I’ve been deliberating over actually writing this or not. I decided to go for it, because I don’t think it can hurt, and I think some of you would be interested in reading it.
Before embarking on my journey of self-publishing, I used to work in some not so fun places. Lots of customer service and all of that. Just plain, basic things, and nothing very entertaining, but I didn’t mind it. I didn’t really like it, though, and I’ve always wanted to write, so on July 10th, 2012, I published my first e-book. I think I did it on Smashwords first, then I put it up on the other places after, so those places didn’t have it until July 11th, but I like to think of my “official” indie author anniversary as July 10th. It’s a pretty nice day, generally speaking.
So, anyways! I’m sure everyone’s done them, but a lot of places I’ve worked at like to do those yearly reviews, you know? I never liked those, and I’m sort of argumentative about them. I once marked down that I thought I went above and beyond in regards to dress code, because I try to look nice, right? Except, no, I was told that it’s impossible to go above and beyond on dress code. If you come to work appropriately dressed, then that’s it. Why did they have little check marks for anything besides “acceptable” then? I have no idea, and I asked that, but no one gave me a good answer. Just because. That’s just kind of silly, but I digress…
Now, as an indie author, I’m going to evaluate myself. If you’ve been following me for awhile, feel free to chime in, too. Let me know if you agree or disagree. I’d be happy to hear it!
First off, I initially planned to just write erotica shorts. My very first stories were Princess Miri, Moonlight Secret, Burning Need, Princess Miri’s Wet Sticky Mess, all written within the span of a couple weeks. I kind of cheated there, because I’d written the Princess Miri and Moonlight Secret stories a long long time ago, but I fixed them up and changed some things, and *POOF*, published!
Out of all those, I honestly didn’t know what exactly I was doing besides with the Princess Miri stories. I love all my stories, don’t get me wrong, but Moonlight Secret and Burning Need were kind of difficult for me. I think they’re good stories, and lots of people have enjoyed them, but I probably won’t be writing much more in the same vein as those.
Mostly, what I noticed within a few weeks was that I liked to write longer things. Hunted by the Beast and Dominant Dreams came up soon after those first ones, and both of those are noticeably longer. They aren’t long by any means, but I got to delve into more of what I liked.
And, basically, what I really like is plot. I think plot is kind of sexy, you know? I don’t know if that makes a lot of sense. Some people like to just read stories with an idea, but I can’t do that very well. A decent, popular example is something like… let’s say, the barely legal babysitter and the single father (or maybe not single? Scandalous!). It’s just the idea that arouses people, which is perfectly fine, but I can’t really get into reading or writing that too much. Something like that is more writing towards kinks or fetishes.
I won’t lie, I do it sometimes. Generally I add some plot in there, too, though. To a lot of people, that’s weird, but it’s just how I like to write. I think I provide something different and entertaining for anyone who wants a little more with their story.
That’s basically when it began. After feeling things out and getting more accustomed to what I preferred and how I preferred to write it, I went on to continue the Princess Miri series, Hunted by the Beast, and I started The Billionaire’s Ultimatum. These were all great choices for me. I did write some standalones in there, and to be honest you can read most all of my stories as a standalone if you like, but the plot was what drove me onwards, and I think people like that, too. The characters can build upon themselves and their world and explore it more, you know?
Miri started out as a bratty princess who was targeted by the daughter of one of her father’s vassels, but she became something else entirely. I mean, sure, she’s still kind of bratty, but I like Miri. I think Miri’s a really fun character. Thump grew, too. Then Allysin came into the picture, and we got to learn a little more about the castle from her perspective. Fleur evolved into… well, we won’t talk about Fleur (she’s kind of a bitch). The King, the citizens, Roy, all of it.
I do that with all of my stories now, and I’m trending towards longer, which I think a lot of people prefer. I want you to know the characters and feel more intimately about them. When Miri clears out the dungeons and takes them over for her and Thump to use, and then she treats it like a very private place where they can hide together, be alone, talk and learn and explore their sexuality safely, I want you to kind of realize how Miri feels, you know? She’s a princess, and sort of a brat or a bitch, but she’s a human, too, and she’s not immune to weakness. She just doesn’t have anyone and she’s not sure how to relate to anyone, and so Thump being hers and exploring with her and letting her have her moments of being a spoiled princess while also being the dominant monster troll that he is, well…
I find that a lot sexier. Miri’s emotions and need and desires, and her shortcomings and fears and worries; it makes the entire scene more intense to me. It’s sexy and erotic, but it’s also something more, too. That’s how I feel about that, at least. You can’t get that in a quick barely legal babysitter story, you know? You can get the sexy and erotic part, but you can’t get the “more” that I personally want to go along with it.
I could give examples of this sort of thing throughout all of my stories, but if you’ve read them it’s probably easy to see, too.
In addition to all of that, I’ve started working more towards adding paperbacks, novelizing my serials, and working on audiobooks. The paperbacks and serials-to-novels are somewhat obvious, but one thing I’ve noticed is that I need to have a good schedule of this. I have a “Publishing Schedule” tab on my website, but I need to fix it up a bit. My general plan when I started, and what I want to do now, is to have a new novel for you all every ~2 months or so. The paperback first, then the e-book after. I have a lot of reasons for why I do it in that order, but they’re kind of boring marketing stuff, so I won’t go into that. What this generally will mean is that ~6 months after the start of a series, the novel version should come out soon after. That won’t always be exactly the case, but I should be able to stick pretty closely to that schedule for the foreseeable future.
Audiobooks are interesting and difficult, but in a good way. The thing with those is that I really want to find narrators that bring the characters to life, you know? Sometimes I go searching for the perfect narrator, and other times I’ll put a story up and let people send in their auditions. The audiobooks I have so far are good, but some of the auditions really miss the point. They aren’t bad by any means, and these are professional narrators, but I can tell when someone’s not really into the story and only wants to make money.
I want to provide you with an amazing experience, and so I will only produce audiobooks with narrators who can put the necessary emotion into the scenes. You’ll find a lot of audiobooks that lack this, and some of those audiobooks are alright. If you just want to “hear” the story, they’re perfectly great and I’ve got nothing against that. For what I do, because I want to provide you “more” in the e-book and paperback versions, I want to find narrators that will help you experience the story, too. Overall, I just want to give you more, because that’s what I would want.
And so! That’s about it. That’s where we’re at so far. I appreciate everyone coming on this journey with me, too. As an indie author, I think that the reader/writer relationship is a bit closer than with a big publishing house’s authors. I try to be a little closer, and like my stories I want to give a little “more” than what you’d get otherwise. I just want to let you know about what’s up and I like to provide you with as much as I can. I’m writing more, working on more, and will continue to try and discover ways where I can improve this in the future.
Also, my business attire is impeccable lately. Far above and beyond! (I like to write at night a lot while wearing pajamas. Shh, don’t tell anyone!)
What do you think? I’d love to hear your opinions. Whether as a new reader or someone who’s just started checking out my stuff, I think all opinions, feedback, questions, or comments are useful and valid, and I like to hear them!
Detective Caitlyn St. Cyr stared out through the grimy window in her too-small office. The sun was setting in the distance and darkness began covering the city like a thin layer of dust. Just the way she liked it, really. The sun was nice–a happy place for happy people–but she didn’t need any of that crap. She had a job to do and it was easier if people were asleep. Sighing, peeling herself away from the window, she walked over to her grungy couch and lay down. What kind of screwed up stuff was she getting herself into lately? Where were the good jobs and the interesting mysteries? Maybe she should give up, become some kind of dream fairy, use her special magical abilities to wander through people’s dreams and give them hope and happiness and maybe a blowjob or something–
F**k Screw that! No way. She wasn’t done yet. Something interesting would happen, and when it did, she’d be ready. So what if she didn’t have enough to buy more than the bread in a hot, juicy pastrami sandwich with pickles and mayo and olives, with hot peppers, and…
What the hell was she laying on? Reaching behind her, she felt the hard fuzzy object digging into her back and pulled it out. She stared at the fuzzy handcuffs for a moment, then grinned. They looked fake, but they were real, and they worked great for catching horny idiots.
She tossed the handcuffs away and lounged on the couch, closing her eyes. “There better be something I can use tonight. I’m getting tired of this.”
Caitlyn St. Cyr is one of my favorite stories. It’s really different from most of what I write, but it was a ton of fun to write, too. Caitlyn’s a succubus with the ability to enter people’s dreams to try and get information for her detective business. She works alone mostly and never tells anyone what exactly she does, or how she does it, so the cops always wonder how she solves her crimes. Unfortunately when you go into criminal’s dreams, you tend to have to deal with fantasies of a more adult nature, but she’ll do what she has to do to solve a case. Sometimes it’s not so easy to convince thugs to tip her off, but she’s got plenty of ways to make them talk.
It’s a great story and a lot of fun. It’s a mix between monster sex erotica and hard-boiled women sleuth fiction. The sexy parts are detailed and dreamy, dirty and explicit. The crime is crooked and mysterious, too. Have you ever wondered what it’d be like to enter someone’s dreams and become a part of them? Ever wanted to hear someone’s deepest secrets and learn their private fantasies?
Well, here you go! I really hope you enjoy this story as much as I do. I’m definitely going to continue it in the future, too, so be on the look out for that.
Caitlyn St. Cyr is a Monster Sex Mystery Erotica novelette and will be available for $0.99 until February 1st, 2013 at these select retailers!
This is really exciting for me, and I hope it’ll be just as exciting for you! I have found a way to increase the quality of my eBooks by quite a bit, and I am in the process of updating old stories to fit these new standards.
I mostly have D2D to thank for this. Now, don’t get me wrong or anything, my older eBooks are fine. There is literally nothing wrong with them whatsoever, and they still contain everything. I’ve already gone through and updated some to have nicer covers, plus better descriptions, and some other minor changes, but with D2D’s conversion software(plus their simplified distribution, but that’s probably only super exciting to me, so I won’t ramble about that one), I can provide basically -better- than “professional” quality eBooks to you all.
Now, I say -better- than professional quality, because, honestly, the major publishing houses don’t actually do anything really above and beyond for their eBooks most of the time. They are essentially just as good as mine in terms of format, and while obviously the story quality is different(you never really know what you’re going to get sometimes), besides that there’s nothing really setting my books apart from anyone else’s besides format.
Now, obviously all those contain different content, which is mostly beyond anyone’s control, but the format’s vary widely depending on how much effort the publishing house/author puts into it. Blindfolded Innocence started as a self-published book and was picked up by Harlequin, but despite that it’s not really anything more than simple. Also, the cover inside the book is potentially going to show up as a giant square or some awkward shape depending on what you read the book on. Don’t get me wrong, the story is the same, and I do like Blindfolded Innocence so I’m not trying to bash Alessandra Torre by any means, but the person who formatted her eBook did the absolute minimum in order to make it presentable.
On the other hand, Random House did an amazing job with Fifty Shades of Grey. It looks super first-class and really nice. I haven’t read Fifty Shades of Grey yet(I know, I know! I’ll buy it soon!), but I’ve heard great things about it. I think it’s awesome that the eBook version is so crisp and nice looking, too. You can tell that her eBook formatter put a lot of time and effort into it.
Then, mine. That’s the first I had a chance to switch over, so the content is kind of widely different than Blindfolded Innocence and Fifty Shades of Grey, but the concept is there. The cover in the book(which is something that not a lot of self-publishers do for B&N, since it’s not a requirement there), plus the really crisp title and copyright pages, and then the Table of Contents. You can’t actually see it, but the Table of Contents in my book is in the -back-. This seems odd, except you can access the Table of Contents for an eBook through different menus, so putting it in the back is actually nice since it doesn’t clutter up the front of the book. That’s more of an opinion thing, but I’m a fan of having the ToC available(through menus) but hidden so you don’t -need- to look at it if you don’t want to.
Anyways, the whole point is that, before D2D, I was kind of stuck with “good” but not “amazing” eBook formatting. I like to think that everyone still really enjoyed them, because the content was the same. My stories are still fun and sexy and exciting, but the formatting was always something I struggled with. It’s either a.) Expensive! or b.) -VERY- time consuming. As the sole person in charge of my writing(I literally do everything, and I already spend tons of time on it! Editing, formatting, cover art, editing again, and more), it was impossible for me to get my eBooks up to super pro level. As you can see from the Blindfolded Innocence example, this is considered fine, though.
But, ugh! I’m a perfectionist. I don’t like -fine-, I want AWESOME! So, D2D is amazing, and as long as they continue to be amazing, all of my future eBooks(and eventually all of the past ones) will not only have a great story with wonderful characters and some really erotic sex scenes, but they will also look really nice on whatever eReader you own. They are also helping me get more of my books onto the iTunes iBookstore, which I think is wonderful.
Anyways! Hey! Sorry for the rambling a bit, but this is really exciting to me. To kick this off, I wanted to offer a great sale this week. I will be offering Vanima’s Dirty Dilemma for only $0.99(or equivalent if you’re purchasing from another country). This is a 67% discount! It is technically the second part of the “Vanima’s Initiation” series, but you can read it as a standalone if you’d like(or go buy the first, also, which, total between the two, would still end up being a 33% discount overall).
Vanima’s Dirty Dilemma is a contemporary fantasy novelette about a teacher who is mistaken for her niece by the sorority president at the Magic Academy where she teaches(they’re both elves, and so they age slower than humans, so even though Vanima is older, if she puts on college student clothes she looks very similar). I don’t want to say it’s exactly like this(because it’s not), but think of it like Harry Potter, if they were all in college, with sexy hazing rituals and mistaken identity. It’s dirty, but in a delightfully erotic way. I redid the cover just for this(though the woman on the front is still the same; and beautiful). I know you’ll love it! =)
Vanima’s Dirty Dilemma is a BDSM Monster Erotica novelette and will be available for $0.99 until January 25th, 2013 at these select retailers(some are currently processing to convert to the $0.99 price point. I apologize for the delay if they don’t show up immediately as that, but if that happens it should be switched in a couple hours):