Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Call for Submissions - Ravenous Romance

Call for Lesbian BDSM Anthology Submissions

Sugar and Spice

Editor: Mira Paul

Publisher: Ravenous Romance

Deadline: September 1, 2010

Payment: Short story advance of $10, a copy of the anthology, plus a pro rata share of any revenue/subsidiary rights.

Story Length: 2500 - 5000

I'm looking for lesbian kinky erotic romance submissions for a new Ravenous Romance anthology. Give me Mistresses, Daddies, subs, slaves, girls and bois. I'm particularly interested in stories illustrating loving Dominant and submissive relationships and/or butch/femme couples but am open to any SM-themed stories centered around established and committed relationships. All the stories must have believable, fleshed-out characters, some plot and steaming sex.

Submission Guidelines: Email submissions to mirapaul.editor at gmail dot com as a double-spaced Word or RTF attachment with Sugar and Spice Submission in the subject line. Please include your name (and pseudonym if applicable), bio, mailing address, email, title of the piece and word count as part of your document. The footer of each page should include your name and page number.

Compensation: Ravenous Romance short story advance of $10, a copy of the anthology, plus a pro rata share of any revenue/subsidiary rights.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Social Media Marketing for Authors: Part 2


(My user pic at Twitter)


Twitter


Alrightyyyyy! Now that the branding issue is outta the way, let’s talk about Twitter.

Twitter ROCKS for reaching your market and selling books. Yes, it does! My ex-agent is the one who convinced me to sign up for Twitter. But it took me a while to get the hang of it. That’s because everyone kept telling me I needed to post links in every tweet. And that’s it.

Yeesh! What a snooze.

So I did what I always do when I approach a new social media site. Research. Turns out there were only four articles on the web about how to sell more books with Twitter. Not much help. Most of what they said would work for a business, but not for an erotica novelist. So I tested my own ideas and came up with a system for working Twitter that’s not only major fun, but also sells lots of books and expands my readership every day. What more could a slutty novelist want, right?

First if all, be very clear about what you’re doing at Twitter. I’m at Twitter to network with my fans and sell books. That means I don’t let just anyone follow me there. I started working Twitter the end of January. At this moment (the second week of July) I have 431 followers. Why don’t I have several thousand followers? Because I block 90% of the people who follow me. Why? Because I’m at Twitter to network with my fans and sell books. Duh. Therefore I only allow people to follow me who are readers of romance and erotica. The exception would be a handful of personal friends. And authors.

Okay, let me stop right here and mention a major mistake many authors make at social media sites. I don’t know what it is about authors, but they do this thing where they friend every freakin’ author they can find at a social media site. Huh? What kind of sense does this make? Yeah, we all have a few author buds. But if you’re at Twitter to network with your fans and sell books, why are you spending all your time chatting with other authors? I hear authors complain constantly that they don’t sell books at Facebook, Goodreads, or Twitter. Duh. Look at who you’re following, dude!

Because of this insanity, authors follow me all the time at Twitter. I may be a kinky slut, but I’m a nice one, which means I’d feel bad if I blocked all of them. So I allow those authors to follow me who write romance or erotica or something close to it. Then I block the rest.

After reading this you may be wondering what’s so important about your followers at Twitter? Everything. The way to reach the people who read the kind of novels you write is to follow them. That means when they get a notification that you’re following them, they’re gonna check you out. And one of the things they do is look at the people who follow you. If they see a bunch of porn bots, marketers, and authors who write everything under the sun, they won’t follow you, and they might even block you. Horrors! NOT what you want. So make sure the people you follow and those who follow you read the kind of books you write. It’s all image, and you wanna project the right one. And the right image is the one that leads to more sales of your books.

On your profile page you’re given the opportunity to write a very short description of yourself. This is a selling tool as powerful as any signature line (sig) you might use at a forum. It should include your name, your subgenre, and a few sentences telling your market exactly what they wanna hear about your books.

As for tweeting, don’t pay attention to all those biz experts who say you shouldn’t tweet more then 16 times every day. *rolls my eyes* If you’re engaged in a bunch of conversations with your fans, trust me, you’re gonna tweet a LOT. It’s a good thing for novelists. Not a bad thing, so don’t sweat it.

To expand your readership look no further than the people tweeting with the people you follow. You don’t need to do complicated keyword searches. You don’t need to use fancy apps. Although I highly recommend HootSuite for shortening links (http://www.hootsuite.com/). Your potential readership is right there. If you’ve been careful to follow only those people who read the kinds of books you write and read then your market is chatting in your Twitter stream all day long. Cool, huh?

One last thing about Twitter. You already know you don’t wanna be one of those authors with 10,000 followers and you have no idea who these people are. But you also don’t wanna do what some authors on Twitter do. They spend all their time chatting with their author buds and ignore tweets from their fans. Some authors only answer one tweet from a fan. But most say they don’t have the time to chat. However you can see on their profile page they ARE chatting with their author buds. I know some of these authors. I was DMing with one the other day, and I mentioned how much I love Twitter. She responded by calling Twitter a time-suck. *shakes my head*

Wanna piss your fans off really fast? Ignore their tweets. Or say you respond to every tweet from them, but you don’t. Then tweet with your author buds every day for the entire Twitter world to see. I hear complaints about this from readers all the time. They say, “Hey, we spend our money on their books, yet they don’t have time to talk with us, but they do have the time to talk with their author buds for hours????!!!!” Yeah, it pisses them off big-time, and many have told me they stopped buying an author’s books because of it. Don’t make this mistake.

Believe me, I know we don’t have enough time in the day to do all of the marketing and writing we need to do. But our readers are fab people. They’re the ones we write for and the ones who pay our bills. I LOVE these people!!! And if you treat them well, social media will be as profitable for you as it is for me. No doubt about it.

At any rate, I guess you know what I’ve been doing while writing this series of blog posts. That’s right. I’ve been tweeting with my fans, growing my readership, and watching my eBooks sell in the Kindle Store all day long. Gotta love Twitter, ya know?


Laura Stamps is an award-winning, paranormal erotica novelist, whose daily blog is wickedly naughty. Her work has been published in over a thousand magazines, literary journals, and anthologies worldwide. The recipient of a Pulitzer Prize nomination and seven Pushcart Award nominations, she is the author of more than forty-five books. A Wiccan Faery Witch, Empath, and Psychic, Laura enjoys writing novels about lusty Pagans living in the Deep South. Here’s how you can find her on the web:

Email: laurastamps@mindspring.com
For info about her novel series:
http://www.avampskiss.blogspot.com/
Her verrrrry naughty blog:
http://www.laurastamps.com/
Her “Laura Stamps” Fan Page at Facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/sexwitch
To follow her on Twitter:
http://twitter.com/sexwitch


Thanks Laura for guest blogging this week. I’m off to check on my Twitter “Followers” list and heed your advice!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Social Media Marketing for Authors: Part 1


My Buzz Box & Branding



I’ve asked my new-found Twitter and Facebook friend, Laura Stamps to guest blog about the importance of Social Media Marketing for authors and talk a little about her success in this media.

Welcome Laura Stamps!

If you’re an author, social media is a primary tool for expanding your market. Why? Because this is where your readers hang out every day. And your readers are the ones who buy your books. How do I know social media marketing works? Because I’ve been a full-time author for 23 years, and like most authors 100% of the marketing of my books falls on my shoulders.

Need more proof? Several of my books went into the Kindle Store the middle of May. Less than two months later I’ve sold 619 Kindle books using social media marketing. Three of them even hit the Top 100 Bestsellers List in Erotica two weeks in a row out of the 15,138 erotica novels in the Kindle Store.

True. You’ve gotta write good books to be able to do this. But as we all know, good books don’t sell themselves. A good marketing plan does. And 100% of my marketing is social media.

In the days before the web you could sell books through direct mail to your in-house list and with magazine ads and rented lists. None of that works today. People buy books because their friends at social media sites recommend them. Period. When I realized this in 2006, I tested every social media site I could find. Eventually, I narrowed the selection down to the five or six that produced the most sales of my paranormal erotica novels. That list changes from year to year as I test new social media sites. But I still work no more than five or six every day.

To keep my marketing organized and consistent, I created what I call my “Buzz Box.” Don’t laugh. Actually, what you’re doing at these sites is creating a marketing “buzz” for your books. Thus, the name. Clever, huh? *lol*


My Buzz Box


My Buzz Box is a 3x5 index card box (bright pink, of course) that sits next to my computer. I work out of it all day long. There are several sections in it, and dividers separate each one. The first section is for my Ebook Marketing Plan. In this section I keep a separate index card for Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and several romance forums and Yahoo groups. On each card I list the site link, my password, username, etc.

The second section is for the Passwords I use most often (my ISP, all my email addys, Wordpress & Blogger for my blogs, the company I pay to manage my mailing list, etc.).

The third is for my Interview Schedule. As you can imagine my marketing creates lots of buzz for my novels. That means I’m usually booked up every month with interviews, giveaways, and guest blog posts. There’s no way I can keep all this stuff in my head, so there’s a card for each month of the year in this section where I list deadlines for interviews, guest blog posts, etc.

There are several other sections in my Buzz Box, including one for Yahoo Groups PROMO. I belong to quite a few romance and erotica groups at Yahoo. Each one allows authors to promote their books on a certain day of the week. I give each group its own index card and make a note of its promo day. Then I list which book or series I have promoted and the date. That way I won’t promote the same book or series two weeks in a row in the same group (a definite no-no). Making a section for it in my Buzz Box prevents that from happening.


Branding


Okay, before you can create a social media plan to market your books you’ll need to brand yourself as an author. Trust me. Your marketing won’t be worth a damn without the proper “branding.” So what does branding mean? To brand yourself you need to be able to define yourself and your books in one sentence or one very short paragraph. In other words, what is the image you wish to project to your readers so they’ll know EXACTLY what you write and who you are? Keep it simple. Straightforward. To the point. Unless you can do that there’s no way you can communicate this to a prospective reader.

For example, my branding is who I am in real life. I’m a slutty, kinky, Pagan erotica novelist who writes romantic, sexy novels. Yup, that’s me. Now you know why my Twitter name is SexWitch (http://twitter.com/sexwitch).

The important thing about branding is that it needs to be a role you can live with. Again, take me for an example. Not everyone can handle my branding. I’m known across the web for being the living version of the typical walking-hormone-heroine in an erotica novel. Oh, and I’ve got a trashy mouth, too. And I write about my sex life on my naughty blog every week. Unusual, I know, but this works for me because I’m also an exhibitionist, which just reinforces my kinky branding. Yeah, my readers love that about me. Additionally, my branding qualifies prospective readers. If they don’t like me, chances are they aren’t gonna like my novels. If they do like me, they’re gonna love my smokin’ hot books. No doubt about it.

Once you’ve branded yourself, everything you say, every post, every word you type at a social media site should support and strengthen your brand. Now you can see why I said your brand had better be something you can live with. For many authors their branding is not who they are in real life. It’s a role they play, depending upon what they write. But whatever it is, it had better be a persona you can fall into easily, enjoy, and project consistently day after day online.

Tomorrow, I’ll talk about Twitter and how crucial it is for book sales. Stay tuned…


Laura Stamps is an award-winning, paranormal erotica novelist, whose daily blog is wickedly naughty. Her work has been published in over a thousand magazines, literary journals, and anthologies worldwide. The recipient of a Pulitzer Prize nomination and seven Pushcart Award nominations, she is the author of more than forty-five books. A Wiccan Faery Witch, Empath, and Psychic, Laura enjoys writing novels about lusty Pagans living in the Deep South. Here’s how you can find her on the web:

Email: laurastamps@mindspring.com
For info about her novel series:
http://www.avampskiss.blogspot.com/
Her verrrrry naughty blog:
http://www.laurastamps.com/
Her “Laura Stamps” Fan Page at Facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/sexwitch
To follow her on Twitter:
http://twitter.com/sexwitch