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Promoting Erotic Fiction, Quietly
You’ve written your erotic masterpiece and had it published, either by a professional company or you’ve self-published. Now what? You need to spread the message to as many people as you can think of, and get them in turn to tell their friends and colleagues. There’s just one snag – you haven’t actually told them what you’ve been writing. It’s your big secret. And on reflection, knowing the smut you’ve put in there, getting your characters to perform acts you’ve possibly neither tried nor would ever dream of trying yourself – do you really want this to change? How then, can you even hope to make any money from your work?
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The traditional first stop – who better to promote your work than your trusted friends and family? Only your Facebook ‘friends’ include your boss, your mum, your old teacher, the couple whose children you used to babysit, your bank manager and your twelve year old nephew. Oops.
Of course the chances are you haven’t published under your proper name, but you’ve chosen a nom de plume, such as Fifi L’Amour. Great – so just open up a new account under that name. Only who’s going to find you there, all alone with nothing but a saucy book cover for company? How are you going to get any friends or followers? After all, who’s going to friend a complete stranger? And what exactly is Fifi going to do there? What kind of status updates can she write or photos can she post without you compromising yourself and potentially revealing your identity?
Start A Blog
Ho hum, yet more work, yet more writing – and about what? Do you really want to wax lyrical about your cats when you really should be writing your next masterpiece? And who seriously is going to bother to read you? In a recent article in Mslexia, the excellent magazine for women writers (if you fall into that category and don’t already subscribe, I urge you to do so) the author’s conclusion was that while tweeting, blogging and facebooking might bring you closer to your readers (the implication being you’ve got some already), they’re really not going to sell any more books.
What does work, however, is giving your book away for free on Amazon. It's easy to do and you can choose up to five days in any 90 day KDP Select term. But once you've done that, how do you let anyone know? I am indebted to hubber Rachel K Burke for her hub: Best Websites for Marketing Your Amazon KDP Select Ebook Free Days. In it she lists over forty sites where you can submit your book details. It's a laborious task but well worth the effort!
Dear Hub Pages – how I appreciate you! Such a wonderful vehicle for coming into contact with fellow writers, readers and generally decent, intelligent and supportive human beings. It also offers the chance to write about more interesting subjects than what you had for breakfast (muesli, if you’re interested) and that terribly funny thing that happened during your last holiday. Pick subjects that fit in with the theme of your work, and write articles about them – the research is invariably interesting and the whole process of putting a hub together is, I find, thoroughly enjoyable. I’ve noticed that, while I haven’t got many followers, my pages are getting plenty of hits. You see my problem? No-one wants to associate with an old smut merchant like me!
Or you could try this...
This might be my salvation. Not only is it quite fun ranking other people’s books, Good Reads has a terrific author program where you can add your author bio and pic (imagine!), excerpts of your books and even a link to that blog of yours. It will also enable you to promote giveaways, seek reviews, join panel discussions and track interest in your book. In her excellent hub on ebook marketing, author Rachel Burke writes of the dramatic increase in ratings and reviews her novel got once she’d signed up.
This is another tricky one. Just as people like to show off Man Booker prizewinners on their bookshelves and hide the Nora Roberts away in the back room, nobody really wants to admit to having enjoyed Saucy Spanking III enough to merit giving it a review and outing themselves as a fan of erotica on their Amazon profile. If a reader’s reviews mostly focus on in-depth critical analysis of international prize-winners, they’re hardly going to want to admit to having enjoyed something less – how to put this politely? – intellectually challenging. You’re their dirty secret (if you’re lucky) – something they download late at night once the wine’s all drunk to read furtively on their commute the next day. Anonymity is the joy of e-readers, why would anyone blow it by posting a review?
Which brings us on to the next thought. You might have more luck getting the help from what’s known as ‘advocates’ – people who are willing to tweet, blog or update their Facebook statuses mentioning your work. So you’d better just accept that you’ve got to send out as many freebies as you can to people – probably strangers – who might just get the word out. But how to find them? Cruise blogs and use your imagination! I’ve now sent copies of my serialisation The Sexual Misadventures of Primmie Darling to celebrities, politicians and journalists – the very people I spoof in the stories. I figure I might as well post any replies I get on a blog and see the funny side of any disgust, rejection, or law suits.
How to Send?
This brings us onto the next issue – if your masterpiece is in digital form only – how do you send it to anyone? PDF files look awful on Kindle – the fonts go all over the place and the text is usually way too small. Word documents, however, translate to Kindle very well, but if (like me) you’re using a pre-Word 2007 you don’t have the Read Only facility. The best way I’ve discovered is to go into Tools and hit Protect Document. If your recipient wants to add their own input to your masterpiece at least it’ll come out red and underlined.
If anyone’s got any better ideas, please let me know!
Can you Manipulate Sales?
This one just occurred to me the other day. If you’ve created your Amazon Author Central author page and fessed up to your own book, you cannot post a review (even a bad one…) So what next? What about buying, at different times, a copy of your book with the latest by, say, JK Rowling, thus forcing yours to appear under the ‘People who bought this also bought’ banner. It’ll cost you a bit but it might just do the trick, no?!
The Law of Attraction
Last but by no means least, why not let the Universe do all the work for you? I’m actually a big believer in having a positive attitude, in meditation and in creative visualisation. So think from the end, as Wayne Dyer would put it, and picture your book, either in piles on the front tables of bookshops or storming up the Amazon best seller list, while you practise your affirmations. Personally I also love tapping, or Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) as it’s technically known. Here you tap on your pressure points while addressing a problem, be it mental, emotional or physical. The other day I tried something different and tapped while stating my affirmations, in an exciting new practice I’ve decided to call ‘tappirmations’.
You know something? Maybe that’s the book I should write to make my fortune?
Viva Jones' novel, The Summer of Aphrodite, is published by House of Erotica. Her ongoing satirical series The Sexual Misadventures of Primmie Darling is available on Amazon Kindle Direct.
A Bit About Tapping
Other hubs by Viva Jones
- How to Write and Sell Erotic Fiction
A guide to writing erotic fiction, with ideas on how you might get it published.
- Erotic Writing - Finding Your Plot
Writing erotica should be much more than: “two (or more) consenting adults meet, have sex, the end”. Enrich your writing with believable characters and interesting storylines – here are some ideas how.
- David and Victoria Beckham – Are They For Real?
A look at this global media power couple, and the man behind them.