Friday, February 28, 2014

Yeah, pretty much.

You need to be your own harshest critic, and your own biggest fan. 

The first is important because it helps you improve, always. You abilities will never quite catch up to your imagination, and that's a good thing. The second is important because you will face plenty of harsh criticism "out there," especially if you put your work in a place to receive it. Free, for example. To survive this and keep writing, you need to be your own biggest fan.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I enjoy writing, it's catharsis. It's something I'm better off for doing. I feel like I might, at some point in the future, be able to express the things I want to say with it. And at the same time, when a piece is proof-read, edited and published, I never want to look at it again. All I'd say if I did was something along the lines of "What the shit is this fuck?"

And that's just what writing is. At least, the way it is to about 99% of the people I've spoken to. The day you write something and think "Yep, this is perfect," is the day you're done as a writer. Of course, the comforting thing is that I'm not the one paying me to write. Readers are. In that sense, my opinion isn't important. I just need to get the writing done and out the door.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Sleazy Scumbags of Erotica Writing

In what I feel will be a new trend, I will quote or use information gleaned from various writing forums to write a blog post. The first of this is about outrage. It's about something I still can't quite describe properly. I'll let you read it for yourself.

"I have four different pen names, each focusing on different kinks. My main one (A) is slightly more vanilla. B is for Pseudo Incest and darker BDSM stories. C, which I haven't published on yet, is a gay male pen name. D is for Sci Fi erotica
Take one story. Stacy meets the rich, handsome Kevin. They bone.
Make them brother and sister, publish under B.
Turn Stacy into Steve, publish under C.
Turn Stacy into a robot sex slave, publish under D.
If the first story takes four hours to write, the rewrites take maybe a half hour to review and replace the pertinent info. Four stories written hitting four different markets in less than 6 hours of work."

Now, I want to be certain that it's clear what's going on here. This erotica author (I hesitate to put him in the category I'm in) writes a story, and then changes minor details to publish the same story 3 more times. Let that one sink in, for a moment. This person releases new stories Mon/Wed/Fri.

So, what is this? If what you want is to get up a massive library of stories, it's the best thing you can do. The guy admitted to leaving his day job a couple months ago. In other words, the sleazy practice he's describing here is -working-. But why is it so wrong, then?

It's wrong because it's assembly line production. This is a guy doing factory work, not creative work. This is a guy who doesn't write for writing's sake, but for the money. It's someone who picked erotica for the potential money. It's not about craft, telling stories, or even just inciting base lust in readers.

As much as I favor making a living off your writing, this is over the line. Selling the same story 3 times under the pretense of newness is bad enough, but the guy is going to lose a ton of those stories when amazon discovers the similarities. If I was a more vindictive person, I'd be out there right now, reporting every single one of the guy's works. I know the pen names, I only blanked them because the point of this blog entry isn't a witch hunt, it's to talk about a problem.

Say this guy gets discovered. It's possible that he just loses his livelihood (I really, really hope so), but equally, it's possible that Amazon feels the need to tighten the noose even more around the neck of self-publishers. Something they definitely should not be given reason to do.

In other words, this sleazy fucking scumbag is, in the name of nothing so supposedly noble as art, but rather money, cheating readers. At least, he's being disingenuous. And he's playing with an already fragile "peace" between Amazon and erotica/romance authors.

In conclusion, I have only one message to Mr. A: Fuck. You.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Writing Update

Heya, I thought it'd be nice to do one of these. In case anyone actually reads this blog with an eye for what I'm going to release.

Scheduled for March release:

Becoming His (M/F BDSM Novella)
Roguish Delight (Futa/F Impregnation Short Story)
Futanarium #1 (Futa/F Short Story Bundle)

These things are all done, and only need to be moved past the various stages of pre-publishing that they are in. Becoming His is going to be published near the start of March, most likely on the 2nd. I'm still waiting for the short story bundle's cover to be 100% done, but it's looking really nice. I'm getting a 3D boxset image. It probably won't be worth it from a monetary perspective, but I just love how it looks. Roguish Delight will be released as a separate story the week before the bundle, and will also be in the bundle.

Basically, you can buy my stories separately for 2,99$, or you can wait until I release them in a 5-story bundle and get them for just under 1$ each, as the price for the bundle will be 4,99$. This is something I'm going to be continuing. It'll also happen for M/F stories. It'll be a while since I don't write many M/F stories, but it'll happen.

Upcoming Works:

Fantasy Erotica Novella/Novel (Futa/F)
First part of Virtual Me, a short serial following a girl's exploration of a cyberspace sex server. (Futa/F)
First part of I-Haven't-Come-Up-With-A-Title, a series following a woman's gradual ascension through the ranks of the small domain in hell she is brought to. (Futa/F, also demons and devils, and stuff)
Short story of summoning a succubus for sexual service. (Futa/F)
Short story of an orc(-ess) having some fun. Not 100% on whether I want to make this dubcon (Taking a captive), or prostitution.

As you can see, I have a bajillion words to write, and only so much writing time. Luxury problem, I guess? It's just how writing is. You don't have time to get all your ideas down in writing. I should mention that I also have work on a private commission to do, so that takes time each week as well.

And that's about it! I don't have any 100% release dates on any of the upcoming stuff, but I'm probably about 40% done with the Fantasy Erotica Novella/Novel. Then it needs to be proofed, and it needs a cover. That's probably a couple months away. If I were to make a qualified guess, I'd say that the first part of Virtual Me would be the prime contender for April release, probably along with a short story or the first part of the other series. We'll see!

Monday, February 24, 2014

A Giveaway! And Facebook

I've been pretty quiet about facebook stuff, but I recently joined a group called Futanari Erotic Fiction. It's moderated by Sylvie Storm, who runs a fantastic erotica review site that you should definitely spare a few looks. She does a far more thorough job than your average 1-paragraph spam-review blog.

Anyway, what I really wanted to say with this blog entry was simply that A Different Prince Charming is free on Smashwords (With the right code) until the 28th, and you can find the code in the above-linked facebook group. I'm thinking I'll do the occasional giveaway to the group's members, so if you're interested in some of my already published stuff and missed the giveaway for it, you might get lucky in that group instead.

I don't imagine I'll drive a lot of traffic there, but who knows.

Have an excellent Monday!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Making... A Living Writing?

For some wonderful 24 hours, Thursday to Friday, I seriously considered writing for a living. I made a budget. A pragmatic, realistic one. Unfortunately, there's one inescapable conclusion. I simply can't make a living writing, right now. Not yet. Even with a quicker schedule of releases, even with an amazingly generous commissioner who believes in my writing even when I sometimes don't, it just doesn't make sense yet.

I could have stretched the savings I have right now to last 3 months. I could've sold what little I have to sell and made it another 1½-2 months. I'd be living basically in poverty. 480$ of spending a month, 370$ of that rent. 55$ food, the remaining 55$ spent on my minuscule phonebill, a little bit of transportation, and the singular bit of entertainment I'd still allow myself. A WoW subscription.

And then, with a little luck, I'd be earning enough 5 months down the line that my at that point expended savings wouldn't be needed anymore. With the way my sales history has been since I first started selling ebooks, that's entirely up in the air, and it would also depend on commissions that may dry up. Even so, writing for a living is my dream. I wrote my first story when I was 8 or 9. I wouldn't mind living in poverty if it meant I could write for a living, if I could at least count on continuing being able to pay the bills.

But there is no such assurance. For any author. The difference is, some authors can save up in the good months. I would be in a far more precarious situation. Of course, here in Denmark, there's various state monetary aid programs. However, you aren't allowed to have your own registered company if you're on one of those programs. No registered company means I can't get an EIN. No EIN means Amazon, Smashwords and any other retailer keeps 30% of my earnings. Which means I -definitely- can't live off them. To be able to go on one of those programs, I'd have to entirely, completely shut down the company, unpublish my stories and then come crawling.

And I won't do that. So the only thing that makes sense to do is to do the 2 years I still need to to finish my education. I need to be a trainee, and then in 2 years, I'll be done. By that time, perhaps I'll be able to make a living writing. The opportunity won't be there until then, because if I'm starting this education, I'm finishing it too. At least I'll have a safety net, then.

So I suppose that's the depressing realization. I can't make a living writing. Not yet, anyway. I'll simply have to refocus my drive and write in the evenings when I get home from work. You get what you give in this business. You make a living if you work for it. I won't have as much time to work for it, so it'll be a slower process. That sucks, but sometimes, that's life.

At least in the mean time, I can actually create my company. I can get an EIN. I can start making money on the side, and I can actually reinvest that money in covers and editing, rather than trying to make a living with it. And then in 2 years, with a little luck, I'll have a finished education and the ability to make my living writing if I so choose.

Until then, it'll be cruising along, trying my best to keep up with commissions and release schedules.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Becoming His Cover Preview

So, I thought I'd show the cover for my first novella-length release a bit ahead of time. I don't write a lot of M/F, and I'm a little worried about this one precisely because of that lack in my writing spectrum. Still, the cover is -excellent- in my opinion. It is, as usual by now, acquired from

The story itself details the budding relationship between a former assassin and an accountant, of all things. Of course, not just your regular old accountant. Someone with enough mystery and magnetism to capture the heart and mind of the assassin, forcing her to make it happen. Will they be able to make it work, in spite of their vast differences? Buy Becoming His to find out.

You can expect "Becoming His" to be available around the 2nd of March.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

More On Making A Living

Last week, I mentioned a figure of around 10.000$ a year. Obviously, if you earn this, you're -poor-. At least in the western world. I imagine any US-based readers would balk at the figure. In fact, I imagine even readers from my own part of the world would. I'd say it's possible to live off that, but it won't be exciting. You won't be giving gifts to anyone. Or if you do, it's going to be writing (That you could have sold instead) Even at this level of income, though, you need to sell 390 ebook copies every month.

Let's assume instead that I'd want to maintain a more moderate living. Let's say 50.000$ a year. I won't show the calculations here, because they're pretty simple. Suffice to say, you need to sell over 2000 short story copies every month to achieve this. That's very possible. Authors are doing this. But it's still a lot. The people doing this are in this position because they put in the work. They worked, even when it seemed hopeless. A lot of them started doing it simply because they liked writing, and through the dark times, they liked writing enough to keep doing it. It was never about some "2000 sales a month" goal.

Obviously, these successful indie authors don't have 400+ stories out there to do this. In other words, there is a hump to get over. Eventually, if you keep at writing, your writing and fans will begin working for you. People will tell their friends or acquaintances about your stuff. You'll have enough of a body of work to have a permanently free book to perhaps draw in some more readers. You'll be able to meaningfully branch into print on demand and audio books. You might even begin to look into translations. To continue the metaphor from last week's post, you'll have climbed the most desolate part of the mountain. Don't tell yourself the hardest part is over. It will never be. Your focus will simply shift.

Let's, as an average, assume that the "good times" begin to take form once you have 30 stories out there. For most, that's a year's work. Probably more. 2 short stories written and released a month may not sound like a ton, but it can be a lot of work to bring 2 stories through the process that goes before publishing in a single month if you're doing it next to a regular job. It's all you doing it, too. Keep that in mind. You can't even pay for your own living expenses via writing yet, how will you pay for a permanent editor, proof-reader, cover artist, etc?

You won't be able to live off your 30 stories, but it's a respectable body of work. Enough that it may be able to get some slightly more serious momentum on its own. You may be able to work part time instead of full time, though. However, this doesn't necessarily result in more writing released. There'll begin to be a lot of other things to take care of as you become a more popular writer. Advertisement in all its various forms begins to become meaningful. There'll be blogging, both yours and reading that of others. There'll still be your never-ending quest to improve as a writer. In the end, you may still only release 2 short stories a month.

Another year or two might pass, and then, if you've persevered this far, and been a little lucky, you may be able to make writing your full time gig. Sure, when you look back over a life, 3 years isn't that much. But remember, indie publishing, self-publishing, it's all still a jungle. Thanks to the internet, all the information is out there. But -you- have to go and get it. -You- have to do the work. There's no education (That's a lie, there is), it's all on you. And 3 years down the line, everything you know about indie publishing now could have, most likely will have, changed.

Despite self-publishing being taken more seriously in these last few years, it's still a jungle. It's not like attending school to become a Biologist or a System Administrator. You have to set the schedule, and be reasonably sure it's a good one. You have to be in charge of inspiration, writing, and the business side all at once. Add in some creative work with covers, and some legal work when it comes to rights, too. It takes personal drive to live and learn all this, and that's why everyone isn't a successful, published writer.

Only 1 or 2 out of every 100 people who want to be a writer ever get anything published. Out of the mass of these 1-2 people, only so many can handle dealing with the pressure of self-publishing. There's a lot to take care of, writing is only the first of your problems.

Sunday, February 16, 2014


As I'm often reminded, and often remind the people I talk to of, I'm still small-fry. Today, I'll prove that to you by saying that I've had the best single week of sales yet, after Solon's Maiden's release. 15 sales. Yep, I made 30$~ on my writing this week. And I couldn't be happier about it.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Friday, I'm In Love

It's Friday, and it's a pretty good day.

It's my dad's birthday tomorrow. I need to go and get him a present today. I've been back to writing for a few days now, and I'm enjoying just watching characters unfold as I type. I almost forgot the sort of trance you sometimes go into, where it almost seems as if the characters write themselves. Your fingers just do the typing, and the characters flow from your subconscious and onto the screen. It's a really great feeling, especially when you sort of doubt your overall ability as a writer.

Solon's Maiden has taken off alright, at least relative to my usual numbers. If things stay on course as I write this, I'll definitely have sold 10+ copies in the first week. My projected sales for any story is just 5 a month, so that's obviously a great start.

Due to my finances being a mess right now, I've decided to hold off with publishing Becoming His until March. I don't have enough money to get the covers I'll need right now, and I'd prefer if there wasn't another huge gap in my release schedule any time soon. So, pushing that to around March 1st. The story I'm writing right now (Fantasy Erotica type thing) will probably go up around the 1st of April, if all goes well.

I could write and publish a lot more than this, but after seeing what buying covers did to my sales, I no longer want to make my own. A cover is earned back (Depending on the deal I go for when I get them) after 15-20 sales, so it's not exactly an insurmountable cost. Right now, it's simply a matter of getting some cash flow going from book sales before I can afford to get covers on a monthly basis. Not ideal, I guess, but I want to give my stories the best life they can get. That includes spending a bit of money on a cover, which I'm quite happy to do, overall.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Making a Living as a Writer: The Sad and Hopeful

Prior to publishing my first erotic short story, I read a lot about what it'd be like. To help the process, naturally, but also to manage my own expectations. For me, the author, publishing my first story was an unknown. It was thrilling. And to the great world beyond, it was a drop of water in an ocean. It took several days before I got my first sale. I had just begun to get used to the disappointed lump in my stomach when 2 people tore that out of me and sent me to the giddy heights of emotion for several hours.

2 sales equals about 4$ of royalties when you sell your books at 2,99$ on Amazon. Still, those inconsequential 4$ still stand out as a better emotional experience to me than checking my sales on a weekly basis now. I'm numbed and tempered by experience, now. I know what to expect. 5 copies sold per month per story is my baseline, an expectation level that was set after reading a post on Dean Wesley Smith's excellent blog.

Now, I do actually sell a little bit more than that on average. With 4 stories published, you can figure out how rich that's making me yourself. The answer won't impress you. The average month, so far, has seen me sell around 25 copies. This equates to around 50$ in royalties. That's great, obviously, but the terrible little room I live in right now costs 360$ a month. Then there's insurance, transport, food, phone bills, and even more things to pay. We all know this.

Out of my 50$/month earnings must also come the 35$ cost of new covers. This is an expense that a lot of authors do without, but after trying my luck with one such cover once, the boost in sales (The major reason I'm still selling as well as I am is that cover, I believe) is worth the cost. Ideally, I'd like to release 2 short stories a month. 70$ for covers. More expense.

I suppose the point I'm trying to make once more is that to live off your writing, you must write a lot. The romantic image of a writer sitting with his/her typewriter in a candlelit room, struggling with the wording of a single sentence for hours doesn't exist. At least, the writer wouldn't be in a room, and she'd most likely have sold his typewriter. She might have candles, though.

Just to pay my rent, I'd have to sell 130 copies a month. Suppose, then, that I live in a very spartan manner, and add another 360$ on top for expenses (A lot of oatmeal and pasta, but go with me). Then 70$ for covers. I arrive at the modest sum of 790$ a month. In other words, the need to sell 390 copies at 2$ royalty every month without fail. Just to break even. Again figuring with the average of 5 sales/month that I've found to be mostly true, you'll need a staggering 78 short stories published just to be able to live very modestly (10.000$/year).

Now, by the time you have 78 stories out there (2 years if you're fairly diligent), hopefully you'll have enough of a name and following that you'll move beyond the 5 sales/month figure. You might not, however. You might never. And this is the thing that you have to both know and forget to try to live as an indie writer. The mountain you must climb may seem insurmountable. You must remember to climb, one foot in front of the other, but you cannot spend too much time looking up, or you'll discouraged and abandon the effort. Only those who truly have the drive and will to write will make it.

I'm not sure I do. I'm trying to climb right now, but I remain unsure. There's a joy in seeing another week pass with a few sales, usually around 5-6, but it has become routine nonetheless. There's such a long way to go, still.

Along with everything else you must do as an indie writer, you have to factor this in and learn to moderate your expectations. Expect and prepare for the long climb, because only 1 writer in 100.000 or 1.000.000 is lucky enough to be carried to the top (Immediate bestseller). You, you'll have to slog through the mud alongside the rest of us. You'll have to put in the hard work. You'll have to be the one coming home from a hard day at work, only to sit down and write for 2 hours. You have to want it enough to do that. Do you?

Part 2

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Solon's Maiden Published

Description: A year ago, Kathryn's friend disappeared in the night. No one knew how, or why. Even so, life is safe and boring for Kathryn, apprenticed to her village's seamstress. She hopes she'll be swept off her feet by a rich and handsome man, hopes that her life will explode into excitement, riches and happiness.

Exactly a year after her friend disappeared, Kathryn's dream is fulfilled in a way she had never thought possible. New purpose is forced upon her by Tamara, and in the shaping hands of this sculpted huntress, Kathryn becomes more than she had ever hoped to be.

Solon's Maiden is an erotica short story that details the meeting of two people of different races with entirely different ideas about how their lives should be. One is abducted by the other, and things quickly take a turn towards the carnal.

This story contains 14000+ words of scorching, interracial fantasy erotica, featuring an extremely well-endowed amazonian futanari (A woman, except with cock and balls) elf and her reluctant, initially hesitant partner.

Author Notes: This is a story that I finished months ago, before my break from writing. I couldn't stomach even spending the time it required to fix this up to publish at the time, but things have changed. As with A Different Prince Charming, the cover was bought from and is much better than anything I could've mixed up myself. I don't mind spending the small amount of money it takes to get these covers when the result is so much better. You need only go a few releases back to see my own, atrocious, work.

Overall, I'm both satisfied and nervous about publishing this story. I'm satisfied because I think it's fairly well-written, and I'm nervous because it involves kinks that the general public may not have heard or conceived of. We'll see how that works out. In any case, I hope the story is enjoyed by those who read it.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Conformity and Questions

When I look at the romance and erotica markets, I see a whole lot of things that I'm not. Maybe I just see things that I desperately and delusionally hope I'm not. I don't know. On one hand, I hate the endless reproduction of what works. On the other, I totally get it. I want to live off writing one day, and there are people doing so right now. They're making a living off writing. Living their dream. The fact that a lot of what they write is in many aspects not just a retread but a conceptual copy of what is and has been popular in the romance and erotica genres should not, in the end, matter. What matters is making a living off what you do.

Yet here I sit, wondering constantly if it'll ever work out for me. For once, this is brought on not by fears about a lack of commitment or the like, but rather, the fact that I can't write something I'm not engaged in. I have difficulty believing that other writers can truly be engaged in this billionaire story, or that monster sex story, or that other totally-not-incest story (Which really is incest, but Amazon... I won't get into it), but they probably are.

To anyone who has read my work over time, it should not be news that what I write is a lot of the same. Futanari, and generally a big, muscled, powerful one. The brutal onlooker might remark that I have written the same character for several years, even. And yet, I continue to do so. I continue to be engaged. And this is why, intellectually, I understand that my reservations about more billionaire or monster stories make no sense. But emotionally, I feel like the people writing this stuff are simply catering to lazy readers, rather than writing what they want. I understand that that isn't necessarily the case, and I understand that I am effectively doing the same thing, but it presents an ominous future vision.

Will I have to write monster sex and billionaire BDSM if I want to "make it"? Both markets are vastly more popular than my primary interest. Do I even want to make it if that's what's required?

The answer to the first question is uncertain, and so is the answer to the second. I definitely want to be a writer, and intellectually I want to be a writer more than I want to maintain these emotionally-based principles. But you can't write fiction without emotion. And emotionally, I tire out very quickly if I force myself to write what I'm not comfortable with.

The reality is that I may not even be comfortable writing what I already do. It's simply an easy path to continue along. When I first started writing, I got good responses. I can't help but wonder if the erotica genre has become or will become some sort of crutch for me, a safe haven, because I lack the confidence in myself and my writing to try something that doesn't have the crowd-pleaser that sex is. Something where I don't have a good record. I know, at least, that I'm not comfortable enough about what I write to tell anyone in real life.

That, of course, brings on another question. Am I having these doubts about writing erotica because I feel a need for acceptance, and believe that writing "regular" genres would more easily give me this acceptance? I don't know. In fact, the more I question this, the less, I realize, I know. No one ever prepared me for this when I was little. Being an adult was supposed to be easy and awesome. No bedtimes! Candy every day!


Thursday, February 6, 2014

Cliche "I've been gone for a while" Type Post

Yep, it's one of those.

I dropped off the radar. For a long time. I'm sorry. Happily, my ebook sales don't care if I'm here or not, and I've just tallied my total amazon sales up to a whopping 188 copies. Woo. I've almost sold as much in 8 months as some authors sell in an hour!

Really, though, it's great. My stuff has just kept in the background earning, little by little, enough money to help me pay for new covers for future stories. I'm embroiled in an end of studies/job-hunt sort of deal right now, so things are hectiv, but I will write more. I don't want to work in an office the rest of my life. I want to write smut the rest of my life.

For that to happen, though, I need to work far more at it, and be far more consistent. Obviously. In any case, here I am. With a little (un)luck, I may start rambling about writing again very soon.