Monday, January 7, 2013

A Spanking Good Time with Erotica Authors, PART I: Penelope Jones & Max

This is the first of a BDSM interview series for Erotica Authors.  Be warned, there is very explicit content herein:

TL:  “I’m here today at my home in sunny San Antonio with a fellow author of erotic romance, Penelope Jones, a.k.a. Bad Penny, for an interview I promised her some time ago.  We’re enjoying the 70+ degree weather while the rest of the country freezes their asses off.  It’s a fine day for some cocktails and an interview.”  (BP winks and slurps her cocktail)

“Before we get into all the fun, tell us about your nickname on twitter, Bad Penny.  I imagine there’s an interesting tale behind that.  Oh and I thought Max was joining us?”

BP:  “When I first got onto twitter I hadn’t planned on having a nickname, but many started calling me Pen.  It’s not a bad name, just not a fitting name for me. Too plain.  My buddy and yours, Caster Rowe started called me Bad Penny and it stuck.  Besides... it seems to be a fitting name. I am a very, very Bad Penny. (BP winks)  Max is buried elbow deep in pus... I mean business.  He might show up later.”  (cheeky grin from BP)

TL:  “You don’t mind if I call you Bad Penny as we continue our little experiment?  I wouldn’t want to offend.”

BP:  “I don’t mind at all stud.”  (BP giggles)  “Say, what did you put in this drink?  It has a really … weird … after … taste…”  (BP falls to the floor with her tongue lolling sideways out her mouth)

TL:  “Well, that would be the ketamine.  It’s not just for horses you know.”

(A brief interlude while TL reconfigures BP)

TL:  “We are back with Bad Penny to finish our little interview.  I just need to bring her up from la-la land first.”  (TL waves smelling salts under BP’s nose. Her eyes open then widen with alarm)

BP:  “Huh?  What’s this?  Why am I strapped up?  Why can’t I move my head?  Where are my clothes?  Max is gonna be pissed he missed this.”  (BP chuckles nervously)

TL:  “All good questions that deserve an answer.  I just wondered how much practical experience you’ve had with a fucking machine.  I mean your writings suggest you’re intimately familiar with gadgets like this.  A neat little feature of this one is the ergonomic clamping system holding your head in place.  And I removed your clothes to make you feel more at home… I want you to be relaxed, to feel you can be completely open and honest with me.  After all, we’re here to do an interview.  You remember how many times you bugged me to have this interview, don’t you?”

BP:  “You didn’t think I’d be honest with you?”  (She wriggles her cute little hiney, testing her restraints)

TL:  “Shush now.  I’m the one asking the questions.  You wouldn’t want me to put on the ball gag now would you?  Makes for a much more difficult Q & A session.  Nodding yes and no can be so tiresome.”  (BP goes very still)

BP:  “I won’t ask any questions.  Just don’t gag me!  Plus... how can I scream your name if I’m gagged?”  (BP laughs nervously again.  TL reaches for the ball gag.  BP’s eyes widen and she wiggles her head slightly in the restraint)  “I promise!  I’ll answer all your questions!”

TL:  “I know you will.”  (TL picks up a power tool)

BP:  “What’s that?”

TL:  “You are a Bad Penny aren’t you?  I told you not to ask questions.  This is a Milwaukee brand Sawzall, which literally does exactly that, saws all…”

BP:  “Why are you putting that dildo on the end of it?  Did you and Max cook this up?”

TL:  “This interview is not working out so well Penny.”

BP:  “But you haven’t asked me any questions yet.”

TL:  “I’m not going to ask.  I’m going to make you tell me everything.”  (TL kicks BP’s legs apart and fits a spreader bar between her knees)

BP:  “I’ll tell you anything you want to know, I promise.  You don’t have to do this.”

TL:  “I know you will.”  (TL tests Sawzall and watches the dildo bouncing vigorously on the end of the machine)

BP:  “Ok.. just give me a moment to think.”  (pregnant pause, then BP begins spitting facts out quickly)  “This will be my first real publication.  I’ve published a few short stories on different pay websites such as and Oysters andChocolate.  I’ve finished my novel back in September, and I’m still editing The Beautiful Catastrophe.  In the spring I plan to publish my First in a trilogy: Diary of a Broken Me. But the reason we are here today is my poetry book I wrote with Max.  It’s called Iniquitous Solace: Rhythmic Words of Lust and Love. It’s about strangers that cross paths, and their lives together, written in notes and letters back and forth from --- Wait --- (BP pauses mid sentence, and begins again.)  Hold up... Hey - That thing is huge… I’m not sure I can handle that.”

TL:  “Ten inches, to be precise.”

BP:  “Sounds like a lovely time.”  (BP visibly gulps)  “But I think maybe we should finish the interview first.”

TL:  “Would you prefer we start with something else?”  (TL points to the wall of goodies and is rewarded with a seductive gleam in BP’s eyes)

BP:  “Please? … Umm... How about that riding crop?”

TL:  “This one? I suppose we could try that for now.”  (TL strokes the riding crop across BP’s left ass cheek and again across the right until BP’s juices are trickling down her inner thigh)  “If I recall, you do enjoy a good spanking …”  (TL flicks his wrist and lands a resounding crack on bare skin)

BP:  (Shudders and gasps)  “Oh.. right, my writing... You’re making it hard to concentrate. (BP sighs heavily) My writing revolves around dominating relationships with rather submissive women, and they have tons of spanking and discipline sprinkled in. Our poetry book, Iniquitous Solace, is no different.”

TL:  “I think you’re enjoying this too much.  Those nipples look way too pert.  It’s not really punishment for you is it?”  (TL gently tweaks a nipple.  BP holds her breath in anticipation, she wants more)  “Answer the question, Penny.”  (TL twists harder until BP cries out)

BP:  “I … do … like it … but that really hurts!”  (TL turns his attention to her other breast)  “Oooww!  Stop.  Stop.”

TL:  “Then keep talking, or I start using the sawzall.”  (TL smacks both ass cheeks with the riding crop, back and forth, before stopping to rub her reddened cheeks.)  “You’ve got five minutes before I start again.  Don’t make me punish you for real.”

(Max shows up late to the interview... sees Bad Penny in her usual precarious position... compliments her only article of clothing, striped socks, and sits down well out of riding crop reach)

BP: “Hey Max... lovely of you to join us.”  (BP Laughs)  “You should like the socks, you bought them.”

Max:  “I see Bad Penny is yet again to blame.  She does tend to live her writings, it’s not all fiction you know.  IniquitousSolace - our co-authored novella - it’s poetry for bad girls and boys who desperately want to be good.  Or get it good.  It's all about shredding the heart to sink your claws into your own soul.  In a sexy way of course.  What else would you like to know?”

TL:  “I want to know everything. Like how much this is turning her on.”  (TL reaches between her legs to test her wetness)  “My, my, she’s a very naughty girl, she’s soaking wet!”

Max:  “This should come as no surprise.  She runs her very own naughty couch. I think she uses the poems as a lure to draw in unsuspecting cupcakes and lollipops. 'Iniquitous Solace' is a honey trap. A naughty, sensual, makes-you-feel-good-like-rope-bondage trap...”

BP:  “It’s not a trap... well it caught you.”  (cue another cheeky grin first towards Max and then TL)

TL:  “Well, I’m not the one strapped down with my legs open wide.  We will see who’s feeling caught by the time I finish with you.  I’m not convinced we’ve learned everything there is to know.  And she likes this way too much.  So…”  (TL picks up the Sawzall and tests it again, but this time he rubs the bobbing dildo between BP’s legs)

BP:  “Oh shit!  Wait!  I already told you everything!”

TL:  “Really?”  (TL pushes the Sawzall a little harder)

BP:  “YES!  YES!”  (TL stops)

TL:  “You like this too, don’t you?”

BP:  (Breathing heavily)  “Yeah … but can I get a pillow and a drink of water?” (BP Gives Max a wink) “Yes even bound and tied I’m demanding and needy.”

Max:  "I've got a larger attachment if you need it.  Bad Penny enjoys being pushed to her limits.  That's the real challenge with our poetry.  How much can you uncover, how naked can you be, and then how do you shape that into words and weave it together to convey meaning.  We're all looking for that."  (Nods toward the buzzing Sawzall.)

"Well, looking for other stuff too, but this is about two people defining their own meaning.  Or maybe more than two people.  Maybe all of us.  The readers will have to let us know."  (Max shrugs and leans back.)  "Now are you putting on a show here?  Bad Penny looks ready, and there's no sense in wasting some nice tight bondage... I hear she's a fan of orgasm denial for starters."  (Max grins with the glitter of sadism in his eyes.)

* * * * *

Penelope Jones can be found at all her various social media outlets:

Twitter: @Penelope_Prose

Facebook: Penelope Jones

GooglePlus: LittleMissNotoriety

Goodreads: Penelope Jones

Pinterest: PenelopeProse

Iniquitous Solace is currently under revision, COMING SOON to Amazon Kindle:

Friday, January 4, 2013

The new publishing business model: Agents preying on self-published authors

Prepare for a rant.

As I sit here drinking coffee, catching up with my new twitter followers, and reading emails, my morning newsletter from Digital Book World came in.  There's the usual chatter on the publishing industry about ebook and ereader sales activity during the holidays, gains and losses and all that crap.  What caught my eye was an article about publishing agents,
Agents Unwilling to Adapt Won't Last.

I thought that looked pretty interesting, so I read the article.  I haven't read anything in the past few months that made me so instantly furious, soooo fuming pissed off MAD.  I had to sit down and write this blog post.

The article is an interview with Jane Dystel of Dystel and Goderich Literary Management.  Jane starts off with her credentials.  She represented Obama when he wrote "Dreams from my father", before he was President.  That's some serious Klout goin' on there.  I'll bet she's got one hell of a Klout score.  Despite all that overwhelming Klout, the sheer audacity of her business model is staggering.

She isn't even a publisher, but she helps self-published authors, charging a mere %15 of their sales.  She will help them find editors-on their dime, find cover artists-on their dime, and help them upload their ebooks to all the retailers (a very harrowing experience of about 20 mouse clicks).  What a wonderful service, for only %15 royalty on someone else's hard work.

She goes on to admit she wishes traditionally published authors received more than 25% royalty of net sales, she thinks 50% of net sales is much more fair.  Us authors should get at least 50% of net sales royalties.  How kind and considerate, how very progressive.

I get 70% of GROSS sales on Amazon and between 60-80% of GROSS sales at other retailers.

Jane Dystel admits that the challenge Agents face is to convince self-published authors, "that we can help them do better than they are doing for themselves ... many of these self-published authors are doing phenomenally well."

You're damn straight that's a challenge.

The gist of the entire article is this:  Our Agency skims through the self-published authors to see who's a bestseller and then attempts to convince them that somehow or other, they need us.


If I hit anywhere near a bestseller status with my ebook, that's saying a lot: 
1.  I already know how to write a good book. 
2.  I already have at least one editor or more.
3.  I already know how to hire a cover artist, and help work out the design specifics of the cover I want.
4.  I already know how to hire an ebook conversion formatter, or do the formatting myself. 
5.  I already know how to upload my finished ebook to all the retailers.
6.  I already know how to launch my novel through social media and blogs.
7.  I already know how to make the most of ebook retailer's promotional mechanisms, like free offerings, discounts, giveaways, and coupons. 
8.  I already know how to sell myself as an author brand, and my novels as a part of that brand.

If I hit anywhere near a bestseller listing with any of my ebooks, why the hell would I need an Agent?

Jane Dystel looks a lot like a predator to me.  A predator preying on the dreams and aspirations of self-published authors who still feel the sting of not having "made it" in the realm of traditional publishing.  She looks like an Agent who's scrambling to figure out how to convince people like me that there's any need at all for her antiquated, obsolete business model.

If I hit anywhere near a bestseller list with my ebook, you better have a seven figure offer on the table and a movie deal before you even think about trying to talk me out of my successful self-publishing business model.

I have never written a query letter.  I never will.  Its a waste of time.  Jane Dystel says she has represented JA Konrath and John Locke early in their self-published careers.  Here's JA Konrath's words from a year ago:
"Now, writers are much better served learning how to upload their work to Kindle and write a product description than learning how to write a query letter or do a successful book signing."

As I catch up on a ton of social media connections for the morning, start writing another interview series for erotica authors, and begin editing my next two novels for release in the next two months, I wonder how much Agents can afford to adapt?  How much room is there in today's world of self-publishing for an Agent to survive?  NOT MUCH.

This is a time of great change in the world of publishing.  The power is shifting to the authors, specifically the authors who learn the ins and outs of self-publishing.  I strongly suggest people abandon obsolete business models and embrace that power, take it in full measure and use it to the best of your ability.

Until next time,

Travis Luedke