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Friday, April 8, 2011

Very Important Post -- I hope everyone reads

Yes, I know I already blogged today. I had planned to post this particular blog sometime after the weekend, after the Monday play blog. But you know what? I don't feel like waiting. I have an hour to kill before I leave for John's, and I want to put this out there. So here goes.

I spent all of 2010 working on a special, personal project; only a couple of people knew about it. I wrote a book. It is a biography/memoir, both of my experiences as Erica Scott, and of those before I allowed her to emerge.

I've made no secret, over all my years of blogging and writing on forums, that I struggled with a dysfunctional childhood, and with depression and eating disorders that plagued me for over 20 years. Most of you know I was put on medication at age 36, and that's when my life began to change. No, I take that back -- that's when my life began, period. In fact, my book is in two parts: Part 1 is called Existence, and Part 2 is called Living. Erica Scott doesn't even make an appearance until well into the second half.

You all have heard me describe myself as a square peg in a round world. I felt "otherness" very early on, for many reasons. Throw in an undeniable fascination with spanking and no outlet with which to explore it, and you have a whole lot of confusion, fear and self-loathing. But despite all that, I managed to break free and ultimately discover who I am -- and accept myself. To embrace my otherness, and fully rejoice in my kink.

I spent several months rereading 50 written journals, several more kept in Microsoft Word and years of forum posts and old blogs. From those, along with my unusually detailed memory, I compiled the story of Erica.

ANYWAY -- I met my goal of finishing the first draft by the end of 2010. I read through it a couple of times and edited it, and then I shelved it for a while, taking a break from it. Recently, I read it through one more time, did some more tweaking. Now I've decided that's enough of that, and I want to move forward. So.... now what?

I have been doing some research on getting published the old-fashioned way, and it appears to be a full-time job. There are a bazillion publishers and literary agents, and many ways to go. Writing proposals, sending out sample chapters, writing queries to agents... it's daunting. And I'm not kidding myself -- my book is a niche product. It is not going to appeal to the mainstream.

At first, I thought perhaps I should contact writers with traditionally published erotica/fetish books. I started by choosing three of them and emailed each one, asking if they'd be willing to share a bit about their publishing process, how they made it happen. One didn't reply at all; one wrote and said she'd get back to me, then never did. The third one sent me a very nice reply, but she made it clear that if I wanted any substantive guidance, I had to pay $200 an hour, two-hour minimum. So I gave up on that idea.

Just for the hell of it, I sent a proposal and some sample chapters to Virgin Books USA, because Virgin UK published Niki Flynn's memoir, Dances With Werewolves. But I am not expecting anything. Like I said, I know that finding a traditional publisher who'd take my book is like seeking the proverbial needle in a haystack. Another fetish author, Joan Kelly, published The Pleasure is All Mine a few years ago, about her experiences as a pro sub in the scene. I looked up her publisher as well... they're out of business.

So that leads me to self-publishing. You all know I went the self-publishing route with Lulu, back in 2007. But the industry has grown exponentially in the past four years, and now it's quite daunting as well. So many choices out there! When I published What Happens to Naughty Girls? on Lulu, I didn't pay a cent. I carefully formatted my manuscript according to their directions, they converted it to a PDF and then into a book, and that was that. I didn't have an ISBN, and aside from talking about it on my blog, I had no marketing or distribution. To this date, I've sold a whopping 190 copies in four years. I guess that's OK for a little book of fiction, but considering how much more personal this book is, how much more I put into it, I'd like to do a bit better than that.

All these companies (Lulu, Xlibris, Outskirts, iUniverse, AuthorHouse, CreateSpace, etc. etc. etc.) make it sound like they're the best for you, of course. They all have various packages you pay for if you want help with formatting, marketing and promotion, ISBNs and so on. But as I delve into each site individually, I keep seeing different pitfalls. Some won't convert a Word document into a PDF unless you pay for a higher-tier package. Others won't let you create your own cover (which I want to do, since I have a specific image in mind). Some, like Lulu, have separate packages for editing, marketing and distribution, while others lump everything into one. And yes, some of them still have a free self-publishing platform, but you're basically on your own with those. This time, I would like to avail myself of some help with marketing and distribution. But I don't want to pay a fortune for it, either.

Does anyone have any experience with or knowledge of Xlibris? I contacted a few of these companies for their free initial consultation. So far, Xlibris has been the most responsive, and borderline aggressive. They've contacted me by phone and email, and they are pushing their packages now because they have a promotional offer going on. Buy one of their packages and you automatically get upgraded to the next higher tier, but you pay the lower-tier price. The guy I spoke with was touting their Professional tier, where you get quite a lot, sounds like, but it's $1100!! He said I could have it for the Basic tier price, which is $650. I said that was still too high, and he then offered it to me for $520. I said I'd think about it. The offer is good until April 15. I'm a little uneasy about this hard sell, but perhaps they all do that to some degree. However, I don't want to rush into anything.

So, readers, I am opening the floor to you. Authors out there... what do you think? What are your experiences, and what do you feel is the best way to go? What companies have you worked with? Do you think I may have a viable product? Anyone know of publishers to contact who specialize in off-the-vanilla-path genres?

You know, I had a fantasy of getting all this done, keeping it secret until the end, then blogging "Surprise -- guess what? I've published my memoirs." Yeah, it was a nice fantasy, but it's not gonna happen. I need some help; there are just too damn many choices out there and I don't want to screw this up.

By the way... the name of my book is Late Bloomer. Because that's what I am, in every sense of the phrase.

Thank you in advance. :-)


  1. Congratulations, Erica! I wish you all the best, and I look forward to reading it. I'm going to contact a published (kinky) writer friend of mine to get some suggestions, and will get back to you shortly.

  2. Congratulations on putting it out there, Erica! I'm sure it's an amazing story and someone will want to make it happen! I'm rooting for you, dear!

  3. Hope that you will find that elusive publisher...Uncle Nick has recently finished his first draft as well.
    I am sure you will find that clever publisher that would realise that it may be a niche market, however, in my opinion, not so small one either.



  4. Erica.. I sent you an email.. cause my post would have been waaaaaaaaaaaay too windy for here. LOL -- But congrats on finishing your 2nd book!

  5. Congratulations on finishing your book. A friend works for a vanilla publishing company, Kindle is dramatically changing the publishing industry. Your readers do not need to buy a Kindle, they can load the software on their PCs. I have Kindle loaded on my laptop and download books to it all the time. For example, The Punishment List is on Kindle. You do not need a paper book, ebooks are great. Best of luck, I hope this post is helpful.

  6. So many of us had dysfunctional childhoods. I think it's almost unusual to meet someone who thinks they had a happy childhood.

    A fascination with spanking and self-loathing seems to be a common mixture.

    I am not making light of your journey. In fact, applauding that you found the escape hatch. Most don't.

    Put me down for a copy of your book.

  7. How exciting! I would love to read your story. Sometimes I think people who didn't have dysfunctional childhoods are in the minority. Anyway, you're in good company.

    Sorry I can't help. I know nothing about the publishing process from the writer's point of view, but I do know how to fold a signature.

    Perhaps Devlin O'Neill could give you some advice.

    Good luck!

  8. Sorry that I'm useless for publishing guidance. But VERY happy for your endeavor. What an exciting...and self helping experience that must have been for you. Spanking is one subject where true tales are always as fascinating as fictional stories.

    And when this is all said and done, I hope your book sales surpass the authors who couldn't be bothered to respond to your inquiries!

  9. Hi Erica,

    I'll buy your book from whomever! I've known you to some degree for more than ten years, but you still offer surprises. I have no doubt that the story of your life will shed new light upon what makes you such a remarkable person today.

    I've worked as a writer for decades, but mostly within the confines of a corporate fishbowl. As a result, I don't have any great publishing suggestions, though I like Joey's idea.

    This book is another tremendous milestone. Congratulations! Maybe the time is right to start a kinky bestsellers list...

    Big hugs,

  10. I forgot to mention the timing on this topic in comparison to the latest email I sent to you on Friday afternoon is uncanny! :)

  11. Congratulations on finishing your book. I for one would love to read it. Sorry can't offer any advice Erica but wish you luck.
    Joey's idea of Kindle might be worth thinking about it. I've downloaded Dev's book onto mine.


  12. A few questions:

    Can you not convert to a PDF yourself? I don't know a lot about PDF, but I know my husband works extensively with it and has converted some things to PDF for me (not stories, but other things like resumes, etc)

    What are the chances of offering it as an e-book and selling on sites like amazon? I don't know the details, but there is a way to convert so it is compatible with Kindle and the other eReaders out there. One author I know has done that. Have you looked into that option, especially during a time where it seems many people are going the eReader route in their book purchases?

    Then, when you finally work out the hard copy kinks, you can offer it that way too!

    Also, congrats on meeting your goals. I have attempted and considered writing my own awakening story, but am kinda at a writer's block at the moment.

    Good luck in the rest!


  13. p.s. hubby says do an extensive google search; hubby says PDF converters are out there for free.


  14. If you want your book to sell in large numbers I think you'll either have to get a publishing house on board or go the Amazon/Kindle route. Check out Amazon's self publishing options and consider spamming your book to all the big-name publishers you can find.

    On a side note, it's pretty easy to convert from Word to PDF. Grab a copy of LibreOffice ( It'll open Word files and let you export to PDF.

  15. I just wanted to say that I would buy it and Amazon, Amazon, Amazon.
    I will ask Dev to drop you a line about Amazon.
    I am thrilled to hear you have written a book.

  16. I'm delighted to hear you finished such a difficult project, Erica, and I look forward to reading the book. As Poppy said, Amazon is the way to go. I'll email a few more particulars.

    I'm very glad you stuck with it, as I'm sure your other fans will be.

  17. I think there should be a tee shirt to go with it and some knickers with "Ericaisms" on the back.

  18. WOW! Thank you, everyone. I appreciate all the encouragement and suggestions. And to those who have written to me privately, I will get back to you after I go home tomorrow.

    Good to know about being able to convert Word to a PDF on my own with online software. I have an old version of Word (2003) and an even more ancient version of Adobe Acrobat (Version 6, and it's currently up to 9), so I figured my efforts would leave much to be desired.

    While I would like to have an e-book version, call me old-fashioned, but I like real books, real paper pages, etc. I'd like to do both, ideally.

  19. Erica,

    I like to have a book in my hands, too. I do think that starting with an e-book of some kind would be the way to go first and then go for the books. However you do it, I definitely want to read it!

  20. Hi Erica CONGRATULATION'S i can't wait to read your new book I will buy a copy of it :-) this is so AWESOME and COOL, i am VERY happy for you WAY TO GO GIRL YAY FOR YOU :-) SORRY I know nothing about publishing and stuff, lot's of Love and hug's from your naughty girl Jade xoxo

  21. Hi Erica,

    The following website has the instructions for converting a 2003 Microsoft Word document into a PDF file; it also includes a free download of the shareware software that can do the conversion.

    If you need help creating your book, I can do it for you at no charge. I can import your Word document into Adobe CS4 InDesign, lay out your book with running heads and footers, and create your cover page using any image you want. Then I can generate a PDF output for you.

    If you’re interested, I will need to know the length of your book, number of chapters, typeface, page size, and any other special treatment. It will only take me about four hours to complete the project, and I can do it next Saturday.

    Best regards,


  22. Erica, I hope you will write one day America's greatest spanking novel. With your 'spanking' experience in writing in the foreground, and your voluptous bare bottom, in the background, it should be 'one of a kind' Good Luck. Also since it is nearly "Pesach" time, Happy and joyous holidays, with lots of Matzo's, and wine.

  23. Again, thanks to everyone for their comments and advice. I'm quite bowled over!

    @AP -- that is a very generous offer and I'm rather speechless about it! I'm not quite ready, as I don't have any cover art yet. But in the meantime, thank you for the lead to converting a Word 2003 document. I know I will end up using that.

  24. From our earliest communications to the detailed stories you've shared on the web, I've loved the many faceted personality that is Erica, and your clever and skillful ability to share your compelling story.

    That alone would be enough to interest a wide range of readers. (Say THAT five times fast!) But there will be others who have fought and overcome depression, and family tragedies, and haltingly discovered who they are, who have found joy and love, who will relate to you.

    Therefore, I'd try to find a venue that would advertise it to more than the core "niche" audience-- maybe with two or three presentations, emphasizing different aspects?

    And maybe there is another artistic cover shot from the "shoots" you did for Dev's books to use for this one, something that would convey your journey?

    This is very exciting news, and all my blessings!

  25. Hi Erica,

    When you are ready, you can let me know by making an announcement here, or you can let Bobbie Jo know by email. Bobbie Jo has my email address and she can contact me.

    Good luck!

  26. I am so impressed that you have followed through with that oh-so-familiar desire to publish our memoirs. My own memoirs remain a force to be reckoned with.

    I like to entertain the notion that vanilla or non-vanilla, people will connect with the story and aspects that resonate with them.

    I will definitely look to obtain your book!

    All my best, as always,

  27. Wouldn't Eve Howard be the person to ask? I know Blue Moon is gone but didn't some one else release her randonm Point series recently?