FREE STORY

I don’t know if there’s anything especially transformative about August, but it feels like a new beginning to me. It’s a new week in a new month, and I’m trying several new things today. First, I’m releasing a story with a new pen name. And second, it’s FREE. All five stories in this collection are at least 5,000 words and full of fun, sexy situations and a little romance too.

Here’s Summer Love by Abby White

This bundle is 100 pages, over 30,000 words and free from 8-7 to 8-11.

I’ve seen lots of advice about pen names, and I’m still not sure what’s best. I’ve decided to try splitting up some of my content though. Kelly Whip is for more BDSM centered content. Abby White is for general erotica. White, get it? For vanilla? This bundle leans more towards romance but still has lots of explicit content.

I may be a little annoying while promoting this from Monday to Friday, but the best solution to that is to just get your copy, for FREE, and read it this week instead of reading the blog. 😉

Plus, another free story is available here.

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Book marketing, hooray!

My general approach to marketing books is something along the lines of “Ugghhhhhhhh. Whyyy? Do I have to?” and then grudgingly telling myself, “Yes, you have to, just get it over with.”

The writing part I like, the selling part is less fun. However, I’ve been dipping my toe in the marketing world. I have a blog now that I post on somewhat regularly, yay!, and I’ve arranged for one book to be advertised in a few places like Awesomegang.

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This looks suitably fancy and professional.

I also created a Facebook account, but it got frozen pretty much instantly. I wasn’t even spamming or posting anywhere. I just tried to join multiple book groups at once. By multiple, I don’t even mean 20. I mean four. Doing that at one time seemed more convenient than, I don’t know, joining one group at a time every few hours or something.

So, I’m slowly marketing my works. More than once, I’ve seen authors talk about the benefits of releasing a book for free on Amazon when it first comes out. That might work for them, I always think, but I’m just starting out. Of course, starting out might be the best time to provide free books so that people figure out who I am, but as I’m just starting out, I also need cash.

Some authors don’t like releasing their work for free because they feel they deserve some compensation for their book. It seems like a trade off to me. You’re giving up a certain sum of money initially in order to gain more exposure and boost your sales ranking.

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This one is just pretty.

I was hesitant to give books away for free, and thought, yeah, once I have more coming in it won’t be a problem. However, I’ve seen enough people swear by give-aways that I’m curious, so I’m doing an experiment. Calling it an experiment makes it sound scientific and like I have a plan.

In reality, I’ll just be releasing a few books for free shortly. I guess in the science world they’ll be called the “control group.” I’m not going to do much promotion for them, just them into the wild for free and see what happens. Then I have a few other books I’m going to do more promo for.

Has anyone else had success with free books? Is anyone completely against doing a Kindle giveaway? Let me know your thoughts.

Guesswork

I’m not that old, and I say I’m even younger, yet I’m very technology illiterate. I grew up with the internet and computers and cell phones and whatnot, but that doesn’t mean I’ve ever had an in-depth understanding of them. I know I need to make this site look nice and pretty, but my thoughts on that are generally “do that later.” I like that there’s a bunch of free themes available, I just doubt my capabilities to spruce up my layout.

I even used to have a WordPress site, though it was infrequently updated.  Maybe that’s what’s throwing me off. If I’ve never been somewhere, I happily follow my GPS and get where I’m going. If I’m familiar with the area, I think I know what I’m doing and drive around in circles.

At first, I couldn’t even figure out how to change the site title.  I’m sure this is an easy, normal task for most people, but it quickly descended into madness with me. I ended up searching for “how to change the fucking site title.”

wpWhere it said Kelly Whip, it used to say Say Title. It mocked me. I tried to click on it and couldn’t, and nothing in my profile or account settings helped.

I found a page with old information, which didn’t help. I also saw something that said doing this small task was fucking ridiculous, so that made me feel better. I made educated guesses, I clicked randomly on things, and then I eventually tried to customize the theme. From there, it’s choices galore! You can click where it says “You are editing site title” or “site identity.” So, I clicked on site title and it actually let me change it that time. Success!

“This isn’t very accessible,” I thought. Then I realized I couldn’t even find the follow button at first. So maybe the user was the problem.

Grammar Woes

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I can’t guarantee that my stories are perfectly edited. I wish I could, but I can’t. I’m my own editor right now. As I’ve been writing professionally in some capacity for around three years, I’m not too shabby. I admit that I use language in a descriptive not prescriptive fashion, but I abide by all the basic grammar rules. Except when it comes to commas.

commas.jpgWith commas, I go a little wild. I go back and forth between proper comma usage and what feels natural, I know that, putting commas in where there’s a pause or break in thoughts, even if it’s not technically correct. I  also love me a run on sentence and comma splices. But when compared to some other self-published stories I’ve encountered, I’m practically the Strunk and White Elements of Style.

I only mean that I think my work is interesting and reasonably well edited. I don’t mean to disparage other authors, as I actually think I spend a little too much time editing. There’s a certain point when it becomes too much, especially as errors  can still slip through.

Imagine my horror at finding ‘hamulating’ instead of ‘humiliating’ in a published work. I was hamulated! The weird part is that spellchecker didn’t see it, so it got through. Is it a real word? Google offers several corrections, but an online dictionary tells me hamulate means “furnished with a small hook; hook-shaped.”

So when I wrote, “Cleaning up in the nude was hamulating enough” I meant that “cleaning up in the nude is a small hook,” of course.

Now I know not to ignore Amazon when it tells me my document has errors. I thought they were words I’d written as I wanted them like ‘wanna,’ ‘gonna,’ and ‘funishment,’ yet hamulated had found its way in too.

I’ve since made corrections, but the update hadn’t gone into effect the last time I checked. So if you hurry, you could get Her Hidden Fantasy in mint condition, complete with embarrassing typos! Act fact, supplies are limited.

 

Putting chapters in e-books

Amazon has a guide for publishing Kindle books that is very helpful, but I’m technologically illiterate. When looking at the instructions to put in chapter links, my eyes glazed over. I saw something about how a table of contents (TOC) will convert if it’s done in Word. I understood the words “table of contents” and “Word,” so I went off experimenting

In most of the books I’ve read with Kindle, there’s not a TOC. A TOC might not be needed with a short story but is helpful when you’ve got a long book or a bundle. Maybe it’s author preference to not include one, or maybe some people like me were just confused. I managed to figure it out, so I’ll share what I learned.

Inserting a Table of Contents

The TOC goes after the disclaimer section but before the body of the work (obviously.) You can create a new page or just insert a page break after you get the table.

1.Highlight the text you want to link, and a little box will come up. (I’m using real technical terms here.) Select Heading 1, 2 or 3. Put all the necessary text in one of these headings.

toc1

2. Don’t insert a table, instead go to references and select Table of Contents. There’s a couple automatic ones and one manual. With the automatic ones, the text just has to be in one of the designated headers. After you select one, hit the update table button, then update entire table.

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3. Delete the dots and the page numbers, since they aren’t used in KU.

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That’s all there is to it!

When using this method, you can’t edit the text as far as I know, so you can’t align it differently or change the font or the color of the heading. There’s probably different ways to insert a TOC, but this simple way works for me. You can test it by holding control and clicking on one of the lines in the TOC. This transfers over when uploading your book to Amazon, and you can test it again in the book previewer if you’re OCD like me.

Story Sale

These works are currently available on Amazon for 99 cents!

The Housewife’s Punishment

Leah usually plays the role of a doting housewife for her husband until one night when she forgets to make dinner, but her husband will definitely remember to deliver her punishment. The discipline she receives won’t be easy to endure, but Leah is determined to prove how good she is while more pleasurable activities might follow after she learns her lesson.

This short story features spanking, implements, BDSM elements and sexual activity. Content is intended for adults only.

Caught!

Sarah is a thief who’s about to get more than she bargained for when she’s caught by the man of the house while trying to steal a precious item.

This is a fun, short erotic adventure that features spanking, role-playing, dirty talk, BDSM elements and sexual activity.

Lost in the Woods

Tessa’s older husband Jeff has had enough of her attitude after they get lost on the road, so he decides to take a detour. While she had no idea where this new journey was taking her, she might enjoy getting lost in the woods.

This short story features spanking, implements, BDSM elements and sexual activity.

Face the Music

Clara is a dancer who gets into trouble after a night out and must take her punishment.

This short story features sex, discipline, spanking and more.

After a stressful start to the school year, college student Heather Miles turns to a friend to help her relax in an unusual way. While she’d thought about the world of BDSM before, she didn’t think her first kinky experience would be like this.

This short story features spanking, BDSM elements and sexual activity.

Study Buddies

41lWI7ir9oLOpposites attract. That sounds like a lie meant to give nerdy, bookish types like Heather Weller false hope. And there definitely doesn’t seem to be any attraction between her and her polar opposite, the painfully attractive, most popular guy at school, Jake Eliott. The football player seems to have plenty of loathing for her but no lust.

As different as they seem, they both have at least one thing in common: they’re both virgins. Make that two things: they both want to get laid. Though they start out on shaky ground, maybe they can help each other out.

Read on for an excerpt from Study Buddies. Continue reading

The Dollar Store

There’s two options when publishing a Kindle story. First, you can charge $2.99 or above and select a royalty rate of 35% or 70%. I don’t know why you would pick a 35% royalty rate when a bigger option is available. Maybe you’re very grateful to Amazon and want them to have a bigger cut? I have no idea.

When pricing below $2.99, the royalty rate is fixed at 35%. This means it’s more profitable to price stories at $2.99. However, 2.99 is a bit pricey for a short story. On KU, reading a 10-30 page story nets .5-.15 cents. I’ve heard that some authors worry about pricing their stories at 99 cents anyway as this might devalue their work, and people might think their work is poor quality or cheap.

Plus, authors should value their work and not sell themselves short. In this vein, I had been pricing all stories at $2.99. I’ve heard this is a good price for stories of at least 7,500 words, but some of my work is shorter than that. I’ve begun thinking that $2.99 is a little steep for stories of around 2,500 words.

Even with the smaller royalty rate, pricing some stories at 99 cents might make sense. When someone reads a 20 page story on KU, the author gets ten cents. If someone buys a story for 99 cents, the author receives 35 cents. This seems like a reasonable amount as its more than the KU rate and is more equitable to readers.

stressrSo, I’m trying it out. For at least a little while my shortest stories are only 99 cents. This is a great time to get some summer reading material for a low price.

A new author’s Kindle Unlimited experience

Kindle Unlimited gives readers access to millions of books for a small monthly fee. I subscribe to KU and enjoy it, though there’s pros and cons. However, it’s a way for me to sample a lot of erotica content while I’m starting up so that I can see how others do it and what readers like.

From a reader standpoint, I like it. From an author standpoint, I don’t think it’s paid off for me yet. From what I understand, there used to be glorious olden days where people got a standard royalty amount whenever someone checked out their book using KU. Then people with longer books complained, and now authors get money by page reads.

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As someone starting out, I have several short stories available. I wasn’t ready to create a gigantic story where the farther people read, the more money I get. Short stories have given me a way to dip into the self publishing pool and get used to writing and what not.  This just doesn’t translate to earnings well.

When someone reads the whole first short story I published, The Housewife’s Punishment on KU, I make a whopping five cents.  This last month alone, 387 pages of that story were read. That translates to 35 reads. If 35 copies of one of my works were bought, I’d be ecstatic, but with page reads, that’s almost two bucks.

 

So, here’s what I know:

  • People are reading my stories
  • People are finding my stories with very little marketing
  • Despite these two things, KU generates very little income so far

Despite being disappointed from a monetary standpoint, KU does offer some benefits like:

  • Readers become familiar with me and my work
  • Story reads improve my ranking and makes my work more visible
  • KU readers sign up for my mailing list

I remain optimistic despite small earnings thus far for two reasons.

One, with every new story I publish, my KU page reads increase a little more.
Two, KU exposes my work to people that wouldn’t otherwise read it. If all 35 people who read my story last month had to buy each book they consumed separately, few of them would likely end up purchasing my book. The KU plan gives them the opportunity to read more stories, mine among them.

What experiences have other authors had with KU? Do you like it or not?

 

Scientific Endeavors in Erotica

 

Some people turn on sensual music when they write erotica. Others write naked. When the stories get hotter, authors find themselves getting hot and bothered too. Like setting the mood for a real life steamy encounter, authors have to create the right atmosphere when they write too.

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I just searched for “woman in lingerie” credit

Even regular writers have to get in the zone. Writing is something everyone could hypothetically do, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. No matter what kind of writing I’m doing, I need minimal distractions. I go where I can be by myself and won’t hear much other noise and turn on background music.

Writing erotica can be sexy, you can get interested in the story you’re telling, want to find out what happens as much as your reader, enjoy the climax just as much. It’s not always sexy though. My story Caught! is about a clever thief who, well, the title isn’t subtle, she gets caught. This story features a narrator with a strong voice, humor, bondage, role playing, and of course, sex.

When writing the story, I got brought out of the mood. Sometimes a detail gets to me. If a reader wants to enjoy a naughty story, I know they care about the fantasy and are usually willing to suspend disbelief. They probably don’t care much about the technical details, but I can get stuck on them.

In Caught!, the main character is handcuffed to a bed, and her clothes are ripped and cut off by the sexy, older man who owns the home she’s breaking into. That’s a juicy scenario. There’s a lot to work with. You can have a heroine who is afraid, wondering what’s going to happen next, but grudgingly turned on by the situation, being trapped and at someone else’s mercy. (Remember, this is erotica. It’s usually a safe world where any bad situation is tempting and can lead to hot, sexy situations. It’s a fantasy, not the real world.)

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woohoo, another woman in lingerie

Still, I ran into a problem with the bra. Now, the main character is wearing clothes she’s not that attached too, her predicament is so exciting that she doesn’t mind her clothes being torn, that only adds to the thrill. But, if you’re a woman, you know that bras aren’t cheap.

I almost said good bras aren’t cheap. That’s true. But no bras are cheap. If you’re an adult woman, almost every bra you pay for is just too damn much. (Okay, I am a cheapskate. Maybe you think the prices are reasonable, I think it’s extortion.) In my view, she wouldn’t just want him to break the bra. This actually works to build the sexiness, because this means she has to become an active participant in her captivity, she has to ingratiate herself with her captor whether she wants to or not, she begs him not to ruin the bra and comes up with an enticing offer he can’t refuse.

So, this all works fine for my purpose. I think I managed to interject some realness and humor into the story while still making it sexy. However, this was the challenge: if someone was handcuffed, could you fully remove their bra? I didn’t know if the thing would just fall free from her body, or if it could be moved to the side but not completely removed because her hands are tied to the bed.

If you undo the clasp, it seems like it could be removed from her body, but the straps around the shoulders are what makes it tricky. To be fully removed, the bra would have to be strapless. I guess I could have said it was a strapless bra, though this thought is only just occurring to me now. I mean, the lady was out to dinner with friends, wearing normal clothes, why would she be wearing a strapless bra? This is definitely making a mountain of a molehill, but it just doesn’t make sense.

I thought I had a firm answer on this, but I’m confusing myself even while writing this again. For some reason, it seems possible in my head. I actually tried to figure this out, sort of an Erotica Myth Busters.

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Man in lingerie, just to mix things up!

I wasn’t wearing a bra at the time of writing, not for any scintillating reason, I was just still in my pajamas. I thought it was possible though, so I went and put on a bra to confirm my hypothesis. Saying hypothesis makes this sound smart instead of trivial, shut up it so does.

I can say for sure, if your hands are joined in front of you, you can’t fully remove the bra. So, now you know. In my head, I still think it should work, but nope, it’s those shoulder straps, I remember now.

 

 

I’m sure the scientific community is very relieved I put this issue to rest.