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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

Looking Back, Planning Ahead:
Adventures in a Year of Shameless Self-Promotion

 

Shameless Self-Promotion

It’s hard to believe I’m writing my final installment of “Shameless Self-Promotion.”  And what a shameless year it’s been!  Back in February, the title of my first column was “Our Journey Begins,” so it only makes sense that in December I will focus on the journey’s end.  But really, as you may already suspect, this is a trip with no destination.  Self-promotion for a writer can and should continue as long as your work is published and available in some form, even if it’s just to maintain information on your website and your email signature.  Nonetheless, the end of the calendar year seems a natural time to take stock of past experiences and look ahead to a new year and possibly a new project.  So help yourself to some of my winter solstice cookies (the pecan bars are delicious) and a cup of cocoa and we’ll get started. 

Before we wrap up, I’d like to discuss one more aspect of self-promotion that didn’t quite fit into earlier columns:  your ability to reach readers through radio interviews.

As I mentioned in my first column, promoting my book was a huge challenge for an introvert like me, but it also took me to wonderful places I never dreamed I’d go.  At the top of that list are the five radio and blog radio interviews I gave focusing on themes related to my novel, Amorous Woman. Even if you think you aren’t cut out for this kind of public speaking, I recommend you give it a try.  After all, shameless self-promotion is all about surprising yourself with how far you can stretch for your baby novel!

Now exactly how do you go about getting on the radio to talk about your book?  I’ll admit I never imagined I’d have a chance to talk about my erotic novel on the radio—even if chatting with Terry Gross on “Fresh Air” has been my fantasy promotion gig since I wrote my very first never-to-be-published short story.  And indeed erotica writers face as much prejudice in this area as anywhere else.  My first radio interview on Ellen Shehadeh’s “View Point” at KWMR in Point Reyes Station, California was indeed a lucky break.  Ellen had previously interviewed a writer friend of mine who was kind enough to introduce us.  I prepared an email query with the standard pitch, a brief synopsis, a list of topics I’d be able to discuss and an offer to send a press kit and complimentary copy of the book (see a sample query at the ERWA blog

In my cover letter I made sure to emphasize I could discuss a broad variety of “serious” topics:

“In interviews I’ve discussed US-Japan cultural stereotypes such as the myths of the submissive geisha and the samurai salaryman, the historical and literary background of the novel, my definitions of erotica versus porn, the paradoxical prejudice against erotica in a consumer environment saturated with sexual messages, and how an academic and self-acknowledged feminist came to “talk back to porn” with a woman-centered exploration of eroticism as a complex element of human experience.”

Pretty serious, isn’t it?  Of course, for shows that emphasize entertainment, I made sure to make the topics more humorous (see the second sample on the ERWA blog.  Whatever the host’s preferred tone—and it’s a good idea to listen to a sample or two before you query—I think chances of getting on the schedule are higher if you have a wide range of provocative topics to discuss in the spirit of the show. 

Crossing my fingers, I sent off my query to Ellen and hoped for the best.  Fortunately, she was interested in seeing more.  Even more better, after she saw the materials, she decided to sign me up for one of her “View Point” Saturday interviews. 

That could have been the end of it, but Ellen made the interview experience so enjoyable, I decided to explore other possibilities.  My appearances on “The Dr. Susan Block Show,” Gracie Passette’s “Cult of Gracie Show” and Dr. Dick’s “The Erotic Mind” were all facilitated by personal introductions from other generous writers.  By this time I also had a growing list of past credits to show for myself, including links to earlier archived interviews.  Only one interview was a result of a “cold call”—my November 2008 appearance on Denny Smithson’s “Cover to Cover” show on KPFA in Berkeley.  This time my “in” was that I was a local author, and in general this is probably your best chance to get invited to a radio station to be on the air in the old-fashioned way.  I’d recommend researching shows in your area through On The Radio.Net, listening to sample shows on the station that interview authors, then querying the show’s producer preferably by phone.  For blog talk radio, check out shows that interview erotica writers, and send off an email with your pitch materials.  Sometimes it may take a while to get a response, and in many cases I received no response at all, even when I had a personal introduction.  In short, radio interviews are like every other aspect of book promotion—only a small percentage of queries lead to an actual result you can add to your press kit, but every victory is worth the effort. 

By the way, some organizations offer to interview you for a fee.  In general I avoid paying for any promotion when plenty of free opportunities exist, although other writers have reported positive experiences.  As with the paid reviews, many see this situation as a vanity endeavor.  Others place it in the same neutral category as an advertisement.  So use your own judgment whether this feels like a legitimate way to reach readers.  Another organization, Radio-TV Interview Report, offers the service of listing your radio show guest information in their publication that is circulated to thousands of radio show producers.  This is probably more useful for nonfiction writers, but is another possible resource for writers with a bigger expense account.

As difficult as it is to schedule an interview, for all but the most out-going, the really tough part is facing the actual Q&A session on the air.  Some interviewers will give you a list of questions before the show, which is especially reassuring for newbies.  Many, however, prefer to maintain a casual give-and-take atmosphere.  I still prepared for these interviews anyway by reviewing the topics I proposed and giving practice answers out loud in a concise way.  I also asked if the host wanted me to read an excerpt from my novel and how many minutes they preferred so I could prepare this in advance.  Remember that on publicly aired radio stations you are not allowed to use the forbidden words George Carlin listed in his famous routine, so be sure to pick a “cleaner” passage or substitute acceptable words where necessary.  (This is not a problem on blog radio—be as dirty as you like!) 

For those of you who hate public speaking in general, one advantage of this kind of public speaking is that you aren’t standing in front of a crowd of people staring at you with glittering and curious eyes.  The actual physical experience of a radio interview is like chatting with a friendly, articulate person either into a microphone or the telephone.  Every host was very good at making me feel at ease and thus tricking me into forgetting that hundreds of people might be tuning in on our “private” conversation!

One more practical suggestion for the actual interview—be as positive and enthusiastic as you can, even if you have to ham it up a bit.  After listening to a number of author interviews in my research, I’d say that a genuine passion for the project is far more effective at reaching readers than getting the words just right.  If a question does stump you—and a few did me—don’t be afraid to say you’re drawing a blank and do some thinking aloud.  Again, the listener is more interested in hearing a fellow human being’s thoughts and opinions than some perfectly rehearsed robot reading from a script. Looking back over all I’ve done to promote Amorous Woman, I have to say the radio interviews were some of the most memorable highlights.  Best of all, the kind and eloquent hosts always helped me gain a new perspective on my own work.

Speaking of perspective, as we draw near to the end of the year and this column, the question naturally arises:  when do you stop promoting?  As mentioned above, as long as your book is for sale somewhere—and here I have to thank Amazon for expanding those possibilities indefinitely—you want to keep information available on your website and blog for readers who might be interested.  But after a certain point, a writer needs to ease up on promoting and get back to the writing.  In fact, publishing new and exciting work might be the best way to bring attention to your earlier novel.

I have to admit I had a hard time letting go of my duty to Amorous Woman.  I knew I was her only real advocate, but giving my novel her best chance to succeed consumed much of my professional time for almost two years.  I knew on an intellectual level that it was time to move on to a new project, but it took longer to accept this on an emotional level.  I would hazard a guess that every writer will feel when it’s right to let your grown baby take care of herself and begin to nurture your next little one.  That said, you will always keep promoting the “brand” that is your writing as long as you are a writer.

Back in February, I asked you to join me in some touchy-feely exercises to get in touch with your dreams and fears about book promotion.  Almost a year later, I’d like to invite you to look back at the realities of your experience.  In fact, this column was exactly such an exercise for me.  Take a moment now to write your own mini “Shameless Self-Promotion” column.  What aspects of actual book promotion have surprised you most?  Is there anything you’d do differently?  Are there strategies you’d definitely try again? 

In the meantime, be sure to keep a list of helpful contacts, reviewers, interviewers and so forth who might be willing to support your next book.  And remember you can use many of the tools you learned to promote this novel earlier in the process of promoting your next one.  Even as you write your next novel, keep ideas for an irresistible pitch in the back of your mind.  Jot down sexy ideas for an agent or publisher query.  Try out sample pitches on friends to see what gets their eyes gleaming.

Last but not least, give yourself a great big pat on the back or a yoga hug or whatever treat you desire in appreciation for all that you’ve accomplished.  Other writers always seem to be doing a better job than you are.  Frankly, I’m shocked when people compliment me on doing such a good job promoting my novel, because I myself tend to focus on all the things I didn’t manage to do.  But I also know that without question I’ve grown a lot in the process, and I thank you for sharing the experience with me this past year.  As I’ve said all along, making connections with other writers has been a richer experience than any advance or royalty check ever could be. 

And so with deepest gratitude, I send you all my best wishes for your own enriching journey as a writer and promoter in 2010 and beyond!

Shameless Self-Promotion Points for December

One:  Query your local radio station or a blog talk radio erotica show for an opportunity to appear for an interview.  Don’t be afraid to show your passion for your project and have fun!

Two:  For those of you who’ve been with me on this journey for the past year, it’s time for another touchy-feely exercise.  Back in February, I invited you to get in touch with your authorial dreams and demons.  Now it’s time to take stock of all you’ve learned and accomplished in your book promotion efforts.  What surprised you about the process?  What would you do differently next time?  Which strategies would you definitely try again?  Shameless Self-Promotion is difficult, but it’s made you tougher and wiser and ready to tackle your next promotion project with flair.

AND FINALLY…

At the end of my first column, I promised my readers that if you collected all the Shameless Self-Promotion Points, you’d receive a special Shameless Self-Promotion Badge.  Perhaps you were expecting a real badge—with my butt splashed with pink neon on it or your own splashed with the neon color of your choice.  Feel free to make your own badge of honor and wear it proudly if you desire, but you probably realize by now that I firmly believe we writer-promoters don’t need no stinkin’ badges!  The rewards of Shameless Self-Promotion lie within, so close your eyes, look deep into your heart and commend yourself for all of your courage, hard work, and the many unnatural things you did in the name of promoting your book.  You deserve it!

Donna George Storey
December '09 - January '10 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