Saturday, March 31, 2012

Self-Publishing Sales Spreadsheet Download

When you're self-employed in any respect, it's very important to keep clear, accurate records. Knowing how to work with spreadsheets can streamline that, particularly when it comes to your earnings and expenses.

If you're just starting out and you haven't gotten the hang of spreadsheets yet, here's something to help!

I've made a spreadsheet template for anyone who's self-publishing e-books. It's not perfect, and it's designed for erotica authors specifically, but you could easily change the titles and numbers if you're publishing on different sites.

This spreadsheet assumes that your e-books are priced at $2.99. The royalty estimates for Amazon and Smashwords will give you a slightly high estimate - there are fields to fill in actual royalties for the month. It will highlight the highest sellers/earners, per-site and overall. It includes a sheet for each month, plus a yearly total sheet that will sum up the other 12.

It's an .ods file, which will work with OpenOffice. It's free - if you don't have a certain other office software suite, you should go download it!

Again, this spreadsheet is certainly not perfect, but it could be a good starting point. Off the top of my head it contains examples of (fairly simple) functions and conditional formatting.

Good luck! :)

New Release: My Best Friend's Heart

Something to end the month on a sweet note! A bit more romantic than some of my other titles so far. :)

In My Best Friend's Heart, Chloe's best friend, Alice, is visiting for the night. Just like normal, except Chloe's finally admitted it to herself: she's in love with her friend. Will her confession shatter the best friendship she's ever had - or will it lead to the two friends discovering more about each other than they have before?

My Best Friend's Heart

Alice kisses you and her mouth is gentle and warm and sweet against your own, and wholly unexpected. You never considered it could go like this but you don't care, you're pressing your lips back against hers and she's not like any of the men you've ever dated, all precise and so yielding.
She pulls away and she's still looking at you like she's never seen you before, clasping your hands gently in her own. Have they always been so warm, so gentle?
"We've both been fooling ourselves for a long time, haven't we?" she asks, and there's relief in her voice. Oh my god, you think, I was an idiot.
"We have," you agree and now you're kissing her again, and her mouth opens for you and she's still nothing like a man, so careful and tidy and soft, and you could just kiss her forever. She puts her arms around you and you can feel her fingertips press ever-so-lightly against your shoulder blades as you map her mouth, learning it like you've learnt so much else of her. How did you never realize that you wanted this?

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Safe Sex in Erotica

Do you prefer the sex in your erotica to be safe or not? Safe as in everyone is verified STD-free, and (where applicable) condoms, dams, etc. are used?

It came up again today, and it's something I've thought about before. A bit of research into the subject has turned up mostly two views:

  • Unsafe sex is icky and unpleasant, and it's a turn-off if the scene doesn't either include a condom or a mention of being clean and on birth control of some sort
  • Condom use detracts from the scene and is unpleasant/unarousing
I can understand both the pro-condom and anti-condom sides here. There's nothing sexy about infections or unplanned pregnancies (unless you're into that, but if that's the intent of the story this doesn't really apply), but at the same time, stopping the action to get your contraceptives sorted out can be decidedly unsexy and potentially ruin the flow of the scene.

So if you're writing erotica, which approach should you take?

Well, first off I'd say you should go with whichever one you're more comfortable with. As with many topics in erotica, if you're really, genuinely uncomfortable writing something - don't! I'm not saying that you shouldn't push your boundaries, but if you know something squicks you, your writing is likely to suffer from it.

That said, if you'd like to compromise between the two options, there's plenty of room to do so. Writing about a bunch of vampire fellas taking turns barebacking a werewolf? It's all good: as the undead and shapeshifters, they obviously aren't susceptible to mere venereal diseases, and you can slip in a line to that effect. Condomless sex between an established heterosexual couple? It's all good, she's on the pill. Same couple, but with a condom? You could slip in a mention after the scene or gloss over the prep a bit - or you could work it into the sex by having the woman help out. There's plenty of options!

I personally fall under the "unsafe sex is kind of icky" camp: it's not an all-or-nothing thing and I can understand the frustration with condoms in sex scenes, but all the same I appreciate a little note that no one is going to wake up the next morning and have it burn when they pee, you know

And a caveat: much of this obviously won't apply to historical settings, and some fantasy settings.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A Tuesday treat: coupon code

A treat for you all: a coupon for my newest story, Hunting the Alpha! It's a gay erotic fantasy short, featuring a shapeshifter bounty hunter, a werewolf, and the pack he's made for himself.

25% off - only $2.09
Coupon Code: AJ23Z
Good until April 3!

"Hello again, pack-brothers! What news do you have for me?"
One of them bowed his head respectfully as the other spoke. "Rolf, we did not see-"
He was cut off as the storyteller pounced on him like lightning, pinning him to the ground and smiling too wide - no, baring his teeth. His voice was sharp as he spoke.
"What do you call me when you speak to me and I have not given you permission to use my name, Henry?"
Henry winced and let out a low whine, groveling under Rolf. "Alpha, I am sorry, I did not mean to disrespect you - it is all so new still -"
Rolf bit his throat and drew another whine from Henry. The men around them were watching silently, with something strange in their eyes… was it eagerness?
"Whelp! On your hands and knees like the insolent pup you are, or I will tear your throat out!" Rolf snarled. The unfortunate Henry whined and whimpered like a dog - like a wolf, Derik thought quietly - and rolled onto his hands and knees. Rolf yanked Henry's trousers down, unbuttoning his own.

Hope you enjoy it!

A Quick 'n Dirty Intro

Hello there! Chances are you're here because you're looking for a fun, dirty read, and I hope you won't be disappointed.

I'm a professional indie erotica author and I've never been happier - I'd always wanted to be an author, and this job has taught me that I really can be one. :)

This blog will feature excerpts and coupons from my stories, along with my thoughts and opinions on publishing as an indie author, writing, and life in general.

Here's hoping you enjoy the ride!