The ABCs of Erotica

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Malia Mallory Welcomes Shoshanna Evers Sharing About Successful Self-Publishing

SuccessfulCoverOn the blog today I have a wonderful guest – Shoshanna Evers! She is not only a bestselling author of erotica and erotic romance, but she also has written several great how-to books, including the one she is giving away free today!

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Thanks for letting me guest post today, Malia!

I’m offering my new non-fiction anthology Successful Self-Publishing: How We Do It (And How You Can Too) as a free pdf to anyone who wants it. Just visit the new website I co-founded with my cover designer,  SelfPubBookCovers.com and you can download the whole ebook. You can read the introduction on my author website here.

If you like your books in print, it’s also available on Amazon here, where it hit the top 25 on the Business Writing Bestseller list!

Now, for fun, I’m going to list some of my favorite quotes from some of the essays in the anthology!

“’Woo-hoo! Looks like it’s gonna be another $1,000+ day! I love being a self-published author!’ I e-mailed that to Shoshanna Evers in June 2012 when we were discussing this book project, which happened to be the month my self-publishing career took me to yet another new level after I made my first book free.” — How I Make $20,000 or More a Month with my Self-Published Books by Kallypso Masters.

“With self-publishing, I’m limited only by my writing speed, editor and cover artist.  Since I write shorter works, I can (potentially) go from “The End” to published in two weeks or less and, depending on the distributor, be paid for those sales within two months. “  —We Can by Gia Blue

“ Despite the fact that you’re a self-published author, your cover should scream the opposite. If it looks like Cousin Cindy Lou did it in Microsoft Paint, no one is going to buy it. If you don’t believe me, try it. I dare you.”– The Cover: Make it Professional! by H.P. Mallory

“If the book gets on a bestseller list, more people will notice it so more people buy it, which pushes it up the list, which makes more people notice it, so more people buy it, etcetera. In other words, a popular book gets onto a bestseller list, but being on a bestseller list will increase its popularity.” —  The Business of Publishing, an interview of Shoshanna Evers by author Cara Bristol

“I was frustrated with the submission process. Each press had different requirements and then there was the waiting game all over again.” —  I Did It My Way by Liz Matis

“ Don’t give them anything but your best. Don’t rush your work or skip steps just because you can. Beyond respecting your readers, respect your work.”  — Respect Your Readers by Katriena Knights

“Regardless of how fast you write it, it’s also time spent editing, formatting, blurbing, cover art designing, marketing, and bookkeeping. Whew. Are you tired yet?” — 10, no 11 Successful Self-publishing Tips I Wish I’d Known by Heather Thurmeier

“Since I published the story one year ago, I am thrilled to report I am now able to write out a very nice check to the shelter every month.”  — A Dog, A New Genre, and a Charity by Jennifer Probst

“I wondered how hard it really was for an unknown author to break through the invisibility barrier? How many sales would a book make if no one knew about it? At heart, I am a scientist, and so I put it to the test.”  — A Tale of Two Novellas by Skye Warren

There’s more. There’s so much more. But I’m running out of space in this blog post! These are the other articles in the antho:

The Sky Is Not Falling, or Why 99-Cent Books (Probably) Won’t Take Over the World by Jackie Barbosa

Why I Love My Crazy Indie Life by Donna McDonald

How I Sold 17,000 books in Four Months by Debra Holland

David Kazzie, Before & After by David Kazzie

Twitter 101: Five Things about Twitter Authors Should Know (and Five you Don’t Know) by Valerie Bowman

Marketing by the eBook by K. Rowe

The World of a Steampunk Indie by Heather Hiestand/Anh Leod

Getting Published by Shoshanna Evers

……….And since I’m offering the book to everyone for free at SelfPubBookCover.com, you can find your own favorite quotes! Hope you enjoy the book, and please sign up for my mailing list on my website at ShoshannaEvers.com to be notified when a new book comes out!

Next up is The Enslaved Trilogy, published by Simon & Schuster’s Pocket Star imprint.

xoxo Shoshanna Evers

Sexily *Evers* After… ShoshannaEvers.com

Amazon Erotica Bestselling Author

#1 Bestseller in Authorship, Erotica Writing, and Romance Writing

THE ENSLAVED TRILOGY

Coming April 2013 from Pocket Star | Simon & Schuster
Books on Amazon  |  Books on B&N  |  Twitter  |  Facebook  |  Blog

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This New Year – Read More or Write More? Kindle, Nook or $300 Gift Card in New Year’s Blog H0p

Floral Background in Black and Gold ColorsWelcome blog hoppers and Happy New Year! Thank you to our lovely host Carrie Ann Ryan for bringing us all together.

There are so many amazing prizes up for grabs today on over 200 sites!

Check out the Grand Prizes – Kindle, Nook, Gift Card or a Swag Pack! The winners will be chosen from among all the commenters.

All commenters on this blog will also be entered to win a $5 Amazon.com gift card! Don’t forget to leave your email.

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Until January 15, all new newsletter subscribers get a copy of The ABCs of Erotica – Volume 1: A-C. Sign up for my mailing list here.

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Resolutions for 2013

We all know about New Year’s resolutiions. We start off with genuine intentions to lose a little weight, go to the gym or clear out our clutter. By February, we are usually left with nothing but our guilt.

This year, I want to try to make a resolution we can all get behind – reading more and writing more. I have no trouble with reading more. I enjoy it and it isn’t a hardship. Writing more I could use a little help with. Maybe I can ask you guys for a little support. Check in with me on the blog, Twitter, Facebook or maybe drop me an email. Ask me how my word counts are coming. Sometimes something simple really jump starts the motivation. Thank you in advance!

Now for you – what is your resolution for the New Year? Feel free to steal mine!

Find the many other great sites particpating in the blog hop here —–> Website: http://carrieannbloghops.blogspot.com/

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My newest release!

His Need, Her Desire BlurbNeed_200x300

Tabitha Quinn didn’t come to Hawaii to be spanked. But when vacationing businessman Marcus Granger saves her from drowning, they begin an affair that moves from the beach to the bedroom and straight into an experience Tabitha’s never had before: dark-haired, blue-eyed Marcus is a dominant, and spanking is just the beginning. The sex is intense, the emotion even more so, until they both must decide if this is a holiday fling or the real thing.

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His Need, Her Desire is available for preview and purchase on the following sites.

amazon-logobarnes-and-noble-logoibooks-logoallromance_logosmashwords-logokobo-logo1

 

 

Top Five Hazards of Writing Romance – Malia Mallory Welcomes Guest Suzanne Rock

Welcome Suzanne! This is a great (and unfortunately true!) list of occupational hazards for writers. Don’t miss the blurb for Suzanne’s book Pressure Point.

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Every occupation has hazards. For example, construction workers can have things fall on them, police officers can get shot, or scientists could be exposed to hazardous chemicals. Most people don’t think that being a romance writer is dangerous, but the occupation has its own list of hazards, believe me. I know this first-hand because I think I’ve suffered from each of these afflictions at some point in my writing career. Have you?

Hazard #5: Eye Strain

I want to read you email, I really do, but the font is just so…small. Do you really have to use 12pt? 20pt is so much easier on my eyes. Or maybe it was 200% magnification… And bold. All text needs to be bold. Regular font is so damn faint. Ah hell, just tape record your message and send it over. After the hours and hours of reading I need to do for my job, I’ll be lucky if I can see the screen well enough to log into my email account. :p

The best thing to do to alleviate eye strain is to give your eyes rest time. I know it’s easier said than done, but honestly, taking breaks from your work is the best way to prevent doing permanent damage to your eyes.

Hazard #4: Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Writers write. And rewrite. And then write some more. What no one tells you is that if you aren’t writing in an position that is ergonomic, you can put a lot of strain on your fingers, wrists and arms. I learned this first hand when I got carpal tunnel syndrome after writing the last Ecstasy Spa story. Let me tell you, it’s not fun. So painful. The only thing that can cure it is to stop typing all together and let me tell you, that’s almost impossible for a writer. I’d almost rather get nerve damage, lol. Lucky for me, technology has come to the rescue. I’ll be trying out some new speech-to-text software to help cut down on my typing. I’ll let you know how it turns out. There are also ergonomic wrist rests that help to alleviate this ailment. In short, make sure that you aren’t putting too much strain on your fingers and wrists. We make a lot of sacrifices for our art, but nerve damage shouldn’t be one of them.

Hazard #3: Writer’s Butt

Ugh. Just ugh. Writers write and to do this, you need to sit. And sit. And sit. We sit for days on end without moving…well, we do move. We all move to the kitchen to get a snack. :/ All of that inactivity can lead to a lot of cush in the tush. As writers we need to remember that frequent breaks are just as important as getting those words in. Standing up and walking around periodically can do a lot to help keep our butts from growing up to three times their normal size.

Hazard #2: Living in a Fantasy World

This is almost a given. Writers love to think about their writing. We daydream about plot, setting and characters twenty-four hours a day. Unfortunately, all of this time in our fantasy world can leave us with a warped view on reality. “What do you mean, you don’t have fangs? Doesn’t everyone have fangs now-a-days?” You writers know what I mean. Your characters become more real than your family, and this could lead to some interesting conversations. J To help with this, set a timer for periodic intervals. When it goes off, remind yourself that you do indeed exist in a real word with real people who depend on you. Kids need to be fed, dogs needs to be walked. It’s best if you interact with the people around you before things get too out of control.

Hazard #1: (And the most dangerous, IMHO) Man-titty Fatigue

As romance writers, we are constantly bombarded with sexy images. Topless men, couples in the passionate embrace, sexy models with that intense “come hither” stare. To a woman first introduced to this world, it’s a dream come true. Men? Hell yes! But after a few months, er, years, things start to blend together. Features that thrilled you three years ago don’t have the same allure. The models look too young, or too scruffy, or too…something. Faces blend together until you have a difficult time telling the men apart. This is especially true for the indy writer, who needs to go through countless stock photos to find the right one for their book cover. In this case, it’s good to take a step back and not look at pictures for a few days. During this detox stage, remember what it is you find sexy about men and rediscover your love for the opposite sex. Hopefully some time away will help you to rediscover what so many other women are drooling over.

So, there you have it, my top five working hazards of the romance writer. Do you suffer from any of them? Tell me about it in the comments section. I’d love to hear from you!

Book Blurb

When Blake and Drew ask Elsie to have some fun with them at the Ecstasy Spa holiday party, she seizes the opportunity to forget about the pressures of her job and personal life. She has always had a crush on both men and knows that they are dating, so she expects nothing more than the one-night stand they offer her. Blake and Drew have other plans however. Together the men fulfill her every torrid dream, bringing her to heights she never thought possible. They want to make their fling more permanent, but doing so could cost them all their jobs. Should Elsie risk her livelihood for a chance to make her dreams come true?

Price: $3.99

For more information, to read an excerpt, or for buy links, go here: http://suzannerock.com/?page_id=1526

Biography

A lifetime New Englander, Suzanne married her college sweetheart and has been with him for over twenty years. Every summer she drags her husband and two daughters to Maine on a quest for the perfect lobster dinner. Every fall she can be found down in Foxboro, Massachusetts cheering on her favorite football team. In between those trips, she’s a chauffeur, a maid, a chef, an event planner, a hairdresser, a wardrobe stylist, a tutor and a sometimes masseuse. To keep her sanity, she often drinks copious amounts of coffee and stares at the blank screen of her laptop, dreaming of great adventures. Sometimes she even writes them down for others to enjoy.

Malia Mallory Shares 5 Things You Need to Get Published for the Indie Pendence Week BlogHop

Welcome to the Indie-Pendence Week Blog Hop.

Thank you to our hosts!

All commenters on my blog will receive a free ebook!

Want a free copy of B is for Beach from The ABCs of Erotica? Sign up for my mailing list here.

Five Things You Need to Get Published

1.  A Good Book. You have a couple choices here. If you write nonfiction, you need a book that contains information that people need to know or want to know. If you write fiction, you need a book that is entertaining and appealing. In either case, it could be a niche interest. In fact, independent publishing is the perfect vehicle for those books that traditional publishers may overlook. Traditional publishers rely on volume. With the economies of scale involved in independent publishing, it can still be lucrative to publish a book that appeals to only a small subset of readers.

2.  An Editor. No matter how good a writer you are, you need an editor. Let me repeat that. No matter how good a writer you are, no matter how perfect your prose, you need an editor. I know professional editors and proofreaders who still have others edit their work. When it’s your own work, you are too close to it to identify all the issues. To put out the best possible product, you need to take a professional approach. Please, get an editor.

3.  A Great Cover. Some people have the graphic design skills to create their own covers. Unfortunately, many people do not. Look at the bestseller list. Can you create a cover like that? If you can, go ahead. If you can’t, you might want to consider hiring someone to help you. There are low-cost options available. A poor cover will not entice readers to click on your book. Weird fonts, overly bright colors and simplistic layouts will identify your book as self-published. While there is nothing wrong with being self-published, your books, including the cover, should blend in with the other offerings and not being distinguishable upon first glance.

4.  A Platform. This could consist of a variety of possibilities. You could have a website, a blog or both. You could have a Facebook or Pinterest page. Another possibility is actively participating on Goodreads or Twitter. Basically, you need a place for your readers and fans to find you. Your platform will inform your potential readers about your upcoming releases and give them a chance to get to know you.

5.  A Marketing Plan. Though Twitter is a great tool, your marketing plan needs to consist of more than spamming links for your books. You might consider a blog tour, giving author interviews or soliciting reviews of your books from review sites. Another option is to become active in online reading groups or message boards. It is important to be an honest and active participant and not just an advertiser. Lastly, you might consider the judicious use of free books to introduce readers to your work.

These items are just the tip of the iceberg. It’s up to you, as an independent author, to decide how and where to invest your time. That’s both the beauty and the curse of this path. You have the independence to decide what to write, where it is sold and how to market it. However, you are also responsible for everything. This can be a huge investment of time and may even take away from writing.

I hope I’ve given you something to think about. Please share what you think is important to becoming an independent author.

Please visit the other participating sites here!

Top Six Ways to Combat Writing Procrastination

I recently wrote a blog post on The Top Six Ways to Procrastinate as a Writer. As you can imagine, it referenced a lot of internet related items like Facebook and Twitter. I thought it might only be fair to balance this with some ideas to get busy and productive.

1. Disconnect Your Router. Seriously, I have done this on more than one occasion. Turning off the connection at the computer is not enough. You must unplug the router from the wall and count on the fact that the internet and all your email will still be there when you plug it back in later. This will make it tougher to quickly jump on Twitter to type that one tweet. Doing this leads you down a slippery slope. It’s a few keystrokes from typing a tweet to checking everyone’s status on Facebook, reading your email and browsing the news for the latest publishing sensation. Avoid the temptation all together. Mark anything you need to “research” for later.

2. Turn off the Phones. This includes the cell and the landline. You can ignore the ringing but the damage is already done. The sound of the phone alone and the fact that someone is trying to reach me has already broken my train of thought. Don’t worry. Let people leave a message. Imagine that all the missed calls are telemarketers. It will make things easier. If anyone complains about being unable to reach you later, tell them your phone ran out of charge. This even works for landlines if you have cordless phones like I do.

3. Music. I have a playlist that I listen to when I write of nice, non-intrusive songs. I play it only when I write and over time I think it has trained my mind to be in a writing mood when the music comes on. In order to make this work, it is important you don’t play it during non-writing times. The music should be something that engages the mind on a low level without making you want to follow it too closely. Therefore, the selections should contain no words. Save P!nk and Adele for another time. I recommend some nice Windham Hill stuff like George Winston or Liz Story – contemporary and pleasing.

4. Skip the Household Chores. It is so very tempting to throw in a quick load of laundry or empty the dishwasher. It seems so very innocuous and productive. But is it really? Truly, this stuff does need to get done but so does the writing. More writing will get done with some non-interrupted blocks. Make a block for writing and a block for household maintenance. Try (hard) to stick to it.

5. Writing Buddy and/or Timers. These are items to try to keep you honest. Some people like to do 1H1K and I see people teaming up on Twitter for this. Sometimes I set the timer on the iPad and say I am writing for X number of minutes and I don’t get up until the timer goes off. If the timer doesn’t work for you, you need a real person – someone who will ask you if you were butt in chair for the agreed upon time. Just the thought of having to say “No, I decided to take out the garbage and make a peanut butter sandwich” will usually keep you seated.

6. Inspiration. I have a few things that I like to look at for inspiration that sometimes help keep me on track. It might be some tales of success of other authors. It might be a video. I have a great one of Nora Roberts discussing her writing habits. She’ll make you feel lazy but she’s right when she says you can fix bad writing. You can always edit and revise. You can’t fix a blank page.

I hope I’ve given you a few ideas to use the next time you can’t seem to get down to work. What do you do to keep yourself on track?

Top Six Ways to Procrastinate as a Writer

 When you are sitting in front of the empty computer screen, it can be a little hard to get started. Sometimes it seems the thing to do is to work on promotion and sales. After all, authors are supposed to be responsible for their own promotion in this face changing world of publishing. No one else is going to get the word out, right? The internet, lovely thing that it is, presents a plethora of opportunities to procrastinate under the guise of “working” whether it be “promoting” or “business.”

1. Twitter

Oh Twitter, you and your fast stream. Having Twitter followers seems important doesn’t it? After all, we’re all being told repeatedly to take advantage of social media. So I have to check my Twitter feed. Did anyone mention me? Maybe I should try to get people to sign up for my mailing list or tweet something interesting about a new release. Wait, I have to be relevant to my followers so I really need to find some good articles to retweet so people don’t unfollow me. That requires of course browsing around various news, writing and publishing sites. Uh oh, where did the morning go?

2. Facebook

I have to maintain my author page. A lot people have signed up and I need to keep them informed of what I’m doing don’t I? I have to do this in a non-intrusive way so it takes a bit of thought. I need to include pictures too to make my post interesting.

3.  Blogging

I need to get a good blog post up and promote it. Maybe I should try to do some guest blogs too (like this one, thanks Louisa!) If I write a new blog post, I need to tweet about it . . . better post it on Facebook too.

4.  Triberr

I need get my blog post on Triberr. This will expand my reach to thousands of people who might, maybe, potentially, come to my site and read my blog. If they like it, maybe they’ll check out my work!

5.  KDP/Pub It

After all this promotion, I need to check and see how my sales are doing. Have I sold anything since yesterday?

6. Writer Forums

I’d better check out the latest news in indie publishing. My writing friends can always be counted on to know the latest on changes at Amazon and censorship issues. If Smashwords is down, I need to be the first to know!

These six are just the tip of the iceberg. I haven’t even gotten to online shopping, visiting the sites of other writers, checking my bank account balance and updating my web page.

It’s no wonder that half the day (or more!) can get frittered away before any “real” writing starts.

How do you waste spend time on the internet? What do you do to try to cut it back?

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For a free copy of B is for Beach from The ABCs of Erotica, head to her website and sign up for the newsletter at http://www.maliamallory.com/Join_My_Mailing_List.php.

My New Love – Voice Recognition Software

Yes, it’s true. I have found a new love. Believe it or not, it’s voice recognition software. Years ago, I purchased voice recognition software and I attempted to use it. It didn’t seem to do that great a job and I was disappointed. I’m a fast typist and the software made so many errors that it just wasn’t worth my while.

Recently on one of the writing forums I follow, several writers were raving about voice recognition software. I read the information and wondered if the software had improved but I didn’t really take any action or investigate.

Six weeks ago, I was blessed with the birth of a new child. When that happened, writing came to an absolute standstill. Despite Herculean efforts, I could not get any work done.

One night about 3:00 AM as I was feeding my daughter, that thread on voice recognition crossed my mind. I was desperate. I went back and reread that everyone had said. I was determined to try it.

I dug out a combination headphone/microphone set and decided to start with the Windows built-in voice recognition. I had absolutely no luck. The operating system did not recognize my microphone in the standard microphone jack. A few days went by and it occurred to me maybe I needed a USB microphone. I didn’t think I had one and I didn’t want to buy one. Unbeknownst to me, I’d did have one. I had the microphone from Guitar Hero; it is a USB microphone. I dug it out and plugged it in. Guess what? It works. In fact, I’m using it right now.

I went to the tutorial and was pleasantly surprised at the level of control you could exercise with voice recognition. It went way beyond dictation. Believe me, you cannot help but feel productive if you can feed an infant or fold diapers while simultaneously dictating a blog post, scanning a web page and responding to e-mail.

A few things that I want to do have not worked out. Nevertheless, I am so confident in my newfound skill that I ordered some software and a new USB headset.

Am I getting more writing done?  Yes and no.  I do find I need concentrated times to do real writing, that is to say, fiction. However, I can get a lot of business and personal work done while doing other things. In the last few days, I have finally gotten letters out that have needed to be written for weeks (if not longer). I have managed to catch up on some e-mail correspondence. These are things that were becoming increasingly urgent and when I had to do them, it took away from writing time. My hope is over the long term, dedicated writing time can be used for fiction writing and that my promotion and personal things can be knocked out while I’m doing things around the house.

I think this will be a huge boon to my productivity. What has been successful for you when trying to increase your productivity?

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