Guest Blog by Erotica Author Eden Baylee
Today we welcome author Eden Baylee to our pages!
How I Published My First Book of Erotica
When I started writing full-time in March 2010, my main goal was to send my stories to an online publisher such as Ellora’s Cave, Loose-Id, Samhain, and the like. I wanted to be part of the “pack” of writers who were published by some of the most premier romance/erotica sites around. The first thing I did was print out all their submission guidelines, circle the deadlines for special categories I wanted to write for, and plan accordingly so I could meet each of the target dates. My calendar was filled with days, weeks, and months of writing stories of varying lengths and topics that I had to submit.
I’m a very fast writer, averaging 1500-2000 words a day. At times, the majority of what I wrote was pure shit, and it was edited out the next day before I wrote another 1500 words, and so on. After four months, I had written five novella-length stories, submitted to eight publishers, and received eight rejections.
My mentor and critique partner, Kate Austin, a multi-published erotica and romance author reassured me that I was a good writer, that I just needed to “connect” with the right publisher for my style of writing. She said it was very positive that I had received constructive criticism in my rejection letters, suggestions for how I could improve my stories to fit with what the publishers wanted. Nonetheless, a rejection is a rejection, and it’s demoralizing when it comes one after the other. I knew I had to grow a thick skin if I wanted to succeed in this business.
Then, one day, when I was feeling particularly sorry for myself, Kate sent me an email that changed how I looked at my writing. She wrote, “Sometimes persistence is even more important than talent, and you’ve got both.”
I remembered crying after I read that. I’ll never forget those words and how they inspired me to keep going. I’m nothing if I’m not persistent, but I can also be incredibly impatient.
Though it may seem like it was just the beginning of my writing career, the fact is, I’ve been writing most of my life, just not for anyone else. I couldn’t have known it then, but I feel very fortunate all those publishers rejected me. My stories were good, but they weren’t great. They needed work, and though I was too cocky to admit it back then, they also needed the eyes of a professional editor on them.
My past life working as a consultant and being in control of every aspect of a project made self-publishing the ideal avenue for my first book. I knew that at the end of the process, I wanted an e-book version, but I also wanted a physical book in my hands. I wanted to design my own cover and have full say in the book’s interior, exterior, and most importantly, the final written content. Too much to ask? Perhaps. But there was one more thing—I also wanted my book released within the year—no later than March 2011.
This last criterion made it impossible for me to be published traditionally. It just doesn’t happen that quickly, and I knew it. Even though I’m creative, it’s important to understand that I treat writing as a business. Just as I would not spend years holding onto a losing investment, I will not spend years submitting my work to traditional publishers to be rejected. I’ll change direction and try something else, which is exactly what I did.
I took critiques and criticism to heart. I rewrote my stories, packaged four of them into one book, got it professionally edited, and had a cover designed to my specifications. I’m very lucky my husband works in media and was able to put the cover together for me. Once that was done, I learned about “publishing on demand” to distribute my books via the major channels such as: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Chapters/Indigo and all the other online book retailers.
After all that was in place, I set out to do marketing, promotion, and branding. This is something both traditionally and self-published authors must do if they want to sell their books. For three months, I worked on building my blog, creating an Internet presence, and networking socially to learn what other authors were doing to market themselves. My greatest source of information and support has been through other writers. During this time, I thought it would be a good idea to have an official book launch and signing as well. I was fortunate to meet an “old school” book buyer/book lover/bookstore owner who was willing to host my event. The funny thing is, he didn’t even carry erotica in his store! I couldn’t have been happier with the success of my launch which happened February 10th.
In the end, I accomplished what I had set out to do – release a book I am very proud of and do it within my desired timeline. More than anything, I did it on my own terms, which I felt was very important for my first book to establish myself as a writer.
Would I do it again this way, and would I recommend self-publishing to others? The answer is “yes” on both counts. It’s not easy, and does take a certain personality and commitment, however, for me, the rewards have certainly been worth it.
Thanks for having me on your blog, Adriana. It’s been a real pleasure to share my story with you and your readers.
For your generosity, I would like to give a book to a reader who comments on this post. I’ll let you randomly choose a name, and I would be thrilled to send a signed copy of Fall into Winter to the winner.
Stay sexy all,
Fall into Winter is available in hardcover, paperback and e-book formats: