Email: rachelkramerbussel at gmail.com



 

Lusty Lady

BLOG OF RACHEL KRAMER BUSSEL
Watch my first and favorite book trailer for Spanked: Red-Cheeked Erotica. Get Spanked in print and ebook

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Free erotica writing workshop in Brooklyn at Sex Expo September 24

My final live erotica writing workshop will be on Sunday, September 24 from 2:10 to 3 p.m. at Sex Expo in Brooklyn (72 Noble Street, Brooklyn Expo Center), and if you use this link you can get in for free! I'm shifting almost all my teaching to the online classes I'll be launching this fall, so this will probably be my last New York class for the foreseeable future. I'll be sharing more about those classes as soon as they're available, but I can tell you that the sharing that happens in my live classes is special. I love seeing people's faces transform, as they get bolder about what they're writing and what they're willing to share with others, as they dig into their erotic imaginations. It's really the perfect environment because you're surrounded by toys and good energy. Everyone will get a handout with more resources.

sexexpobrooklyn

I'm aware that this class is taking place during Rosh Hashanah, although I didn't know that when I booked this many months ago and forgot to check. I decided that since I rarely have the opportunity to teach live classes these days and since it's such a wonderful event filled with amazing sex toys that I want to check out, I'd go ahead and do it. But I apologize to anyone who would have liked to attend but can't due to the holiday. If I do teach any more in person classes, I'll do my best to make sure they are on dates when as many people as possible can attend. And I'm always available for consultations via my website EroticaWriting101.com.

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Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Ask me anything about anthology editing

I'm preparing an online class I hope to launch in October on How to Edit An Anthology, based on the numerous questions I've received over the 13 years I've been editing them (I'm up to over 60 anthologies, with more on the way, so I've learned a lot via trial and error). While I will give my insights into erotica anthologies, I'll be covering both fiction and nonfiction anthologies of all kinds and will be getting input from other editors, both self-published and traditionally published, so I can give as many options and answers as possible. Which brings me to you: What questions do you have about the anthology editing process? Please feel free to ask me anything in September and I will do my best to answer in the class. I don't have a registration page up yet as I'm still creating the class's content (this is a new one for me), but as soon as I do, I'll post it here. You can comment or email me by September 30 at rachelkramerbussel at gmail.com with "Anthology class" in the subject line.

Ask me anything about how to edit an anthology

I promise, my anthology editing skills are infinitely better than my Canva art skills. Those are abysmal because I'm a word person, not an art person, but thankfully I rarely have to rely on them.

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Monday, September 04, 2017

My naked lady erotica anthology Smooth is on sale for $1.99

Good news: my Cleis Press erotica book all about skin on skin and naked sex, Smooth, is only $1.99 for Kindle (click through and you can get a free sample via email or read my introduction), Nook, iBooks, Google Play or Kobo! If you want to find out when my next book's on sale, follow me on BookBub (that's how I found out about this one).

Smooth Promo

I'm always thrilled when any of my books get put on BookBub by my publisher, because it means that they are reaching a whole new audience and it means these stories remain accessible. I'm in the process of putting one of my many out of print books out myself, and it saddens me that there are other anthologies that will probably only ever be read by whoever purchased them when they were print only. There's only so much I can do about that, but I'm grateful that these titles are not only still around and available in multiple formats, but also that throughout the year so many of my books have a sale price so they are available for a few bucks.

I know you might be thinking: aren't there nude people in every erotica story? Well, not necessarily (there's a lot you can do in sexy lingerie or a plain t-shirt or anything else. For me, when I edit an anthology, I try to find stories that have a special way of approaching the topic that will, yes, turn the reader on, but also add something to the subject. The sushi story combines two of my favorite things, food and sex, in a delicious way and every story brings a new way of looking at nudity. I think the sale is on through Sunday, September 10th. If you check it out (or give it as a gift to someone who could use some sexy stories), I hope you enjoy it.

About Smooth: The caress of skin against skin, the warmth of another's touch, relishing the sight that few others get to see - these are the reasons that disrobing before sex can be so gratifying. The stories in Smooth, collected by award-winning erotica editor Rachel Kramer Bussel, capture the heat of being stripped bare, of flaunting your body, and of reveling in pure sensuality. Read along as women get tattooed, become "the sushi girl" at a restaurant, strip on the subway, go commando, host tea parties, enjoy sploshing and much more. Featuring stories by Donna George Storey, Heidi Champa, Angela Caperton, Charlotte Stein, Louisa Harte, Jacqueline Applebee, Susan St. Aubin and more, these adventurous characters have more to reveal than just being naked.

Table of contents:

Introduction: Naked Girls in All Their Glory
Löyly Angela Caperton
Her Brand-New Skin Elizabeth Coldwell
Eden Molly Slate
Three Stops Away Heidi Champa
The Sushi Girl Anika Gupta
This Night Suzanne V. Slate
Ink Jennifer Peters
Adornment Is Power Teresa Noelle Roberts
Muscle Bound K.D. Grace
Shower Fittings Giselle Renarde
Clean Slate Lisabet Sarai
Live Action Susan St. Aubin
Chilly Girl Rachel Kramer Bussel
Stripped Clancy Nacht
The Tea Party Charlotte Stein
Rapunzel Jacqueline Applebee
Getting the Message Kay Jaybee
Ivy League Associates Donna George Storey
True Colors Louisa Harte

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Tuesday, August 08, 2017

August is for innovation, or escaping the scary freelance financial life cycle

August has been flying by, faster than I'd like, especially because on Friday I'll be heading off for 9 days and am not quite ready. This is my month for two big new projects that are both exciting and a little panic-inducing: prepping my first self-published anthology (a reprint/expansion of 2007's Sex and Candy, whites now out of print), and preparing the launch of my first new set of online classes. I was going to say "self-hosted" online classes, but that's not strictly true; I'll be doing them through Teachable, which is a whole learning curve unto itself. I want to start with three classes, so that's a whole lot of writing and video content to create.

Both are a lot of work for zero money upfront; in fact, the anthology will cost me at least $2,000, and that's just for author and copyeditor payments, not the actual costs involved of getting it online. The Teachable classes has required me to buy a microphone and likely will require dozens of hours of my time, but doesn't cost anything to upload; they take a small percentage of course fees. I'm doing these things not just so I can "feel like a businesswoman," but so I can slowly wean myself from the gross, needy, helpless feeling that being a freelancer produces in me. Everything I do requires someone's approval in order for me to get paid: with my books, it's my publisher's approval and then, of course, readers' approval; if nobody buys my books, I make nothing (I get a small advance on each anthology but almost all, and sometimes more than that advance, gets paid to authors and copyeditors and also my assistant, who helps me with promotion). With freelance writing, whether my pitches are accepted or not is at editors' whims, then whether I get paid in a timely manner or not remains to be seen. Those are stress-inducing situations, where from one month to the next I don't really know how much cash I'll have on hand. Sure, right now I have a weekly copywriting job, but as a freelancer, that could end at any second.

So I chose August as my month to set these new projects into motion. My goal is to release the self-published book in September and hopefully launch the first of my classes then too, and add some more in the new year. Meanwhile, I'm also reading everything I can about marketing and trying to learn how to get my books and audiobooks into the hands of new readers and listeners. I'm trying to think like a beginner because there's really no point in pumping out anthologies if the sales are stagnant, if I'm not reaching new readers, if I'm not innovating. I don't want my forties to go by and just feel like I repeated my thirties ad nauseam professionally, and even more, I don't want my forties, as I inch ever closer to retirement, to go by and not have stacked up a good amount of savings. Obviously, both these projects are gambles, albeit small stakes ones. I could invest my money and time in them and they could bomb, hard. But I don't think they will. Rose Caraway is going to be recording the audiobook of the Sex and Candy reprint, and her audiobooks earn me more in royalties than my print and ebook titles. I trust that her podcast listeners will enjoy these sweet and luscious stories. And I've asked some of the alumni of my classes if they'd be interested in the first few topics I'm planning, and they are.

I even have a cool new fishnet stockings logo I'll be sharing here soon (if you want to see it first, subscribe to my newsletter). I'm excited, but being your own boss takes a great dose of vision and belief in yourself, and I don't possess that every day. Yesterday I got really down on myself, wondering what the hell I'm doing, whether I'm in over my head technically, whether it's worth it or if I should just stay with what I know. I keep returning the realization, though, that I want to try something new, even if it fails, because either way I'll learn. Both of these new systems will mean I'll see sales data in real time, which will enable me to change things like book covers and prices as needed. That's the part I'm most excited about: feeling in charge, rather than passively waiting around, fingers crossed (or more like, nails being bitten to shreds). I'll be sharing more about these projects as they get closer to completion, but for right now, this month I'm in the thick of learning and exploring and trying to take a little bit of control in such an unpredictable career path.

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Friday, August 04, 2017

Hot erotica by women at Refinery29

I'm still catching up on life after last weekend's whirlwind 48 hours in New Orleans for a bachelorette party. This is my first day back at my home office, where I'm working on my first self-published anthology and my new set of online classes, so I wanted to share some sexy story links you may not have seen (or maybe you have; I've published many of these authors in my anthologies or will be publishing them soon). I've included the book or story title and author name; you can click through to see original artwork and read a hot excerpt. Last year, Refinery29 asked me to gather hot erotica by women and they've been rolling those sexy stories out over time. Here are the links to all of them, and if they intrigue you, I encourage you to check out the books they're from and more of each author's works (there are links to the specific titles and the author websites there). I'm seeing one broken link which I will update as soon as it's resolved. Happy reading!

Goodbye Paradise by Sarina Bowen

Hold Me Down by Sara Taylor Woods

A Gentleman in the Street by Alisha Rai

"Scissoring" by Annabeth Leong in Inked: Sexy Tales of Tattoo Erotica edited by Anna Sky

Untouchable by Elizabeth SaFleur

"Arielle" by Lana Fox from Cathedral of Furs: Ardent Erotica Inspired by Anaïs Nin

Bollywood and the Beast by Suleikha Snyder

"Tell Me a Secret" by Leandra Vane from A Bloom in Cursive

The Siren and the Sword (Magic University Book 1) by Cecilia Tan

The Boss by Abigail Barnette

S.E.C.R.E.T. Shared by L. Marie Adeline

The Virgin by Tiffany Reisz

To Italy with Love by Fiona Zedde

The Unicorn by Delphine Dryden

"Appetizer" by Sommer Marsden from The Sexy Librarian’s Big Book of Erotica edited by Rose Caraway

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Tuesday, August 01, 2017

My Cleis Press erotica anthology deadlines are coming up soon (October 1 and November 1)

Here's another reminder that the deadlines to submit short stories to my two Cleis Press erotica anthologies, Erotic Teasers and Best Women's Erotica of the Year, Volume 4, are coming up fast, on October 1 and November 1, 2017, respectively. I encourage you to take your time, as entries that are sexy, diverse and grammatically perfect stand the best chances, though all that arrive by the deadline and meet the guidelines will be considered. This month I'm preparing to self-publish my first book and to launch some classes, and I want those to be all done by October 1 so I can start editing the teaser book. Good luck!

3 months to submit BWE4

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Thursday, July 27, 2017

My two paying calls for submissions and why perfect grammar is so important

If you want to head directly to my two Cleis Press calls for submissions, visit Erotic Teasers (October 1, 2017 deadline, pays $100/story) and Best Women's Erotica of the Year, Volume 4 (November 1, 2017 deadline, pays $200/story).

I'm looking forward to October and November, when I'll be selecting the stories I want to include in those manuscripts (then my publisher has final approval, which can take several months; see my post about the timing of the publishing process here), doing so earlier than I have in the past so I can put every ounce of my creative energy into promoting my back-to-back releases, Best Women's Erotica of the Year, Volume 3 and The Big Book of Submission, Volume 2. Having two books come out in two months is not for the faint of heart, and to be honest, I'm not sure if I can handle it, and most of my time and money will have to go into BWE because that's the more popular type of book, but I will do my best to make both big sellers because I owe that to myself, my business, my publisher and my authors.

Right now I'm doing my second least favorite task that comes with the job of anthology editing: copyedits. Even though a large part of my 7.5 year full time magazine editing job involved copyediting, and I do a lot of it in my current copywriting job, being in charge of the words of other authors' is not a responsibility I take lightly. I live in fear that one of their edits won't make it into the final book, and I will look like the worst editor who ever lived. Okay, that's hyperbole, but I have an all or nothing brain and if that were to happen, no matter how proud I am of the rest of my book, I would feel awful, because once a book's in print, it's in stores and that's it.

So I've actually been dragging my feet on putting together the edits of the copyeditor I hired (something I wish I'd done for all my books and well worth every penny) and the ones my authors sent me. Then my publisher incorporates those edits into the manuscript before galleys and final books get printed.

The part about me being beyond nervous is my own issue to deal with, though trust me, if I ever quit anthology editing, I will not miss waking up in a panic with worry about this, or holding my breath when I send books out to authors, hoping their story has come out perfect.

That brings me to my calls listed above and why they're so detailed. Some of that is because I often receive an influx of stories that are similar either in setup or subject, which means I can't use them all in my books, because the two biggest things I provide to my readers is variety and sexiness. That's not something I can predict when writing a call, so I try to emphasize creativity and uniqueness.

But what I do emphasize in my calls, or at least, what I hope I impress upon those who might submit, is the importance of perfect grammar and proofreading. You might think, But Rachel, aren't you going to edit the story, and then two copyeditors as well? Yes, I am and they are, but here's the thing: If a story comes in that is riddled with grammatical errors, that vastly increases the likelihood that out of the four people proofing it (author, anthology editor and two copyeditors), someone will miss some of them. Who loses out? Well, everyone. The reader, first and foremost, because they will be distracted when reading your story. I know this as a reader who got distracted several times recently reading a novel I otherwise enjoyed. My publisher will lose out because their reputation will go down in the eyes of that reader. I will lose out for the same reason, and that directly impacts my income and potential opportunities to edit more books. And it impacts the author, because I don't think anyone out there wants their name next to words that are less than the very best they can be.

So while I accept complete and total responsibility for any errors that wind up in my final books, I do tend to gravitate toward submissions whose writing I enjoy that are grammatically correct and typo free, because I know that they will improve the quality of my anthology. Also, the above is the process with my anthologies, but if you are submitting your work other places, or self-publishing, there may be fewer people going over your words, so the onus is on you to make them readable. Ultimately, that's, to my mind, the whole point of grammar: to make words more readable, to make them flow better, to make the reader's job easier so they can enjoy the story more. Now I must return to doing that very thing, and then crossing my fingers and hoping with all my might that I've done my job well.

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