Saturday, March 31, 2012

March Numbers on Amazon for Red Phoenix

Most Downloaded
March Totals on Amazon

Since I publish directly to Amazon, I am given constant updates about numbers concerning my books. This can be a good & bad thing (see post Indie Author Addicted to Checking Unit Sales/Downloads). But when you want to get an idea about how many people have been reading your work for the month, it can be a lot of fun. :)

For the Month of March 2012:

693 books purchased
27,571 freebies downloaded

As an indie author, I can't tell you how exciting that is. :) People are reading work by Red Phoenix - Whoo Hoo!

Best Sellers In the Month of March: (don't laugh at my numbers!)

  • Boy Toys was the biggest seller of my paid books at a total of 135, followed by Amy's Choice at 81
  • Thrilling Her is the largest download (made top 15 of erotica for a brief amount of time) at 7756
Biggest Seller

Quick recap from the last month:

298 books purchased         
12,386 freebies downloaded

* I added 2 new novelettes in the month of March, for a total of 15 purchased and 2200 in downloads. Also, 2 more books from the Sensual Erotica series became freebies during the month at a total of 13,500 in downloads. When you factor those things in, sales increased over 50%, but downloads decreased slightly.

I'm curious to see what April brings. Will sales continue to increase or will it start to dwindle as new books flood the market?

I'll keep you posted, just in case you're thinking of jumping into the self-publishing arena. :)

Monday, March 26, 2012

And Then He Saved Me - A Sweet Little Romance for the Hurting

And Then He Saved Me

I wrote this story after going through a difficult time. Sometimes when things are dark, it takes the love of someone else to bring you back into the light. Cyril is such a man. As a writer, I don't care for simple stories where the guy saves the girl. Oh no... you see Lauren, the damsel in distress, is about to rescue Cyril right back.


Lauren lost everything that mattered to her and just wanted the pain to end... She steps to the edge ready to die, but Cyril won’t let her fall. Neither is looking for love, but both of them find it the night fate brings them together. His love will change Lauren’s life and she, in turn, will rock his. A romantic story about two people fated to rescue each other.

This hot little novelette explores the relationship between a young woman who has given up all hope and the man whose love can save her.

Extended Description:

Lauren is alone and in pain. Cyril rescues her from a suicide attempt, but must keep her with him to prevent another. As the night progresses, Lauren discovers that Cyril is exactly what she needs. In the process, she also exposes his huge secret. As fate would have it, she is the answer to his unspoken prayers. Their love ignites a passion that burns bright and true.

Adult Reading Material (18+) This book is for mature audiences only and contains sexually explicit content.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Sequel to In 9 Days Includes Elements of the Phantom of the Opera

I recently finished the sequel to In 9 Days. Originally, I planned for it to be a short story and nothing more. But I had so many fans request a sequel that I delved into what would happen when Luke and Tesse met years later.

What flowed out was a beautiful love story that did justice to the couple. I added the element of a love triangle and allowed Tesse's involvement in the musical The Phantom of the Opera to play out in her real life.

Short Description:

After waiting three years for Luke Sanders to return, Tesse decides to move on with her life & into the arms of a new lover. Fate, however, has different plans when Luke returns the week before Tesse’s big début as the lead in The Phantom of the Opera. Her life seems to mimic the musical when she is forced to choose the handsome new boyfriend or her devoted scarred lover once known as The Freak.

9 Days and Counting is the touching sequel to the coming-of-age story, In 9 Days. This novelette delves into the emotional reunion between Tesse and Luke.

Extended Description:

So much has changed since Luke left Tesse behind. She is in college now, starring as Christine in the musical, The Phantom of the Opera. Jerrod, who has loved Tesse for several years, finally gets the green light to court her. However, Luke’s return puts their new relationship in jeopardy. The love Tesse and Luke share has not diminished over time, but their lives have taken opposite paths. Three hearts are on the line and one will be sacrificed. Does the Phantom finally get the girl or will her handsome new beau win Tesse’s heart?

Adult Reading Material (18+)

Friday, March 16, 2012

Indie Author Addicted to Checking Unit Sales/Downloads

Okay, I admit it. I check my unit sales/downloads on Amazon and Smashwords far too much. At first, I found the information interesting and exciting. "Wow, people are reading my work!"

It slowly has morphed into an obsession...

As soon as I get on the computer, I check to see how my books are doing. I cheer when things are up and whimper when things are down. (My worthiness as an author seems to be tied to the data.)

That is one hazard of being an indie author. You don't have an agent or publisher telling you how great you are, nor do you have them there to explain what is to be expected and completely normal. You are in charge of it all. I, Red Phoenix, am not knowledgeable about marketing. I do not know what an average number of sales are for a new author, or how many reviews to expect per x amount of books purchased, etc. I am learning on the fly and evaluating based on my own experience.

I freely acknowledge that I check the data more than I should because of my desire to validate myself as an author. I do not think I am alone in this. While it is true that an author needs to be sensitive to sales, it is foolish to base one's worth as a writer simply on whether you made substantial sales over one particular hour/day/week. The roller coaster I put myself on is of my own design.

Struggling with the same addiction or have some advice? Please share!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Erotica is NOT Porn

When I tell people that I write erotica most answer with a snicker, "Oh, you write porn, huh?"

I take exception to that. I write erotica, it’s a different genre. Although it may share some similarities with porn, it is literature first and foremost.

In my eyes, Erotica is:

·         Literature that includes detailed erotic scenes

·         Guaranteed to excite (see, hear, feel, taste, and “experience” the couplings)

·         Created to invoke a response - whether it be romantic or sexual in tone, you should have a physical reaction to the words on the paper

·         Respectful of the reader, giving a plausible storyline that carries you to each sexual scene

·         Geared more for women although men read and write it

I am proud to be an erotica author and stand behind the stories I create. If you were to take out the sexual details, you would still have an engaging romance. It just wouldn’t be as “exciting” to read. I like the extra details that take it from entertainment to an experience.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Introduction into Submission

Many fans have enjoyed the story of Amy and Brad in the series, Sensual Erotica. I have had requests for more stories based on the theme of BDSM. I am not a girl who likes to be painfully punished, but I do like the idea of pleasing a man in ways I wouldn't normally gravitate towards.

Brie's First Day of Submissive Training was inspired by my research. I was working on another piece, but this story demanded my attention and poured out like a torrent. Although it has only been on Smashwords for a few days, it is my most popular story to date.

Brie's First Day of Submissive Training

Brie’s life changes the day Sir comes to her tiny tobacco shop. His invitation to The Submissive Training Center is about to rock this young woman’s world. The renown school is famous for its submissive instruction. She has no idea the things that will be asked of her or the boundaries that will be pushed. Join Brie on her first day of training where true Subs are separated from the wanna-be's.

This steamy novelette follows Brie as she is introduced to the erotic world of submissives and her own true desires.

Extended Description:

Brianna studied to be a serious filmmaker, but finds herself working retail just to make ends meet. In walks Sir, a charismatic individual who leaves her with a business card. Brie becomes curious about The Submissive Training Center, but fights the urge to join. Irresistibly drawn to the mysterious world, she enrolls in the six-week course. One thing is certain, Brie is about to learn more about herself in one day than her previous twenty-two years.

Adult Material (18+)

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

What is Erotica?

Is it Erotica or Romance?

I have a friend and fellow writer, R.E. Butler, who recently wrote about the difference between romance and erotica, Classifying Romance and Erotica. Reading her blog made me think. I know the publisher norms for romance are that it must have a likeable heroine, a problematic romance, and no matter what there must be a HEA (Happily Ever After) or at least a HFN (Happy for Now) ending. I also tend to see romance novels as having sex throughout, but using silly or flowery words to convey it.

Now erotica is more about the sexual encounters. It may have romance, but you know that as you read it you are going to get HOT. It is not safe to read erotica around family or employers (unless it's your spouse), because you are going to get horny if it is well written. The storyline requirements for erotica is not limiting and the words used are real words spoken in the bedroom.

There have been a few short stories that I have read on Smashwords that were labeled as erotica, but in my opinion fell far from the mark. Just because you say the characters had sex does not make it erotica. If you don't take me into the mindset of the character and detail what they are seeing, doing and feeling then it is not erotica to me.

I do like romance with my erotica, so I am happy to read a storyline that sets up the characters and events. But don't leave me hanging! I recently read an erotic storyline between a police officer and an FBI agent thinking, "Oh yeah, oh yeah. This is going to be good!" The author kept hinting at this delicious and naughty scene and then did not deliver at the end. She skimmed over it and I was left panting and desperate for more. Grrr...

When I write erotica, I want you to experience what my characters are experiencing and I design it to excite you. If you read my work and it doesn't get the juices flowing, then it is not a successful story in my opinion. Now, if you don't care for my endings - hey, I'm sorry. I'm not 100% sold on HEA endings. :) Just saying...

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Why This Erotica Author Loves Smashwords

I remember talking to a friend and fellow writer last year who said she was using Smashwords. I scoffed, because I wanted to be published by traditional means and I'd heard bad things about their formatting. She really liked it, so the company name stuck in my head.

Publishing with Smashwords

Well, after being told by publishers and agents that my stories were hybrids and not market worthy, I checked out Smashwords for myself. I thought I would get my feet wet by publishing a few short stories. The instructions Smashwords gave in their little eBook, Smashwords Style Guide, was invaluable and easy to understand. The book walked me through the process and even made me feel that I wasn't an idiot if some of it seemed confusing. I got my stories to meet Smashwords' standards so that they were eligible for premium distribution (meaning my books would go out to six online bookstores, including Barnes & Noble and Apple).

I've sold a few books on Smashwords and put up a few for free (wanted people to get a taste of my writing style). It's been exciting seeing how many people download my "sensual quickies" and getting reviews from actual customers is a thrill.

I like Mike Coker's approach to running his company. I feel supported, appreciated, and informed. A recent issue arose in the erotica arena. He sent out (and continues to send) email updates while he negotiates with PayPal.

Using Smashwords Helped Me Publish on Amazon

A fellow author from Smashwords gave me tons of information and support, suggesting that I also publish on Amazon. Because of the experienced gained by using Smashwords, I was able to work Amazon's publishing process. I would have struggled without that prior experience. Plus, I know that if my file has no errors with Smashwords' formatting, it will work for Mobi as well.

Making Money

I was surprised a month later when I looked at my statement on Smashwords (payments are made quarterly - but you can check out your ongoing totals) and found that I was making money from B&N. The next month’s statement showed that Apple was also providing sells.

I finally understood the power Smashwords affords me as a new writer. I am out in the market, able to decide what price I want to sell my books for and I don't have to worry whether my books are "hybrids"or not. My success is in my hands!

Benefits to Publishing on Smashwords

By using Smashwords, I can create a clean eBook and have it distributed to the major bookstores (excluding Amazon at this time). I also am able to determine my price. On top of that, I can choose to make some books free so people are able to sample my writing and determine if this indie author is worth their reading time. Using them is a win/win for me. I LOVE Smashwords and recommend it to any indie author who wants to control his/her own success.

FYI - I am an indie author of erotica who started publishing with Smashwords in December 2011.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Sensual Erotica Series is Off to a Great Start!

I was pleased to get the numbers in from Amazon concerning my new series, Sensual Erotica, for the month of February. Over 12,500 people downloaded all or some of the 14 book series. As an indie author, it is humbling to know that many people have read my writing. To make the series affordable, I made half of the stories free and 5 of those are now free on Amazon. Whoo Hoo!

It all started with Loving Amy. A short story that I wrote a while ago. It was loosely based on a character in another book I had written last year. The scene was too hot and steamy for my original novel: a man loving a woman who was off-limits until one fateful night...

Boy Toys soon followed. Let's face it, nothing is sexier for a women than two men loving her at the same time - focused solely on her pleasure. It has been the most popular of the paid series.

So, I continued to write out fantasies of mine played out by either Amy or Troy. What can I say, one thing led to another and the entire 14 book series was born. I have an active imagination. :)

I realize that my fantasies may or may not reflect your own, which is why I created it to be a pick and choose series. You pick what turns you on.

Thanks to all my readers!  I would love to hear which are your favorites:

     The Sensual Erotica Series:

Loving Amy
Boy Toys
Bottoms Up
Deeper, Baby!
Taming Feral
The Flame
His Embrace
Her Gift
British Lover
Secret Admirer
The Quartet
Thrilling Her
Lover Mine
Amy’s Choice

Blissfully in Love, the Sequel

When I wrote Blissfully Snowbound, I really saw it as a single novelette. I was lucky to have fans who encouraged me to write a sequel. After pondering it for several weeks, the story took shape and Blissfully in Love came to be.

Have you ever loved someone so much that you would do anything?

Jenny is unsure how Ryan will react when she breaks the news that she is in love with Dan. The pivotal moment defines the depth of Ryan's love. In an act of ultimate devotion and passion, he gives Jenny her unspoken desire and shows her what it means to be blissfully in love as they move from being a couple to a menage a trois.

This steamy novelette, sequel to Blissfully Snowbound, explores how a couple moves from two lovers to three.

Jenny didn't want to fall in love with Dan during the blizzard, but their love is intense and undeniable... Now it is time to tell their respective partners the bad news. Jenny expects a terrible scene and her best friend Kelly does not fail to deliver. However, her longtime boyfriend surprises her by reacting far differently. Ryan loves Jenny too much to give her up, but also recognizes the passion that she and Dan share. In an act of deep love for her, Ryan brings Dan into their bed and into their lives.

A ménage a trois of one woman loving two men is born...

Adult Material (18+)