (e.g. oldest, largest, most popular, by genre, by country, based on recommendations...)

I really hope some of you people out there are interested in increasing your involvement in EREC by filling one of these roles. I would also hope to have people on the team who represent different countries, ages, genres and roles--not only writers but editors, proofreaders, artists and other people involved in erotic romance e-publishing.

If you are interested just reply to this post or email me at veingloryATgmail.com

Do you ever draw your characters?

If you do please send me some examples to post on the blog with a few words and a link to the book, or your website (if it is still a work in progress)

Here is one by me. A quick sketch of Xeras from Dragon Daughter, a work in progress.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Apologies for delays in posting website updates

I have a few publishers surveys and other updates but some kind of tricky ftp problem is preventing me from posting updates. I am working on a solution and hope to post new content soon.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Discussion: a cover art award?

I don't know about you but I think that we need to encourage good cover artists in erotic romance publishing. I was wondering whether authors might like to nominate artsits for covers completed for them during 2005. Anyone inclined could donate to the prize basket and the winner would be chosen by a small panel of professional artists. Thoughts?

Friday, September 22, 2006

Novellas in the erotica world

Novellas seem to have a unique place in the erotica genre (broadly defined to include erotica and erotic romance in all their assorted flavors). Sure, there are occasional anthologies in other genres, but the vast majority of non-erotica stories are novels in the 70,000 to 100,000 word range.

In the erotica genre, though, the vast majority of the stories seem (in my not even remotely scientific surveys) to be novellas, either as single-story releases or anthologies, electronic or paper. My own collection of manuscripts matches this pattern; I have a bunch of novellas in the works and only a couple longer manuscripts, and those are going to be on the short end of the novel wordcount (closer to 70,000 than to 100,000).

Which leads to my question: why?

I know that it's possible to write (and publish) erotica that's novel length, because there are several quite well-done, widely read examples on the market. But why does that length seem to be the exception, rather than the rule? Why is there the tendency toward novellas and even short stories in this genre?

Is it the subject matter that leads to novellas? Is it reader demand? Publisher demand? Author inclination? The emphasis on an author producing several stories a year to earn a living wage?

And what about you? Do you find yourself more inclined to write erotica in novella-length or novel length, or perhaps a mix of both? Which are you more inclined to read?

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Making Life Easier

As writers we’re always looking for nifty little tools to help our trade and make our lives easier. One of the problems I have is keeping up with submission calls. Half the time I don’t hear about them until it’s almost over and then I’m scrambling. This is in spite of having just about every press I want to write for bookmarked. You just can’t check them all often enough.

So in the vein of making my life less than insanity I found this nifty little tool: WebMon

It’s freeware (we like free) and so far it’s been easy to use. You open Page from the tool bar and click add and then enter the url of the page you want to monitor. It records the information and then prompts you for how often you want to check for changes (from every minute to once per month). On its appointed schedule it goes out, checks for changes and if website you’re watching has been updated you get a pop up notification on your desk top. One less thing in my life I have to worry about. Now I just need to find a virtual whip to make me write.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Researching erotica markets

You’ve completed, revised, proofed and had your story beta’ed by the best. Now you want to get your story out to the world and get paid for it. What’s the next step? Research!

Step 1: Research the markets:

For erotica, I think the most complete and up-to-date market listings is Erotica Readers and Writers Association. (http://www.erotica-readers.com/ERA/AR/AR-Main.htm). They have calls for subs for print books and anthologies, magazines, e-publishers, and online sites. Another is Duotrope, a search engine that can pull up markets for a piece within certain specifications such as pro rates, genre, word count, etc. (http://www.duotrope.com/digest). Story Pilot is another. (http://storypilot.com/)

You can also check genre-specific sites and forums. Romancedivas specializes in male/female romance genres. (http://www.romancedivas.com/) The Erotica Writer’s Forum is a good source of information; most writers there specialize in erotic romantic, especially gay male fiction. (http://veinglory.8.forumer.com/index.php) The Fishtank at Desdmona.com is an online erotica critique group and they also have a calls for subs thread on the forums. (www.desdmona.com) Niche markets like BDSM, kink and other fetishes have their own market listings; you can find them through the websites that specialize in that type of fiction.

Research specific publishers such as Alyson, Cleis, Ellora’s Cave, Penthouse, etc to see their active calls for subs. They’ll often post these on their own sites before they send it out to other sites. Some publishers have an email service for current calls for subs.


Step 2: Analyze the calls for submissions

Erotica publications have a clear vibe because they are often very specialized. Freshmen, the gay men’s magazine, focuses on stories about young men. Penthouse Forum publishes heterosexual stories with the occasional kink involved. Check the publication itself and get a sense of what sells. Many have free online content which is especially helpful for the more esoteric markets. Analyze them! Do all the first sentences have a great hook? Is first-person POV common? Is the main character introduced within 100 words, 50 words, in the first sentence? Do all the stories involve strangers meeting and having sex? Check word count—Ruthie’s Club will take short stories up to 7500 words and serialize longer works. Freshmen won’t look at anything longer than 3000 words.

If you’re subbing to an anthology, pay attention to theme. (Note: an anthology is a group of stories written by different authors. A collection is a group of short stories written by one author). If the call for subs asks for stories about leprechauns then don’t send them a unicorn story. If they want bondage stories about big-busted blondes, don’t send them your tender male/male romance. Editors are often quite specific in their sub calls.

To get more granular about your research, check out the editor him/herself as much as possible. Many of them have their own websites or blogs where story preferences and recent sales are discussed. Check the editor’s previous sales; what kind of stories do they like to write? Chances are they like to read it, too. See if they have a presence on Amazon; there may be info and clues about their preferences there as well. Some post on writer’s forums and message boards, too.

The key to researching a market is more than just reading the publication. By checking out the editors you’ll be subbing to, you may have a better chance of a sale.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Something to Check Out Tomorrow (Sept. 1)

The members of the Strictly Sirens blog will be posting links tomorrow, Sept. 1, to blogs of erotic romance authors who have posted on the topic "The book, author, or event that has impacted your writing career the most so far".

Writers, if you'd like to be part of it, post something on this topic ASAP and send your link today, August 31 to Cara at carolinanorth3 @ yahoo.com (take out spaces to use).

I'm sorry I didn't think to post this information last week. :-(

At any rate, I imagine the varied responses will be fascinating. I'm looking forward to reading them. And, yes, I have posted on the topic, but that's not the reason for this post. I simply think it will be fun to read everyone's take on it.

Barrie

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Weather or Not

It's August. In my little corner of the world, that means hot, sunny, parched-dry days. One after another.

Except Mother Nature doesn't seem to realize it's August. The last few days have been as dark as an overcast winter day, with drizzling rain, and we were lucky to reach a high of 60 degrees yesterday, forget about a seasonal normal of 80 degrees. And it's making me cranky.

Yeah, I'm whining, but I'm getting to my point, and it's even related to the BUSINESS of writing. Namely -- life happens, and we need to be prepared for it. Weather or rejections or day jobs or family demands or health or whatever gets to you. From time to time, it's pretty much guaranteed that whatever it is that shuts you down as an author is going to happen.

I know the weather will improve, and I'll get over my current shut-down, but in the meantime, I've been thinking about the havoc that this sort of unpredictable shut-down can wreak on a writer's business plan. And, since I hate havoc almost as much as I hate the current miserable weather, I'd like to account for creative meltdowns in the business plan I'm devising.

Sometimes, of course, the answer is "just do it" -- just sit at the keyboard and type, no matter how impossible it seems. Other times, though, I think that won't work, and the author needs some other coping mechanism to get back on track before returning to the keyboard with renewed energy, enthusiasm and ideas.

At the moment, my coping mechanism consists of wallowing in the misery a bit, but I'd like to think there are better options, and that it might be helpful when setting up a business plan to: 1) be aware that these meltdowns can occur, 2) know the triggers, and 3) have an action plan for coping with them.

So, tell me: what's your worst trigger and what's your most successful coping mechanism?

Friday, August 25, 2006

On Writing Contests

I have a competitive side. Under my quiet, nerdy exterior, there is a person who loves the thrill of victory. Like most people, I hate to lose. So I have to pick my battles wisely. Not too long ago, I found a great outlet for my competitiveness: writing contests.

I never thought about entering a writing contest until my Fairy God Mentor (see previous post) encouraged me to enter one. My partner and I worked on a flash fiction entry for one of Desdemona.com's themed contests. Since it was a short piece, I didn’t think it would take long to finish. Yet, we spent a lot of time and energy on it. We exchanged emails, edited, revised, and fine-tuned.

We sent our joint entry, and we each sent two individual entries. I was certain one of our entries would receive at least an Honorable Mention. I thought our joint entry could take first place. My partner warned me not to get my hopes up. I didn't listen. When the results were announced, I looked for our names. Nothing.

I was crushed. Devastated. I emailed my partner to express my disappointment. He told me not to take it seriously. It was a valuable experience, and we could still find new markets for our stories. After stewing for a few days, I got over it.

I realized he was right. The contest was a great writing experience. It gave me the motivation to focus on a particular theme. I read past entries, and I wrote the best story I could. After writing, I took the time to carefully edit and make sure the story was perfect. At least in my eyes. Afterwards I had a story that I could send to another publication.

After that experience, I entered two more erotic writing contests. I was one of 15 winners in one contest. In the other contest, I wasn't in the top three. However, I did receive a request to read the entire manuscript. Both contests have lead to publishing contracts with 1) Forbidden Publications and 2) Liquid Silver Books.

If you haven't entered a writing contest yet, I encourage you to try it. Even if you're not a competitive person, you will feel that desire to be the best. You might win; you might not. At the very least, you will have a story, novella, or novel that is good enough to submit to a publisher. That's as good as gold.

Kis Lee
http://kislee.blogspot.com

Thursday, August 24, 2006

"Fairy God Mentor"

I've recently exchanged emails with a writer who received a "revise and resubmit" answer from one of the epubs I write for. She asked me about a number of issues, and I gave her my opinions and recommendations. When she wrote back, she thanked me, calling me a "Fairy God Mentor".

I really like that phrase. And I'm really proud to be one.

All writers, at various stages of their careers, need a Fairy God Mentor. If you're fortunate, one appears. If not, well, maybe the next time you need help, someone will appear. If you've ever received help (and even if you haven't), consider becoming a Fairy God Mentor to a fledgling writer.

I don't pretend to have a lot of answers about the biz--heck, I couldn't tell you how to sell to a NY publisher, because I haven't done that yet. But I do have some valuable knowledge, and I like opportunities to share it.

Have you done that, shared your knowledge? Those who write for this blog do, every time they create an entry. Those who participate in writing loops and writing organizations do as well.

Think about the help and support you've received in the past from others, and look for opportunities to share. Become a Fairy God Mentor. Because, even though we compete for the same publishing slots with our submissions, we're all in this together.

Barrie

Monday, August 21, 2006

Writing is a business

Writers need to have at least two hats hanging in their office. One is the creative one that we barely notice putting on at 2 in the morning when we have this great idea and just need to get it onto paper, and other similar moments, like when we're developing characters and outlining plots and searching for just the right word to show our readers the story that's floating around our brains.

The other hat, the one that's not as much fun or fashionable or exciting, and that we tend to pick up gingerly and reluctantly, is the business hat. Writing is, after all a business. We have valuable skills, we create a good product that's in demand, and we expect to be paid (as much as possible) for that product.

Part of what we do while wearing that business hat involves planning: figuring out what we're worth financially and how we can maximize our income. If I didn't hate aphorisms so much, I'd remind you to "Plan your work and work your plan." But I really hate such sing-songy oversimplifications, so pretend I never said that.

Instead, let's talk about business plans and how writers can use them. Usually, a business plan is intended to give to investors to raise the initial (or expansion) capital. Writers are, in this regard, luckier than the average business start-up, because our initial costs are so low. Start with a computer and printer (things you probably have for other reasons anyway), paper, envelopes and postage, and you're up and running. Add in your own skills, a bit (okay, a lot) of practice and a few (relatively inexpensive) how-to books and workshops, and you've survived the first year, which is more than a lot of other types of businesses can accomplish.

Writers don't need a business plan to raise capital, but it can be useful in helping the writer to figure out goals and strategies to achieve those goals. Ultimately, it might be useful for sharing with an agent, when discussing long-term goals for the writer/agent team.

I'm in the process of creating a sample business plan for writers, and I'll share it here when it's done, but for now, I'm wondering how many of you have done a business plan for your writing career.

Even if you don't have a formal plan, do you have lists of WIPs and their potential markets? Do you keep records of submissions and expected response dates? Do you set aside time to search for new markets or re-research older markets? Have you thought about what your particular niche is or perhaps established a tagline that defines all your stories? Do you have a budget (or money set aside) for educational and/or research materials and workshops?

So, what do you do when you've set aside your comfortable creative hat, and you're wearing your down-to-earth business hat?

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Following Submission Guidelines

James Buchanan
James-Buchanan.com

Two things bring me to this topic. One is thread on a form when an editor of the Homoerotic E-zine Forbidden Fruit complained about having to wade through heterosexual content submissions. The stories were absolutely inappropriate for the market. Any one who had read their submissions page would see this line, “What we're after is well-written gay male fiction” first thing. Obviously somebody just didn’t bother to read the guidelines. The other was Lawrence Schimel’s LiveJournal where he discusses his headaches over trying to figure out who submitted what for the “Best Date Ever” anthology he’s editing because people didn’t follow basic submission guidelines.

Submission guidelines are there for a reason. You need to read them before you submit, as you’re formatting your submission and double check it again before you hit the send button. Authors who regularly sub to a specific market go back and read the guidelines periodically. Know why? Things change. Maybe a publisher has been hit with so many viruses they no longer accept anything but RTF or TXT attachments (it’s harder for viruses to embed in those formats). They may have added a new category where your work could fit. Or they may have a moratorium on certain genres due to an overload of submissions. Whatever the case, those guidelines are there because these are things the editors do or do not want to see. At the very least it tells editors that you have a clue about being professional.

If you don’t submit your prized MS in the way they want… 90% chance it’s headed for the round file cabinet. So, if the publisher says put the first chapter in the body of an email. Do it. If they want it hardcopy on pink paper. Do it. This is not about what you like, it’s about following the rules. You want to at least make the slush pile.

Some Basics

You must/should have on at least the first page of every attachment you send:

• Your Name (the real one)
• Address (I suggest a P.O. Box)
• Phone Number (Cell numbers work fine)
• E-Mail Address (make sure it’s reliable and doesn’t filter out important things)
• Title of the Work
• Your Pen Name
• Word Count

This is important because your manuscript and required attachments may be separated from your e-mail. Nearly every submission guideline I’ve ever read requires at least those. From what I hear, it is staggering the amount of people who don’t do it.

Name your document so it can be found easily. Think about it, if you had 200 submissions of Submissioncall.rtf you’d go nuts. So for this article, since it has a long title, I might use SubGuide.rtf. If this publisher wanted a short biography and marketing plan those might be named SubGuideBio.rtf and SubGuidePlan.rtf. This way the publisher knows exactly which submission they go to and can differentiate them from the thousands of other submissions they have.

If it’s an e-mail submission, put “Submission: Title of Work” in the subject line. If it’s for a special call, add “for X Anthology” after the title. This way the receiving editor knows immediately that they are looking at a submission, not spam, and which specific editor it should be routed to.

If the publisher does not specify a preference, use a common readable type face. I write in 12 point Times New Roman. The two other most common are Courier and Ariel. Why do you want to use those? Because if you use an obscure font and the publisher does not have it on their system your document will be reformatted by the system to whatever default font is used. Other fonts may use special characters or encoding that doesn’t survive the reformat, so you end up with strange characters in your document. This is especially true on quotation marks and punctuation. Of course, if the editor wants 10 point Arial, I change my MS. Some people grouse that it's only to make the edior's life easier. Good, make their life easier, it's about getting published not about being an indvidual in style.

Save that for content.

Again, if no preference is specified use common paragraph formatting. Use either block style (how this article is written) or first line indent. Both of those generally translate into any word processing program without problems. But some publishers ask for 1.5 spacing, some for double. Even for the same press, if a specific editor is handling an anthology he/she may have guidelines that are slightly different then the general press guidelines. Creativity needs to come from inside the story not how it’s set up on the page. If it gives the editor too much of a headache trying to read that’s going to impact how they view your story.

And always, if you see something you don't understand go to the source. Who is the best person to explain to you what they meant by the words “intensive outline,” or "marketing hook?" The person who wrote the guidelines. If you have a question e-mail and ask. Most publishers would much rather explain what they wanted rather than get something they didn’t.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

The C Word

It's a perfect word. It's evocative. It's short. Its roots go back over 15,000 years. Chaucer, Shakespeare, and Casanova were among its most famous literary champions.

And yet, cunt still gets the short end of the stick. So to speak.

In erotic romance, "cunt" is generally considered the division between sensual and erotic. Do you have forty sex scenes in youe 25,000 word story? Do your characters say "fuck" and watch each other masturbate, do they use vibrators and have so much oral sex their jaws lock up? Great. That sounds sensual to me.

But do you have only three sex scenes and use the word "cunt" to describe your heroine's love canal? Yes? Then you're writing erotica, my friend.

Why is that? Why is it that one small word has the power to change sexy to erotic, to change arousing to offensive? And is it that offensive, really?

Most women seem to think so. Studies have shown that women find "cunt" the most offensive word in the English language. (Seriously.) It's forbidden. It's absolutely taboo.

But what is forbidden is often what is most erotic, as well.

I never used to write it. I didn't like to read it. Then I found a few erotic romances that did. My dislike of the word changed to--not indifference, because I don't feel a word like cunt can ever inspire indifference--but more like approval. The word was forbidden. The word was direct. The word was a little shocking.

In short, the word was pretty hot.

Remember that episode of Sex and the City where Charlotte is trying to woo that painter to her gallery? It's an old man, and he proudly informs her that he's been doing a series of paitnings of cunts. Charlotte is, of course, stunned by this. He asks her to sit for him, and you can see she's about to refuse when the old man's wife enters the studio. She's holding a tray of lemonade and says sweetly, "I bet you have a beautiful cunt, dear." Hey! That word isn't so bad after all! In fact, it's kind of...dare I say...cute? Maybe if we think of cunt as a nice word, a sexy word, a descriptive word, instead of a nasty one, we can replace it in our vocabulary and our books and hold our heads high. Just hearing the phrase "beautiful cunt" made a difference to me, since we so often associate the word with less pleasant adjectives. But if we think of the word-and the objects-as beautiful...

Chaucer used it in The Canterbury Tales, spelling it "queynte". According to Charles Panati's Sexy Origins and Intimate Things, "Chaucer believed the word was derived from 'quaint', which meant 'a many-layered, in-folded mystery'." Now really, what better way is there to describe a woman's sexual organs than "a many-layered, in-folded mystery"?

Of course, pre-Chaucer, cunt was a name. There are many families on the rolls in thriteenth-century England named "Cuntles" or "Clawcunte", or many variations therof. There were "Gropecunte Street"s or "Cunte Lane"s in medieval England as well. Clearly, the word's meaning was fixed even over 700 years ago--it first appears in written record in 1066, but seems to have had a different meaning then, although "cunt" is derived from early language, when "kuni" or words like it were used simply to mean "wife" or "woman".

Which is all very interesting, except it doesn't mean much to us or help us. Women don't want to see cunt. There's an implication that if they do, they're the type of woman who likes really graphic, nasty sex--the hardcore erotic stuff--instead of the lighter, sweeter, gentle-spanking kind of sex.

What's a writer to do?

See, the problem is, "cunt" works so well. As I said above, it is evocative. It does give the reader a distinct message: this is going to be pretty graphic. This will be pretty hot. Isn't choosing words to set a mood part of what we do as writers?

I decided to try using cunt. I wanted to see what t felt like to actually write it, to actually put that forbidden word on paper. Could I still turn peple on when I threw a cunt bomb into my work? Could I still write scenes people would enjoy, even if a cunt bobbed up at them from the page?

To my surprise, it worked. And it wasn't too bad. It was actually pretty sexy. And so exact! We're always looking for words to describe or identify female body parts. Aren't you tired of writing about slick folds or swollen entrances? Or channels, or tunnels, or whatever? Isn't it hard to use "pussy" to describe both the vagina and the vulva (a word I don't like, btw)?

This is where cunt fits in. I can talk about pussies and cunts as two seperate (but obviously closely related) entities, and I can describe a vagina without adjectives but with a word that everyone can visualize. The many-layered, in-folded mystery of a woman.

I don't use the word much (and never, ever in dialogue. I know I'm trying to be Miss Open-Minded and Miss Use Cunt, but I don't like it in dialogue. Cunt is a private thing, to be shared only with our readers through our voices, not our characters'.) But of late I've been abstaining, and I have missed it. All those folds and entrances just can't compensate for the brevity and clarity of cunt.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Details about a Revamped Publisher of Spanking Romances

This post is for everyone who has published an erotic romance story and/or a M/f spanking story--or, who has story-writing experience and is interesting in branching into the spanking story subgenre.

Discipline and Desire is changing. I can't say how yet, because I'm one of their authors and have a confidentiality agreement with them. However, they are looking for new authors and new stories.

How do I come into this? I receive a nice bonus for each new writer I refer after said writer sells three short stories to D&D. You make money, and I make money. :)

So--do you have some publishing credentials? Even one story is fine. Do you understand how to write a spanking story (or, have you written one)? It's not easy to make a spanking story sound genuine unless you have some familiarity with the genre--they are not exactly the same as BDSM stories.

D&D's set of requirements are quite specific on what is allowed or not allowed. Plus, the stories must be romances where the male is the dominant partner.

That said, the couple can be a new pairing, or an existing one trying spanking and domestic discipline for the first time. Stories can be contemporary, historical, etc. Endings should point toward a permanent committment (new couple) or a new, heightened sense of love and committment (existing couple).

I've been writing for the spanking story industry for eleven years, and I can assure you that D&D pays the most of any publisher I've ever worked with. Plus, they are pleasant people to work for. They respond to submissions promptly, and they pay very promptly, usually within three business days of accepting the story. These folks have the highest of ethics.

If you're interested, please contact me at barrieabalard @ gmail.com. Be sure to take the spaces out. I would love to find some new spanking authors for D&D, and also help you sell.

Barrie Abalard
www.barrieabalard.com
www.barrieabalard.blogspot.com
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BarrieAbalard/

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

An Epublished Author and a Luddite walk into a bar...

Taken from an actual conversation I had with a family member --

Luddite: I heard you sold your first book. Congrats! So is it coming out in bookstores? Amazon?

Epublished Author: It's an e-published book. My publisher is an electronic publisher.

L: *blank stare*

EA: Meaning that my book will be published via internet and available for download from the epublisher's website.

L: *cocking head* So how do you read it?

EA: You go to the e-publisher's website, pay for it, download it, and read it on your computer.

L: But it's a book?

EA: Right. It's a book in electronic format.

L: Weird. What if I don't want to read it on my computer?

EA: Well, some people download onto a device called a reader. Or you can just download my e-book as a PDF and print it out.

L: So it's not really a book?

EA: It *is* a book. It's an e-book available over the internet.

L: So it's a book that you read on your computer. You can't hold it, and it's not really a book. So it's an e-book.

EA: *hanging head* Yeah, close enough.

L: I've never heard of that. Well, congrats anyway!

EA: Thanks. I think.

Monday, August 14, 2006

First official poll results....

Well, over 1000 posts have come in. Remember gals, only one vote each ;) And do keep in mind that this is a reflection of which publishers, actively or indirectly, motivated people to get out and vote. But perhaps that counts for something, eh?



Our top five are:
* eXtacy
* Changeling
* Mardis Gras
* Triskelion and
* Samhain

Interesting to see so many new publishers on the list! Are they inspiring their writers, new and old, more than the more established presses? Or just drawing in more novice writers who are still in the first flush of joy at being published? Let us know what you think....

Sunday, August 13, 2006

New Release: 'Journey's End' by Emily Veinglory

Journey's End (e-novella 2006)
Genre: gay erotica/romance
Length/Format: novella, e-book
Publisher: Torquere

Castel is an elf stranded in human lands, slowly dying from lack of magical energy. Mendry is a human assassin descended from a line of vampire 'Dragon Knights' who seek to bring an evil dragon back to life.

When Mendry's father steals a child he believes to be his grand-daughter, the seventh generation needed to carry out the resurrection ritual, Mendry and Castel come together to save an innocent life, facing evil mages and more. Together with the child's uncle and mother, they make an unlikely band of heroes, and find a whole new meaning to the word family. Set in the same world as Emily Veinglory's first Torquere novel, Broken Sword!

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Everyone Says I Should Copyright My Work

by James Buchanan
James-Buchanan.com

Under title 17 of the United States Code, copyright protects you from unauthorized use of your work. Most countries have some variant of the copyright law and you need to check out your countries laws if you're not registering the work in the US. Title 17 applies to all original works, including: literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works. The work doesnÂ’t have to have been published for you to register your copyright.

The moment you write your work on paper, you own the copyright to it. So what people actually mean is that you should register your copyright. Various reasons make it advantageous to register the copyright. Registration establishes a public record of your copyright and allows you to bring an infringement suit, if that becomes necessary. If you secure it before (or within five years) of publication, it pretty much seals your case* and if made within three months after publication you may be entitled to statutory damages and attorney’s fees (otherwise you’d actually have to prove that you suffered monetary loss – which can be a big hurdle).

Registration is actually very easy. The term of your copyright lasts for your life plus 70 years. YouÂ’ll need the following:

A completed application. The PDF forms are easy and you can fill them out on line and print them out.

A check/money order for the filing fee. Current cost (as of August 12, 2006) is $45.00;

And a non-returnable deposit of the work. The deposit requirements depend on whether the work has already been published. If you havenÂ’t published the work yet youÂ’ll need to submit one complete copy with the form and your check. If itÂ’s already been published then you need to send two complete copies of the best edition. They donÂ’t require anything fancy, just readable. Heck, the government will take a legible handwritten manuscript (although they do ask for ink). What they are primarily concerned with is that what you send them be suitable for long term storage. So good paper, and stapled or bound in some manner.

You can find everything you need right here:
Copyright Office

*Disclaimer: This post is for informational purposes only and should not be a substiindividualizedvdualized legal advice. I'm probably not a lawyer in your state, and you're not my client. This article also applies to US Copyright only. You should check your own regions rules/regulations or seek the advice of a local attorney.

Phaze to Accept Lesbian Erotica/Romance

By James Buchanan
James-Buchanan.com

Phaze, publisher of erotic romance, has announced that they will start accepting Lesbian Romance/Erotica. The new editor has decided to shift away from the former policy and open up to all sexualities.

While they primarily publish e-books, Phaze does consider moving better selling, novel length titles into print (with certain conditions). They are also in negotiations to have their print books on the shelves at a major bookseller. A lot of exciting things are happing with them right now, and they are looking for an infusion of new talent.

Phaze’s submission guidelines can be found here: Phaze Submission Guidelines

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

My turn to answer the three + 1

1. Where are you published?
Torquere Press and upcoming publication with Phaze

2. How did you chooose your publisher(s)?
I was directed to Torquere by Circlet Press. I entered one of their contests and the editor told me my story was too long, but that TQ took stories of that length and I should submit there… because I really could write. With Phaze I knew three other authors with books published through them. All are very happy with the press. Plus Phaze offers a chance for an e-book to go to print after a certain number of sales.

3. What do you like best about your publisher(s)?
Accessibility and partnership. We’re in it together. Because of the royalties sharing everyone works to bring forth the best book they can. They’re responsive to questions. They keep people informed of what is selling well so that you can target your writing.

4. What are your publishing goal(s)?
I want people to like what I write. I’m not intending to make a killing on this. But I’d love to get a fanlisting telling me how much they like Nicky/Brandon or the like. And if I didn’t write I’d go nuts… so I’m just glad someone pays me to do it.

~James
www.James-Buchanan.com

Defining What's Best

We talk about the "best publisher" a lot, and everyone loves a "top ten" list or various prestige rankings, and this information can be useful for understanding the market and what others think of publishers.

But, the truth is, and you're probably seeing hints of it already from the responses to the three questions, there is no absolute best publisher. There's a best publisher for you, and a best publisher for me, and a best publisher for Emily and a best publisher for Barrie and a best publisher for Kis. And they could all be different. Or overlap somewhat, and differ somewhat. But there is no absolute "correct" answer.

And that's what makes it tricky to figure out where to submit your work. You need to figure out who would be a good match for you, not for me or Emily or Barrie or Kis.

So, how do you do that? First, you need to figure out what's important to you. For the purpose of this discussion, you can choose three things. Barrie and Kis have suggested in their goals some things that are important to them. Probably everyone's going to mention money, so I'm going to take that off the table for now, because it's universal (although the exact ranking may vary, and we'll talk about that later).

For now, I'd like to hear from everyone (in comments or a separate blog post) about the three things (yeah, I just love the number three) that matter to you when choosing a publisher. I'm not going to give you any suggestions just yet for the possibilities, because I don't want to narrow the options. I'm looking to get more insight into all the issues you may be trying to juggle.

So, what are the three things (other than huge bucketloads of money) that, in the best of all possible worlds, you'd want your ideal publisher to offer you? What three things would convince you to sign on the dotted line if you had multiple offers?

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

3 questions + bonus

1. Where are you published?
Freya's Bower and upcoming publication with Forbidden Publications

2. How did you chooose your publisher(s)?
With Freya's Bower, I saw their call for submissions on the Absolute Write Paying Market's forum. I didn't know much about e-publishing, so it was my first submission to an erotic romance e-publisher. It was a completely random decision.

With Forbidden Publications, I took the same route as Jan Darby: entering a contest. I'm blanking on where I saw the call for submissions, but I found out that FP was having a contest for short story writers. At the time, FP was one of the new e-publishers, so I browsed their site for more info about them. They seemed professional, so I submitted a short story. I was one of 15 finalists, and my short story will be released sometime in the future.

3. What do you like best about your publisher(s)?
Freya's Bower has really good editors, and I learned a lot from them. They helped to bring out the best in my writing. I've also been impressed with their cover artists. Forbidden Publications hasn't released my story yet, but I've had some contact with their staff. Everyone there is friendly, professional, and open to questions.

With e-publishers, I like that I have immediate access to editors and staff members. If I have a question about something, I can just send an email and receive an answer within a day or two. Both e-publishers encourage questions and are eager to help new writers.

4. What are your publishing goal(s)?
Show me the money!! Seriously. I write in other genres, too. In general, my ultimate goal would be to land a deal with a print publisher. The big dream goal would be to be published with one of the big names. Whether I'm writing thriller, horror, or erotica, my ambitions are the same.

Kis Lee
http://kislee.blogspot.com

Three Questions, Continued, Plus a Fourth

Hi, everyone,

I'm new to the blog and am here to answer the three questions.

1. Where are you published?
I'm Barrie Abalard, and I'm published with Amber Quill Press, Loose-Id, CF Publications, and a subscription web site called disciplineanddesire.com. I have contracted with Triskelion Publishing, but the book won't be out until June 2007.

2. How did you choose your publisher(s)?
CF Publications and I go way back--to 1995. That was when I first tried my hand at erotic romance and erotica. Back then, I also sold stories to Desiree's Spanking Digest, which is out of business now. I found CF through someone who worked with me(!). How we both found out that the other wrote erotica is a long story that I won't repeat here. At any rate, my coworker sold spanking stories to CF, and gave me contact info when I requested it.

I discovered disciplineanddesire.com in 2001, and started selling to them at the end of that year. As erotic romance became more popular, I decided to try selling to the new epublishers. I sent in a story to Amber Quill Press's 2006 contest and won. I also sent a story to Loose-Id, which was accepted, and have parlayed those successes into a contract with Triskelion.

I went with publishers about whom I had heard the most "buzz". I have submitted to Ellora's Cave, but that was back when they were woefully understaffed, so I withdrew my submission after seven months and sent it to Loose-Id, who bought it. I will probably submit again to EC once I have something suitable. But my focus right now is on the NYC publishers. See below for more on that.

3. What do you like best about your publisher(s)?
I like CF in that I can write most any kind of story, and if it has spanking in it, they will buy it. (I've sold many dozens of stories to them over the years.) They've given me the chance to have some fun, such as creating fictional small towns and characters that repeat. Writing for CF and DSD let me explore various subgenres, such as my noir detective parody set in a politically-correct future. Lots of fun and a change of pace. Plus, writing all these stories taught me a great deal about how to write a good story. My writing has improved a lot since 1995.

Disciplineanddesire.com pays more than CF, so I like them for that. They usually accept everything I send them.

Amber Quill Press and Loose-Id are accessible to me and friendly. No arrogant attitudes or anything. I've worked with each of them on short deadlines and find them a delight--cooperative with a "let's get the job done" point of view.

I don't know enough about Triskelion yet to comment, but I know a lot of people like them. My experiences have been fine so far. The main reason I submitted to Trisk was to gain RWA PAN (Published Author) status. If you don't know what that means, never mind. It's not important in this context.

I want to emphasize that all of these publishers are quality companies that are honest and pay on time, something that's extremely important to me. I like to see what a company's track record is before I go with them, so I don't usually submit to a brand-new venture unless I know something about the people running it.

Here's a fourth question, should anyone else on this blog want to answer it:

4. What are your publishing goals?
My goals are straightforward: I want to sell to the NY erotic romance publishers, the ones who pay advances. I intend to make real money at this, and while I like the epubs I'm dealing with, my goal is (are?) hard copy books with the publishers who put out erotica and erotic romance. The item I'm working on now is targeted for Kensington's Aphrodisia line.

Barrie Abalard
www.barrieabalard.com
www.barrieabalard.blogspot.com