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'08 Authors Insider Tips

Everything About Epublishing
by Angela James
Epublishing: A Different Way
Choosing an Epublisher
Your Milage May Vary
Understand Your Contract!
Reasonable Expectations

by Louisa Burton
The Publishing Biz
Critiquing: To Give and ...
Commerical vs. Literary...
Antiformalism for Fun &...
So You Want to Write a Novel
The Story Idea
Planning Your Novel...

The Write Stuff
by Ashley Lister
5 Steps to Success
Opening Passages
Let's Get Critical
Writer's Block
Learning Lessons

Two Girls Kissing
by Amie M. Evans
Be a Finisher ...
Listen to Your Characters
Conferences: Act Now ...
Starting an Erotic Story
Exercises & Writing Prompts
Revising & Rewriting
Copy Editing
The Manuscript Critique
How to Submit Your Work
Reading as Craft

Guest Appearances

Adventures in e-Publishing
by Lisabet Sarai

For the Love of Man
by Laura Baumbach

How to...Influence Editors
by Alison Tyler

Marketing your e-Book
by Brenna Lyons

2008 Smutters Lounge

Ashley Lister Submits
by Ashley Lister
Role Play
Busy Doing Nothing
Picture of a Fish & Chip...
What I Did With My Summer

Cooking Up A Storey
by Donna George Storey
Naughty Cookies...
Tie Me Up, Please …
The Smut-Writer’s Holiday
Never Trust the Narrator ...
Compare and Contrast
Following the Pen
Naked at the Farmers Market
Iím Easy, But Iím No Slut
Good Girl Gone Bad
Pleasures of the Dark Side
Slow, Spare and Sexy

Get All Worked Up
with J.T. Benjamin
Raising Daughters
Jamie Lynn
The Good Old Days
Election '08
Traditional Marriage
Campaign 2008
Free Will

Pondering Porn
with Ann Regentin
Masturbating on SSRIs
Sex and Disability
Besides Ourselves
Adjusting our Contrast

Sex Is All Metaphors
by Jean Roberta
Sex Is All Metaphors
Turn-ons and Squicks
Sexual Truth
Fickle Muse
Porn, Erotica & Romance

Provocative Interviews

Between the Lines
with Ashley Lister
Alison Tyler
Ashley Lister
Debra Hyde
Donna George Storey
Jeremy Edwards
Kristina Wright
Rachel Kramer Bussel

Erotic Hot Spots
by William S. Dean
Interview with Tilly Greene
Interview with Devyn Quinn

Getting Graphic
with William S. Dean
New Times for Readers...
The Future in Words ...
Interview with Fantagraphics

On Writing Erotica

The Accidental Pornographer
by Lisabet Sarai

The End of Innocence
by Lisabet Sarai

Get Them Off in High Style
Helena Settimana

So, You Want To Write Erotica?
by Hanne Blank

Web Gems
Hot Movies For Her

Through the Looking Glass:
Lisabet's Adventures in Romance e-Publishing
by Lisabet Sarai

Lisabet SaraiEver since I was young, I've loved the sound of the phrase "in print". I had a few poems and stories published in high school, a heady experience that left me lusting for more. When the author's copies of my first novel arrived, and I held one in my hot little hands, I came close to weeping tears of joy. There is nothing that compares to seeing your words on a printed page, or your name on the cover and the spine of a real, live, honest-to-goodness book.

By early 2007, though, my future in erotica print publishing was looking rather grim. I had produced three novels, two anthologies and one collection of short stories, but now my publisher was folding its erotica imprint and most of my books were unavailable except as Amazon "used" copies. Pretty soon, I learned that the whole company had been sold. On a trip through New York, I met with the new editor, only to be told that their current interest was in hip hop novels and celebrity exposés. Then the company was sold again, swallowed up in yet another conglomerate.

Meanwhile, the release of my fourth novel, from a well-known publisher in the U.K., was repeatedly delayed and finally cancelled. My attempts to sell the book to other print publishers met with stony silence. The people in New York wouldn't even drop my self-addressed postcards in the mail! I had read that all the mainstream houses were starting erotica or erotic romance imprints, but I couldn't get any of them to pay attention.

In the midst of this demoralizing situation, I received a friendly query from a new e-Publisher, Total-E-Bound, with plans to release its initial titles in August, focusing on erotic romance with a broad range of heat levels. Did I have anything that I wanted to submit for consideration? I had reclaimed the rights to my novels; I sent Ms. Claire Siemaszkiewicz the manuscript for my first novel, and she responded enthusiastically.

Total-E-Bound released an eBook version of Raw Silk in August of 2007. Since then I've written several novellas and short stories specifically for Total-E-Bound, as well as republishing my second novel, Incognito. On the other hand, Ms. Siemaszkiewicz soundly rejected my third novel, and passed on the fourth without reading it when I told her that it was written in first person present tense.

Not long after my first release with Total-E-Bound, I submitted a story to another e-Publisher, Eternal Press, in response to a plea for support from a colleague on one of the lists to which I subscribe. This led to Eternal Press accepting a collection of short stories and also the e-Rights to the third novel (the one rejected by Total-E-Bound), which will be released later this year.

At this point, I've been in the e-Publishing world for about nine months, and I have half a dozen titles available. I almost wrote "in print", but of course, strictly speaking, they're not. (Total-E-Bound is moving into Print-On-Demand, but their primary focus will remain on eBooks.) My transition to e-Publishing has not been without its difficulties, some practical but many psychological. On the other hand, I've seen many advantages in working with Total-E-Bound and Eternal Press.

Perhaps the biggest plus in e-Publishing is enhanced communication. Producers of eBooks are completely at home in the digital world, so email is the communication medium of choice. This generally translates to quick response time to queries and rapid turnaround of submissions, contracts, and edits. No more waiting for months for the editor in Manhattan to get to your manuscript on the slush pile!

The electronic focus in the e-Publishing world also seems to improve marketing. Both the companies that I have been working with have monthly newsletters, readers' forums and mail lists, blogs and chats for their authors. Both make an effort to send out all releases for reviews. They go to conventions and even in some cases buy print ads for their books. In contrast, with my print publisher I had to do all the publicity work myself, finding reviewers and even mailing review copies in some cases.

Royalty reporting and payment also tends to be electronic. If nothing else, this facilitates my record keeping for tax purposes. Royalties are paid monthly or quarterly, rather than semi-annually as is the case for print publishers.

In general, e-Publishers do not offer advances. On the other hand, the royalty percentages are much higher than for print titles: typically 35-40% compared to 7-8% for print. At the rate I'm going, it will take a while for me to make as much on my eBooks as I received in a typical advance. Some authors, though, report excellent returns on eBook sales, especially when they have an established readership.

In the past, eBooks had a reputation for poorer quality than print, both in content and in production. My experience does not support this old prejudice. I review both print and e-titles. I see excellent, mediocre and execrable writing in both modalities. The eBooks that I've published have been more closely edited than any of my work in print. Furthermore, when I disagree with an editor, resolving the issue is as simple as an exchange of emails.

In summary, e-Publishing provides a streamlined route from pen to publication. So why isn't everything copacetic?

In the print world, I identified what I wrote as erotica. The market in the e-Publishing world revolves largely around romance. Now, the eBooks being produced by Total-E-Bound, Eternal Press and their worthy competitors have just as much sex as anything produced by Blue Moon, my former publisher. However, they also tend to focus on a "relationship" (which very well may be gay, lesbian, or polyamorous—we're not talking straight and narrow here). The audience for erotic romance is overwhelmingly female. These readers want sex, but more than sex. They want intense emotion, dramatic conflicts, and ultimately happy resolutions.

Okay, I can do that. Raw Silk was written as erotica, but includes the fundamental elements of romance. The main character eventually (after many sexual adventures) chooses to stay with the Master who has initiated her into dominance and submission. There are even hints that they will marry.

Nevertheless, the market expectations serve as constraints. Sometimes I want to write darker, more ambiguous fiction where the outcomes can't be predicted. I want to break stereotypes, not fulfill them. Romance has come a long way—it is more explicit, more creative and more varied than ever before. But there are certain things that I can't do, can't write, if I want to be published in the genre of erotic romance. And even my work that is accepted may not suit some members of my potential audience. For one thing, much of what I write has elements of D/s. Many romance readers still have misconceptions about BDSM and find that it makes them uncomfortable.

The romance market is huge. There are tens of millions of readers out there looking for a sizzling erotic romance. This is good, of course. Unfortunately, the number of authors producing e-Book romances is equally enormous. All of them are promoting themselves and their books, all the time—through mail lists, groups, chats, forums, and blogs, using contests, video trailers, podcasts, etc. It's nearly impossible to get yourself noticed.

Since I began e-Publishing, I spend at least as much time on promotion as I do on writing. I have been more or less forced to set up a MySpace page, to blog, to subscribe to at least some of the literally hundreds of romance reader groups. I've established my own Yahoo group and created a monthly newsletter, complete with the requisite contest. And every day I suffer from the knowledge that this is not nearly enough. My New Year's resolution was that I'd stop giving myself grief for not doing enough marketing. That helps some, but I still find myself dreaming that I am blogging and can't figure out how to get my entry to post!

Finally, I can't shake off the nagging feeling that a book you read on the screen is in some sense not a real book. I'm a dinosaur, I know, despite the fact that I can hand-code HTML and create a cool-looking Java user interface. When I step into a bricks-and-mortar book store and breath in the scent of ink and paper, I'm still a bit awestruck. I run my fingers over the covers of work by Salman Rushdie and Margaret Atwood, sample the prose of Norman Mailer or Anais Nin, and imagine seeing my own work piled on the same table with these luminaries.

I know that I'm being silly, and that I should be pleased with the success that I've had so far in the e-Publishing world. Nevertheless, I still dream of gazing through the mirror into the looking glass world and reading "Lisabet Sarai" on the spines of the classy, leather-bound volumes shelved on the back wall.

Lisabet Sarai
May/June 2008

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© 2008 Lisabet Sarai. All rights reserved. Content may not be copied or used in whole or part without written permission from the author.

About the Author: Lisabet Sarai has been writing ever since she learned how to hold a pencil. She is the author of three erotic novels, Raw Silk, Incognito, and Ruby's Rules; co-editor, with S.F. Mayfair, of the anthology Sacred Exchange† (Blue Moon); and editor of Cream, the Best of the Erotica Readers & Writers Association.

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'08 Movie Reviews

Almost Perfect
Review by Oranje

The Fold
Review by Ashley Lister

Review by Spooky

Review by Spooky

'08 Book Reviews


Best Bisexual Women's Erotica
Review by Ashley Lister

Best Fantastic Erotica
Review by Ashley Lister

Best Women's Erotica '08
Review by Ashley Lister

Bound Brits (ebook)
Review by Ashley Lister

Deep Inside: Extreme ...
Review by Cervo

Dirty Girls
Review by Rose B. Thorny

Hide and Seek
Review by Ashley Lister

Hurts So Good
Review by Ashley Lister

J is for Jealousy
Review by Ashley Lister

K is for Kink
Review by Ashley Lister

Lust Bites
Review by Ashley Lister

Open for Business
Review by Rose B. Thorny

Review by Lisabet Sarai

Rubber Sex
Review by Ashley Lister

Rubber Sex
Review by Victoria Blisse

Seriously Sexy
Review by Ashley Lister

Sex & Candy
Review by Ashley Lister

The Shadow of a... (poetry)
Review by Lisabet Sarai

Review by Victoria Blisse

Tasting Her
Review by Kathleen Bradean

Tasting Him
Review by Ashley Lister

Tasting Him
Review by Kathleen Bradean

White Flames
Review by Lisabet Sarai

Yes, Ma'am: Male Submission
Review by Angelika Devlyn

Yes, Sir: Female Submission
Review by Angelika Devlyn


The Art of Melinoe
Review by Ashley Lister

Demon by Day
Review by Lisabet Sarai

Gemini Heat
Review by Ashley Lister

Gothic Heat
Review by Ashley Lister

The Hidden Grotto Series
Review by Lisabet Sarai

The House of Blood
Review by Lisabet Sarai

In Too Deep
Review by Ashley Lister

In Too Deep
Review by Victoria Blisse

Review by Donna George Storey

Review by Victoria Blisse

One Breath at a Time
Review by Angelika Devlyn

Out of the Shadows (ebook)
Review by Lisabet Sarai

Review by Ashley Lister

Review by Rose B. Thorny

Seduce Me
Review by Ashley Lister

Seduced by the Storm
Review by Lisabet Sarai

Serve the People!
Review by Donna G. Storey

Signed, Sealed and Delivered
Review by Lisabet Sarai

Sunfire (eBook)
Review by Lisabet Sarai

Templar Prize
Review by Angelika Devlyn

The Wicked Sex
Review by Ashley Lister

Wild Kingdom
Review by Angelika Devlyn

Gay Erotica

Review by Vincent Diamond

Best Gay Romance '08
Review by Vincent Diamond

Hard Hats
Review by Vincent Diamond

Review by Kathleen Bradean

Lesbian Erotica

Best Lesbian Erotica '08
Review by Donna George Storey

Best Lesbian Erotica '08
Review by Ashley Lister

The Night Watch
Review by Lisabet Sarai


America Unzipped
Review by Rob Hardy

Best Sex Writing '08
Review by Rob Hardy

Bonk: The Curious Coupling
Review by Rob Hardy

The Book of Love
Review by Rob Hardy

Casanova: Actor Lover ...
Review by Rob Hardy

Dishonorable Passions
Review by Rob Hardy

Flagrante Delicto (photos)
Review by Jack Gilbert

The Flesh Press
Review by Rob Hardy

Geisha, Harlot, Strangler, Star
Review by Donna G. Storey

The Humble Little Condom
Review by Rob Hardy

Instant Orgasm (sex guide)
Review by Ashley Lister

Man O Man! Writing M/M...
Review by Vincent Diamond

The Not So Invisible Woman
Review by Ashley Lister

Swingers: Female...
Review by Lisabet Sarai

Who's Been Sleeping in...
Review by Rob Hardy