Thursday, November 13, 2014

Confessions Of A Literary Streetwalker: Knowing Me Knowing You

Check it out: a brand new essay I did on smut-writing just went up on the great Erotica Readers and Writers site:

Confessions Of A Literary Streetwalker:
Knowing Me Knowing You

On the surface it sounds like a ... well, no duh. But it's really quite remarkable how many writers – especially erotica writers – put huge amounts of work into their craft, yet neglect an essential part of the process of actually getting people to read their work.

They slave over characters, plot, setting, language; they set up sites, join Facebook and Twitter and Good Reads; they network and network and network; and, in the end, they may be very well known ... but only by other erotica writers.

Believe me, my own glass house has plenty of smashed windows: I'm far from immune to intimidation that can come from reaching outside your authorly comfort zone.

A certain level of anxiety is expected, after all: as I've said more than a few times, writing is a very tough life ... and far too often the only people we can get to understand and appreciate what we do are other writers. Yes, they understand and, if they are good people, they will be supportive but the cold hard fact is that writers just don't buy other writers' books ... or at least not often.

Sitting on the other side of the fence – as an editor and Publisher for Renaissance E Books/Sizzler Editions – I see the side effects of authors not willing or able to understand their audience: poor sales. As said, they pour massive amounts of time and effort into their books but when they put their work out there it's like they haven't spend a single minute trying to think about who the book was written for ... who the audience is.

Sure, it's uncomfortable – as I've also said, writing is a very solitary thing so it goes very much against the grain for us all to have to deal with publicity – but it really is vital to spend some quality time thinking about who your readers actually are.

And it's not exactly rocket science – though there are a few tricks, as you might expect. The main one, of course, is when you reach out to sell your work keep in mind that's what you are doing: selling ... and no one likes to be sold to. There is a fine line between letting people know about your kick-ass erotica book and becoming a spammer. That is why simply throwing ads about your stuff out into your audience pool is never a good idea.

Instead, try to meet your readers halfway. Example: you've written the greatest gay Western romance ever. Congratulations! So where should you focus your social media and such? Not to be rude but ... come on! The answer is right there: Gay. Western. Romance.

Join or reach out to queer sites -- especially gay western or romance ones. Reach out to romance sites – especially western or gay ones. Reach out to western sites – especially gay and romance ones. Not just book sites (and I can't emphasize that enough) but sites for folks who like what you have written. Send them announcements but also share other things as well.


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