Thursday, February 12, 2015

A Good Challenge

At the moment, I have self-published eight short stories, three novels (a trilogy), and one compendium of the trilogy. They are all erotic / erotic romance.

The Unconventional Affairs Trilogy – three stories revolving around the exploits of friends that all work for a company based in Charleston, SC. Two of them are heavily influenced by the convention scene in Las Vega. The third is based around Charleston and Key West. I’ve invested a lot of energy on them being dialog rich and conversational, and I’ve been told that I’ve done a good job with that. I try to stay away from overly puffy language. The erotic content is conventional m/f with a whiff of BDSM. The women are all beautiful, the men are all virile, everyone is uninhibited, and the sex is always awesome. They’re fairy tales.

The short stories are a mixed bag of different themes.

Two of them are based on the trilogy. One is a perspective flip where I’ve rewritten a chapter from the second book from the perspective of two supporting characters. Think Rosencrantz and Gilderstern are Dead with sex. The other is a sequel (I guess that’s what it would be called) that exposes what happened at something alluded to in the second novel. The rest are of various themes including the Jay Gaudette’s Friends and Lovers series, where I am a character. “Jay Gaudette” is a penname so I can use him a lot of different ways. Two of the more recent stories are, I think, unique in that I experiment with various physical formats as a way to drive the story. Live from Saltwater Sally’s is a transcript of a TV show of a sex competition. Becky’s Love-Place uses evolving punctuation, grammar, and sentence structure to emphasize the main character’s personal maturation, as well as driving reading pace.

Marketing – Ah, marketing and promotion. A little background is important here – I am not the dashing bon vivant shown on my avatar. (Though my wife says I’m a hottie.) I’m a retired businessman living in Denver. We were both published authors of business related material in the past. (Me-sales, training, service strategies. Her-technical, having to do with computer systems.) Nine months out of the year we are very active cruising boaters. We have been and continue to go to just about everywhere from the East Coast, to the Great Lakes, the western rivers, Gulf of Mexico, and everyplace in between. (Summer 2015—Bahamas and Florida Keys) I am a popular writer about the boating lifestyle and have two self-published books on the subject, as well as I maintain a popular blog, and I have had several articles and excerpts published. (Get this—I actually make money at this!) The market is small and easily definable. I publish something and the same people buy it. Easy.
Back to marketing of JG—I have a life. I don’t like the idea of crushing my brain sitting at my computer all damn day long, anxiously waiting for the latest pip of a possibility that someone might actually be interested in reading my works. However, I’m not a statue either. There are things that I can be doing.

This is what my current marketing plan is:
  •  Post something to the Erotic Readers and Authors Group on Facebook no less frequently than every other day. My posts are either direct links to Amazon, usually with some attention getting funny thing, a graphic of a quote from one of the projects, or one of my absurd third party endorsements. And everything I post to FB is automatically posted to Twitter. (The reason I chose Erotic Readers and Authors group to post to was arbitrary. I’m enrolled in something like eight different groups, and all of the posts all seem to be from the same dozen people. I figured what the hell.)
  •  I’m running a giveaway on Feb 16-18 called the D R R – Download, Read, Review. Who the heck knows if it will do anything. Probably not.
  • Keep publishing. And thus, I’m concentrating on short stories. The novels were great, but they take too long. I currently have two short stories in the works. One is coming along nicely. The other was perking along nicely as well, and then I hit a plot roadblock. (Still trying to figure it out.)
  • Pinterest – I pin all of my content to Pinterest for no other reason than I think it’s an interesting and fun platform.

“So, like, why haven’t you submitted your work to a publisher?” you may ask. Good question. I don’t know why I haven’t. I think it may have something to do with me not trusting them, the publishers. But I don’t have any kind of evidence to support that. Another reason is that, well, most of the stuff out there is pretty bad. I’m not an expert writer by any stretch of the imagination. However, I’m a reader as well as a writer and I have spent my own hard-earned money of some of the content in this genre. Most of it is shitty. I don’t know. Maybe I should start submitting my stuff to publishers. It’s still an open issue.

There’s another aspect to E/ER that nobody likes to acknowledge. It’s an extreme fringe genre. It may be even more so than boating. And the marketplace is flooded by people just like me, with their titillating tales about zombie, magical, billionaire men conquering some defenseless, daft, stupid maiden with ample busts and flushed skin. It’s capitalism 101—supply and demand. There are not enough readers and too many writers.

I not superstitious. I don't believe in luck. However, I do believe that reality sometimes aligns itself serendipitously in ways that can either serve someone's situation positively or negatively. So, with writing, sometimes it's a matter of happenstance that someone buys one of my books. I accept that. I dont' take it personally. Shit happens. 

I have settled into the mindset that I think is a defensive reaction that many of us in this genre (and other genres as well) have to take. I like writing this stuff. I like how my imagination flows and meanders through all of the characters and scenes. (Btw, my wife supports me in this. She insists on being the first reader of them, and she even helps me. I mean, I do need a woman’s perspective.) 
   
By the way, back to the FB groups? Several of them say they have 10,000+ members. I don’t believe for a second.

On last thing; rules. I’m a pretty smart cookie, and one thing I’ve learned in life is that when there are more conflicting rules than people that they might apply to, don’t believe them. And fiction writing has more conflicting rules than anything else I have ever come across. Grammar aside, the writing rules that are being expounded upon are opinions. Nothing more. "Even a rose is a weed when it's growing in a tulip patch." - me

I write because I enjoy it, and I consider it a personal challenge when one person buys one of my books and enjoys it. And I love a good challenge.

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