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'09 Authors Insider Tips

Everything About Epublishing
by Angela James
Digital Publishing & Print
Common Myths of Epublishing
Ebook Formats and Devices


FictionCraft
by Louisa Burton
Compelling Characters
Point of View, Part I
Point of View, Part II
Learning to Love Conflict
Story Structure
Keep ‘em Guessing
Keep it Simple
Keep Your Writing Real
The Importance of Pacing


Literary Streetwalker
by M. Christian
New World of Publishing
To Blog Or Not To Blog
Meeting & Making Friends
Thinking Beyond Sex
Selling Books
Walking the Line
e-book, e-publisher, e-fun
Still More E-book Fun


Shameless Self-Promotion
by Donna George Storey
Our Journey Begins
Pitches and Bios
Websites, Blogs & Readers
Publicists, Press Kits and...
Viva the Internet
Adventures in Cyberspace
Promoting In the Flesh
Make Your Own Movie
Bigger is Better
Looking Back, Planning Ahead


Two Girls Kissing
by Amie M. Evans
Questions to Ask Yourself...
Tough All Over


The Write Stuff
by Ashley Lister
Ideas
Practice Makes Prefect
5 Books for Fiction Authors
Poetry In Motions
Six Serving Men
Ashley Lister is Anal
Stealing Ideas
Celebrating Poetry


2009 Smutters Lounge

Ashley Lister Submits
by Ashley Lister
Myths
Graduation


Cooking Up A Storey
by Donna George Storey
A Year of Living Shamelessly
Adultery, Exhibitionism ...
John Updike Made Me Do It ...
Story Soup: Forbidden ...
Lessons from Amazon
Naked Lunches ...
Erotic Alchemy
Secrets of Seduction
Are You a “Real” Writer?
Don’t Fondle My Sentence


Cracking Foxy
with Robert Buckley
The Passionate Taphophile
Havens on Earth
A Knight Without Armor
Jail-Baiting
Magic Carpet Rides
Getting Hammered
Keep It Quiet
Hang Around for a Spell


Get All Worked Up
with J.T. Benjamin
Worked Up About Why
Worked Up About Why, Part II
All Worked Up About Porn
The Catholic Church
Purity Movement
The National Crisis
The Future
About Homosexuality
Public Indiscretions


Pondering Porn
with Ann Regentin
Premature Ejaculation
Auctioning Off What?


Sex Is All Metaphors
by Jean Roberta
Who's Who Around the Table
Retro-Shame
Ritual Sex
Mixed Legacy
The Spectrum of Consent
Drawing the Line
Marriage without the Hype
The Distracting Smirk
Innocent Guns
Gardens of Earthly Delights


Provocative Interviews

Between the Lines
with Ashley Lister
Anneke Jacob
D L King
Kristina Lloyd
Lisabet Sarai
Mitzi Szereto
Portia Da Costa
Shanna Germain
Sommer Marsden
Susan DiPlacido


Guest Appearances

Marketing a Self-Published Novel
by Jeanne Ainslie

Shameless Self-Promotion

by Donna George Storey

Adventures in Cyberspace: Finding Balance, Branching Out

 

Shameless Self-Promotion

We live in a culture that keeps telling us we can have it all, especially if we buy whatever product that particular sweet siren of capitalism is selling to help us in our mission.  Yes, you can—or at least should—have a fulfilling and demanding career while you also spend copious quality time with your spouse and kids and maintain an enviably exercised physique and stylish home.  If you’re a published writer, this definition of success means, of course, that you should be constantly promoting your published work in every way possible as you simultaneously create the next great novel that will catapult you to national fame.

Well, since Shameless Self-Promotion is all about telling it like it really is, I’ll be the first to admit that I fail miserably at upholding that all-American ideal on all counts.  My house is total mess, for starters, and my wardrobe is a hodge-podge of decades-old dress-up outfits and Lands’ End’s latest “fashions.”  Although a number of people have expressed interest in my next novel, my most enthusiastic supporters are my kids because “when mom is writing a book we get to play more video games.”  And that supposed new book?  Oh, it’s been simmering away on the back burner for quite some time because the sad truth is promoting my current novel has been such a huge stretch for me psychologically, it dominated my “work hours” to the point that I sometimes wonder if I can even call myself a writer anymore.

“How do you find time to promote and write?”  This question turns up regularly in writers’ discussion groups, and no one has really come up with a definitive answer as I far as I’m aware.  Some respondents suggest you set aside a certain amount of time each day or designate one day a week as promotion time and preserve the rest of the time to write.  It’s an excellent idea, but I found that promotion activities always took more time than I thought with all the research and follow up, not to mention the immense psychic energy I expended pretending to be something other than a complete introvert.  Others have recommended that a writer devote herself full-time to promotion in the months immediately before and after the book’s release, because that is when it’s most effective and necessary.  However, I also had some excellent opportunities to get the word out about my book long after that traditional window, and indeed, there is potentially a limitless audience of new readers who might enjoy your work.

Perhaps the best suggestion I can offer is to be aware of your goals and time limitations and realize both can change over time.  When I discovered that my publisher assumed a dirty book would just sell itself to desperate, clammy-handed masturbators, no promotion necessary, I decided I wanted to do everything I could to have my novel [Amorous Woman] taken more seriously.  This required an almost full-time commitment to the business side of writing for over a year, but I wanted to know in my heart that I tried my best, so I was willing to make the sacrifice.  Now my priorities have shifted to my new novel, at least in theory.  Others may prefer to focus on writing and keep the promotional work to a minimum.  Or you may be able to ration the promotion time, even make researching new blogs or markets something you do to relax.  The answer to the promotion vs. writing dilemma will obviously be different for each person, but I can guarantee every writer has to deal with this.  It’s never easy, and you’re not alone!

The question of how much time you want to spend on promoting is actually quite relevant to this month’s second topic:  how to branch out beyond your website and blog to bring attention to your book by means of the Internet.  Here the opportunities truly are limited only by your willingness to commit the time, because the internet is full of chat rooms and newsgroups and friendly salons gathering at charismatic blogs and webzines who need new writers, all of which will gladly consume anything you’re willing to give to the cause of fresh, new copy.  Again this will be a balancing act, because most of the time it is hard to tell if your time investment results in sales of your book.  I’ve tried most of the activities I discuss below at least once, but to do all of them with proper enthusiasm would be impossible.  Most promoters end up focusing on the activities they enjoy most, which is a great idea.  Your passion and enjoyment will always come through to potential readers. 

I already talked a bit about the uses of Facebook, MySpace and other social networking sites in an earlier column ("Dreams and Realities: Our Journey Begins"), but here I wanted to mention just a few that cater specifically to writers.  This is not an exhaustive list, but all offer you another presence on the web.  Chronicle Books is the sponsor of Red Room, a site for authors that includes prominent as well as lesser-known authors—like me.  On your page you can list publications, reviews and upcoming events, although I still can’t quite figure out how to identify myself as an erotica author, so there are some glitches.   Be warned that you have to make an official application to be a member and need at least one book or several published short stories to your name.  I’ve heard that self-published authors are denied membership, so if you have a mixed background, downplay that part of your resume.

Book Tour is especially useful for consolidating and announcing your author events, and subscribers to their mailing list receive updates of readings in their area monthly.  Goodreads is a fairly popular site where members keep a log of book reviews, sort of a friendlier version of Amazon (I’m going to be devoting an entire future column to Amazon.com, so more on that hegemonic institution later).  I also wanted to mention a new site for women writers called She Writes.  If you sign up, be sure to join Rachel Kramer Bussel’s erotica writers group.  Romance Divas is a great author resource site for erotic romance writers.  However, since all of these sites are doubtless visited mostly by other writers, the benefit may come more from contacts and promotional information than recruiting new readers.

E-mail List Discussions and Yahoo Groups are other good ways to expand your presence in cyberspace.  However, remember that writing focused sites such as ERWA Writers or the Erotic Author’s Association’s EAA Talk will put you in touch with members of the erotica-writing community, rather than starry-eyed new readers.  My suggestion is to announce your new book there, but also try to reach out to other groups, which focus on a related theme in your novel—in my case, for example, groups interested in Japanese culture.  Also, it’s considered bad form to join a group just to promote your book.  Ideally, you’ll be a part of the community and your friendly participation will get people interested in reading your book because they like you.  This also takes time, of course, and may not be your favorite way to invest limited resources.

Another way to meet new readers is as featured author in a chat rooms.  This involves sitting at your computer for an hour or two and fielding questions from the members of a chat group about your book and your writing.  Sometimes the conversation also turns to your last vacation or your favorite ice cream flavor, so in that case it’s rather like a cyberspace book party.  My only personal experience with this involved being part of a list spotlight at Jeanie and Jayha’s, which is slightly different than a chat because it’s done through email and you have more time to reply.  Still I was nervous, but ended up enjoying myself a great deal thanks to my hosts’ thoughtful questions.  Plus my Amazon numbers moved after the event, which might be coincidence, but let’s say it’s not.  While I’m practically a virgin at chat appearances, veteran promotion expert and best-selling sci-fi and erotic romance author Brenna Lyons, has a lot of advice on how to do author chats.  She recommends researching the chat rooms first to determine if the style and focus are right for you.  She also suggests that first-time authors consider teaming up with another writer, preferably at the same general level of experience, to minimize the stress of your first appearances.  Read more of Brenna’s invaluable advice about chats and other promotional tips in her interview at the ERWA blog.

A popular, if time-consuming way, to get your name out to an interested audience is to write articles, essays or columns on a topic related to your book, even if it’s just about the experience of publishing a book.  With all the webzines out there, the demand for new and exciting content is insatiable.  A stint at a place like the Huffington Post is of course the shiniest brass ring, but more modest publications will also give you a byline and a bio to mention your book.  You can offer your services as a regular book reviewer, propose a series on a topic you’re passionate about, or just write an essay about an interesting experience you had involving intimate waxing.  In fact, I never would have had the courage to propose my columns here at ERWA on sex, food and writing ["Cooking up a Storey"] and shameless self-promotion if I hadn’t already stretched my comfort zone with my book promotion activities.  And I have to say, I’m very glad I’m here.

Another method that authors use to broadcast their names and brands to a wider audience is as an “Examiner” for the nationwide web news organization, Examiner.com.  Each area of the US has a team of independent Examiners who write brief articles on their chosen “beat” such as Arts and Entertainment, Relationships, Travel, and so on through the usual list of topics newspapers cover.  Apparently you can make some money from this if you get enough clicks on your article, but most writers do it to establish their name and increase their potential reading audience.  This can also be a useful tool in attracting agents and publishers.  For more information on the Examiner experience, check out my interview with Arizona Examiner and author Sue Thurman at the ERWA blog.

Finally, I wanted to mention one fairly low-key way to make yourself known to a wider audience.  If you are a regular reader at a blog you enjoy, don’t be shy, leave comments.  You might find yourself making friends, at least with the blog host, and it’s not much more time consuming than reading the blog.  Posting thought-provoking comments on articles related to the theme of your book at such places as the Huffington Post definitely has the potential to bring you new readers, although again, it’s bad form to be too shameless about your self-promotion.  Only work your book into the comments if it’s a natural fit.  The bottom line is that if your online persona is appealing and courteous and you have interesting things to say, people will be interested in what you’ve published.

Next month, I’ll move from virtual reality back into “real” reality with a discussion of in the flesh readings, book parties and book fairs.  So, help yourself to another cup of coffee and a pecan bar, and remember that if you have any questions or suggestions on others ways to promote your book through the Internet, don’t hesitate to email me or drop by my blog.

Shameless Self-Promotion Points for August

ONE:  Book promotion can be a life-consuming task, so it’s not a bad idea to take a step back at regular intervals to decide which balance between getting the word out about your published book and creating new work serves you best at the time.  An advantage of self-promotion is that you can be flexible.  Sometimes an opportunity for promotion will come up a year after your book is released.  But remember that you are an artist and your fans are waiting for more!

TWO: Think like a tree and branch out in one or two new ways on the Internet, depending on what suits your interests and desired time commitment.  Develop and pitch a column idea, get yourself signed up as featured author at a chat room, or start being a more visible presence on a blog you follow.  You’ll be “introducing” yourself to a wider circle of potential readers, and that’s what promotion is all about.

Donna George Storey
August 2009


If you have comments, questions, or stories to share about shameless self-promotion, please drop by Donna's blog or send an email to: donna@donnageorgestorey.com

Read more of Donna George Storey's Shameless Self-Promotion in ERWA 2009 Archive.

______
"Shameless Self-Promotion" © 2009 Donna George Storey. All rights reserved. Content may not be copied or used in whole or part without written.

About the Author:  Donna George Storey taught English in Japan and Japanese in the United States and has finally found the work of her dreams writing erotica. If you're really nice, she'll bake you a batch of her Venetian cookies, with layers of marzipan, jam and chocolate, that take a ridiculous amount of time to make and are (almost) better than sex. Her work has been published in dozens of journals and anthologies including Clean Sheets, Fishnet, Best American Erotica, Best Women's Erotica and Mammoth Book of Best New Erotica.
Her first novel, Amorous Woman-a semi-autobiographical tale of an American woman's love affair with Japan, Japanese food and lots of sexy men and women along the way-was published by Neon/Orion. It's currently available at Amazon and Amazon UK, and from her web site, DonnaGeorgeStorey.com.
For more of her musings on sensual pleasure and creativity stop by her blog:  Sex, Food and Writing. You can also take a quick trip to Japan with Donna's provocative Amorous Woman book trailer at: www.youtube.com



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'09 Movie Reviews

Blame It On Savanna
Review by Byrdman

Cry Wolf
Review by Spooky

Faithless
Review by Spooky

Heaven or Hell
Review by Oranje

House of Wicked
Review by Diesel

The Office: An XXX Parody
Review by Spooky

This Ain't The Partridge Family
Review by Spooky


'09 Book Reviews

Anthologies

A Slip of the Lip (ebook)
Review by Jean Roberta

Best Women's Erotica '09
Review by Lisabet Sarai

Bottoms Up
Review by Ashley Lister

Enchanted Again
Review by Victoria Blisse

Frenzy
Review by Kathleen Bradean

Girls on Top
Review by Ashley Lister

In Sleeping Beauty’s Bed
Review by Ashley Lister

Libidacoria (Poetry)
Review by Ashley Lister

Licks & Promises
Review by Ashley Lister

Like a Thorn (ebook)
Review by Lisabet Sarai

The Mile High Club
Review by Ashley Lister

Nexus Confessions: Vol 5
Review by Victoria Blisse

Nexus Confessions 6
Review by Victoria Blisse

Oysters & Chocolate
Review by Kristina Wright

Playing with Fire
Review by Ashley Lister

Sexy Little Numbers Vol 1
Review by Ashley Lister

Up for Grabs
Review by Lisabet Sarai

Novels

A 21st Century Courtesan
Review by Donna G. Storey

The Ages of Lulu
Review by Lisabet Sarai

Amanda’s Young Men
Review by Kristina Wright

As She's Told
Review by Ashley Lister

Bedding Down
Review by Victoria Blisse

Broken
Review by Ashley Lister

Brushes & Painted Dolls
Review by Lisabet Sarai

Cassandras Chateau
Review by Ashley Lister

The Edge of Impropriety
Review by Kristina Wright

Exposure
Review by Kathleen Bradean

Free Pass
Review by Ashley Lister

The Gift of Shame
Review by Victoria Blisse

Kiss It Better
Review by Ashley Lister

The Melinoe Project
Review by Lisabet Sarai

Mortal Engines & The ...
Review by Ashley Lister

The New Rakes
Review by Ashley Lister

Ninety Days of Genevieve
Review by Victoria Blisse

Obsession: An Erotic Tale
Review by Kristina Wright

Sarah's Education
Review by Ashley Lister

Seduce Me
Review by Lisabet Sarai

Lesbian Erotica

Lesbian Cowboys
Review by Kathleen Bradean

Night's Kiss
Review by Jean Roberta

Where the Girls Are
Review by Jean Roberta

Gay Erotica

Animal Attraction 2
Review by Kathleen Bradean

Boys in Heat
Review by Vincent Diamond

Faewolf
Review by Lisabet Sarai

The Low Road
Review by Jean Roberta

Personal Demons
Review by Jean Roberta

Ready to Serve
Review by Vincent Diamond

The Secret Tunnel
Review by Kathleen Bradean

Shuck
Review by Kathleen Bradean

Transgressions
Review by Vincent Diamond

Non-Fiction

Best Sex Writing '09
Review by Kristina Wright

The Big Penis Book
Review by Rob Hardy

Erotic Encounters
Review by Rob Hardy

The Forbidden Apple
Review by Rob Hardy

Hollywood’s Censor
Review by Rob Hardy

Lady in Red
Review by Rob Hardy

Licentious Gotham: Erotic...
Review by Rob Hardy

Live Nude Elf
Review by Rob Hardy

Live Nude Girl
Review by Rob Hardy

The Other Side of Desire
Review by Rob Hardy

Scripts 4 Play
Review by Ashley Lister