An Insane Plan

by | January 21, 2022 | General | 1 comment

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

My husband always tells me that I need to learn not to over-commit. After forty years together with me, he knows very well how hard it is for me to dial back my goals to realistic levels. For example, I can’t seem to resist volunteering for a task when it’s needed, especially when I know I can do a better job than most people. I try to keep my promises realistic, but I’m fundamentally an optimist. Even when I have a long to-do list, I figure I can slip in another task or two without any negative effects.

So, during January, I’ve promised my readers to release four books, all paranormal, all at the intro price of 99 cents. This is a total of about 150K words.

Just to be clear, I don’t have to write these books. They’re all titles that have become unavailable, either because of a publisher’s closing or my deliberately reclaiming the rights. Still, self-publishing isn’t an instant process. I have to reformat each manuscript to the style template I use, and of course I do editing on the way. For books that were previously with my British publisher, I often need to change the dialect from UK to US English. In many cases, I need to replace the blurb and excerpt at the end (“If you liked X, you might also enjoy Y”) to use a more recent book, or one that is in fact still available.

Next, I have to consider the question of covers. In two of the four cases, I like the old covers too much to change them, even though that might help sales. For one book, I’ve bought a pre-made cover. The longest and most challenging volume, though, a 50K paranormal erotic romance novel, has a new title, and I wanted a new look. So I’ve spent hours futzing around with Gimp and CorelDraw, trying to create something that looks half-decent. It was really depressing when one of my cover artist friends told me my cover was a mess and that the font which I loved so much “sort of says 50’s tiki bar flier” to him. I didn’t agree, and kept the font, but I spent more hours trying to clean up the worst flaws in the images. (In all fairness, it’s the most complex cover I’ve ever attempted, a combination of three different images.)

Then there’s writing the blurb, picking out the keywords, creating a media kit with excerpts and so on, tracking down the buy links as they appear and saving them in the media kit, sending the kit out to bloggers, announcing the release on my own blog and to my email list… assuming Amazon doesn’t kick my book to the curb for keyword violations or some other such silliness!

Meanwhile, I’m working full time. I am still adapting to the new job I started last October, which may well be the most demanding position I’ve ever had – especially since I’m at least twenty years older than most of my colleagues. Some days I don’t even have time to check my Lisabet email.

Am I insane? Probably – but in fact, I’ve managed to put three of the four books out there (the latest hitting the virtual shelves next Wednesday) and probably will do the final one, a 15K short with the pre-made cover, this weekend. So maybe I’ll succeed after all.

Hubby will say this is just going to encourage more insanity. I’m sure he’s right.

I’m a strong believer in keeping all of my work “in print” if I can. Given how long it takes me to write something, there’s no way I want to let it languish unread (and unpurchased). Alas, I still have a significant backlog of books that are temporarily not for sale, including a couple of my best sellers.

Looks like next month is going to be packed with releases, too.

Yeah, crazy, I know. But I do so love to see my books, my babies, out where people can get at them.

Lisabet Sarai

Sex and writing. I think I've always been fascinated by both. Freud was right. I definitely remember feelings that I now recognize as sexual, long before I reached puberty. I was horny before I knew what that meant. My teens and twenties I spent in a hormone-induced haze, perpetually "in love" with someone (sometimes more than one someone). I still recall the moment of enlightenment, in high school, when I realized that I could say "yes" to sexual exploration, even though society told me to say no. Despite being a shy egghead with world-class myopia who thought she was fat, I had managed to accumulate a pretty wide range of sexual experience by the time I got married. And I'm happy to report that, thanks to my husband's open mind and naughty imagination, my sexual adventures didn't end at that point! Meanwhile, I was born writing. Okay, that's a bit of an exaggeration, though according to family apocrypha, I was talking at six months. Certainly, I started writing as soon as I learned how to form the letters. I penned my first poem when I was seven. While I was in elementary school I wrote more poetry, stories, at least two plays (one about the Beatles and one about the Goldwater-Johnson presidential contest, believe it or not), and a survival manual for Martians (really). I continued to write my way through high school, college, and grad school, mostly angst-ridden poems about love and desire, although I also remember working on a ghost story/romance novel (wish I could find that now). I've written song lyrics, meeting minutes, marketing copy, software manuals, research reports, a cookbook, a self-help book, and a five hundred page dissertation. For years, I wrote erotic stories and kinky fantasies for myself and for lovers' entertainment. I never considered trying to publish my work until I picked up a copy of Portia da Costa's Black Lace classic Gemini Heat while sojourning in Istanbul. My first reaction was "Wow!". It was possibly the most arousing thing I'd ever read, intelligent, articulate, diverse and wonderfully transgressive. My second reaction was, "I'll bet I could write a book like that." I wrote the first three chapters of Raw Silk and submitted a proposal to Black Lace, almost on a lark. I was astonished when they accepted it. The book was published in April 1999, and all at once, I was an official erotic author. A lot has changed since my Black Lace days. But I still get a thrill from writing erotica. It's a never-ending challenge, trying to capture the emotional complexities of a sexual encounter. I'm far less interested in what happens to my characters' bodies than in what goes on in their heads.

1 Comment

  1. larry archer

    Congrats on pulling back your work and republishing it. It’s also nice to hear that another author uses CorelDRAW for cover design. It’s on sale this week for $199 if you need a new copy. I think they charge me $100/yr for continual upgrades. Not that I’ve needed to upgrade, it’s just my OCD kicking in when my nose is not further out than the rest of the pack.

    XOXO F&L

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