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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Continuing adventures in pre-publishing

It's been less than a week since I made the announcement about having written a book. I asked for feedback, and wow... people have been amazing! Thank you to everyone who has sent encouraging words and suggestions.

There are many decisions to make, many options to consider. Used to be that when you wrote a book, you got an agent (quite the process in itself, from what I've heard) and they submitted it to publishers. Now, with the burgeoning self-publishing industry, all that has changed.

In the past few days, I've had communications with three published authors: fetish erotica writer Annabel Joseph; John Smith, author of Kink And The City: An Englishman In New York; and of course, our own Devlin O'Neill. They were very kind to give me their time and they helped me reach one very important decision: I'm taking the self-publishing route. For many reasons, but here is perhaps the one that means the most to me: Preserving my book as I envisioned it, and not having some editor at a publishing house try to tweak it and mold it into something that will "sell better." Annabel described this as a "soul-deadening experience," and I can well imagine that it is. Granted, there is still a certain cachet in being traditionally published, and some people still consider self-published books to be the redheaded stepchildren of "real" books. But that is changing rapidly, and it seems that very soon, that attitude may very well be obsolete.

Next... Mr. Smith asked a very important question. How long is my book, and to whom am I selling it? Who will be my audience? It turns out that the average book out there is 50,000-70,000 words. Just so you'll have some idea of size, my fiction book What Happens to Naughty Girls? was a little over 47,000. Late Bloomer? At last count, 110,032 words. That's one hell of a tome.

Mr. Smith said that if my book were all about the kink world and my experiences in it, it would be a slam-dunk -- the scene would eat it up. But because I've expanded it to be about my life and background as well as my kink, that's where the question comes in: Who is going to want to read all that? Are the people in the kink sphere, the ones who want to read all about my spanking adventures, going to give a rat's a#$ about the first 1/3 of the book, pre-Erica Scott? And for those who are interested in the human interest side of the story, is the kink stuff going to appeal?

Am I really all that interesting that people will want to delve into all those words? Good question. I have no idea.

Oh, my head.

For now, I'm rereading the first 1/3 with a ruthless eye, trying to determine what I can excise. So far, not much. Ultimately, I have to make a choice: Am I trying to tell my story in its entirety, or am I trying to sell a lot of books? I'd love to think I can do both, but I am firmly grounded in reality.

I am seeking local photographers with boudoir photo experience to create the image I have in my head for my book cover. I'm a member of Model Mayhem, a networking platform for models and photographers. A lot of people on there are willing to do projects for the exposure and to add to their portfolios, without pay -- I've been contacted by photographers who'd like to work with me that way. So I thought, well, why not put out a call for one myself? So I submitted what they call a "Casting Call," describing my photo project and asking if any photographers out there would be willing to help me out, and I'd credit them in my book.

Did I get blasted! Apparently, I committed a massive faux pas. Some people did write to me privately and say I did nothing wrong, that they'd be happy to work with me if they were local. But publicly? Yikes. I was told there is nothing in this that benefits the photographer, that photo credits in a book aren't worth crap, that there were no decent pictures in my portfolio (ouch) and anyone who wanted to take me on should be paid. One person said something along the lines of, "Why should I invest my time with you for nothing, when you don't even have enough confidence in your project to pay for a proper cover photo?"

(sigh) I withdrew the casting call. Damn, I wish Zelle were local! Back to the drawing board -- I am keeping my eyes and ears open for local pros who won't consider my request offensive. I certainly didn't mean to step on any toes. But I have read and been told by many that the cover is extremely important, and I want to do it right -- proper framing, lighting and focus, Photoshopping imperfections, etc.

What a whirlwind... but it's all so exciting. And I am not on a deadline; I can take my time. As Mr. Smith said, many people out there want to write a book, but damn few actually sit down and write one, seeing it through. So I'm quite proud of that.

Onward! Thanks for enduring my blathering. :-)


  1. You do know I'm contemplating coming out there late August right? And if for some reason I don't make it, "I know people"..(heehee).. Like Naughtyminxxx and Namron on Fetlife.. (I tutored him, and now he's light years ahead of me, and even though he's in Portland, Oregon, he's closer than me! Or you could hop a plane to him for the day.. do a shoot and fly home. (I know how you love traveling) LOL - but I know Namron is excellent .. just check out his Fet pics he'd do it for no more than expenses to get to you..

  2. Zelle -- but... but... I don't wanna wait until August! (sulk) :-) Besides, if you do come out here, I know damn well you'll be spending most of your time horizontal!

  3. Now Erica.. I can't live on "sugar" alone... I have to have some steak too. LOLOL

  4. Hello my Erica i want to read everything about you in your book :-) i think reading about both your life and your experience's with spanking is VERY interesting i think your book will be a GREAT seller, even when i read your blog i can visualize whats happening even if it had no pic's, your that much of an EXCELLENT writer, If there is anything at all that i can do for you to help you in any way with your book PLASE let me know, I would feel honored :-) Love you big hugs from your naughty girl Jade xoxo

  5. SORRY about not spelling please right i really hate being blind in one eye i need surgery to fix it more :-( Chester's ashes are back in a pretty tin i am so upset wish he was here alive

  6. Jade -- you're very sweet; I hope lots of others will feel the same way you do. And don't fret about your spelling!

  7. I would be very interested in reading your book. Stay the course. Good luck!

  8. Though not truly experienced as a published author of fiction, I think there's a third market to consider, and this is I think we've talked of in the past: I think there's a vanilla market that will find your self-discovery story of interest and that story will be the "gateway drug" to the "titillating" story of your spanko exploits. Hell, many a Playmate and porn star have had their bios go mainstream. Your spanking adventures are somewhere between the two, IMHO.

    I could see readership from soccer moms to business women and others generally interested in your story.

  9. Erica,

    The first third of the book is what leads up to the story about Erica and how she came to be. It is hard to edit because it all seems important. One thing to try and do is make the first part of your book the lead in somehow to your interst in spanking. Maybe, if you haven't, add a thought or two from your earliest memories of wanting spankings. With your writing saavy, I have a hunch you have already done that.

    At any rate, I will read it when I can get my hands on it. Besides that, I think others of us in the scene will want to read the whole story because that is you. It is the part of you that happened before Erica came and also what was part of leading up to Erica and who she is.

    Have you had anyone read the manuscript to get their opinion? That can always help, too.

    I wish you the best.

  10. Craig -- I hope you're right! How I market it will be key also, I think.

    Bobbie Jo -- you're right; I've already included the spanking thoughts and desires from my youth in the first third. People will know it's coming.

    No one else has read this yet. I know that eventually, I will need to give it to someone to proofread, because I've looked at it 500 times and no matter how much I do this for a lving, no proofreader can look at her own work and catch everything.

  11. I was going to say the same thing. Could you ask for a third party to help you edit the book?
    And I was going to say publish it now because I want to read it.
    (I know that was a bit selfish and impatient but what is a girl to do?)

  12. Poppy -- yes, it's just a matter of deciding on someone. John offered to do it, but I'm not comfortable with that; he's too close to me.

  13. Hey, Erica
    Congratulations on finishing the book! Maybe you could ask Tutivillus to take the photo.

    Be well,

  14. Pre Spanking Erica is what MADE you the great person you are now. All the good, bad...and maybe ugly experiences in your earlier years are important for readers to compare and contrast our own experiences.

    As for self publishing, I am clueless about the book writing process but it sure seems similar to musicians and singers who no longer rely on major record labels to tout their products.
    Go for it, woman! You probably have many more people interested in this read than you can imagine.

    As for the harsh commentary, try to see it as nothing more than "every man is in it for him/herself", that these detractors don't know you well enough to have bonds with you so they aren't as vested in your success unless you compensate them.

  15. Alias -- Thank you! :-)
    Regarding your suggestion, were you being tongue in cheek? I looked up that name on FetLife. I'm thinking not. For one thing, there was a photo of his sub with her bottom nearly solid black with bruises, and his comment was: "I will beat this ass until the day I die." I don't think we'd get along.

    Kelly -- good point about the detractors. One thing I know for sure -- whoever does the photo for me is going to have me singing his/her praises everywhere I can!

  16. Oh Erica... yikes! "Tutivillus's sub!" Holy smokes!

    I noticed that the bruising was done with a padded beatin' stick and it is MEANT to deeply bruise her... **THAT** is another one of those pics and "treatments" neither you nor I can't fathom looking at, much less consider being under the hands of someone that likes to inflict that kind of stuff .. (even if she did like it- and she says she did .. well...more power to her).. but I see no aesthetic value there to me! yikes..

  17. Zelle -- yeah, you know how I feel about that level of beating. 'Nuff said. Besides, he's in Utah. Not exactly local.

  18. By hook or by crook, you will see your memoir published, and I look forward to that day! I look forward to reading all the "pre-Erica Scott" narrative--and, of course, the diva that she became.

    I wish I had the self-discipline and general wherewithal to write (and complete) my own memoir for publication (or not). Kudos to you!

  19. Dana -- diva, indeed. :-D I never thought I'd have any use for the journals I kept for years and years, but they came in handy. I had so many detailed accounts of things I would have had to rely on memory for otherwise.

  20. Hey, Erica,
    I wasn't being tongue in cheek. I don't actually have Fetlife account, so I haven't seen photo you are refering to. I am sorry if I upset you :-(, it wasn't my intention. He IS a sadist, though. What I wanted to say is that he does great photos with Jouvarti, you can check some of them on her blog. Light, shadows... If you explaned him what you want, I think he would make great photos. Now, please don't shoot me for bad grammar and spelling, English is not my native language. Lame excuse, I know, I know...

    Be well,

  21. It seems strange photographers would react so strongly. I mean, sure they want to get paid, but they could just say, "I'm sorry, I only take paying clients." Trying to make someone feel bad for offering photo credit is just rude. I get asked all the time to work in trade-exchange and, while I often can't take the offer, I think it's a legitimate way to do business.
    In short, don't let the wankers get you down.

    I will agree that the book may be ... overly inclusive. Covering the spanking life and the growing up aspects does cover two genres. You die-hard fans will probably love it, but outside that sphere....

    Whatever happens, best of luck with your project.

  22. And so you should be proud Erica.

    I think reading about your earlier life and how spanking came about will be fascinating and I can't wait to read it.


  23. I had said before that your entire story makes a "whole," and therefore should appeal to a wider audience than one "niche" or the other; I'm glad Kelly and Craig and others think so, too, because I often doubt my judgments. :-D

    Hooray for the team of Joseph, Smith, and O'Neill (sounds like Alan Shore oughta work there, huh?) and their advice!

    Anyway, I'm delighted to hear how the adventure is progressing, and look forward to hearing of its ultimate success!


  24. Alias -- I'm not upset, please don't worry. And I won't pick on your grammar, it's fine. :-) I know you meant well. He's in another state, anyway, so it's not feasible. But thank you!

    Anonymous -- I felt bad because I felt like I'd insulted their craft, which certainly wasn't my intention.

    Inclusive is a good word, and I do worry about that. But I'm not expecting this to be a best-seller... everyone thinks their story is interesting to everyone, but it ain't! :-)

    Ronnie -- thank you. That is what I'm hoping for.

    Wolfie -- ha! Yes, that's the only thing this whole rigmarole is missing is James Spader. Only can I have him in his E. Edward Grey fit and sexy state, rather than the portly Alan Shore state?

  25. Glad you decided on self-publishing. I didn't even mention agents because I tried to go that route so long ago and got so absolutely nowhere with it I suppose I buried the memories. As far as I can tell, agents are for people who already are wildly successful.

    As to the negative feedback from the casting call, someone already said how rude that was so I won't bother mentioning how loathsomely odious those jerks were to act that way.

    And several folks have noted how the first part helps explain all the rest of it, so it's all of a piece. The child is father to the adult, and all that.

    Now if I go to all the trouble to get my lawyer suits out, I want to shoot a few scenes without Spader in them. I don't need to be upstaged ALL the time, okay?

  26. Devlin -- not to worry; I think Spader's upstaging days are over. :-)